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This is a brief response to Per and Mil's remarks on the latest 90 day report on "oil for food". Mil, I think, is correct to observe that the Iraqi government's refusal to co-operate on (i) the SCR 1302 humanitarian assessment mission; and (ii) the SCR 1284 cash component provisions do not represent a step backwards: both of the above are new ventures, neither essential to the current "oil for food" programme. I think that Per is right, though, in noting that these steps do not allow as much improvement as might be possible under "oil for food". The purpose of the 1302 humanitarian assessment has not been clear to me. The Iraqi government is responsible for developing "distribution plans" under "oil for food". Therefore the Iraqi government needs detailed information on conditions within Iraq. As the UN is required to approve the "distribution plans" there is a need also to explain conditions to the UN. The 1302 mission might have helped with that. But it is unclear what a mission with such a general mandate was hoping to do that more specific missions can not do. For example, Mil mentions the routine UN agency information gathering. There was also an oil experts mission to Iraq earlier this year. One possibility is that the 1302 mission would have higher profile than UN agency reports. This possibility may be contributing to the Iraqi government's reluctance to allow the mission in. There is a belief that, for example, obesity is returning to the adult population, presenting an image of the country that the Iraqi government does not want presented. As to the "cash component", which could be used to allow the purchase of local produce and training costs, I am much less sure why the Iraqi government is not cooperating here. Even if, for some reason, it did not want a cash component implemented, it could have taken more subtle, in my opinion, steps to sabotage this without so obviously appearing to be "the bad guy". For example, our last newsletter stated that: We know of no knowledgeable source who feels that the cash component... will be implemented. The problem seems to be that the mechanism for doing so will not be agreed upon. On the one hand, the US government will not allow the government of Iraq to disburse the cash, although it is responsible for the running of OFF in South/Centre Iraq. On the other hand, the Iraqi government is unlikely to allow UN Agencies to do so, for at least two reasons. First, it is concerned that UN Agencies are not sufficiently accountable (there are stories of senior UN employees being pensioned off around Europe on "oil for funds" funds rather than returning to their less pleasant home countries). Second, the Iraqi government is concerned about the UN taking over Iraq's economy. This fear may reflect both the government's desire to prevent challengers to its own rule but also a more technical economic fear: the government pays less for services than do UN Agencies. Increased Agency control of money might therefore mean that the money stretches less; it may also bid up the price of services in Iraq, making other purchases more costly too. It therefore seems possible to me that the Iraqi government could have allowed discussion of the "cash component" but only agreed to terms that the US would have rejected. It is possible that the Iraqi goverment has not even agreed to discuss this, though, because it is a SCR 1284 provision, and the Iraqi government does not accept SCR 1284. Per concludes his message by noting that > this seems like worrying development for the anti-sanctions movement. Yes, it is certainly discouraging, because obstruction by the Iraqi government makes it easier for the US and the UK to hide the central point - that sanctions are designed to cause hardship, sanctions with humanitarian exemptions lesser hardship. This said, I do not think that this alters our argument: that, however obstructive the Iraqi government, our governments should not be engaging in a policy that punishes ordinary Iraqis for the behaviour of a dictatorship. Colin Rowat ****************************************************** Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://www.casi.org.uk fax 0870 063 5022 are you on our announcements list? ****************************************************** 393 King's College www.cus.cam.ac.uk/~cir20 Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)7768 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)8700 634 984 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk