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Re: [casi] BBC article on OFF

I'm not entirely sure what Ali finds infuriating about this article. Is it

1) the simple fact that the Oil For Food scheme is being wound up and its
admininstration taken over by the CPA (though that is what 'ending
sanctions', which was welcomed by CASI, means)

2) Is it the suggestion that the CPA will continue with the scheme
unchanged, when all the indications are that it will in some way be
privatised, if it is allowed to continue at all?

3)  Is it the implication that it was a sort of charity set up and
brilliantly administered by the UN when in fact the food distribution system
had been set up and brilliantly administered by the Iraqi government - in
1991 (or 1990 I'm not sure)?

4) Is it the failure to mention that it was financed by Iraqi oil

5) Is it the statement that sanctions were imposed 'seven years ago' and not
thirteen years ago?

6) Is it the suggestion that they were directed against a 'political elite'
when 'smart sanctions,' which made some feeble attempt to target sanctions
more toward the elite, only came in in 2001?

Well, I suppose there is quite a lot to complain about but most of the
points are historical - a matter of defending the virtues of the Iraqi
government against the depredations of the UN - and we are always being told
that we should concentrate our attention on immediate humanitarian issues.
The humanitarian issue here is whether or not the Coalition Provisional
Authority will continue the scheme unchanged. So far as I can see CASI has
already supported the principle of the changeover (by welcoming the end to
sanctions) and doesn't yet have a clear picture of what the practical
consequences of the changeover are likely to be.


> From: "Ali Draper" <>
> Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 14:05:23 +0000
> To:
> Subject: [casi] BBC article on OFF
> Please write and complain.  Beyond infuriating.
> Iraq oil-for-food scheme ending
> By Peter Greste
> BBC correspondent in Baghdad
> The United Nations is to formally end the biggest aid scheme of its
> history, the oil-for-food programme which helped keep an estimated six
> out of 10 Iraqis alive during the last years of Saddam Hussein's regime.
> A guide to living conditions and the reconstruction effort in Iraq
> In detail
> The UN's mandate officially ends at midnight although Iraq's Coalition
> Provisional Authority will take over most of the programme to prevent a
> collapse in aid.
> The programme was, quite simply, the most ambitious experiment in aid
> ever undertaken by the United Nations.
> It became a test of the organisation's capacity to shield ordinary people
> from the potentially catastrophic impact of sanctions aimed at a
> political elite.
> Schools and hospitals
> The UN imposed its sanctions on the Baghdad Government seven years ago to
> force Iraq to prove that it had no weapons of mass destruction.
> It supervised the sale of Iraqi oil and used the funds to help keep Iraqi
> civilians alive.
> It was an enormous undertaking.
> In all, some $65bn passed through its accounts, spent not just on food
> and medicine, but in the Kurdish north of the country the UN became
> virtually a de facto government, running things like schools, hospitals
> and communications.
> Now that is all about to end.
> The UN's mandate expires at midnight on Friday.
> Winding down
> The spending will not suddenly stop though.
> The American-led coalition has renegotiated almost all of the contracts
> and re-employed most of the local staff.
> Ordinary Iraqis probably will not immediately notice the difference
> though.
> There is just more than $4bn still left in the bank and the new trade
> ministry will gradually wind down the programmes over the next seven
> months.
> The coalition official co-ordinating the handover, ambassador Stephen
> Mann, said whatever happens after that will be up to the new Iraqi
> Government to decide.
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