Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq


For information on Iraq since May 2003, please visit


On May 22, the United Nations Security Council voted to lift the sanctions
imposed upon Iraq since 1991. The Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI)
was mandated to disband upon the lifting of sanctions.

Much discussion has ensued about the future of CASI. The impact of UK
policy on the humanitarian condition of the people of Iraq has always
formed the core of CASI's mandate. The need for information and advocacy
regarding Iraq's humanitarian situation clearly continues. What is lacking
is a framework and a well-defined focus for post-sanctions advocacy.

This is a proposal to disband CASI in its current form, in order to clear
the path for a range of possible Iraq-centred initiatives, drawing upon the
infrastructure, expertise and enthusiasm that CASI assembled. It sets out:

- reasons for ending CASI in its current form
- future roles for its website and email lists
- how CASI's funds should be disposed of
- possible initiatives for the future, some of which are already

Ownership of CASI has never resided simply with its active committee
members in Cambridge, and we now ask CASI's friends and supporters to
respond to this proposal with their comments and opinions. We hope that
this proposal will elicit debate on CASI's discussion list, and from
others. Contact details can be found on the CASI website. We would also
welcome any assistance with the specific tasks and projects proposed.

The CASI committee intends to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting in
Cambridge from 3 to 7pm on 18th October 2003, at the Erasmus Room, Queens'
College. This meeting will discuss the proposal, vote on the disbanding of
CASI's current form, and examine proposals for some of the new projects set
out below. While we realise that CASI's members are dispersed throughout
the UK and beyond, we hope that as many as possible will be able to attend.
For travel directions to the college, please see

This is a troubling but exciting time for the CASI community. With your
help, we hope to move forward, and continue to contribute to an
understanding of the situation in Iraq, and ways in which it can be

(i) Reasons for ending CASI in its current form

1. CASI's work, and that of the wider anti-sanctions movement, has been
based substantially upon its narrow remit. By deliberately limiting its
focus to sanctions, and refraining from taking a position on broader
political or military issues, the anti-sanctions movement aimed to build
broad consensus around a narrow problem. While the range of advocacy issues
surrounding post-war Iraq has been substantially widened, the organisation
would benefit from a well-defined new mandate.

2. The broadening of advocacy issues around post-war Iraq is also, of
course, an opportunity to widen support. Indeed, we have felt in the past
that CASI's single-issue campaigning may have alienated a substantial
population of concerned Iraqis and others. Collaboration with them around
the humanitarian effort may now be possible. A new organisation would also
allow for exciting new forms of collaboration: with Iraqis, much more
extensively under the new political situation than has previously been
possible; and between experts, researchers, activists, students and other

3. Many of CASI's sanctions-related resources are becoming out-of-date,
although valuable as a foundation for future advocacy. In addition,
retaining the old CASI committee and structure is, we feel, an inhibition
to new initiatives. In order to make way for new projects, the sanctions
focus of CASI needs to be cleared away, including its now obsolete name.
New aims, a new name, and hopefully an expanded set of people at its
centre, essentially constitute a new organisation. We have tried to strike
a balance in the following proposal between continuing CASI's contribution
to providing information about Iraq through the website and discussion
list; building on CASI's experience, contacts and infrastructure; and
taking advantage of the opportunities provided by what is effectively a
fresh start.

(ii) The discussion list and website

4. CASI has, since its inception as a student group in 1997, provided a
forum for discussion on Iraq between academics, NGOs, campaigners and
officials. The CASI website has also become one of the leading sources of
information on Iraq.

5. The current sanctions-focussed website should be archived. It can thus:
- continue to be a resource for those concerned with the history and legacy
of sanctions - ensuring that the legitimacy of sanctions as a policy tool
continues to be scrutinised, and lessons learnt from twelve years of
sanctions on Iraq. - continue to solicit and respond to emails to the info@
address from interested parties concerned with sanctions or the history of
Iraq/CASI. - point users to a new site (see below para. 8)

6. Since we believe that there remains a need for an internet portal
collating both current humanitarian information and analysis on Iraq, a new
website, focussing on the post-sanctions situation, will hopefully be
established in the next few months.

7. The discussion list, casi-discuss, has formed an important information
source, and a productive and lively community over the years. It should
continue. Ideally we hope that current active members of the list will come
forward to take responsibility for its moderation and maintenance. We hope
that many of the academics, NGO personnel and other important information
sources who have recently left the list might be persuaded to return to it,
as well as new discussants from beyond the anti-sanctions movement.

(iii) Successor projects

8. Website: Information provision remains perhaps the most useful and
practical function to which a small group like CASI could contribute. A new
website will be established in the next few months. This would ideally
replace the breadth of topics covered by the old CASI website, and also
take into account new topics generated by Iraq's new situation. The amount
of work required for this is daunting. One solution would be a new form of
website, to which a wide range of people ('editors') could submit links and
documents, with pages generated semi-automatically. For instance, there
might be one editor for "UN reports and activities", one for "political
reconstruction", one for "CPA and national governments' policy", "NGO
activity", and so on. This would decentralise effort, and would involve a
number of people outside Cambridge.

9. Twinning project: Two important aspects of Iraq's reconstruction will be
to reduce the human and cultural barriers fostered by a decade of sanctions
and hostility; and to build human capital in Iraq itself. As a contribution
towards these goals, we would like to establish academic twinning and
exchange programmes between Cambridge and Iraqi further education
institutions. Activities might include sending out surplus books from
college and faculty libraries; setting up relationships between
departments; and funding bursaries for visiting academics and/or students.
Ultimately the hope would be to set up a twinning link between Cambridge
and an Iraqi university, recognized and supported at an official university
level. Ideally this project, in collaboration with similar plans elsewhere,
including Columbia University, might encourage similar initiatives at other
institutions. Some CASI committee members are already planning this
project; for more information please contact Abi Cox ( or
Andrew Zurcher (

10. Cambridge Iraq Seminars towards a new campaign for rebuilding in Iraq:
The focus of a future Iraq-centred advocacy or information group remains
unclear. The situation in Iraq is currently so fluid, and our knowledge of
it so limited, that to define the mandate of a new campaign without
substantial consultation would be foolish. We therefore propose to hold a
series of seminars in Cambridge in the coming months, inviting Iraqis, NGO
representatives, officials, journalists, activists and others to discuss
the current situation in Iraq, and useful ways to help - through practical
projects, advocacy, and information provision. Not only will this serve to
promote information and debate about Iraq, but it will also hopefully lead
to the definition of a new mandate for a successor organisation. We would
welcome offers to contribute to these seminars.

(iv) Establishing successor projects

11. To formally disband CASI requires an Extraordinary General Meeting,
which we propose should be held in Cambridge from 3-7pm on Saturday 18th
October, at the Erasmus Room, Queens' College, Silver Street, Cambridge.
This will ratify the disbanding of the organisation, and the destination of
its funds. More importantly, it will also serve as a launch meeting to
introduce new initiatives developing out of CASI.

12. We hope that archiving of the website will occur within a few weeks
after the EGM.

13. More important than these practical steps will be people coming forward
to contribute to successor projects, to propose useful future efforts, and
to help to shape the focus of future Iraq advocacy amongst the CASI

(v) CASI funds

14. Constitutionally, the funds donated to CASI to campaign against
sanctions have to be donated to Iraq-based charities upon the lifting of
sanctions. We have compiled a list of possible recipients, and a
recommendation from the CASI committee. We welcome other suggestions,
particularly of new domestic Iraqi NGOs and grass-roots humanitarian
projects of which we aren't currently aware.

15. There is also the possibility that some of the existing CASI funds
might be used to support successor initiatives, although the constitutional
position of this is unclear. This will presumably be discussed at the EGM.

16. Important criteria for recipients: - effectiveness - flexibility in
responding to changing needs - Prior experience in Iraq - Using local human
resources and expertise - Making efforts to act independently of political
or military pressure from occupying powers

17. All of the following list of possible beneficiaries fulfil these to
some degree, prioritising those which have extensive Iraq experience (often
not the larger USAID partners), local human resources, or which have shown
a critical attitude towards the dangers of politicisation. The list is by
no means exhaustive. A complete list of NGOs currently operating in Iraq is


- currently delivering
supplies (high protein food, medical, water and water purification) for
women and children


- under OFF, were lead education NGO in Iraq (working both North and South)
- now providing textbooks with USAID - also assisting with archival and
cultural recovery projects

CARE International

- only international humanitarian NGO to maintain continuous presence in
centre/south since 1991 - involved in restoring water supplies - also
providing emergency medical supplies to hospitals - recommended by Emma
Sangster of Voices on CASI-discuss


- are operating teams in central Iraq (Hilla, Karbala) as well as Baghdad
and the south - working with local authorities and engineers, and UNICEF,
to provide water, sanitation and public health care

Save the Children UK

- extensive prior experience in Northern Iraq
- now focussing on health, education, food security and on child protection

Christian Aid

- has supported local partner organisations in Northern Iraq since 1991 -
currently supporting (non-local?) partner organisations: Rehabilitation,
Education and Community Health; IRAC (Iraqi Refugee Aid Council), working
with Iraqi refugees in Iran, has now begun to work in southern Iraq
assessing people's needs, and running water and sanitation programmes; NCA
(Norwegian Church Aid) has set up emergency water and sanitation programmes
in Basra.

Medical Aid for Iraqi Children

- unclear whether still working in Iraq: website not updated since December

Action Contre la Faim

- putting in place water and sanitation systems in North-East Baghdad

International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies

- Iraqi Red Crescent society has been involved in advocacy and inspections
of POWs; evacuation of wounded; reuniting of separated families; operation
of border refugee camps - currently making assessments in Baghdad - intends
to re-establish primary health care clinics, community-based first aid
programme and health education - needs to replenish relief stocks looted in

Médécins Sans Frontiers

- much advocacy work for independence of relief effort - operates 2 primary
health care centres in Baghdad

LIFE for Relief and Redevelopment

- Muslim-American organisation established after First Gulf War, but now
operating in other countries also - remained operative in Iraq during the
conflict - assisting with Red Crescent hospitals in Baghdad (paying
salaries) - LIFE clinic in Basra - partnered with "Americares", airlifted
in first medical equipment for Baghdad hospitals - donated equipment to
hospitals and universities -partnered with UNESCO on assessments of looted
schools - does not appear to be using or liasing with local resources much?

Medical Emergency Relief International

- provide health professionals in conflict zones
- liasing with local health authorities
- focussing on equipping hospitals and supplying medicines

Human Relief Foundation

- member of BOND (British Overseas NGO's for Development) - has been
working in Iraq since 1991 - new offices in Basra and Mosul, supporting
families, 5 schools and 2 hospitals, and specialist cancer unit in Baghdad
- delivers medication and equipment, and establishes longer-term
sponsorship programmes for Iraqi institution.

Islamic Relief

- mainly operating in Baghdad - street cleanup project - Emergency Health
Kits and food kits distributed - plans for: establishing a Leukaemia Centre
in Baghdad, serving all of Iraq; rehabilitation of around 20 Primary
Schools, 6 -10 Water Treatment Plants and 20 Primary Health Centres

Fondacion Suisse de Deminage

- currently training 85 nationals to remove mines, UXO, cluster bombs etc.

Mines Advisory Group (MAG)

- has been operating in Iraqi Kurdistan ever since the first Gulf War

Bridge to Iraq ("Un Ponte Per")

- working in Iraq since 1991 - the naughty dates people! - focus on
small-scale community projects (e.g. sent small cardio-surgery team to
Baghdad to perform operations, give lectures and provide refresher courses
for local surgeons) - relies substantially upon local expertise - have
reactivated "Sinbad" drug dispensary in Basra (operative since 1996) in
cooperation with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. Contact Ornella
Sangiovanni -

Recommendation: There is a dilemma between funding - small, often locally
experienced and creative organisations - larger coordinating NGOs with more
strategic overview, infrastructure and perhaps contributing also to their
work elsewhere (currently drained by Iraq donations.)

A compromise might be to split the money equally between one of each sort.
- half to a large group like CARE or UNICEF, with substantial experience in
- half to a smaller group, such as Un Ponte Per (CASI members have
previously bought dates from the latter via Voices UK, included in the
November 2002 "11 actions") or MAIC; or to a domestic Iraqi NGO or
grass-roots project.

<End of proposal>

The CASI committee


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