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Letter re Guardian article on sanctions on Iraq <fwd>

I sent this letter to The Guardian today responding to 
Brian Whitaker's article in today's paper. A pretty 
second-rate performance from The Guardian's Middle East 
editor, in marked contrast to his superb piece 'Israel wins
the war of words: the dangers of sloppy journalism' (spot 
the irony)

Brian Whitaker's article (UN gets more time to revamp Iraqi
sanctions, 1 June) reveals a basic lack of understanding of 
who is behind the delays to humanitarian supplies for Iraq 
and the reasons for those delays. It is not the UN 
Sanctions Committee but the United States on that 
committee which imposes 90% of what are known as 'holds' 
(the UK imposes the other 10%). And the issue is often not 
about being 'strict' about items with potential military 
uses, but delays to important humanitarian supplies with 
no arms control value. The United States even imposes holds
on items deemed by the UN weapons inspectors UNMOVIC to be 
innocuous, while Benon Sevan, head of the UN Office of the 
Iraq Programme condemns the holds for being 'excessive' and
'seriously impairing' the humanitarian programme.

Dr. Eric Herring
Senior Lecturer in International Politics
Department of Politics
University of Bristol
10 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU
England, UK
Tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582
Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133

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