Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq


For information on Iraq since May 2003, please visit

Anticipations of the likely humanitarian and economic consequences of war on Iraq

"...all except the most privileged have completely exhausted their cash assets and have also in most cases disposed of their material assets. Accordingly, the bulk of the population is now totally dependent on the Government of Iraq for a majority, if not all, of their basic needs and, unlike the situation in 1991, they have no way of coping if they cannot access them: the sanctions regime, if anything, has served to increase dependence on the Government as almost the sole provider."
(UN assessment of likely humanitarian scenarios, 10 December 2002)

Note: This page has not been updated since the end of the war, and thus reflects anticipated rather than actual outcomes.

CASI's main focus remains the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the UN Security Council, which we believe have been a central factor in the collapse of Iraq's infrastructure, economy, and living conditions over the last twelve years. However, we aim to provide information about the humanitarian situation in Iraq in its totality, and are concerned about the effects of the recent war against this vulnerable and impoverished population.

This webpage is part of a project which attempted to bring together information about the possible humanitarian and economic consequences of war on Iraq, with annotated links to the various relevant reports and assessments which have been published recently.

General humanitarian assessments

"Likely Humanitarian Scenarios", a draft internal UN document on possible scenarios for a war on Iraq, dated 10 December 2002. A summary and further comments on the context of this document are here. A 4-page A5 booklet summarising the document is also available.

Leaked UN document, released 6 March 2003: United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), "UN Inter-agency humanitarian preparedness and response plan for Iraq and neighbouring countries" (20 December 2002).

Three further leaked internal UN reports are listed here.

Iraq - on the edge of a humanitarian disaster, (January 2003), Op-Ed piece by Andrew Hewett, Executive Director of Oxfam Community Aid Abroad (Australia) writing on the humanitarian consequences of war.

Center for Economic and Social Rights, forthcoming report on the health consequences of a potential war on Iraq. See the accompanying press release, (30 January 2003).

Rogers, Paul. "Iraq: Consequences of War". Oxford Research Group report. October 2002.

An Occasional Paper from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, "War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives" Contributors include William Norhaus, Steven Miller, Carl Kaysen, John Steinbruner, and Martin Malin.

Caritas Internationalis."On the Brink of War: A Recipe for a Humantiarian Disaster", report from a delegation to Iraq in October 2002.

International Study Team, "Our Common Responsibility: The Impact of a New War on Iraqi Children", also see the accompanying press release. Executive summaries are available in English and French, (30 January 2003).

Save the Children UK. "The Humanitarian Implications of Military Action against Iraq". Position statement of 4 September 2002. "large-scale military intervention would greatly exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, casting serious doubt on the wisdom of such an endeavour." The accompanying press release (13 September 2002) is here.

Segment from panel discussion: Warner Schilling, professor emeritus of international relations at Columbia University, predicts a higher level of Iraqi civilian casualties than in the 1991 Gulf War.

Press release from CARE International UK addressing the potential humanitarian consequences of military action in Iraq, (31 January 2003) [added 10 February 2003].

Humanitarian impact in specific sectors

David Arnott - resource list for economic consequences of war.

Unicef Baghdad. "Household Food Security in Iraq: Some Food for Thought". On "the nightmare scenario" that would result from the "interruption of the food-basket" (for example, in conditions of conflict). (20 February 2002).

Medact. "Collateral Damage: the health and environmental costs of war on Iraq" Estimates the likely casualties and environmental effects of war on Iraq (12 November 2002).

Internally Displaced Persons in Iraq. There is also a summary of the implications of war on IDPs. Part of the Norwegian Refugee Council's global IDP project

WHO Iraq page, including an informative briefing and a communicable disease handbook (aimed primarily at professionals)

UN, NGO and governmental humanitarian planning

International Crisis Group, "War in Iraq: managing humanitarian relief" (27 March 2003)

House of Commons International Development Committee (UK) "Preparing for the humanitarian consequences of possible military action against Iraq" (10 March 2003). Also available in html format. A written statement by Clare Short (Secretary of State for International Development) on March 13 is here.

International Rescue Committee. Briefing for US Senate on "the alarming lack of preparedness for emergency relief operations and reconstruction efforts in the event of a war in Iraq". Oral and written versions, both dated 11 March 2003.

UNICEF Iraq donor update. General report on UNICEF humanitarian operations in Iraq, but also provides information on UNICEF planning for conflict (14 January 2003)

UNICEF press release. "Will they survive war? UNICEF racing to bolster the strength of 400,000 malnourished children in Iraq" (14 March 2003)

UNICEF preparedness report (20 March 2003)

UN outlines plans for humanitarian aid to Iraq. Press briefing by Under-Secretary-General Kenzo Oshima. There is a little more information in the OCHA newsletter.

WFP contingency planning for Iraq

BOAG, War could spell disaster for the Iraqi people. Joint press release issued by the British Overseas Aid Group (BOAG) - Oxfam, Cafod, Christian Aid, ActionAid and Save the Children on 28th Jan 2003 (added 16th March 2003)

Oxfam briefing note "Iraq: on the brink of disaster". See also Oxfam's letter to the UN Security Council president on the issue, and statement of December 2002, entitled "Military action on Iraq could trigger a major humanitarian crisis". (added 16 March 2003)

Save the Children submission to the International Development Select Committee (added 16 March 2003)

Christian Aid's emergency update of March 14, 2003, outlines their concerns, recommendations, and planning.

Larry Thompson. "US and UK unprepared for humanitarian crisis". By the director of advocacy for Refugees International. See also a Refugees International policy paper "avoiding a humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq".

US Agency for International Development solicitations for contractors to conduct reconstruction operations.


Appeals for aid

Red Cross/Red Crescent emergency appeal

'All our children' campaign by a coalition of faith groups.

Interaction list of US-based organisations accepting donations for aid in Iraq

Save the Children emergency preparedness appeal

AlertNet members' Iraq appeals

Economic consequences

Nordhaus, William. "The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq". "Given the salience of cost, it is surprising that there has been no systematic public analysis of the economics of the coming conflict in Iraq. This essay is written in an attempt to fill the gap."

RIIA briefing paper. "The future of oil in Iraq: scenarios and implications".

In November 2002, the Centre for Strategic and International studies held a conference entitled "After an attack on Iraq: the economic consequences". A full transcript is available.

Celeste Johnson Ward. "Potential Costs of a War Against Iraq". CSIS briefing (20 November 2002).

Vincent Cable MP. "Saddam's other weapon of mass destruction: the potential economic fallout from a war in Iraq". An html version is also available. January 30, 2003. An article focussing mainly on the impact for oil producion and oil markets, by the Liberal Democrat spokesman for for Trade and Industry

Plans for post-war Iraq

US Agency for International Development. "Vision for post-war Iraq" (January 19, 2003). A follow-up memo (dated January 24) provides further information on some issues.

US State Department background briefing on reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in post-war Iraq. (14 March 2003)

Frederick Barton and Bathsheba Crocker. "A wiser peace: an action strategy for post-conflict Iraq". CSIS, January 2003. Three supplements to this document provide information on Iraq's financial obligations, the Oil for Food programme, and costs of reconstruction

Minority Rights Group International. Building democracy in Iraq. By Yash Ghai, Mark Lattimer and Yahia Said (February 2003)

Political consequences

RIIA briefing paper. "Iraq: the regional Fallout" (February 2003).

Centre for Strategic and International Studies scenario briefing. "An Attack on Iraq:The Military, Political, and Economic Consequences".

Johanna McGeary. "Looking beyond Saddam". Time magazine article on the prospects for political change in post-war Iraq.

Anthony H. Cordesman " Iraq after Saddam: nation building and opposition movements".

Phebe Marr. "Iraq the day after: internal dynamics in post-Saddam Iraq".

Robert G. Rabil. "The Iraqi opposition's evolution: from conflict to unity?" Meria, December 2002

Ray Salvatore Jennings. "After Saddam Hussein: winning a peace if it comes to war>". Special report of the United States Institute for Peace.

Consequences of the 1991 Gulf War

Beth Osborne Daponte. "A Case Study in Estimating Casualties from War and Its Aftermath: The 1991 Persian Gulf War", Physicians for Social Responsibility Quarterly, 3/2 (1993), 57-66.
A demographic analysis of excess deaths from direct or indirect effects of the 1991 Gulf war or from postwar violence. The approximate total is 205,500, of which 111,000 are attributable to postwar adverse health effects.

International Study Team. "Health and Welfare in Iraq after the Gulf Crisis: An In-Depth Assessment" (October 1991) [Added 5 March 2003].

Other document collections and information sources

The RIIA has produced a bibliography entitled "Iraq: What next?"

Conflict in Iraq: concerns and consequences. A joint initiative by BASIS, ISIS and Saferworld

Center for Strategic and International Studies. Briefings on many aspects of war, including consequences

Reliefweb - humanitarian news from Iraq

Humanitarian Information Centre - run by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks Iraq crisis page

Global Policy Forum - Humanitarian Crisis page

AlertNet Iraq page

David Arnott - resource list for economic consequences of war.

International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative: Monitoring IHL in Iraq







This archive site is hosted by the Iraq Analysis Group, to whom queries should be directed