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On 25 January 2002, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw delivered an address entitled "Engagement with the Islamic World" to Oxford University students and Oxford community members at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, an Oxford University associated institution. During the question and answer period an audience member asked a question about Iraq, sanctions and related UK policy. To summarize, the questioner: * Noted the August 1999 UNICEF maternal and infant mortality survey and its results. * Noted that that the Government ostensibly bases UK foreign policy on human rights principles and standards. * Asked therefore how the Government could justify continuing such a policy. The question was good. But as demonstrated by Straw's response, the questioner left Straw far too much "wiggle room". He rather successfully avoided the link between economic sanctions and the under-five mortality (or any other civilian suffering). This exchange reminded me how important it is to optimally frame the issue, and to close loopholes when publicly writing and/or speaking. Granted, politicians, professional and amateur, are often adept at spin and side-stepping straight-forward questions. However, one wants to make it as difficult for them as possible. Most importantly, one does well to clearly and carefully show the general audience how evidence supports ones proposition and not the other party's. A former colleague once reminded me of economic sanctions' most basic feature and the subsequent consequences. I have found it to be most helpful, both to internally clarify the Iraq case and convince hostile audiences that there is a link between UN Security Council economic sanctions on Iraq (and U.S. policy therein) and civilian suffering. * Economic sanctions damage a target economy. - They fail to do so only when they are completely ineffective. - This is what the sanctions architects design and implement them to do. - The damage extent and type depend on the sanctions particulars (specific measures, enforcement, comprehensiveness, etc.) and the target economy (the Iraqi economy was for well chronicled reasons particularly vulnerable). - For some potential, predictable economic sanctions effects see Eric Hoskins, "The Impact of Sanctions: A Study of UNICEF's Perspectives", February 1998, http://www.unicef.org/emerg/Sanctions.htm and particularly Table 3 http://www.unicef.org/emerg/ImpactSanctions.htm * By definition, economic damage leads to suffering. - Civilians are most vulnerable. - Vulnerable civilians (women, children, the sick, the elderly and the poor) are most likely to bear the suffering brunt. - The extent and type of suffering depends on the economic damage and individual vulnerability. - For some potential, predictable economic sanctions effects see Eric Hoskins, "The Impact of Sanctions: A Study of UNICEF's Perspectives", February 1998, http://www.unicef.org/emerg/Sanctions.htm and particularly Table 3 http://www.unicef.org/emerg/ImpactSanctions.htm * Applied economic sanctions will lead to economic damage and subsequent civilian suffering - this is inevitable and foreseeable. Thus, if one accepts the above hypothesis, one may argue it is inaccurate to state that applied economic sanctions do not have a role in Iraq's economic damage and civilian suffering (in the Iraqi case it is a primary role). The policy has clear, inevitable, foreseeable economic and civilian consequences, regardless of whether the audience believes that the GoI or the Security Council (or even more specifically the U.S.) is to blame for the economic sanctions actually being in place. In summary, one may generally link economic sanctions, economic damage and civilian suffering. Then, one may apply the link to the Iraq case and fill in the case-specific details. Note: This note presupposes that sound reasoning and argumentation alone are insufficient for effective (defined as facilitating sufficient policy change), multi-person issue advocacy. Such effectiveness requires pressure, lobbying and many other advocacy tools. However, many advocacy tools become much more potent when they feature the tightest arguments and the most accurate, credible evidence. Nathaniel Hurd -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.