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RE: [casi] Iraqi children - how many lives saved and how many lost?

Dear Kieran and others,

The only reliable and relatively recent study of child and infant mortality
in Iraq is Unicef's 1999 survey.  The results from this survey were
published both by Unicef and then by the chief researchers in the Lancet, a
British medical journal.  See the items under for more information.

I summarised the results of this survey in a paper that I presented in 2000.
It's available at; pp. 15
onwards are the pages of relevance.  To note are:

1. child and infant mortality rates in Iraqi Kurdistan were found to be
lower in the late 1990s than they were in the late 1980s, before sanctions'
imposition.  This is the result that was championed by US and UK
policy-makers: under the same sanctions, Iraqi Kurdistan has flourished;
therefore, suffering must only reflect Saddam's brutality.

2. these mortality rates jumped up in the early 1990s, and have subsequently
declined more slowly than they did in the 1980s, when Iraqi Kurdistan was
suffering from the Iran - Iraq war and, later, the Anfal campaign.  This has
been largely ignored.

3. these differences cannot be presented as the consequences of a single
factor.  Hassan's outlined a number of other relevant factors.  In the
article, I claim that Iraqi Kurdistan's border with Turkey is unusually
porous.  Since then, I've come to believe that it may not be easier to move
things across that border than it has been across other borders, but that
the volume of trade has been quite large.  Thus, that trade has been very
beneficial to Iraqi Kurds in western Iraqi Kurdistan, but for slightly
different reasons than I originally suggested.

4. beyond the Iraqi Kurdistan  - South/Centre division, the data are not
further disaggregated.  Thus, we don't know how to compare Sunni and Shiite
regions of Iraq.  This is a criticism raised in Amatzia Baram's review of
Iraqi mortality data (see

5. no significant evidence of regional discrimination has been reported by
the UN in its implementation of the 'oil for food' programme.  Its most
recent report (see presented
graphs for the first time to show that, in a number of respects, OFF inputs
have been distributed on an equitable (per capita) basis.  This is not to
deny that some regions are not more favoured than others; it may be, though,
that the favouritism occurs outside of OFF.  Further, whatever
discrimination occurs against individuals is unlikely to influence regional

6. the 1.5 million deaths figure has never been substantiated by independent

I hope that this helps.


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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> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Kieran
> Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 3:49 PM
> To: Iraq - sanctions
> Subject: [casi] Iraqi children - how many lives saved and how many lost?
> [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]
> I have read that there is substantial evidence that in Northern
> Iraq or Kurdistan, the level of infant mortality has actually
> gone down as a result of sanctions. This region has a level of
> autonomy and is allowed to spend the money generated from the
> Oil-for-food program as it sees fit without control from Bagdad.
> Can anyone quote a number, based on credible evidence, of the
> number of children's lives that have been saved in this way?
> Surely this a vital piece of evidence in the ongoing debate about Iraq.
> In addition to this important question I have another one. It is
> also argued that the brunt of sanctions has been felt far more
> severely in Southern Iraq than in Central Iraq. This is due to
> the Sunni/Shia spli and Saddam Husseins preference for central
> Iraq. Can anyone break down the much-quoted figure of 1.5 million
> civilian deaths for each area of Iraq?
> Thank you
> Kieran Gallagher

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