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re : New FCO "report" on human rights in Iraq

Per wrote :

> one heading is entitled "Food and health needs", under which it is
> that Max van der Stoel pointed out in his reports that the Government of
> Iraq refused until 1996 to participate in the 'oil for food' programme
> first proposed by the UN in 1991.

Here's what we wrote about this in our briefing "A Crude and Cynical
Campaign" (January 2000).

Best wishes,

voices uk

The first oil-for-food resolution (UN Security Council Resolution 706) was
adopted on the 15th August 1991. By then an estimated 47,000 excess deaths
among children under five years of age had already taken place. (This
estimate is based on the data collected by a Harvard-based international
study team during August' '91.)

    A July '91 UN report had estimated that it would cost $22 billion to
restore power, oil, water, sanitation, food, agriculture and health sectors
to pre-war levels. The same report produced an estimate of $6.8 bn, over a
one year period,  for the cost of bringing about a situation of "greatly
reduced social services" : 50 % of pre-war electrical capacity, 40 % of
water and sanitation services and enough food for subsistence rations for
the whole population.

   706 and its successor 712 (19th September '91) capped oil sales at $3.2
bn a year - from which 30% was to be deducted for payment to the
Compensation Fund. Prior to the passage of 712 the UN Secretary General
tried unsuccessfully to have the six-monthly ceiling raised to $2.4 bn. In
November '91  The Independent 's diplomatic editor, Sarah Helms, reported
that "President Saddam might have accepted the resolution" if a higher sum
had been agreed.

   According to an aid agency staff member involved in the discussions in
Baghdad, even by late July '91 "UN officials were convinced ... that the US
intention was to present Saddam Hussein with so unattractive a package that
Iraq would reject it and thus take on the blame, at least in western eyes,
for continued civilian suffering" - which is exactly what happened (Middle
East Report, Jan/Feb '92). As one US official rather candidly explained,
oil-for-food was "a good way to maintain the bulk of sanctions and not be on
the wrong side of a potentially emotive issue" (Independent, 24 July '91).
UN SCR 986 (14th April '95) raised the ceiling to $2 bn every six months. It
was accepted by the Iraqi Government in May '96.

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