The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] The End OF FFO

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

The End Of FFO

With hardly a notice the largest program of the United Nations, the Food For
Oil program in Iraq (FFO) came to an end on November 21, 2003. Before the US
invasion some 893 UN staff and 3,600 Iraqis ran the food rationing system that
provided nutritional subsistence for 60 percent of Iraq's 24 million people.
Secretary General Kofi Annan on November 20, called it "one of the largest,
most complex, and most unusual tasks it has ever entrusted to the secretariat --
the only humanitarian program ever to have been funded entirely from resources
belonging to the nation it was designed to help." Since its start in May
1996, Iraqi oil revenues totaling $46 billion funded the massive UN program.

After the Gulf War sanctions against Iraq were kept in place by UN Security
Council resolutions demanding Iraq eliminate its weapons of mass destruction.
This UN Security Council condition could not be satisfied. Eight years of
intrusive inspections could not prove Iraq did not possess WMD. (Hans Blix who
headed the second UN weapons inspection commission in 2002-03 has in retrospect
reached the conclusion that Iraq most likely eliminated them as early as 1991.)
Besides promoting the recent invasion, the WMD hoax was used to legitimize
over a decade of sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

By the mid-90's the murderous toll of the UN sanctions on Iraq had been
documented by numerous UN reports. Food For Oil was promoted as a humanitarian
relief program to offset these "unintended consequences." While the UN laid
economic siege to Iraq with one hand, it now proposed using Iraqi money to
administer "relief aid" to its victim with the other. The Security Council authorized
the program on April 14, 1995, but the Iraqi government initially resisted.
Surrendering the nation's oil wealth to the Security Council was an unacceptable
violation of its sovereignty. But a 1995 World Food Program report predicted
imminent famine in the country, and the Iraqi government's reserves in Swiss
banks used to purchase food and medicine since August of 1990 were running out.
On January 20, 1996 Iraq relented.

The UN scheme allowed Iraq to sell oil per UN-approved contracts, but the
revenues were placed in an escrow fund beyond Iraq's control. Each contract to
purchase imports required Iraq to seek approval from the UN Security Council's
661 Committee, where US and Britain held veto power. Iraq was not allowed a
representative or even an observer to the committee directing its economy. The US
and UK officials on the committee exercised their unbridled discretion to
deny, delay and disrupt billions of dollars of vital imports.

Iraq was denied many essential contracts based on the criterion 'dual-use.'
Any raw material, chemical, industrial machine, transport vehicle, personal
computer, or textbook that had a conceivable military use was denied to Iraq.
Water treatment plants were denied chlorine for its potential to produce chlorine
gas. Meanwhile diseases traced to untreated water were killing thousands
every month. The Clinton administration's masterful manipulation of the UN
Security Council as a vehicle for mass-murder has yet to be broadly recognized.

The initial administrators of the Food For Oil program resigned in protest:
Denis Halliday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq in 1998, and his successor
Hans von Sponeck in 1999. They subsequently campaigned around the world
calling the UN sanctions a form of genocide. They effectively refuted Clinton
administration propaganda that attributed the devastating effects of sanctions to
the corruption and venality of the Iraqi government. Despite the best efforts of
the UN staff and their Iraqi counterparts the band-aid of a food relief
program could not counteract the economic siege.

The Food For Oil program alongside the UN weapons inspections, the naval
embargo, the funding of insurgency groups and assassinations plots, and the
continuing bombing attacks by Britain and the US, together set the stage for the
March 2002 invasion of Iraq. The UN pulled its FFO staff out prior to the
invasion. Two months after the invasion the UN Security Council voted unanimously to
recognize the Coalition's invading forces as the legitimate authority in Iraq.
Resolution 1483 also ended the twelve years of UN sanctions and scheduled the
end of the UN's FFO program. Iraqi oil revenues formerly destined for United
Nations coffers are now custody of the United States of America. On November
21 the UN transferred $8.2 billion of remaining Iraqi assets to US occupation
authorities. To eliminate any hinderance to the establishment of a free market
in the new democratic Iraq, US authorities plan to phase out the food program
over the next six months.

After eight months of occupation the US continues to promote the Iraqi WMD
hoax. Of the $87 billion war package Congress allocated $600 million dollars to
continue the search for WMD in Iraq.

December 5, 2003
Bob Allen works with the Committee to End the Occupation

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]