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[casi] British Foreign Office web site

Has anyone done a rebuttal of some of this stuff? Who to?

Myths & Facts

Myth: A decision has already been made to go to war against Iraq

Fact: No decision has been taken to launch military action against
Iraq and military action is not inevitable. As Jack Straw explained
in Parliament on 7 January, our policy remains to ensure Iraq
complies with its obligations under relevant UN resolutions,
including by giving up its weapons of mass destruction.

Myth: The British Government is only interested in Iraq's oil

Fact: The UK does not import Iraqi oil directly and hasn't done so
since 1998. This is about WMD and a regime that is deliberately
flouting the will of the UN.

Myth: UN sanctions are responsible for the suffering in Iraq

Fact: The Iraqi regime is responsible for the suffering, not UN
controls. US$36 billion worth of humanitarian goods have been
approved for export to Iraq.

Myth: Iraq is short of funds to buy humanitarian goods

Fact: There is no shortage of funds. But Iraq consistently fails to
use the funds available to it. Up to US$3 billion allocated by the UN
for humanitarian goods is left unspent by Iraq and a further US$1
billion of goods already approved by the UN are consistently blocked
by Iraqi bureaucracy. While Iraq cut its spending on medicines in
half it announced its intention at the same time to use US$25 million
of 'Oil for food' funds to build an Olympic stadium.

Myth: UN sanctions have caused the death of 1.5 million Iraqis since

Fact: There is no evidence for these figures, which are published by
the Iraqi regime and which no independent observer has been able to
verify. The Iraqi figures climb most steeply when the regime feels
under pressure from the international community. In the last year
alone the alleged figures have climbed by more than a million.

Myth: Sanctions have had no effect on Saddam Hussein

Fact: Sanctions deprive the Iraqi regime of control of the vast
majority of their oil revenue - about $10 billion a year. There is no
doubt that the Iraqi regime wants sanctions lifted.

Myth: Sanctions prevent the export to Iraq of lists of harmless goods
such as medicines, pencils, musical instruments and children's toys

Fact: Stories of bans on pencils to prevent Iraq obtaining 'graphite'
are untrue. These items are regularly exported to Iraq.

Myth: Sanctions prevent the sending of private mail, including
packets of aspirin, to Iraq

Fact: UK legislation implementing UN sanctions requires exports to be
licensed. There is no ban on postal packages up to 2kg.

Myth: Sanctions have crippled Iraq's oil industry

Fact: Iraqi oil exports have reached pre-1990 records of 2.6 million
barrels. Iraq also continues to smuggle quantities of oil outside UN

Myth: Sanctions on Iraq will never be lifted

Fact: Sanctions remain in place because Iraq refuses to comply with
Security Council resolutions. The Iraqi regime knows what it has to
do to see sanctions lifted. The UN has even offered a half-way step,
in the offer of the suspension of sanctions in return for some co-
operation with UN weapons inspectors. The Iraqi regime has so far
failed to accept this offer.

Myth: The UK and US are conducting a bombing campaign against Iraq

Fact: UK and US forces are not conducting a bombing campaign. They
are patrolling the northern and southern No Fly Zones which were
established in 1991 and 1992 to stop Iraqi forces once again
repressing the civilian population. Since December 1998 Iraq has
systematically tried to shoot down UK and US aircraft carrying out
these patrols. We must take action to protect our aircrew in self-
defence. If Iraq stopped attacking our planes we would not need to

Myth: UK and US pilots have caused hundreds of Iraqi civilian

Fact: Iraqi reports routinely claim civilian casualties on days when
no UK/US aircraft have even been flying. We believe Iraqi forces
often cause civilian casualties. For example in June 2001 23 people
were killed by a weapon landing on an Iraqi football pitch. Our
aircraft were fired on that day by Iraqi surface-to-air missiles but
did not respond. This tragic incident was caused by an Iraqi missile
falling to the ground.

Myth: Scott Ritter, a former weapons inspector says Iraq has already
been disarmed

Fact: Recent statements of this sort contradict everything Mr Ritter
said while he was actually working as a weapons inspector. They also
run contrary to the finding in March 1999 of a UN panel of 22
independent disarmament experts who concluded that serious gaps
remain in Iraq's declarations on chemical and biological weapons and
ballistic missiles.

Myth: Iraq was right to stop co-operating with the UN Special
Commission (UNSCOM) weapons inspectors who were spying for other

Fact: All activities by UK nationals assigned to UNSCOM, and all
information exchanges between the UK and UNSCOM, were strictly in
pursuit of UNSCOM's mandate to dismantle Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction capability.

Myth: Saddam Hussein is no worse than other dictators

Fact: Saddam Hussein remains the only leader in world history to have
authorised the use of nerve agents. The regime's human rights record
is appalling. Violations include torture, inhuman and degrading
treatment and punishment, extra-judicial killings and arbitrary

Myth: The continued use of Depleted Uranium weapons by UK forces has
caused increased cancers in Iraq

Fact: UK forces only used Depleted Uranium-based ammunition - fewer
than 100 tank rounds - operationally against Iraqi forces during the
Gulf conflict itself. We have seen no credible research data to
support Iraqi claims of an increase in cancers. Nor is there any
evidence that the illnesses of the types suggested, including
cancers, are uniquely associated with exposure to Depleted Uranium.
The World Health Organisation has not yet published the findings of
its limited studies last year. Only when it has worked with the
Iraqis on a proper study of the health situation can any particular
problems be addressed.

Myth: Funds desperately needed by the Iraqi people are being wasted
on compensation claims under the UN Compensation Commission

Fact: 25 per cent of 'Oil for food' revenue is allocated to the UN
Compensation Commission (UNCC). This deals with claims by
individuals, companies and governments of about 100 countries for
losses and damage caused by Iraq's illegal invasion and occupation of
Kuwait. These have included over 5,000 claims by British nationals
and companies who have the right to expect to be compensated for
losses caused by Iraq's aggression. The UN agreed to reduce the
proportion of 'Oil for food' revenue directed to the Compensation
Commission from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, on the understanding that
Iraq would spend this revenue on meeting the Iraqi people's needs. So
far the Baghdad regime has failed to spend this extra funding.

Mark Parkinson

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