The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Here's another brief round-up of some recent stuff. You have until Wednesday for letters to the Sunday's. The letter from the INC in today's Guardian (see below) requires an urgent response ... Best wishes, Gabriel voices uk ********************************************* * Protecting Iraqis against Saddam (a couple of letters from today's Guardian, email@example.com) * Fuel fears as Iraq bans oil exports, 3rd June, Independent on Sunday (firstname.lastname@example.org) * £4 gallon looms as Iraq bans oil exports, Observer, 3rd June (email@example.com) * US-British Iraqi Sanctions Plan in Trouble at UN, AP, 31 May * Iraq ready to renew oil-for-food programme if it remains unchanged, AFP, May 30 ********************************************* 2 Letters from today's (4th June 2001) Guardian: Protecting Iraqis against Saddam Monday June 4, 2001 The Guardian Seumas Milne is right that important issues, such as foreign affairs, are often not given the priority they deserve in general election campaigns (Voteless victims, May 30). It will be important for the incoming government to focus its attention on the wellbeing of the Iraqi people. However, Mr Milne has overlooked several key facts in his analysis of the current humanitarian situation in Iraq. It is disingenuous to suggest that the suffering of the Iraqi people is the result of UN sanctions. It is Saddam Hussein who is to blame for their suffering. To suggest otherwise is to assist Saddam in abusing the sanctions regime, purely to further his own propaganda agenda. Sufficient food and medical resources are available under the oil for food programme, yet Saddam chooses not to make these resources available to the Iraqi people. Mr Milne is right to say that sanctions are being flouted. But does he stop to think where all this additional illegal money is going? Certainly not to the Iraqi people - rather, it is used to increase Saddam's personal wealth and military might. Sanctions were imposed to prevent Saddam from pursuing his programme of developing weapons of mass destruction. To this end, they have been successful. Equally, the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq were established to safeguard the civilians in these areas. All too often Saddam has demonstrated his willingness to employ weapons from the air against innocent Iraqis. It is vital that the UN pursue policies that will protect the Iraqi people. Sharif Ali Bin AlHussein Iraqi National Congress • British policy towards Iraq has been to contain Saddam with his hapless victims in the same box. This policy is incompetent and immoral; it has led to more suffering and a substantial increase in the number of Iraqi asylum-seekers. What the Iraqi people need is "smart protection" rather than "smart sanctions". If the government wants the votes of the Iraqi community, it should support the indictment of Saddam and his accomplices through the European parliament for their crimes of genocide. Saad Rashid Bury, Lancashire firstname.lastname@example.org ******************************************** Fuel fears as Iraq bans oil exports By Severin Carrell, Tony Heath and James Morrison 03 June 2001 There was confusion over the future of oil prices last night as Iraq, the world's second-biggest oil producer, announced that it was stopping oil exports from tomorrow. The move prompted speculation that the loss of Iraq's exports of two million barrels a day from the world oil market could cause shortages that would raise the prospect of a £4 gallon at British forecourts. But Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister, Ali Naimi, reassured traders that his kingdom alone the world's biggest oil producing country had enough spare capacity to cover Iraq's output. The US also said it would maintain "adequate" supplies. Professor Andrew Oswald, an oil expert at Warwick University, said Iraq's boycott, a protest against United Nations economic sanctions, would "take a fair chunk out of the total market". He said a £4 gallon was a possibility. "We are likely to see a significant rise in prices next week, but it is not clear whether dealers have already partially built this move, which was expected, into their prices," he said. The Iraqi announcement came as a blow to motorists as the threat from British fuel protesters, who set up pickets at oil refineries on Friday, appeared to be receding. Panic-buying by motorists led to shortages in parts of Wales after hundreds of hauliers and protesters descended on 10 oil refineries and depots in Wales, the Midlands and southern England on Friday night. Protesters at Purfleet, Essex, and Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, pledged that their pickets would continue until the election. By nightfall, however, the number of protesters had declined, becoming no more than a handful at two depots in Wales. The oil companies said there had been minimal disruption to supplies. At Stanlow in Cheshire, the scene of the first blockade last year, numbers dwindled to nothing through the night, and police said the situation was the same at refineries at Purfleet, Avonmouth, Ipswich and Fawley, Hampshire. Yesterday, around 30 people were at the Texaco oil refinery at Pembroke Dock and the Elf Total refinery at Milford Haven, where they succeeded in turning back a number of deliveries, with nine tankers still parked in the refinery compound by early afternoon. The protesters, who parked 25 heavy vehicles and lorries near the gates, had allowed only tankers delivering heating oil to hospitals and old people's homes to leave. Ray Holloway, head of the Petrol Retailers Association, urged motorists not to panic-buy. "Behave normally; simply buy today what you would buy on any Saturday," he said. After last November's mass blockades left much of Britain without fuel, the sudden upsurge of protests raised fears that the last few days of the election campaign would be dominated by fuel shortages. Last year's crisis severely dented Labour's lead in the polls, and yesterday Tony Blair urged fuel protesters to "behave responsibly". Speaking in Salford, Manchester, the Prime Minister said Labour had cut 2p off a litre of ultra-low-sulphur petrol and 3p off ultra-low-sulphur diesel, and had cut road tax for hauliers. He said world oil prices had gone up, and warned that ministers would not sanction further fuel duty cuts in case they damaged public finances. Ann Widdecombe, the shadow Home Secretary, said she did not approve of actions that would affect everyday life and business but understood the protesters' motives. Ms Widdecombe said: "I sympathise with the frustration felt by people for whom fuel can be a tremendous drain on their business." In Wales, shortages were reported at filling stations in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea as queues began to form before breakfast time. * A pensioner escaped unhurt last night after his car collided with a petrol tanker outside the Milford Haven refinery. Demonstrators said the driver had been sounding his horn in support of the protest at the time of the accident. *************************************************** £4 gallon looms as Iraq bans oil exports Conal Walsh and Nick Paton Walsh Sunday June 3, 2001 The Observer The price of petrol could rise by more than 50p a gallon after Iraq, the world's second biggest oil producer, yesterday announced it was stopping exports tomorrow. Sparking fears of a global shortage, Saddam Hussein's government said its move was a protest against the United Nations economic sanctions being enforced by Britain and the United States. In a further blow to motorists, hauliers mounted protests at fuel depots across Britain, prompting panic-buying and fears of a repeat of last year's crippling shortage. Experts last night predicted that Iraq's decision to stop oil exports indefinitely will create a world shortage, pushing British forecourt prices from £3.55 a gallon to well over £4 within a month. 'If Iraq chooses to maintain this embargo, it will have a dramatic effect on prices,' said oil industry analyst Derek Bamber of Petroleum Economist magazine. 'Before this, the feeling was that British petrol prices could reach £3.60 a gallon by July. This could take it to over £4. 'We had expected world supplies to be short by about a million barrels a day this summer anyway, but this will triple that figure at least.' Iraq is allowed to export two million barrels a day under the UN's 'oil-for-food' programme. It will turn off the taps in protest at a UN Security Council decision last week to extend this scheme for a month to give Britain and the US time to come up with 'smart sanctions' that would step up trade with Iraq but crack down on sanctions busting. Iraq objects to 'smart sanctions' which a Baghdad daily newspaper warned would 'be a disaster on those who planned for it'. Leaders of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) will come under pressure at a meeting in Vienna on Tuesday to stop world prices rising by increasing their own oil output. In Britain, police were last night monitoring a series of peaceful protests outside oil refineries in East Anglia, Wales and Cheshire after a small number of hauliers had tried to prevent fuel supplies being distributed on Friday night. David Handley, leader of the protests last September, said: 'There are at least 200 people involved in this. We intend to maintain a presence at several sites.' Other figures involved in last year, however, played down the size of the new protests and claimed Handley was acting alone. Garages around the picketed Texaco refinery in South Wales rationed fuel. An assistant at one in Brynmawr said: 'It's £10 worth per person.' ******************************************* Source: Reuters Date: 31 May 2001 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- US-British Iraqi Sanctions Plan in Trouble at UN By Evelyn Leopold UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States and Britain have given up attempts for a quick U.N. Security Council vote to overhaul sanctions against Iraq after objections from Russia, China and France, diplomats said. Instead the 15-member council will be asked this week to extend the current system for the U.N.-Iraq humanitarian oil-for-food program before it expires on midnight Sunday. But the length of the extension is still in dispute. U.S. and British officials said on Wednesday they wanted one month, Russia advocated six months and France is suggesting a compromise of three months. All four nations, along with China, are permanent Security Council members with veto power. The Anglo-American draft resolution, which would ease restrictions on Iraqi trade while trying to stop oil smuggling and illegal weapons, is meeting solid opposition from Russia, Iraq's closest ally on the council, diplomats said. Baghdad, which wants the decade-old U.N. sanctions lifted, has threatened to stop oil flows if the resolution is adopted. Iraq's U.N. ambassador Mohammed Aldouri told reporters, "We will not accept any injection of ideas from the United States, Britain, and others, even the French," whose compromise proposals he said were similar to the U.S.-British text. A senior U.S. official, briefing reporters accompanying Secretary of State Colin Powell on his eight-day visit to Africa and Europe, confirmed late on Wednesday the decision to seek a delay in putting the resolution to a vote. "We do believe that should be done in about a month's time," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It's not unreasonable to provide that time." At issue is the oil-for-food program under which Iraq may sell oil to buy some civilian goods. The oil sales revenues go into a U.N. escrow account out of which the United Nations pays suppliers of the goods Iraq orders, a system which will not be changed under the Anglo-American plan. The sanctions were imposed by the Security Council in August 1990, two days after Iraq invaded Kuwait. POWELL CITES "DUAL USE" LIST AS OBSTACLE France, China and Russia have argued that the deadline could not be met because of the necessity of examining a lengthy U.S.-British list of "dual use" goods that have military and civilian applications. Iraq would be barred from buying them without council approval. Powell himself told reporters on his plane back to Washington on Wednesday: "The difficulty of course is in the details -- the lists and how one looks at these various lists and of course other aspects. It's excruciatingly detailed." France, which is generally in favor of the U.S.-British proposals, received the list earlier but Russia and China say it only reached them over the last 10 days. The decision to wait at least another month, however, is a setback for Powell, who made revising the sanctions a high priority when he took office in January. In an effort to dispel criticism in the Arab world and beyond, the United States wants to put responsibility on Iraq for the hardships of its people under sanctions by freeing imports of civilian goods but tightening controls on military items and keeping control of the money Iraq spends. Talks on Tuesday and Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary, among Powell and his counterparts from Britain, France and Russia apparently did not substantially narrow the differences, with varying interpretations on the meetings, diplomats said. However, a French spokesman in Paris said on Wednesday the four ministers agreed on the sidelines of a NATO meeting to move toward lifting sanctions on civilian goods and set a deadline on formulating proposals. Some of these concepts may be included in the oil-for-food rollover resolution. But the more controversial parts of the U.S.-British draft resolution require consent from Iraq's neighbors Jordan, Turkey and Syria, and recommendations from Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the council would then have to approve. These include regulating illegal trade among Iraq and its neighbors, monitoring Iraq's land and sea borders against smuggling and sifting through a list of oil traders to eliminate shadowy firms alleged to be paying Baghdad a surcharge on oil sales outside of the U.N. system. With Iraq threatening to cut fuel to these countries if they cooperated with the United States, some compensation would have to be included in the package, either through the World Bank or through Iraq's oil revenues under U.N. control that are earmarked for a reparations fund for Kuwait, diplomats said. (Jonathan Wright contributed to this report) ****************************************** Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP) Date: 30 May 2001 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- Iraq ready to renew oil-for-food programme if it remains unchanged BAGHDAD, May 30 (AFP) - Oil Minister Amer Rashid said Wednesday that Iraq was ready to renew the UN oil-for-food programme if no amendments were made that could damage Baghdad. "If the memorandum of understanding is extended without the introduction of any measures or paragraphs harmful to Iraq, Baghdad will react positively," Rashid told reporters. "Otherwise, Iraq will halt its crude exports," he warned after talks with Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil, who is also president of OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries). The current six-month phase of the oil-for-food programme, launched in 1996 to allow Baghdad to export crude under UN supervision to finance imports of humanitarian goods for its 22-million population, expires June 3. It comes at a time when the UN Security Council is discussing a US-backed British proposal to abolish the 11-year-old embargo on civilian trade with Iraq while seeking to tighten a ban on sales of arms and military technology. Russia, Iraq's closest ally on the 15-member Security Council, has insisted on detailed discussion of the British draft resolution that could block its adoption before June 3. Rashid declined to specify if Iraq would accept a one-month extension of the current phase of the programme to give Washington and London more time to win Moscow's support for their proposal. Iraq has repeatedly said it would block any UN resolution to revise the sanctions regime imposed on Baghdad for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, warning it "will not sell a single barrel of oil under the oil-for-food programme" if the resolution is adopted -- a threat that could remove around 2.1 million barrels a day from world markets. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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