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RE: Potential basis for action in IDC Report on "The Future of Sa nctions"

A few points on the IDC report: One thing that caught my attention in this report was the statement in paragraph 24: "The committee is concerned at the lack of reliable information on the humanitarian impact of sanctions" It then proceeds in paragraphs 25-31 to give extensive details of the humanitarian impact, citing evidence from UNICEF, the WHO and other organisations. In paragraphs 34 and 35, extensive coverage is given to claims from US/UK government sources that Iraqi government officials are profiting, failing to distribute food etc, with the usual anecdotal evidence about "gold plated faucets", "grand palaces", and of course, the old tale of the north-south discrepancy as a "proof" of the theory that the suffering of the people is induced by the regime. However, the north-south divide question is answered by evidence given by various NGOs, and this is quoted in §36. Paragraphs 28 & 29 already explained the logistical problems caused by lack of spare parts and restrictions on "dual use" items. Basically, the report publishes the claims of the US/UK government giving the blame to the Iraqi regime, and then proceeds to disprove these claims with the evidence with which we are already familiar. Having done this, they then reach the following startling conclusion in §39: "The responsibility for the plight of the Iraqi people must ultimately lie with the Iraqi leadership" The calls for humanitarian improvements, "smarter sanctions" etc. which follow really do appear in a different light after this: It seems there is no admission of guilt or wrongdoing, but they're going to try and do something for the poor people in Iraq just to show how kind they are. The good will and the concern shown are, I believe genuine, and they gave fair exposure to both sides of the arguement; but when it came to their conclusions, they really didn't seem to have learned anything which would let them rise above their own prejudices. Peace, Sean

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