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House of Commons paper on Iraq

Subscribers who are planning to approach MPs should take note of the
information they have received from Parliament's in-house research
service, which is regarded as reliable and credible.

The House of Commons research library provides briefings for MPs. Research
paper 99/13 "Iraq:  Desert Fox and Policy Developments" runs to 65 pages.
Humanitarian issues are hardly mentioned. On page 15, we learn -
truthfully enough - that sanctions mortality estimates are disputed, 
falling between 200,000 and one million. Four short paragraphs deal with
the resignation of Denis Halliday.  Page 16 reproduces the resolution 661
para 3(c) claim that the embargo does not cover strictly medical supplies
or 'in humanitarian circumstances' food. After that it's the usual stuff
about requests for liposuction machines. 

>From this section of the briefing, the uninformed reader would have no
notion that the US and Britain prevent the import of innocuous items
including food and medicines, or that there is any kind of controversy
about this. The state of Iraqi infrastructure and its competence to
benefit from OFF is not discussed. Indeed, page 29 quotes a 1998 FCO
briefing to the effect that Desert Fox did not target generators, water or
rail links because this 'would have harmed the Iraqi people.' Even if that
is true, some observers have noted that Iraq never recovered from the 1991

Bear this in mind when you approach the honourable members; they tend to
believe what the Library tells them.

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