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A RESPONSE TO ALEXANDER STERNBERG Lifting Sanctions on Iraq - a mainstream view Summary Sternberg attempts to argue (a) that the humanitarian crisis could be overcome even under sanctions, and (b) that the unconditional lifting of economic sanctions necessarily poses a threat to the security of the Kurds of Iraq. Neither argument stands up. Only the first issue is dealt with in this post. The second issue is dealt with in Part Three. I regret to say there is also a Part Four. Milan Rai Voices in the Wilderness UK >INTRO >EVEN UNDER OIL-FOR-FOOD Sternberg argues, contrary to the expert consensus, that the humanitarian crisis could be resolved even under Oil for Food. >DEFINING THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS This is not just about reducing child mortality. >OVERCOMING THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS The need to reconstruct the public health infrastructure, restore family purchasing power, and revitalise the oil industry. >INFRASTRUCTURE Particular reference to the electricity sector. >PURCHASING POWER Details from the 1999 Special Topics survey. >SMART SANCTIONS The failure of smart sanctions to address these needs. >CHILDREN AND OTHER VICTIMS Summing up what Sternberg has to do. >QUESTIONS Questions Sternberg has to answer. >NEED, NOT PERCENTAGES The correct measure is income/expenditure against need, not against past spending. >UNICEF 1999 How UNICEF defended the integrity of their figures (long quote). >CONCLUSION Sternberg's is a mainstream view, both in substance and in form. ************************* INTRO 1. Just over three weeks ago, Alexander Sternberg, apparently a non- Kurdish employee of the Kurdish Regional Government in Erbil, posted an essay to the CASI list. He protested against the ‘mono- dimensional' nature of CASI's (excellent) website, and expressed his wish to ‘contribute to a lively debate that overcomes the cemented fronts visible' at the site. He has been responded to courteously by several contributors, but has not reappeared to ‘contribute to the lively debate' on the list. 2. Peter Brooke wrote recently, ‘So far, then, Mr Sternberg has done little to justify his case that Iraqi citizens (outside the areas of Kurdistan that interest him) are better off under Oil for Food than they would be if sanctions were lifted.' 3. To be fair to Mr Sternberg, this is not the argument that I detect in his posting. His principal argument seems to be that all the citizens of Iraq, both inside and outside Kurdistan, could be enjoying a decent standard of living even under the current economic sanctions regime, through the oil-for-food programme. EVEN UNDER OIL-FOR-FOOD 4. In a separate posting, I have protested against Sternberg's denigration of Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday. The core of his criticism of the two former UN Humanitarian Coordinators appears to be that they should have focused their energies entirely on pressuring the Government of Iraq (GOI) to change its policies: ‘As international civil servants and diplomats, the situation called for their unrelenting leadership in negotiating and persuading the GOI to act in a manner that better served ALL the people of Iraq.' (para 17) 5. The underlying assumption is that if the GOI had acted differently, the humanitarian crisis in Iraq could have been overcome, even under sanctions, using the resources of the oil-for-food programme. If this assumption does not hold, then it would not matter whether GOI performance improved radically. If it is impossible to overcome the humanitarian crisis under economic sanctions, if oil-for-food is inherently incapable of delivering social recovery in Iraq, then Halliday and von Sponeck were right to focus their attention on these larger conditions. 6. Sternberg offers assertions, but precious little argument, on this vital matter: ‘If these same governments and NGOs dedicated as much time and effort to trying to move the GOI to do for its people what any responsible and responsive government should or would do, ordinary Iraqis would be living much different - unarguably better - lives today. Far fewer children would have starved and died and the child mortality figures would rival those of the West.' (para 14) There would be no humanitarian crisis if anti-sanctions activists had instead concentrated their efforts on pressurising the Iraqi government to improve its services to the Iraqi people. ‘Need Iraqis in any part of the country suffer? Absolutely, of course, not.' (para 3) ‘Are sanctions the real cause of the suffering of the Iraqi people? Of course not.' (para 6) ‘The GOI knows very well and has in its tool box the means and methods to drastically bring down child mortality figures in an appropriate and effective manner to levels that would rival those in the West. The capabilities to do this readily exist in Iraq, and they are proven. The high child mortality figures are not a function of resource availability; the resources needed have always been available... The higher child mortality figures are not a result of inadequate resource availability. The figures are a function of political will, leadership, and management.' (para 13) This exhausts Sternberg's argument on this score. 7. According to Sternberg, the ‘resources' required to overcome the humanitarian crisis are now, and always have been, available - even under sanctions, so long as the Government of Iraq was willing and able to operate the oil-for-food programme effectively. DEFINING THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS 8. Before proceeding, we should distinguish between two issues which have been conflated. The humanitarian crisis in Iraq has many aspects and dimensions. Child malnutrition and child mortality are two important aspects of that crisis, but they are not the only aspects. High rates of hunger and death among children under five are especially painful, but they are not the only forms of avoidable mass suffering caused by the sanctions in Iraq. 9. In March 1999, UN agencies operating in Iraq produced a document entitled ‘Special Topics on Social Conditions in Iraq: An Overview Submitted by the UN system to the Security Council Panel on Humanitarian Issues'. This document referred to psycho-social effects of the sanctions, and the effects of sanctions on women, the disabled, the elderly, refugees and the internally displaced. Emphasis was placed on the impact of growing poverty and destitution on the general population. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) also drew attention to the unprecedented effects on education: ‘The adults' literacy rate, 89% in 1985, dropped to 59% in 1995 (Source: Human Development Report, 1998).' 10. It might be, therefore, that the Government of Iraq could markedly improve the situation of children under five, within the constraints of the sanctions and oil-for-food, without being able necessarily to overcome the effects of mass poverty on the rest of Iraqi society. The humanitarian crisis might still continue, despite the protection of children from the worst effects. 11. To make his case that no Iraqis in any part of the country need suffer (para 3), Sternberg must establish both that child malnutrition and mortality could ‘rival those of the West,' (para 14) and that the rest of the population could be protected from the effects of sanctions by the policies of the Government of Iraq. 12. No evidence is offered for either proposition in his posting. OVERCOMING THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS 13. There is an emerging consensus that overcoming the humanitarian crisis in Iraq will require three elements: a) the reconstruction of essential civilian infrastructure, including the electricity, sewage, sanitation, water purification, and national health sectors; b) the restoration of real family incomes through increased employment and the appreciation of the Iraqi Dinar; c) massive investment in the Iraqi oil industry to ensure a steady and reliable source of foreign exchange to pay for reconstruction and to underpin the rest of the economy. For example, a Foreign Office representative confirmed publicly at the CASI Conference in November 1999 that these were three key issues in resolving the humanitarian crisis. 14. There is also a general understanding that the oil-for-food programme is incapable of providing the resources or dynamism required to reconstruct the public health infrastructure, to restore family purchasing power, or to re-establish the Iraqi oil industry. The Security Council's own Panel on Humanitarian Issues pointed out in March 1999 that Oil-for-Food was inherently incapable of solving the humanitarian crisis: ‘Regardless of the improvements that might be brought about in the implementation of the current humanitarian programme - in terms of approval procedures, better performance by the Iraqi Government, or funding levels - the magnitude of the humanitarian needs is such that they cannot be met within the context of the parameters set forth in resolution 986 (1995) [Oil-for-Food] and succeeding resolutions, in particular resolution 1153 (1998) [which expanded Oil-for-Food]. Nor was the programme intended to meet all the needs of the Iraqi people.' (S/1999/356, 30 March 1999) However well oil-for-food operated, and however much the performance of the GOI might be improved - a crucial point for Sternberg's argument - the programme could not meet the extraordinary ‘magnitude of the humanitarian needs' in Iraq. INFRASTRUCTURE 15. On the infrastructure issue, the respected Economist Intelligence Unit (a separate body from the Economist magazine) estimated on 8 March 2000 that ‘Once sanctions are lifted, Iraq will have to undertake a reconstruction effort conservatively estimated at $50bn - 100bn just for essential infrastructural utilities, from a GDP base which, even including the grey and black economies, is less than $13bn in nominal terms.' <http://www.eiu.com/latest/311792.asp> Iraq's earnings from UN-monitored oil exports in the year 2000 were $13.9bn. (See <http://www.un.org/Depts/oip> for Basic Figures.) Under current procedures, 79 per cent of these revenues are made available for humanitarian purchases (the bulk of the rest goes on compensation for 1991 war damage claims, and a few per cent meet UN and bank expenses). That means roughly $11bn a year for humanitarian supplies. Roughly $2.62bn a year goes on food, food handling and health nutrition. $600m a year goes on medicines and medical equipment for the health sector, $200m on rehabilitation in the health sector. (Figures based on the Distribution Plan agreed between the UN and the GOI for Phase IX, the latter half of 2000.) Roughly $500m goes on supporting agricultural production in Iraq including poultry production, to try to improve nutrition. Roughly $500m a year goes on education. Another $700m or so goes on housing. Iraq allocates $800m a year to telecommunications, which it argues are essential to coordinating and implementing the humanitarian programme. The UN and Iraq have agreed to make $1.2bn every year available to the oil industry for spare parts, rehabilitation and equipment. (Figures based on the Distribution Plan agreed between the UN and the GOI for Phase IX, the latter half of 2000.) After immediate needs for food and health, then, there is less than $8bn a year available for other humanitarian purposes. Some of this must go on recurrent expenditure - on supplies for critical services such as water purification, power generation, education, and so on, which get used up and have to be replaced regularly. What is left is then available for capital investment in reconstruction. Compare this figure of significantly less than $8bn a year with the figure of $50bn - $100bn needed ‘just for essential infrastructural utilities.' There is clearly a massive gap between what oil-for-food can provide and what is needed in Iraq just for reconstruction. 16. Deterioration continues in the vital electricity sector despite the priority the GOI has placed on this sector in successive Distribution Plans. In May 2001, the UN Secretary-General reported that despite the fact that rehabilitation and new generation projects had added 296 megawatts of power to the system, ‘this was offset by units removed from service for routine maintenance as well as the decreasing capacities of other operating units due to deterioration.' ‘As estimated by United Nations observers, the generation deficit at peak demand during the summer months in 2001 could be as high as 3,294 megawatts (MW), a substantial increase from the estimated 1,800 MW reported unofficially for the same period in 2000.' 17. In February 1998, the Secretary-General wrote, ‘Under present conditions, the rate of deterioration will continue to increase and, with it, the threat of a complete breakdown of the network. The humanitarian consequences of such a development could potentially dwarf all other difficulties endured by the Iraqi people.' 18. In September 2000, the Secretary-General wrote, ‘Electricity supply throughout the network remains at risk through unforeseeable incidents. In August 2000, for example, the malfunctioning as a result of fire in the transmission lines at Mussaiyab Power Station resulted in the loss of 600 MW, which in turn increased power outages to 8 hours per day for consumers in Baghdad and up to 20 hours in other affected governorates. The entire electricity grid is in a precarious state and is in imminent danger of collapsing altogether should another incident of this type occur. As at 31 July 2000, 25 per cent of the electricity sector contracts submitted to the Security Council Committee were on hold. These holds represent the most critical components and spare parts, making much of the equipment already delivered under the programme inoperable.' 19. Last summer, the national grid was in danger of total collapse. This summer, the deficit in power generation has been even greater than last summer. Total collapse of the power generation system ‘could potentially dwarf all other difficulties endured by the Iraqi people.' The failure to allow foreign investment and foreign loans, the failure to allow Iraq free use of its foreign exchange earnings for non-military goods, and the holds imposed by the US and UK, have all placed the people of Iraq in a very dangerous situation. PURCHASING POWER 20. In 1995, the Food and Agricultural Organisation concluded, ‘The solution [to the nutritional crisis] lies in adequate food supplies in the country, restoring the viability of the ID [Iraqi Dinar], and creating conditions for the people to acquire adequate purchasing power. But, these conditions can 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.' (UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, ‘Evaluation of Food and Nutrition Situation in Iraq', 1995) 21. Family purchasing power depends on the real income commanded by family members. It depends on having a job, and being paid a reasonable wage in money that means something. Unemployment and underemployment in Iraq is estimated to be high. The UN agencies' report to the Humanitarian Panel in March 1999 had this to say on the subject: ‘Some non-official estimates refer to a rate of 20%, but this may be on the low side as there is an enormous hidden unemployment. According to estimates received from bilateral sources, the rate is probably about 50%, excluding black market workers.' UNDP continued on the subject of wages: ‘According to situation analyses made by UNICEF in 1998, the average public sector wage declined to the equivalent of $3-$5 per month. The minimum income required for a family of 5 is $100.' This decline in the real wage is in part due to the depreciation of the Iraqi Dinar, which is now worth less than 0.05 pence (0.07 cents). Before 1990, the ID was worth 2.00 pounds sterling ($3.00). 22. All these factors, employment, wages, and the value of the Iraqi Dinar, depend on the health of the economy as a whole. Which is why the Security Council's Humanitarian Panel concluded in March 1999, ‘[T]he humanitarian situation in Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of the Iraqi economy'. SMART SANCTIONS 23. Under the so-called "smart sanctions" proposals Britain has put forward, Iraq would be permitted to import most civilian goods freely, presumably improving the efficiency of oil-for-food funded reconstruction (though the proposals do not address the issue of funding inadequacy, and do not permit foreign investment or loans). 24. However, while the draft resolution improves the situation in relation to infrastructure reconstruction, it does nothing for the issue of family purchasing power: ‘[T]he US plan will not revive Iraq's devastated economy while control over Iraq's oil revenues remains in the hands of the UN, and foreign investment and credits are still prohibited.' (Financial Times, 28 May 2001) 25. ‘[A]lthough the country would be able to import more, it would still be denied the free movement of labour and capital that it desperately needs if it is at last to start picking itself up... Iraq needs massive investment to rebuild its industry, its power grids and its schools, and needs cash in hand to pay its engineers, doctors and teachers. None of this looks likely to happen under smart sanctions.' (Economist, 26 May 2001) 26. "‘It won't improve life for the ordinary Iraqi. It will be a dole, a handout to Iraq as a whole,' said an officer with a high-profile aid agency, who requested anonymity. ‘It will do nothing to tackle the real issue - how to stimulate the internal economy and allow civil society to come back.'" (Financial Times, 1 June 2001) CHILDREN AND OTHER VICTIMS 27. Returning to Sternberg's assertions, we should distinguish between his claims that child mortality rates could rival those of the West even under sanctions, and his claims for the other indicators of the humanitarian crisis. A - Strong Claim: ‘The high child mortality figures are not a function of resource availability; the resources needed have always been available.' (para 13) B - Strongest Possible Claim: ‘Need Iraqis in any part of the country suffer? Absolutely, of course, not.' (para 3) 28. It is possible, though unproven, that better performance by the Iraqi health services, more targeted health policies, and child-centred prioritization of available resources, could have brought child mortality down to pre-1990 levels exploiting the oil-for-food programme to its utmost. Dr Richard Garfield certainly believes that the child malnutrition and mortality rates could be significantly lower than they are at the moment if Iraq had managed to replicate the performance of Cuba under sanctions. 29. Sternberg offers no evidence to support his assertions regarding child mortality. Even if he were able to mount a credible case on this issue, however, he would still be a long way short of his Strongest Possible Claim. On this topic also, he offers no evidence. QUESTIONS 30. If Sternberg wants his argument to be taken seriously, there are some gaps he needs to fill, and questions he needs to answer. They follow in the order in which they arise (paragraph numbers included). <9. Iraq has incredible capacities, both in the CS and in Kurdistan. Many foreign relief and development workers who arrived in Iraq in 1991-92 easily observed this. (Compared to the situation today, back then the GOI - Government of Iraq - was remarkably open to visitors.) Many foreign relief and development practitioners with more than a decade of field experience in Asia and Africa were amazed and pleased with what they observed.> QUESTIONS: Who were these practitioners? What was it that amazed and pleased them? <9. Though the application of those capacities today is currently under some constraint, the capacities do exist and they are finding increasingly more and more expression everyday.> QUESTIONS: What are these ‘capacities'? What are the ‘constraints'? How are the capacities being expressed now? <13. The GOI knows very well and has in its tool box the means and methods to drastically bring down child mortality figures in an appropriate and effective manner to levels that would rival those in the West. The capabilities to do this readily exist in Iraq, and they are proven.> QUESTIONS: What are the ‘means and methods' and ‘capabilities'? When have the capabilities been ‘proven' and by whom? <24. Regarding the cash component, this is a highly questionable factor in explaining the worse situation in the CS compared to Kurdistan. This suggestion ignores the fact that the CS had resources unavailable to Kurdistan that it could have applied to support SCR- 986 implementation.> QUESTIONS: What resources are these? Are they the ‘capabilities' already alluded to? In para 9, it is said that there are ‘incredible capacities' in ‘both' the Centre/South and in Kurdistan, but now it appears that the capabilities in the Centre/South are even more ‘incredible' than in Iraqi Kurdistan. How can this be? <36. ... the CS has many more options than Kurdistan to apply in solving the problems of ALL the people of Iraq.> QUESTION: What ‘options' are these? 31. Repeating over and over and over again that Baghdad has ‘incredible capacities' for dealing with its problems does not by itself establish that the Government of Iraq is capable of reducing child mortality to Western levels through oil-for-food. Or, to take the strongest possible claim, that Baghdad could eliminate all suffering in the territory of the state, even under the sanctions regime. Sternberg says correctly (para 12) that too much criticism ‘is based on anecdotal information and on selected facts and statements used out of context.' His arguments seem to be based on anecdotal information (unnamed development workers' experiences in 1991, for example) and bald assertion (‘incredible capacities'). NEED, NOT PERCENTAGES 32. There are hardly any ‘selected facts used out of context' in Sternberg's argument, but there is one important red herring. Sternberg says, ‘In the history of Iraq, notably even before sanctions were imposed, there has never been so much in absolute value, never such a high percentage of public revenue, dedicated solely to assuag[ing] the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people.' (para 21) He points out that at the moment ‘a record-setting 72% of Iraq's primary source of public wealth, oil, is designated solely for humanitarian use.' (para 3) (We may note in passing that oil revenues are actually 'income', not 'wealth'.) From this he draws the conclusion, two sentences later, that no Iraqis ‘in any part of the country' need suffer - ‘Absolutely, of course, not.' (para 3) 33. The logical flaw in this argument can be illustrated in two ways. First the issue of proportion. Say the Government of Britain were placed under stringent controls by an outside power, and permitted a revenue of 10 pounds sterling a year, all of which was to be spent on the NHS. For the first time in Britain's history, 100% of British government spending would go on the health services, and nothing would be diverted to foreign military adventures, the building up of a nuclear arsenal, Millennium Domes, spin doctors, and so on. ‘Need Britons in any part of the country suffer? Absolutely, of course, not.' 34. Secondly, the absolute level of spending. Let us say that in 1939, London's budget for housing was 1 million pounds sterling a year, 25 per cent of the total local government budget. Now what if in 1945 the budget had been increased to 1.2 million pounds sterling a year, and now comprised 72 per cent of the budget? ‘Need Londoners in any part of the city suffer homelessness? Absolutely, of course, not.' 35. The correct measure is not the proportion of government revenues going to humanitarian purposes, or a historical comparison with past budgets, but a measurement of disposable income against public need. In a country still reeling from $232 billion worth of damage to infrastructure and civilian economic assets inflicted in 1991 (reference at end of paragraph), the damage caused in the civil strife of 1991, and a decade-long economic shutdown, Iraq obviously needs greater revenues for humanitarian purposes than it did in 1990. Hence the Economist Intelligence Unit estimate that ‘Once sanctions are lifted, Iraq will have to undertake a reconstruction effort conservatively estimated at $50bn - 100bn just for essential infrastructural utilities'. <http://www.eiu.com/latest/311792.asp> [1991 damage estimate from Eric Hoskins, ‘The Humanitarian Impacts of Economic Sanctions and War in Iraq', in Thomas G Weiss, David Cortright, George Lopez and Larry Minear, Political Gain and Civilian Pain: Humanitarian Impacts of Economic Sanctions, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997, p. 106] UNICEF 1999 36. Sternberg casts doubt on the validity of the UNICEF child mortality estimates of 1999. He notes that the estimates for children mortality in the Centre/South rose from 56 deaths per 1000 live births (over the period 1984-1989) to 131 deaths per live births (over the period 1994-1999). Sternberg remarks, ‘The figures for the CS are indeed bad, but could they really be THAT bad?!!' On the basis of his incredulity, but without any evidence to support his accusations, Sternberg suggests that the data collection process (supervised by UNICEF) was ‘tampered with'. 37. UNICEF have of course defended their survey. At the time of the release of the child mortality estimates (which have not been challenged by London or Washington), UNICEF released a Question and Answer briefing with the following paragraphs: Q>How can UNICEF be sure that the results are accurate/reliable? A>The large sample sizes - nearly 24,000 households randomly selected from all fifteen governorates in the south and center and 16,000 from the three autonomous northern governorates - helps to ensure that the margin of error for child mortality in both surveys is low. Another important factor was that in the south and center of Iraq the survey interviewers were all women and all were medical doctors. In the northern governorates 80% of interviewers were female - each team had at least one female interviewer - and all interviewers were trained health workers. UNICEF was also involved in all aspects of both surveys - from survey design through to data analysis. Specifically: >>UNICEF had direct input to the design of the surveys - which are based on internationally respected household survey format - the DHS (Demographic and Health Survey) format; >>UNICEF was involved in the training of all survey supervisors; >>UNICEF conducted field visits to every governorate (major administrative unit in Iraq) while the survey was being conducted; >>UNICEF oversaw the process of data entry; >>UNICEF had full access to the hard copies of the interview records and the complete data sets for both surveys at all times. Q>What checks have been made on the data? A>Each questionnaire was first checked at the local level and then at the governorate level by staff of the local statistical offices. This check was primarily to determine whether the randomly sampled households were correctly identified, visited and interviewed. Final editing and checking was done at the central level for completeness and consistency. A number of internal checks normally carried out for Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) were also completed for both surveys. The surveys and findings were also reviewed by a panel of experts in early July. This panel included senior personnel from DHS, Macro International, WHO and senior UNICEF officials from the Regional Office in Amman and New York Headquarters. Q>Could the Government of Iraq have manipulated the data to give higher mortality figures? A>If the Government had attempted to manipulate the data by influencing the survey interviewers to over-record the number of deaths or by directly manipulating the survey data on the computer, this would have been detected by analyzing the spread of births and deaths. The panel of experts who reviewed the survey methodology and results looked for this, but it was not found. Q>How can UNICEF be sure that the survey interviewers didn't manipulate the results? A>Internal cross checking of data has not detected any manipulation of the results of this survey. UNICEF is satisfied that the interviewers were properly trained on how to administer the questionnaire. Answers in the questionnaires were entered in ballpoint pen to avoid unwarranted changes in the answers. Any alterations made had to be signed by the survey collectors and their supervisors. Local supervisors and supervisors from Baghdad oversaw the fieldwork. (This document was released publicly but subsequently withdrawn by UNICEF. It can be found on the CASI website <http://www.casi.org.uk>.) 38. Sternberg doubts the UNICEF estimates, particularly because he cannot believe that the 1994-1999 child mortality rates for Suleimaniyah (59) in significantly lower than that in Duhok (82) and Erbil (75) (the three governorates named comprising the Kurdish autonomous zone). (These are of course all death rates for children under the age of five, per 1000 live births.) 39. He also suggests that ‘urban child mortality figures are presumably lower than rural figures', but in the case of Suleimaniyah the overall figure is even lower than the regional urban figure. ‘As one would expect, the regional rural figure is higher (89)' than the regional urban figure (59). From this he concludes that ‘The study appears to be a regrettable case of "garbage-in garbage-out"'. 40. The rational attitude to these surprising results would be to investigate the data collection process further, and to try to uncover possible explanations for the surprisingly low figures for Suleimaniyah, and rural Suleimaniyah in particular. It is hard to see how one can dismiss the child mortality estimates for South/Central Iraq on the basis that the estimates for one governorate in Northern Iraq (outside the control of the Iraqi Government) appear unlikely to a seasoned observer. This is another case of argument by assertion. CONCLUSION 41. Alexander Sternberg's commitment to the Kurds of Iraq is not in question. However, his analysis of the humanitarian situation in Iraq (and his charges against Denis Halliday and other (unnamed) anti- sanctions activists) cannot stand up until he replaces assertion with evidence, and disbelief with argument. He does not establish that the oil-for-food programme is capable of solving the humanitarian crisis, or even that the GOI is capable of reducing the level of child mortality to ‘Western' levels within the present framework. His argument that all suffering in Iraq is due to the malice and negligence of the Government of Iraq is not a ‘dissident' view, but thoroughly conventional both in its conclusions, and its poor standard of argument. Milan Rai Joint Coordinator, Voices in the Wilderness UK email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk