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(1) OFF Suspension (2) Presidential candidate against sanctions

Two unrelated notes:

(1) There's a financial aspect to Saddam's suspension of OFF exports that
shouldn't be ignored.  It's widely suspected that Saddam's wealth stems
chiefly from the manipulation of oil futures, which respond dramatically as
Iraqi crude is withdrawn from the market.  Anyone holding (appropriately
placed) oil futures prior to yesterday's announcement stood to make
millions.  Oil prices are currently at a 9-year high, and they jumped
roughly $1 per barrel on the basis of the Iraqi announcement.

Saddam's manipulation of oil futures was much discussed in the 1991-1996
timeframe as OFF was being negotiated (though note that Boutros
Boutros-Ghali (in 'Unvanquished') discounts this as unrealistic due to
Iraq's isolation).  No matter whether Saddam benefits from such price shifts
or not, his *leverage* over oil markets is very real ... and this leverage
is due, ironically, to the consolidation of his authority under sanctions.  

There is no other political figure in the Mideast with the clout to
unilaterally stop ALL oil exports from their country, seemingly at a whim.
No matter the ruler, for anyone other than Saddam it would be suicidal.  And
Saddam himself would not have dared make this move prior to sanctions.

He continues to be a monster of our own making.

(2) A candidate for the U.S. Presidency, Pat Buchanan, has reiterated his
opposition to sanctions in Iraq.  Following are excerpts from a news report
on Buchanan's foreign policy and from the statement itself.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA
Snipped from
November 22, 1999

Buchanan Eyes Iran, Iraq Dialogue
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Reform Party presidential contender Pat Buchanan declared
Monday that the longstanding U.S. policy of ``dual containment'' of Iraq and
Iran is unsustainable and he suggested opening a dialogue with the
oppressive nations. 

Delivering a foreign policy speech, Buchanan asked: ``If we can engage China
and North Vietnam and even North Korea, why can we not at least talk to Iran
and Iraq?'' 
Snipped from
"A New Americanism"
Patrick J. Buchanan

Under the Christian conditions for a just war, the targeting of innocent
civilians is forbidden. But who is suffering, who is dying from the
sanctions we impose on Serbia and Iraq?  We read of tens of thousands of
deaths among Iraqi children. Is it moral to cause their deaths because these
toddlers refused to rise up and oust Saddam, which the mighty Army of Desert
Storm was itself reluctant to do? America is a good country; she does not
make war on children. 
As for our policy of "dual containment" of Iran and Iraq, it is sterile and
unsustainable. Like the British, we are one day going home, and we ought not
to be devising schemes to extend our stay. 

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