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comments on US congressional report from Rania Masri

Dear discussion list members,

Rania Masri in the US has asked me to pass along the following comments on
last year's fact finding mission by US congressional aides to Iraq.

Colin Rowat

Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq               fax 0870 063 5022

393 King's College  
Cambridge CB2 1ST             tel: +44 (0)468 056 984
England                       fax: +44 (0)870 063 4984

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Dear all,

I just read the US congressional staff report on Iraq.  Please e-mail me
<at> for a copy of the report as a MS Word Attachment.

In addition to the overall strength of the report, the report contains a
few (new) things that struck me as proof of intent on the part of the
US/UN policy -- intent to cause harm to the civilian population.

* "The oil for food program was not designed to improve the Iraqis’
rapidly deteriorating health and well being; it was designed to stop
further deterioration of those conditions."

        This we already know -- but this statement is further
clarification of an important implication:  The Oil-For-Food program is
only intended to stabilize the death rate - so that it would not increase
further - and not necessarily to decrease the death rate.  In other words,
the UN SC merely stated - through the Oil-for-Food deal - that the deaths
of 4,500 children every month (according to UNICEF 1996) is okay-- but no

*"The WFP's Burghardt described the urgent need for income-generating
programs in Iraq. She tried to initiate such programs, but said her ideas
"did not fly" in headquarters. The U.S. is the biggest donor to the WFP,
and played a key role in preventing the new plans."

        no comment necessary on this point.

* "The UNICEF director mentioned a UK proposal designed to encourage
private enterprise. She believes such programs would be important, because
under oil for food guidelines the Iraqi government is not allowed to
purchase any locally produced goods (except under the cash component
provision in the North alone). Wheat, once produced in some significant
amounts, is now imported instead of produced. The result is the creation
of more internally displaced persons (IDPs), when people flock to the
cities to try to find work instead of returning to agricultural
production. It also discourages return to newly de-mined areas to resume
agricultural work, since there is no longer a reliable market. Dr. Rao
Singh [The UNICEF director] described the need to encourage, while
monitoring, a return to local production, including local production of

    *Note that "under oil for food guidelines the Iraqi government is not
allowed to purchase any locally produced goods".  Now, what possibly could
be the logic in prohibiting/limiting the Iraqi government from purchasing
Iraqi wheat? Seems clearly to be an intention policy at further destroying
Iraqi agriculture and Iraq's ability at self-sustenance.  Note also that
Dr. Singh's recommendation of a "return to local production ... of
medicines" is not possible under the 'dual use' weapons inspections
limitations.  UNSCOM had, previously, destroyed a factory producing animal
vaccinations because that factory could theoretically be transformed to
produce weaponry.  How then is Iraq to be 'allowed' to return to local
production of medicines?  (BTW, the destruction of that factory led to the
resurgence of the Hoof-and-Mouth disease, destroying livestock in Iraq ..
which brings me to my fourth point.)

 * "The FAO director, Amir Khalil, described the damage caused by
agricultural sanctions to Iraq. Once a developed country, Iraq had earned
about $600 million in agricultural production before 1990; now it is about
$50 million. They have access to no new agricultural technology, and as a
result animal diseases are on the increase, water salinity is up to 90%.
Problems are magnified because agriculture is highly electrified and thus
dependent on electrical generating capacity, electrified water pumps, etc.
More "dual use" items needed for agricultural production are on hold now.  
"Does the UN's 661 Committee lack confidence in our monitoring?" Khalil
asked. He told the delegation that agricultural chemical spraying had been
done by FAO helicopters under UNSCOM inspection for 5 - 6 years in the
No-Fly-Zones. He stayed in contact with the military commanders of
Southern Watch and Provide Comfort [i.e. the illegal no-fly-zone]. On
August 18 or 19, 1999, Khalil was contacted by the Southern Watch
commander, and told to stop his helicopters from flying to spray sugar
cane fields in a particular area, although the schedule required one more
week to complete the anti-Hoof & Mouth disease spraying.  He recalled the
helicopters to Baghdad, and the next day an airstrike hit the airport
where his helicopters usually were kept. The Hoof & Mouth disease spraying
was required because the disease was spreading in region, to the Russian
border and North Africa, because of the lack of vaccine. The FAO proposed
rehabilitating the vaccine factory destroyed by UNSCOM, to deal with the
current lack of domestic vaccine production."

    * Very powerful!  The US prohibited the FAO pilots from spraying their
final - and necessary - round of pesticides against a disease that
resurfaced two years after Iraq had used up all its vaccines, vaccines
which Iraq had been producing until UNSCOM destroyed the factory!  After
the US prohibited the FAO pilots from spraying the final rounds, "an
airstrike hit the airport where [the FAO] helicopters usually were kept"!
Now, what could that be - if not intent to further destroy Iraqi means at

    Btw, if anyone would like more information on this Hoof and Mouth
disease, please let me know.

The struggle continues...

-Rania Masri

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