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> Thought someone on this list might want to formulate a response to the > following page one "news" feature in yesterday's Washington Post. > It reads to me like a rehash of press releases from the State Department. > > Sadly, in a awesome act of willed ignorance, this article is accepted by > most in Washington as god's honest truth. The article rings true to me. I was just in Baghdad, and was excited to walk along Sa'adoun Street and see more signs of economic activity than I did when I was there last. The last time was in December, which was Ramadan and winter, making direct comparisons more difficult to make. I was so pleased to hear from one man, who runs a bookstore: his books are 'smuggled' in from Beirut and sold to him at a reduced price. He was smiling, with pride I assume: he had a nice bookstore and was happy to recommend Arabic dictionaries to his foreign visitors. My companion, in Iraq for the first time, was not allowed to pay for anything: tea and photocopies were provided for free. The article notes in passing that this economic recovery has not reached everyone: > Even such areas as an impoverished corner of Saddam City south of > Baghdad are feeling gains. There, vegetable seller Rabbia Jassim at first > pointed to his 6-year-old son's dilapidated sneakers and said that for the > poorest in Iraq, many basics remain out of reach. But later he conceded > there was some improvement: His family can now afford an occasional chicken. My map places Saddam City to the city's north-east, but I imagine that this is true nonetheless. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to visit Saddam City on this trip. Everyone that I speak to, though, stresses that Baghdad is quite different from the rest of the country. Basra is still held up by people within the UN as the counter-example. Independent aid officials with whom I spoke stressed that the true costs of the situation there are hard to quantify: a generation without much hope, and with less contact with the rest of the world than their parents. One of them wants to slap journalists who ask why people are complaining, given that the ration is adequate. Finally, for all the recovery that some people are experiencing, Iraq is way behind where it could be without sanctions. With proper investment in its oil industry, it could be pumping five times what it's pumping today. Best, Colin Rowat work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham | Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | web.bham.ac.uk/c.rowat | (+44/0) 121 414 3754 | (+44/0) 121 414 7377 (fax) | email@example.com personal | (+44/0) 7768 056 984 (mobile) | (+44/0) 7092 378 517 (fax) | (707) 221 3672 (US fax) | firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________ 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