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[casi] Lifting Sanctions Proposal vs. Kurds of Iraq

Dear List,
as it seems that the UNSC isprobably voting voting today on the
US_UK_Proposal tolift sanctions,
I would like to remind you of Kurdish grievances with the United Nations
program for Iraq.


UN Oil-for-Food Program: Iraqi Kurds ask for reform and accountability
Kurdistan Regional Government (UN Liaison Office)
May 16, 2003

Press Statement

New York - Thanks to the resolute and courageous leadership of President
George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, Iraq has now been
completely liberated. As a result, on April 16, 2003, President George
W. Bush called on the UN to lift economic sanctions against Iraq. The
draft US-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) would replace
UN oversight of Iraq's oil revenues with an internationally supervised
Iraqi Assistance Fund (IAF).

The leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan welcomes this proposal. We believe
that the principle of international control of Iraqi oil revenues and
supervision of the spending of these revenues in a transparent and
accountable manner should be preserved to prevent the corruption and
human rights violations that plague oil-dependent, Middle Eastern countries.

While welcoming the US proposals, we are concerned that they fail to
address the issue of billions of unspent dollars in UN controlled
accounts, nominally allocated to three Iraqi Kurdish provinces. Thanks
to obstruction by Saddam's regime, unspent money for the Iraqi Kurds
totals in excess of $2.5bn and could even be double that figure. Under
UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 986, 13% of Iraqi oil revenues
are reserved for three Kurdish provinces. These provinces are
desperately poor. The unspent funds are needed to cope with the ongoing
reconstruction following the genocidal Anfal campaign of 1987-88. The
Kurdish provinces contain around 800,000 internally displaced persons,
roughly a quarter of the total population, and victims of ethnic
cleansing by the Iraqi regime that continued until late March 2003.
Basic infrastructure available elsewhere in Iraq still needs to be built
for the Kurds.

The US-sponsored draft fails to specify that the IAF will operate on the
same basis as UNSCR 986, with a separate account for the Kurdish
provinces. The international community recognized the right of Iraqi
Kurds to their legitimate share of Iraqi oil revenues with UNSCR 986. It
would be a strange and retrograde step for a US-sponsored resolution to
roll back the rights of Iraq's most brutalized citizens.

Under UNSCR 1472, the UN Secretary-General can divert unspent funds from
the Kurdish 13% account for short-term humanitarian relief. UNSCR 1472
specified that the diversion of funds would be on an “exceptional and
reimbursable basis”. The Iraqi Kurds do not object to providing relief
to their fellow Iraqis from the 13% account-quite the contrary.
Regrettably, the US-sponsored draft resolution does not affirm the
crucial principle that such monies should only be used exceptionally and
should be reimbursed. Again, it would be odd if a resolution sponsored
by the liberators of Iraq were to leave their main Iraqi allies, the
Kurds, worse off.


Background: UNSCR 986 “Oil for Food” program
Kurdistan Regional Government
UN Liaison Office
May 16, 2003

Iraqi oil is sold under UN control. The proceeds are then broken down
and used in the following manner:

72% of Iraqi oil export proceeds fund the humanitarian program and is
broken down into 59% for the contracting and supplies of equipment by
the then government for 15 central and southern mainly Arab-inhabited
provinces. The remaining 13% is allocated to three northern, mostly
Kurdish, provinces;

the balance of proceeds is spent as follows: 25% percent for the
Compensation Fund for Gulf War reparation payments (the U.N.
Compensation Commission); 2.5% for U.N. administrative and operational
costs of the Oil-for Food program; 0.8% for the weapons inspection costs.

Why is so much money for the Kurds unspent?

The UN allowed Saddam's regime to hold up as the building and equipping
of hospitals, water and sanitation projects, agricultural development,
educational services, provision of electricity and the removal of
landmines. Saddam's regime refused to grant entry visas to qualified
staff and declined import permits for necessary equipment.

The Iraqi regime, with tacit UN approval, engaged in a campaign to
exclude qualified staff from the US and UK. Additionally, not a single
Kurd was employed as member of the international staff of the
Oil-for-Food program Instead, with the staff was deliberately selected
from Arab states, to be used as couriers for information to the Iraqi
secret police. These workers also impeded UN projects. In July 2001,
Kurdish police caught a Tunisian national working for the UN with
explosives in his car. The man was handed over to the UN.

Mismanagement and incompetence also held up projects The Kurdish city of
Sulaimani, with a population of over 600,000, is still waiting for a
400-bed hospital to be built five years after funds were allocated for it.

Kurdish success with Oil-for-Food

The Kurdish provinces are an example of the program's success when a
cooperative local partner is available, in contrast to the way the
Saddam regime manipulated Oil-for-Food to its own benefit. Despite being
poorer, the Kurdish provinces experienced a dramatic decline in the
child mortality rate, while in Saddam's Iraq it was claimed that the
infant mortality rate increased dramatically.

The failure of the Oil-for-Food program outside of the Kurdish areas was
a consequence of a deliberate program of subversion by Saddam Hussein.
Saddam and his sons siphoned off significant funds from the Oil-for-Food
program. As General Tommy Franks remarked when in Baghdad, it was more
of an “oil for palace” program.

Any reformed UN Oil-for-Food program or the IAF program should examine
the Kurdish experience.

Allocating 13% to the three Kurdish provinces was an act of justice
The decision to specifically allocate revenues to the three Kurdish
provinces a just and innovative method of revenue sharing among the
citizens of Iraq, designed to provide the humanitarian and
reconstruction needs of the Kurdish region, which had been subjected to
decades of political and economic discrimination as well as a brutal
campaign of genocide, the infamous Anfal of 1987-1988 and close to 40
years of ethnic cleansing.

UN indifference

The Iraqi Kurds have made repeated representations to the UN about the
management of the Oil-for-Food program. On February 10, 2003 Iraqi
Kurdish leaders, Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani, wrote to UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss UN plans to allow the unspent
cash allocated to the Iraqi Kurds to be used for short-term humanitarian
relief resulting from the approaching allied invasion of Iraq. We regret
that the UN failed to respond to the Iraqi Kurdish leaders' letter.
New York May 16, 2003

For further information contact:

Howar Ziad
Kurdistan Regional Government
UN Liaison Office, Tel: 212-581-9525, E-mail:

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