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People sometimes assume that, because of Saddam Hussein's great wealth, he *must* be diverting oil-for-food monies or otherwise bleeding humanitarian resources from Iraq. In countering, it should be stressed that Saddam has absolutely no access to OFF funds. Instead, as noted yesterday, Saddam can resort to other sources of income including the oil futures market. Ironically, nine years of sanctions have vested in Saddam a unique degree of individual leverage over oil market prices, as evidenced by this past week's fluctuations stemming from the Iraqi OFF announcement. This scenario is discussed in the following: a) http://www.ndu.edu/ndu/inss/books/sanctions/chapter1.html Institute for National Strategic Studies "ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ (1990- )" "Some oil traders (claimed) that Saddam and his entourage had also enriched themselves by speculating in oil futures, manipulating the market to their advantage by periodically sending false signals that they were about to comply with Resolution 986. The prospect of a substantial increase in world supply resulting from the sale of Iraqi oil would trigger a price drop in oil futures, only for the price to soar up again, each time Saddam derailed implementation of the oil-for-food program with another incident. Reportedly, since the end of the Gulf War, Saddam had used $2 billion of his covert income to build huge palaces for himself and his supporters." <Note: This article also cites Thomas L. Friedman, "Follow the Money," The New York Times, 13 October 1996, E-13> b) http://www.slate.com/Gist/97-11-15/Gist.asp Iraq Since the Gulf War by Franklin Foer c) "Unvanquished" by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Random House, 1999 Page 209: "Some speculated that Saddam was playing this game (negotiating oil-for-food) as a way to manipulate the world oil market. This was not implausible. Whenver the oil-for-food talks were reported to go well, the world market price of oil fell in anticipation of Iraqi oil coming onto the market; when Saddam Hussein broke off talks, the price of oil rose ... I did not, however, accept this theory. Saddam Hussein thinks of himself as a romantic hero confronting the forces of evil. He is totally isolated and shielded from hard information about world affairs." More generally, here's a great quote from BB-G concerning the Iraq sanctions (also page 209): "Again we are confronted the fundamentally contradictory character of sanctions: the innocent population suffers greatly but the oppressive regime feels little or nothing, while the process only deepens its control over the people." Regarding the reasons for the 2-week OFF turn down, a very believable (and exasperated) explanation comes from Iraq's Ambassador Hasan in the report at http://biz.yahoo.com/rf/991123/bce.html : "What can you export in two weeks? What kind of a distribution plan can you submit? What kind of commodities can you bring to the country in two weeks? It's ridiculous to extend it for two weeks this program with all of its complexities," Hasan said. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***