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Re: Lifting Sanctions on Iraq - dissident view PART TWO

Perhaps Mr Sternberg might proffer his cv as he clearly has expertise in
this area - and might inform when he was last in Iraq with an academic
delegation. I await with interest. kindest, felcity arbuthnot.

>From: Milan Rai <>
>To: CASI list <>
>Subject: Re: Lifting Sanctions on Iraq - dissident view PART TWO
>Date: Sat, Aug 25, 2001, 8:50 pm

> 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
> Sternberg argues, contrary to the expert consensus, that the
> humanitarian crisis could be resolved even under Oil for Food.
> This is not just about reducing child mortality.
> The need to reconstruct the public health infrastructure,
> restore family purchasing power, and revitalise the oil industry.
> Particular reference to the electricity sector.
> Details from the 1999 Special Topics survey.
> The failure of smart sanctions to address these needs.
> Summing up what Sternberg has to do.
> Questions Sternberg has to answer.
> The correct measure is income/expenditure against need, not against
> past spending.
>>UNICEF 1999
> How UNICEF defended the integrity of their figures (long quote).
> Sternberg's is a mainstream view, both in substance and in form.
> *************************
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.' <>
> Iraq's earnings from UN-monitored oil exports in the year 2000 were
> $13.9bn. (See <> 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.
> 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'.
> 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)
> 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.
> 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').
> 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'. <>
> [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
> <>.)
> 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.
> 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
> 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
> --
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