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A. Britain says Iraq poses threat, must be tackled, Reuters, 28th February B. Blair backs US over need to tackle Iraq weapons, Independent, 1st March C. Blair backs Bush on 'evil' of Iraq, Daily Telegraph, 1st March D. D. PM faces dissent on Iraq after supportive words for Bush's fighting talk, Guardian, 1st March E. The Prime Minster's Official Spokeperson's Lobby Briefing on the Bush Phone Call, 28th February F. There must be a limit to our support for America, Independent, 1st March G. Hoon backs US strike on Saddam, Guardian web-site, 1st March. H. "Smart" sanctions, voices briefing, 18th February. First up, a Reuters report on Blair's latest pronoucements vis a vis Iraq. Note the claim that 'that weapons of mass destruction continue to be produced (in Iraq).' It would be interesting to know what (if any) evidence Mr Blair has for this statement. Second, third and fourth the story as it appears in today's Independent (firstname.lastname@example.org), Telegraph (email@example.com) and Guardian (firstname.lastname@example.org). Fifth the official Lobby Briefing on the Bush phone call. Sixth, an editorial from the Independent, opposing a military attack on tactical grounds (as opposed to grounds of principle). No mention of international law or the potential large scale loss of Iraqi life. This piece also presents "smart" sanctions in a postitive light, noting that 'to his credit, Mr Blair seems to realise that the present sanctions regime plays into Saddam's hands.' List members will, of course, recognise this as rubbish (for a short critique see voices' "smart" sanctions briefing also reproduced below). We can also read that 'The legitimacy of the aerial harassment of Iraq over the past few years has been weakened by the fact that it has been a purely US-British operation.' The fact that this 'aerial harrassment' (ie. overflight and bombing) is illegal is dutifully ignored. Letters should be e-mailed to email@example.com Seventh, an update from the Guardian reporting Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon's comments on today's Today Programme. The latter was a classic example of the sort of coverage Iraq tends to get in the mainstream media: the interviewer repeatedly stated that Iraq had 'expelled' the weapons inspectors in 1998; the manifest illegality of the proposed military action was never raised (despite the fact that Hoon repeatedly stated that *Iraq* was in violation of international law for not complying with UN SCR 687); and the question as to the potential impact on ordinary Iraqis nowhere on the horizon. **************************************************************************** *** A. Britain says Iraq poses threat, must be tackled. LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Britain ratcheted up the pressure on Iraq on Thursday, saying Saddam Hussein's government continued to produce weapons of mass destruction which was a serious threat that must be tackled. A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair stressed no decision had been taken by the United States or Britain on how or when to act against Iraq, but said dealing with the weapons threat was the "logical" next step in the war on terrorism. "The central issue is that weapons of mass destruction continue to be produced (in Iraq) and that we believe there is a serious threat. That threat has to be dealt with," he said. Blair on Wednesday backed U.S. President George W. Bush's leadership in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and said it was important to tackle states which spread weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Asked in an interview by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) whether he agreed with Bush that there was an "axis of evil" countries which included Iraq, Blair said: "I certainly agree with him very strongly that weapons of mass destruction represent a real threat to world stability. I think it's important that we act against them." Asked to elaborate on the prime minister's remarks, the spokesman said Blair saw tackling Iraq as "part of the logical process which has unfolded since September 11". Iraq has refused to allow United Nations weapons inspectors in to check its weapons capabilities since 1998. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Thursday he was hopeful his talks next week with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri could help bring about the return of the inspectors after Baghdad offered to have a dialogue "without preconditions" with the world body. Blair is due to visit Washington for talks with Bush in April. One British newspaper quoted a senior government official on Sunday as saying the two leaders would use the talks to finalise "Phase Two" of the war on terror, with Iraq at the top of the agenda. The Observer also said the government was planning to publish evidence detailing Iraq's nuclear capabilities as a pre-emptive strike against critics of any action. Several European leaders have been unsettled by Bush's apparent willingness to widen his campaign but Britain, the United States' staunchest ally since the September attacks, has been careful to voice no criticism. **************************************************************************** *** B. Blair backs US over need to tackle Iraq weapons By Andrew Grice, Political Editor 01 March 2002 Tony Blair held a telephone conversation with President George Bush yesterday on the need to tackle Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The Prime Minister told the weekly meeting of his Cabinet yesterday he supported American determination to act over Iraq but insisted no decisions had been reached yet. The Bush administration is said to be considering a range of options, from the deployment of up to 200,000 ground troops, to covert action aimed at securing the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein. Labour MPs believe Mr Blair will endorse military action against President Saddam's regime, even though many of them would be against it. Mr Blair's hawkish line will be criticised in the Commons next Wednesday in a debate on Iraq staged by Tam Dalyell. He said yesterday the Prime Minister should drop his "warlike belligerence. Baghdad wants to talk; you cannot have a just war until you do everything to avoid a war," he said. Downing Street said dealing with the weapons threat was the "logical" next step. It added: "The central issue is that weapons of mass destruction continue to be produced [in Iraq] and that we believe there is a serious threat." Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, who held talks at Downing Street on Monday, is to meet Naji Sabri, Iraq's Foreign Minister, next week in an effort to persuade Iraq to accept UN weapons inspectors, who have been barred since 1998. ***************************************************************** C. Blair backs Bush on 'evil' of Iraq By George Jones, Political Editor Daily Telegraph (Filed: 01/03/2002) TONY BLAIR stepped up his rhetoric against Saddam Hussein yesterday, saying Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction posed a threat to world stability. The Prime Minister said he agreed with the sentiment behind President Bush's description of Iraq belonging to an "axis of evil". "Those who are engaged in spreading weapons of mass destruction are engaged in an evil trade and it is important that we make sure that we take action in respect of it," he said. Saddam's regime was deeply repressive and a real danger to the region. It was Mr Blair's strongest support yet for Mr Bush's tough line against Saddam and was seen as an attempt to prepare the British public for a second phase in the war against terrorism. Downing Street officials said the Prime Minister discussed what action was needed during a telephone call with Mr Bush but they refused to give details. His hawkish comments caused alarm among Labour MPs, many of whom are opposed to further military action against Iraq. Tam Dalyell, Labour MP for Linlithgow, accused him of "warmongering". In an attempt to force clarification of Government policy, he will initiate a Commons debate next Wednesday on possible military action against Iraq. Lord Robertson, the Nato secretary-general, warned Saddam to expect a tough response if he allowed Osama bin Laden or al-Qa'eda terrorists to shelter in Iraq. *************************************************************** D. PM faces dissent on Iraq after supportive words for Bush's fighting talk Michael White, political editor Friday March 1, 2002 The Guardian Tony Blair yesterday stepped up diplomatic pressure on Iraq over its covert weapons amid concern among Labour MPs that Britain will back a US led attack on Saddam Hussein that may backfire on the global anti-terrorist coalition. Though Downing Street stressed that "no decision has been taken" on possible action against Iraq the coincidence of his latest telephone conversation with President George W Bush and a combative TV interview alarmed some MPs. With the Saudi peace initiative, backed by Jordan and Egypt, giving both sides of the issue hope that there may be a breakthrough in the stalemate between Israel and Palestine, MPs do not want an ill-considered attack to crack the September 11 coalition wide open. Predictions that a decision to support a US decision to take military action to overthrow Saddam will split the Labour benches at Westminster are disputed by government whips and party loyalists. "It will be confined to the usual suspects," said one MP yesterday, a reference to the 20 or 30 backbenchers who have challenged Mr Blair's approach to peace-making which has seen Britain involved in military action from Afghanistan to Sierra Leone via the Balkans since 1997. Labour's former shadow foreign secretary, Gerald Kaufman, claimed that the majority of MPs would back a pragmatic judgment "provided any action taken does not break up the September 11 coalition and we do not get drawn into a Vietnam situation from which we cannot withdraw." But critics dispute that analysis. "There is a feeling of unease that is wider than usual," said Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West. Tam Dalyell, father of the Commons, and an MP for 40 years, said: "There are unlikely people who are worried." Both sides agree that ministers will have to make a persuasive case justifying military action, either on the grounds of unproven links with the al- Qaida network or new proof that Iraq is producing weapons of mass destruction. Mr Blair has been expressing such fears since before September 11. Critics point to 85 Labour MPs who expressed doubts in a recent straw poll. Others believe that Iraq's non-compliance with existing UN resolutions provides justification and that most MPs would rally round. Mr Dalyell and his allies, MPs like Alice Mahon, George Galloway and Alan Simpson, will get a chance to test the water next Wednesday because Speaker Martin yesterday granted the MP an adjournment debate in Westminster Hall - where the foreign office will have to explain its thinking on military action. Ahead of this weekend's Commonwealth conference in Brisbane, Mr Blair was asked by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation whether he agreed with Mr Bush's talk of "axis of evil" countries Iraq, Iran and North Korea - though the president modified his language in Asia last week. "I certainly agree with him very strongly that weapons of mass destruction represent a real threat to world stability. I think it's important that we act against them," Mr Blair replied. Mr Blair discussed how to respond to the of weapons of mass destruction in a telephone call with Mr Bush yesterday. ******************************************************* E. LOBBY BRIEFING: 11.30AM THURSDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2002 BUSH PHONECALL/IRAQ The PMOS advised journalists that the Prime Minister was likely to speak to President Bush before departing for CHOGM today. Asked whether the Prime Minister had spoken to President Bush about military action against Iraq, the PMOS said that as the Prime Minister had underlined in his interview last night and as he had said again at Cabinet this morning, no decisions had been taken at this stage. However, there was clearly an issue about weapons of mass destruction. As we had said on a number of previous occasions, Iraq's relationship to terrorism and its weapons of mass destruction were both issues which had to be addressed. How that might be done was part of the continuing conversations we were having with our allies, including the US. Asked why we were perceiving the threat from Saddam to be greater now than it had been last August for example, the PMOS said that no one was calibrating the degree of threat. As we had said consistently, there was an issue which had to be dealt with. It was pointless to stick our heads in the sand and pretend it did not exist. It did and we considered it to be a very serious matter. The question was how to deal with it most effectively - and it was that which formed part of the continuing conversations we were having with our allies. Put to him that the public deserved to know what the discussions were about if the Prime Minister was talking about the issue in interviews, the PMOS observed that journalists appeared to be falling into the trap of wanting to know what decisions had been taken before the discussions had concluded. Asked whether Saddam's continuing refusal to let weapons inspectors into Iraq remained the 'central issue', the PMOS said that it certainly formed part of the issue. The central issue was that weapons of mass destruction were continuing to be produced. Consequently we believed there was a serious threat and it was that which had to be dealt with. The key question was how. In the same way the coalition had been consulted about Afghanistan, there was a continuing conversation amongst the allies relating to Iraq. People should give those discussions the time and space to take place. Asked what options were under discussion, the PMOS said that the conversation was ongoing and it would not be helpful to get into detail at this stage. We had no intention of giving a running commentary on what might or might not be discussed. Put to him that we had publicly moved the issue of Iraq higher up on our agenda in recent days but yet had nothing to show for it, the PMOS said that it was unfair to suggest that we hadn't talked about Iraq in the past. We had. We were making the point that there was issue here which had to be addressed. Following September 11, we had said consistently that our priority was to deal with Afghanistan. We were not saying that the problems there were over. Clearly they were not. However, following the action we had taken, we now had more time and space to move on to address the other issues which we had identified at that time. That was what we were doing. Asked what had prompted the Prime Minister suddenly to 'run the flag up' on this issue, the PMOS pointed out that the Prime Minister had been responding to a question about Iraq put to him by the ABC interviewer yesterday. Asked why the Prime Minister would be speaking to President Bush today, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister and President had been keeping in regular contact, as you would expect. He believed it to be important to speak to President Bush before departing for CHOGM. Asked if it was a routine phonecall, the PMOS said that he didn't think a phonecall with the President of the United States could be described as 'routine'. As with most of their conversations, they would discuss a wide range of issues. Asked the last time they had spoken, the PMOS said several weeks ago. They spoke on average around once every two weeks or so. Put to him there was a growing suspicion that Iraq had been doing something which had prompted this sudden surge of activity amongst the allies, the PMOS said he wouldn't characterise it like that. It was part of the logical process that had been unfolding since September 11. The attacks on the US had sharpened people's focus and made them realise that there were a number of issues which needed to be addressed, including the continuing threat of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism. Asked if things were 'coming to a head' over Iraq, the PMOS said he was deliberately avoiding such language. It was a question of following through the agenda that had been set after September 11. Asked if he would accept that expectation was building that something was going to happen imminently, the PMOS reminded journalists that they had tried to predict what action would be taken and when following September 11. As the Prime Minister had said last night in praising President Bush, he and we had addressed the issues in a calm and measured way and would continue to do so. Put to him that military action against the Taliban in Afghanistan had been launched quite quickly, the PMOS pointed out that it had actually taken four weeks or so. Asked if we were talking about a similar timescale for Iraq, the PMOS said this was a different issue and therefore a different timescale. Each issue which needed to be addressed would go at its own pace. He cautioned journalists against jumping to any conclusions about possible timescales based on events in Afghanistan. He underlined again that no decisions had been taken at this stage in any event. ****************************************************** F. There must be a limit to our support for America 01 March 2002 Blair backs US over need to tackle Iraq weapons Decisions on the next phase of the unwisely named war against terrorism are creeping closer, and most of the signs are that George Bush will get them wrong. After he used his State of the Union address to identify the equally unwisely named axis of evil, the pressing question is: what is to be done about Iraq? That something ought to be done about Iraq should not be in doubt. The question is whether the US is going to act against its enemies in a way that creates even more enemies. The next question is whether Britain is going to support whatever President Bush does regardless. Saddam Hussein is still a threat to his neighbours and – potentially – to the US and its allies. Even if the direct risk to the West from his proven wish to acquire weapons of mass destruction is small, the international community has a responsibility to act. As Mr Blair accepted yesterday, there is no any evidence linking Iraq with the terrorist attacks of 11 September. The country must be treated as a problem in its own right, and the issues remain much the same as they were before September last year. The main one is that of sanctions. To his credit, Mr Blair seems to realise that the present sanctions regime plays into Saddam's hands, allowing him to present the Iraqi people as victims of brutal US imperialism. The British attempt at the United Nations last year to lift sanctions on food and most trade foundered on objections by the Russians to the definition of dual-use technology. But it is right to pursue a collective approach, through the UN where possible. The legitimacy of the aerial harassment of Iraq over the past few years has been weakened by the fact that it has been a purely US-British operation. The next phase of the campaign against various forms of international terrorism ought to be conducted through diplomacy, renewing the global coalition – about which Mr Bush seems to have forgotten already – and working for treaties to restrain the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Instead, the President seems determined to pursue the short-sighted and negative policy of asserting US might, which will provoke resentment and breed more terrorism. Mr Blair should not be seduced by the collaborationist argument that he will have greater influence over US policy if he expresses doubts in private. He should say, loud and clear, that US policy is in danger of becoming counterproductive. **************************************************************************** **** G. Hoon backs US strike on Saddam Julian Glover Friday March 1, 2002 Guardian web-site, 11am update Britain would be prepared to support US military strikes on Iraq in the "right conditions", the defence secretary Geoff Hoon said today. His remarks come amid signs that the administration in Washington is preparing to extend its war against international terrorism to Iraq - a move that is opposed by a majority of Labour backbenchers. Mr Hoon insisted that no decisions had yet been taken on military action against the Baghdad regime of Saddam Hussein. But he told the BBC: "I am confident that if the right conditions were set out that we would support the United States." Mr Hoon made clear that Britain's concerns about Iraq centred on its attempts to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, rather than as a sponsor of terrorist organisations like Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network. He said that Iraq could do much to lift the threat of attack if it agreed to the return of UN weapons inspectors. "Absolutely no decisions have been taken about any prospect of an attack. What is important to recognise is that there is a range of different responses for dealing with Iraq," Mr Hoon said. "We have followed a diplomatic-political approach which we continue to try. Nevertheless, ultimately it is something that we would have to recognise if Iraq continued to provide that kind of threat. "They have consistently refused to allow UN weapons inspections and that must mean we are deeply suspicious about is what is going on. They are a concern that we have to address," he added. ******************************************************** H. The “Smart” Sanctions Proposal 18th February 2002 A voices in the wilderness uk briefing In February 2001 in ‘an effort to rescue [a] sanctions policy that was collapsing’ (US Secretary of State, Colin Powell) the US and Britain launched a major propaganda campaign to try and undercut the growing international pressure to have economic sanctions against Iraq lifted. Central to this ongoing initiative is an attempt to repackage the embargo as “smart” sanctions. Though widely spun as an ‘end to sanctions’, according to former UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator Hans von Sponeck ‘all the pillars of the existing sanctions policy seem to remain’ under “smart” sanctions. Furthermore, if adopted “smart” sanctions would actually strengthen economic sanctions in certain important respects. FAILING THE PEOPLE “Smart” sanctions would relax the existing restrictions on civilian imports into Iraq (see 3 below). This might lead to a greater flow of goods into Iraq. However the net effect of this would simply be to reduce the extent to which the US and British governments currently obstruct the humanitarian programme (‘oil-for-food’). The cynicism of this should be apparent: if they wanted to the US and Britain could terminate this obstruction tomorrow. More importantly “smart” sanctions would fail the Iraqi people because they don’t address the fundamental causes of the humanitarian crisis. This is because the crisis is not caused primarily by the lack of civilian consumer goods or medicines or food. Rather, the fundamental causes are: (a) the massive deterioration of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure over the last eleven and a half years; and (b) the collapsed state of Iraq’s economy. “Smart” sanctions would continue to block the reconstruction of Iraq’s infrastructure and prevent the revival of its economy. They would retain the basic framework of the humanitarian programme - long recognised to be fundamentally inadequate - and ignore several important recommendations of the March ‘99 UN Humanitarian Panel. We take these points in turn. Blocking Reconstruction. According to the current UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq, Tun Myat, ‘the overall well-being of the people [of Iraq]’ will not improve unless ‘the basics - housing, electricity, water and sanitation - [are] restored.’ Indeed ‘the biggest killer of children [today] is not lack of food or medicine but of water and sanitation.’ The Economist Intelligence Unit estimates the cost of reconstructing Iraq’s essential infrastructure at $50 - 100 billion. By comparison, humanitarian revenues for the last six-month phase of oil-for-food amounted to a mere $3.85 billion. ‘To recover from its 11 years under the sanctions battering-ram - which has crushed the country’s industrial and agricultural infrastructure - Iraq needs the freedom, and overseas investment, of a huge reconstruction effort. ’ (Economist, 24 Feb. 2001). Yet, the Economist observes, ‘although [it] would be able to import more’ under “smart” sanctions ‘[Iraq] 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 [but] none of this looks likely to happen under smart sanctions.’ (26 May 2001). Preventing Economic Revival. The absence of normal economic activity ‘has given rise to the spread of deep-seated poverty’ in Iraq (UN Secretary-General’s Report, November 2000) and without a functioning economy ‘it [i]s not realistic to significantly improve the [humanitarian] situation’(Tun Myat). Iraqi families need purchasing power in order to buy the goods that are in the shops. Purchasing power in turn comes from jobs (Hans von Sponeck has estimated unemployment at over 50 per cent) and from being paid in money that has some value (the value of the Iraqi dinar is now less than 0.1% of its 1990 value). Jobs and the appreciation of the dinar depend upon the revival of Iraq’s economy which in turn depends on foreign investment, free civilian trade (import and export) across Iraq’s borders and the investment of Iraq’s oil revenues in the economy. All of these would remain prohibited under “smart” sanctions. In March ’99 the UN’s Humanitarian Panel concluded that the humanitarian situation would ‘continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained revival of the Iraqi economy.’ Yet, according to the Financial Times’ “smart” sanctions ‘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.’ (28 May 2001) Retaining the Framework. “Smart” sanctions would retain the basic framework of the oil-for-food programme: a highly centralised system of procurement and distribution under which the vast majority of the population is totally dependent upon a monthly food ration provided by the Government. As one officer with a high-profile aid agency explained to the FT “smart” sanctions ‘won’t improve life for the ordinary Iraqi. It will [continue to] be a dole, a handout to Iraq as a whole ... It will do nothing to tackle the real issue - how to stimulate the internal economy and allow civil society to come back.’ (FT, 1 June 2001) Ignoring the Panel Three years ago the UN Humanitarian Panel recommended letting the Iraqi Government use oil-for-food monies to purchase locally produced food for the food ration, reducing the proportion of revenues currently diverted for ‘war reparations’ and permitting private foreign investment in Iraq’s non-military export industries. These recommendations - which the Panel said might lead to ‘incremental improvements’ - are absent from “smart” sanctions. THE CURRENT FRAMEWORK Although “smart” sanctions don’t address the fundamental causes of the humanitarian crisis it is still important to understand in what ways they would modify the existing framework. In order to do this we first need to say something about this framework. a) ‘Oil-for-food’ Since late 1996, Iraq has been able to import humanitarian goods through a UN-controlled programme usually known as ‘oil-for-food.’ (Don’t be misled by this name: today Iraq is permitted to purchase goods across a wide range of sectors, not just food and medicine). The programme allows Iraq to sell oil legally, and to use 72% the proceeds to buy approved goods (the remaining 28% goes to pay ‘war reparations’ and UN expenses). Under oil-for-food (which runs in six-month-long Phases) Iraq ships oil out to foreign buyers and the foreign exchange earned by selling the oil is deposited in a UN-controlled bank account in New York. Iraq can only use oil-for-food revenues to buy commodities. In particular it is not permitted to invest these revenues in the economy or use them to pay wages for its public servants such as doctors and engineers. b) The Sanctions Committee Until March 2000 all contracts for goods purchased under ‘oil-for-food’ had to be sent for approval to a body set up by the Security Council known as the ‘Sanctions Committee.’ The Committee, which consists of representatives of the 15 members of the Security Council, is able to block or delay any contract submitted to it by placing it ‘on hold.’ The US and Britain - who have been responsible for 98% of such ‘holds’ - have come under heavy fire for their behaviour on the Committee. According to the UN Secretary-General these holds have been a ‘major factor’ impeding the implementation of oil-for-food. There are currently more than $5.2 billion worth of goods ‘on hold’ - a rise of more than $1.5 billion since the first “smart” sanctions resolution was circulated in May 2001. c) The Green Lists Since March 2000 the Security Council has adopted several lists of pre-approved items which are no longer required to be submitted to the UN Sanctions Committee for approval. These so-called ‘Green’ lists now cover a wide range of goods across a number of sectors. Goods not on these lists must be submitted to the Sanctions Committee as before. THE “SMART” SANCTIONS PROPOSAL The British Government has circulated several draft UN resolutions outlining its proposals. The following account is based on the last available draft (20 June ’01). Its main provisions can be divided into two categories: those which relax sanctions and those which would strengthen it. Relaxing Sanctions. 1. The ‘Amber’ List “Smart” sanctions would replace the current system of ‘Green’ lists with a single ‘Amber’ list (think traffic lights!) of ‘dual use’ goods. Contracts for goods on the ‘Amber’ list would need approval from the Sanctions Committee. All other goods would be approved automatically (as currently happens with goods on the ‘Green’ lists). Note that the ‘Amber’ list is not a list of ‘banned’ goods. It is a list of potentially suspect goods - contracts for which will be approved or denied on a case-by-case basis. The Security Council has agreed a provisional ‘Amber’ list, to be adopted (subject to further modifications) at the end of May, comprising: (A) an existing UN agency list of goods that could be used for nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, or long range missiles (the so-called ‘1051’ list); (B) a second list of ‘dual-use’ goods from the 1996 ‘Wassenaar Arrangement’ (which evolved out of a Cold War export control system); and (C) a new US-drafted ‘Goods Review List’ - eight pages long - of assorted items. As things stand it is difficult to assess what the impact of the adoption of such a list will be on the volume of goods placed ‘on hold’ by the Sanctions Committee. (B) and (C) contain items (eg. ‘optical fibre cables of more than 5 meters in length’) with no direct relation to Iraq’s proscribed weapons. There is also potential for increased disputes over what is and isn’t covered under the new ‘Amber’ list (In late 2001 $430 million worth of contracts were in limbo pending the resolution of a disagreement between UN Security Council members and UN technical experts as to whether or not these items fell into category (A) above). More importantly however, even if the adoption of an ‘amber’ list led to the lifting of all ‘holds’ this would not end the humanitarian crisis. It would merely remove one of the ways in which the US and British governments currently obstruct the implementation of the humanitarian programme - a programme which is itself grossly inadequate. 2. ‘Provision of services’. The June 2001 draft ‘expresses [the Security Council’s] intention to permit the provision of services in civil sectors, other than financial services, to Iraq’, the details to be elaborated by the UN Secretary-General and submitted to the Security Council for its approval. The impact of this provision is unclear, though it is clearly limited in scope. Strengthening Sanctions. 1. Tightening Border Controls. “Smart” sanctions would attempt to tighten border controls around Iraq, creating new UN monitoring stations. Iraq has threatened to stop trading with any neighbouring country that co-operates with “smart” sanctions. “Smart” sanctions provides an incentive to these countries to co-operate: oil-for-food monies currently allocated for UN expenses would be available for payments to neighbouring states for ‘enhancing border monitoring.’ 2. Choking Off Foreign Exchange “Smart” sanctions would also attempt to strengthen the existing sanctions regime by choking off Iraq’s access to foreign exchange. (Recall that Iraq receives no cash under oil-for-food, only commodities.) At present Iraq has only two sources of foreign exchange: smuggling and illegal surcharges on oil sales. We look at these in turn before examining the potential humanitarian repercussions of such a move. 2(a) Smuggling. “Smart” sanctions would attempt to bring all Iraq’s trade transactions with neighbouring countries into the oil-for-food deal, channelling all oil revenues through UN-controlled ‘national’ bank accounts. (Iraq is currently engaged in trade outside UN control with Turkey, Jordan, Syria, and Gulf States.) So Syria, for example, would be supposed to buy Iraqi oil by placing funds in a special ‘national’ UN account and Iraq could then use the funds in that account to buy approved civilian goods, but only from Syria. (The 20 June draft also allows barter of goods, so that Iraq could ‘sell’ oil and receive acceptable civilian commodities, without having to go through a UN escrow account.) 2(b) Illegal surcharges. Since late 2000 Iraq has been charging oil brokers a lower price on oil bought through oil-for-food - and demanding under-the-counter payments or ‘surcharges’ for each barrel of oil, with the money going directly to the Iraqi Government. Under “smart” sanctions only approved oil brokers (who will not pay the surcharge) would be allowed to buy oil under oil-for-food. 2(c) The humanitarian impact. Lack of access to foreign exchange could have devastating consequences for ordinary Iraqis: illegal revenues are the Iraqi Government’s only external source of cash and it is not permitted to use oil-for-food revenues to pay its doctors and teachers, or to pay to distribute and install the goods it purchases under the programme. In a joint statement, former UN Humanitarian Co-ordinators for Iraq, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, condemned the fact that “smart” sanctions would actually reduce Iraqi access to foreign exchange: This ‘will deepen, not lessen the suffering of the Iraqi people’. (Statement, 29 May 2001) NOT SMART Note that the “smart” sanctions proposed by the US and Britain are not targeted sanctions such as those recently threatened against Zimbabwe. Genuinely smart sanctions would target the leadership. “Smart” sanctions are still comprehensive (untargeted) economic sanctions, damaging the entire economy and creating mass poverty. THE STORY SO FAR The US and Britain first attempted to get their “smart” sanctions proposal adopted at the UN at the end of Phase IX (1 June 2001). This failed and the humanitarian programme was extended on an ad hoc basis for a single month in an attempt to hammer out a consensus. This second attempt failed after Russia hinted that it would use its veto if the matter was put to a vote. A breakthrough of sorts occurred at the end of Phase X (29th November 2002) with the adoption of UN Resolution 1382. This committed the Security Council to adopt an ‘Amber’ list at the end of Phase XI on 30 May 2002. Whether or not the US/UK will also try and get any of the other “smart” sanctions provisions adopted at this juncture - or whether these have simply been allowed to fall by the wayside - remains unclear at present. CONCLUSION. The British Government claims that under “smart” sanctions ‘Iraq will be free to meet all of its civilian needs without impediment.’ In reality the US-British proposals would do little to alleviate suffering in Iraq. In order to reconstruct its public health infrastructure (sewage treatment, water pumping/distribution systems, electricity, sanitation, the national health service, and so on), Iraq needs massive investment from outside, and the rehabilitation and development of its oil industry. None of this will be permitted under “smart” sanctions. Similarly, by retaining the current ‘oil-for-food’ framework “smart” sanctions will prevent the ‘sustained revival of the Iraqi economy’ that is a necessary pre-condition for the end of the humanitarian crisis. This double failure was reflected in the Economist’s assessment that “smart” sanctions offered ‘an aspirin where surgery is called for.’ At bottom “smart” sanctions are simply ‘an attempt to make sanctions appear smarter and more presentable’ (Neil Partrick of the Royal United Services Institute) not an attempt to end the humanitarian crisis. voices in the wilderness uk, 16B Cherwell St, Oxford OX4 1BG Phone 0845 458 2564 Email firstname.lastname@example.org www.viwuk.freeserve.co.uk voices uk breaks UN/US/UK sanctions by delivering medical supplies to sick children in Iraq without export licences. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk