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[casi] starving cheaper than bombing?



As Bush's spokespeoples repeatedly say: A bullet in the back of the head is
cheaper than a billion dollar war - another alternative seems to be to deny
all the wherewithal to sustain life (and accuse of smuggling that which
might alleviate the problem.)

In 1998 and 1993 Iraqi Bishops called for the suspension of Christmas -
looks like they might be calling for it again. Where in heaven's name is our
common humanity? Not in Whitehall or Washington. I await Mr Blair standing
again in front of his resplendent Christmas tree announcing we are bombing
(or merely starving) other mothers sons and daughters.
Apols for mutiple posting,f.


U.S. Stalls Iraq Oil-Food Plan; Wants 2-Week Delay

Dec. 3
 By Evelyn Leopold and Bernie Woodall

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States proposed on Tuesday that
the Iraq oil-for-food humanitarian program be extended for two weeks
so it can negotiate a list of civilian goods it wants banned for
Baghdad.

"Many of these issues are quite technical and we think if we have
another rollover for a couple of weeks perhaps that will give us the
opportunity to resolve some of those issues," U.S. Ambassador John
Negroponte told Reuters.

Security Council members, meeting in a closed session, did not reach
a decision and will resume discussions on Wednesday, hours before the
program expires at midnight.

However, diplomats said members probably would accept the extension
proposed by Washington, which has veto power on the council. But they
will insist at the end of the two weeks that the program will be
renewed for the usual six months, not the three months the United
States had wanted should its list not be approved quickly.

"That is the one thing the Americans really have to take on board,"
one Western diplomat said. "For most council members, the issue is
that the oil-for-food program should not be held hostage or be
sabotaged."

The program covers food, medicine and a host of civilian supplies to
ease the impact of U.N. sanctions imposed after President Saddam
Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. It allows Iraq to sell unlimited
quantities of oil, with revenues going into a U.N. account that pays
vendors for goods Iraq orders.

At issue is a U.N. goods list, negotiated at length last May, the
council must review before the supplies can go to Iraq to make sure
they have no military uses. The list is part of the oil-for-food
program.

Reopening the list could be a Pandora's box. Russian Ambassador
Sergei Lavrov told council members Moscow might want to remove some
items, such as certain trucks, a proposal bound to be opposed by the
United States.

The new proposed extension is the second one. The United States
forced the Security Council on Nov. 25 to extend the program for nine
days, to Dec. 4.

IRAQ CALLS DELAY "SILLY"

Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohamed Aldouri, called the new
delay "silly." "What does that mean? It is meaningless, another silly
two-week extension. This would not help the Iraqi children," he told
Reuters.

Among the items Washington, at the behest of the Pentagon, wants
banned from Iraq, are the drug atropine, which can be used as an
antidote to nerve gas, as well as global position system jammers.

Iraq recently ordered large quantities of atropine from suppliers in
Turkey, raising fears Baghdad might intend to use nerve gas against
any invading force.

Cipro, an antibiotic used after exposure to anthrax, was another item
the U.S. wanted banned, U.S. officials said.

But U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said he hoped the controversy
would not jeopardize the program.

"The idea of the program is to help the Iraqi people and we have
always maintained that our quarrel, if any, is not with the Iraqi
population," he told reporters.

"The oil-for-food scheme was designed to help them and I hope nothing
will be done to jeopardize the interest of the population we seek to
help," he said.

Iraq has continued exporting oil through the current nine-day
extension despite fears of disruption to supply. Iraqi crude exports
have recently been running at around 1.9 million barrels per day,
making it the world's eighth largest exporter.

Aldouri said he did not know if Baghdad would suspend any oil exports
to protest the short-term extension as it has sometimes done in the
past.



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