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RE: can we trust Iraqi sources?

> i had a question regarding the figures that may have been already
> How accurate would the pre 1991 mortality rates be that I suppose are the
> basis for sanction related death estimates. It seems
> coming out of the Iran Iraq war it would have been in the governments
> interest to see those figures deflated to add to the sense of the "victory
> that wasn't" if those rates were deflated obviously that would make things
> even more messy.

Hi Andrew and other list members,

In the case of the Unicef 1999 study, the women interviewed were "asked to
list each of her live births, beginning with the first one" ("Sanctions and
childhood mortality in Iraq", Mohamed M Ali & Iqbal H Shah, The Lancet, vol.
355, 27 May 2000, p. 1852).  This allowed reliable figures for as far back
as 1974 - 1979.  Because the survey only interviewed women up to age 49,
though, the authors caution that "results presented for more than 15 years
before the survey should be interpreted with caution" (p. 1853).

The Lancet article that I've cited above is that published by two of the
Unicef survey's two principal authors, using the data collected.  Their
paper is, therefore, quite similar to the Unicef preliminary report.

Because the Unicef excess mortality estimate is based on a comparison of
1980s data to 1990s data, the comparison still largely fits within the 15
year zone.

The other important independent child mortality survey conducted in Iraq
since the Gulf War was reported on in the New England Journal of Medicine
("Effect of the Gulf War on Infant and Child Mortality in Iraq", Acherio et
al.,  vol. 327, no. 13, 24 September 1992, pp. 931 - 936).  This was
conducted by the "International Study Team" organised out of Harvard

The data collection section of their report explains that: "In each
household all women 15 to 49 years of age who reported at least one live
birth on or after January 1, 1985 were interviewed.  During the interview, a
one-page form was used to record the dates of birth and death of all
children born on or after January 1, 1985."

Both the Unicef 1999 and the IST 1991 data seem to be regarded as providing
reliable data.

As a closing aside, this exchange has been encouraging to me.  I spent part
of this weekend reading an article attacking people in the "anti-sanctions"
movement for being, among other things, too willing to accept propaganda
produced by the Iraqi government.  Seeing us doing here exactly what we are
accused of not doing in this article has helped to restore my calm.

Festive holidays,

Colin Rowat

work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham |
Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | (+44/0) 121 414 3754 | (+44/0) 121 414 7377 (fax)

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