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Dear Hugh, Bob & everyone, Good questions! Maybe I can help answer some of them... > 1) Is Iraq earning more $ now than before the Gulf War? Yes. Even with the 25% taken out for reperations, Iraq is earning more now than it did in 1989, but less than it was prior to the war with Iran. However, this is not sustainable. In order to meet current output levels, Iraq is forced to over- & mis-use equipment - sometimes injecting water into oil wells to force the oil to the surface, a process that can render the oil field permentantly unusable. The minister in charge of oil production has said that if he pursued these policies 10 years ago he would have been shot. According to the panel commissioned in 1999 by the Security Council to study the state of Iraq's oil industry, Iraq needs to spend $1.2 billion each quarter on equipment/repairs. Until April 2000, the U.S. - through their veto power - only allowed $300 million/quarter. This was then upped to $600 million/quarter - which is still not sufficient. And even though $600 million/quarter is the potential limit, many of the contracts are put on hold. Over the summer, contract holds have almost doubled & there is currently over $2.2 billion in requests on hold. Finally, less than 1/3 of those contracts for Iraq's oil infrastructure that have been *approved* have actually *arrived* in the country. Why this is so is not clear, and is a question we should try & answer. Across the board, less than 50% of contracts approved over the last four years have actually arrived in country. > 2) Iraq is making more money, why are people still dying? We do need to acknowledge that things have improved. The UN food ration has been increased by 50% over the past year, and many hospitals (especially in the Central Governate) are not *as* desperate for medicine/equipment as they once were. But we also need to put this in perspective for folks. The most damaging aspect of sanctions (imo) is that they have destroyed the Iraqi economy - driving millions of people into poverty & dependency. This hasn't changed. For some, the UN food ration is the only source for food - & despite the increase it only lasts 3 weeks out of the month, and still does not include animal protein or fresh fruit/vegetables. As a result, caloric intake in Iraq is at 2/3 of pre-war levels - and it isn't nutritious calories. Even if people have enough food to prevent famine, malnutrition is a serious problem & over 20% of children are chronically malnurished. As far as hospitals are concerned, we should point out that many are still suffering from shortages, and even those that are better off are still unable to provide specialized treatment. > 3) Doesn't the Iraqi gov't have any responsibility here? Yes, they do. We should acknowledge that the Iraqi gov't has done a fair to good job in distribution. But we should also acknowledge that the gov't has in some cases rewarded people/areas that are loyal, & punished people/areas that are suspected of being in opposition. There doesn't seem to be *widespread* abuse in distribution, but there is petty abuse and for those effected - there's suffering. This is still a brutal dicatorship. We should also acknowledge that the Iraqi gov't has not been creative in dealing with the impact of sanctions. Unlike Cuba, they are not taking a pro-active approach to lessen the impact through targeted educational or medical campaigns. Because of this, there is some validity to the argument that Saddam "wants" people to suffer for the propaganda value. But, in all fairness, a large part of this problem is in the defeatism/low morale that sanctions have caused throughout all levels of the Iraqi gov't. > 4) Does the U.S. believe its own propaganda. Sorry, I can't answer this one. There are a lot of different centers of power here in the U.S., and I think that many folks in our gov't do believe much of the nonsense they put out. I find it hard to believe that they believe *all* of it though. Hope this helps. Peace, Ramsey -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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