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Re: Change at the NYTimes: "Concentrate efforts on controlling flow of arms into Iraq"

Dear all

Good news that the possible coming shift in US/UK policy is having the way
paved by
such stuff. However, the editorial raises an important issue which has to be
addressed by the anti-sanctions movement - whether or not we should campaign
against the retention of the oil-for-food UN account as a mechanism for
controlling Iraqi revenues.

My thoughts aren't very clear but go like this:

If, in a proposed 'post-sanctions' regime, the basic oil-for-food system is
to be kept, whereby Iraq's oil revenues continue to be funnelled via a UN
account, this could continue to

(a) hinder normal trade which is needed to reinflate the economy and boost
family purchasing power

(b) hinder the placing of major infrastructure/oil contracts needed to
provide a healthy environment for Iraq's families and to secure revenues for
this purpose

(c) hinder the taking out of international loans needed for both the economy
as a whole and for the infrastructure

(d) and, most importantly, continue to place Iraq's economy under the
control of a body dominated by the US and UK, which hold the lion's share of
responsibility for the continuation of the humanitarian crisis.

Apart from the last point, these are empirical matters which we could find
some answers to.

In fairness, it should be said that if there is to be no oil-for-food
structure, it is not immediately apparent how international concerns about
diversion/dual-use can be addressed, as UN monitoring of the delivery of
oil-for-food goods would presumably cease when oil-for-food is terminated.

This is not a terribly strong argument, however, as a new UN monitoring
system could be constructed along the lines already used in the current
oil-for-food set-up - for suspected dual-use deliveries (chlorine, pipes
used in sewage works, etc).

This dual-use monitoring system could either be part of UNMOVIC or
outside/complementary to it.

I am concerned by the mention in the NYT article of the need for

> tight financial controls on how Baghdad spends its oil
> revenues

in a new sanctions regime. The tenor of the editorial seems to suggest a
modified and 'revitalised' oil-for-food regime as the way forward.

While I do not see this as acceptable, there is a legitimate discussion to
be had about handling the dual-use issue.

Milan Rai

Milan Rai
Joint Coordinator
Voices in the Wilderness UK
National Office
16B Cherwell St, Oxford OX4 1BG

NEW personal contact details
29 Gensing Road, St Leonards-on-sea TN38 0HE
ph/fax 0845 458 9571 (local rate) pager 07623 746 462

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