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Kamil Mahdi on Smart Sanctions and Reinflation of Iraqi Economy Dear all The Re-Energise! Anti-Sanctions Conference in London was judged a big success by virtually all the people who've I've spoken to, or who filled in evaluation forms (12 out of 22 gave it 10 out of 10, 4 gave it 9 out of 10). The Denis Halliday/Kathy Kelly keynote speeches were inspirational, the experiences from Canada, Italy and the US were cheering and thought-provoking, and the information/skills workshops were much appreciated. One very interesting workshop was by Kamil Madhi, economist at Exeter University, who is a regular speaker at anti-sanctions events around the country (last heard at the Leeds and Cambridge conferences). MORE GOODS, MORE HARM Kamil said that the UK "smart sanctions" proposal would be harmful to the Iraqi people even through its relaxation of controls on Iraqi imports of civilian goods. There would be more finished goods coming in, but no resources available to purchase raw materials and inputs for Iraqi industry. This would have a negative impact on employment, income distribution and poverty in Iraq. REINFLATION POTENTIAL GOOD Kamil also said that in many areas Iraq now had a competitive edge, if it were allowed to resume normal economic activities/relations with other countries, largely because of the low level of pay in the country, a feature he expects to persist for some time. If economic sanctions were lifted now, there would need to be very careful management to avoid excessive property speculation and inflationary pressures and economic disruption. If there were careful management, Iraq had 'a great deal of positive potential' for re-inflation of the Iraqi economy, in such areas as handicrafts and arts (labour-intensive industries), textiles (longer- term), infrastructure rebuilding, and rehabilitation of the existing industrial plant. These areas of potential employment generation would depend on some external finance and technical support, said Kamil. QUOTES/POSTCARD/MARCH Just to remind everyone, in March 1999, the Security Council’s own ‘Humanitarian Panel’ of experts said, ‘the humanitarian situation in Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of the Iraqi economy’. And the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation said in 1995 that solving the nutritional crisis meant restoring the ‘viability’ of the Iraqi Dinar, and ‘creating conditions for the people to acquire adequate purchasing power’: conditions which could be fulfilled ‘only if the economy can be put back in proper shape enabling it to draw on its own resources, and that clearly cannot occur as long as the embargo remains in force.’ Hence our emphasis on re-inflation as a key theme of anti-sanctions campaigning. These quotations are featured in the Voices UK postcard to Tony Blair, to be available with a new image from Emily Johns at the Sun 5 August March in solidarity with the Iraqi people (1pm, Temple Place, London, Embankment tube). Cheers Mil Milan Rai Joint Coordinator, Voices in the Wilderness UK firstname.lastname@example.org 29 Gensing Road, St Leonards on Sea East Sussex UK TN38 0HE Phone/fax 0845 458 9571 local rate within UK Phone/fax 44 1424 428 792 from outside UK Pager 07623 746 462 Voices website http://viwuk.freeserve.co.uk -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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