Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
Newsletter May 2000

This is a plain text version of our May 2000 newsletter, as distributed by e-mail. A properly formatted version for more comfortable viewing and printing is available in PDF format here.

 The Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI) is a registered society at
 the University of Cambridge.  Its members are all volunteers; its
 committee members are students.  CASI is exclusively concerned with the
 humanitarian consequences of sanctions on Iraq.  It does not support
 Saddam Hussein's regime and is not opposed to military sanctions on Iraq.

This is the email version of our latest newsletter. If you would prefer to
view or print out a formatted copy, you can find the newsletter in PDF
format at
Paper copies are sent out to CASI members by post.



Tomorrow, Saturday 6 May, the Mariam Appeal is holding a "Day and Night
for the People of Iraq" in Kensington Town Hall, London as a fund-raising
event.  In addition to guest speakers Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck
it will features various workshops, video showings and an evening 'oud
performance by Naseer Shemma.  Tickets for the day only are £ 7.50 (£ 5
concessions for OAPs, unemployed, etc) while those for the night alone are
£ 25 (£ 17.50).  Combined tickets cost £ 30 (£ 20).  For more information,
contact Tricia Meehan at 020 7872 5451.

On 30th May, Sarah Graham Brown (author of 'Sanctioning Saddam') will be
speaking about "NGOs and Human Rights in Iraq since 1991" at 7.30pm in the
Latimer Room, Clare College, Cambridge.


Welcome to CASI's first newsletter of 2000. The period between this
publication and its predecessor has seen some significant events and
important changes both internationally and for CASI. As for the latter,
CASI's November conference was the largest and probably boldest venture we
have yet made, representing a large financial risk as well as an immense
effort by all those involved in its organisation.

After some uncertainty the event was a great success, bringing together
groups and individuals from a great variety of backgrounds and with an
impressive speaker list including: a Foreign Office official outlining UK
policy, academics giving their analysis of the humanitarian situation and
members of the UK Iraqi community giving a more personal testimony to the
effects of sanctions. Orders are now being taken for the conference
proceedings, details of which follow the related article.

Internationally there seems to be a growing chorus of concerned voices.  
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the world's two largest
dedicated human rights organisations, have begun to take important steps
to lend their voices to the cry.  The past months have seen hard-hitting
documentaries by campaigning journalist John Pilger and equally powerful
articles by serious news magazines like The Economist.  The online version
of The Economist's 8 April three page feature on Iraq contained links to
CASI's website, and then to that of the US State Department. Awareness of
the toll taken by the sanctions seems to be reaching a new height.

Pressure is mounting for change, with the high profile resignations of
Hans von Sponeck (Denis Halliday's successor as UN Humanitarian
Co-ordinator) and Jutta Burghardt (head of the World Food Programme in
Iraq) in February, followed by the UN Secretary-General's scathing March
10th report. These pressures led to Security Council Resolution 1293, a
step to improving, but not to lifting, the sanctions.

Unfortunately, the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1293 and
similar activities can be used to draw attention away from the heart of
the problem. We are now in a situation where we must take care to
distinguish between processes which work towards the resolution of the
crisis, involving the lifting of sanctions; and processes which aim at
'improving' the sanctions, and so though they may go some way in
alleviating the suffering of the Iraqi people, can be used to avoid
addressing the fundamental cause of the problem.

The winter months have also been a time of change for CASI, as we look to
the future of our organisation. Our Annual General Meeting in February saw
the selection of a new committee and the re-organisation of the committee
structure in an attempt to de-centralise power and bring more people to
the fore. Hopefully this will lead to an increased capacity to press
forward with new projects, improving our ability to disseminate accurate
and fair information about the sanctions. Almost ten years and, if
Unicef's estimates are accurate, a half million children's lives down the
road, we have a long way to go before we can rest yet.

I hope you find the following useful and look forward to hearing from you.

Yousef Ghazi-Tabatabai
Co-ordinator, CASI



Security Council Resolution 1284, was passed on 17 December 1999 over the
abstentions of China, France, Malaysia and Russia.  It represented the
culmination of almost a year of debates on Iraq (see CASI's October 1999
newsletter).  The resolution was analysed in depth in a CASI Occasional
Briefing (24 December 1999).  The following presentation is briefer but
more up to date.
SCR 1284 has four parts.  The first replaces Unscom, the UN weapons
inspectors, with a new body called Unmovic (UN Monitoring, Verification
and Inspection Commission).  While Unmovic takes over all of Unscom's
responsibilities there are indications from 1284 that it is designed to be
more independent of Member States of the United Nations than Unscom was.  
This modification seems primarily designed to address the revelations that
Unscom acted beyond its mandate by allowing other countries to use it to
spy on Iraq.  Unmovic's new chair, Hans Blix, was appointed on 27 January,
about 10 days behind schedule, after a number of other candidates had been
rejected.  Blix is the Swedish former head of the International Atomic
Energy Agency.  On 8 March, 17 "commissioners", members of an expert
advisory board, were named, including Blix as their head.  On 6 April, his
organisational plan was sent to the Security Council for approval, which
it received a week later.

The second part of SCR 1284 reminds Iraq of its responsibilities to return
Kuwaiti and third country prisoners and property taken during the Gulf

The third part offers some improvements to the "oil for food" programme.  
In particular, the cap on Iraq's permitted oil sales was removed.  Given
the tight control over Iraq's permitted imports, the cap has always seemed
politically motivated.  The cap's removal is a potentially important step
as the "oil for food" programme has been recognised from its inception to
be insufficient to meet Iraq's humanitarian needs, not least due to

The part of SCR 1284 also permits "green lists" to be drawn up by the UN
Office of the Iraq Programme. The lists would then be sent to the
Sanctions Committee for approval.  Items on the approved lists could then
be imported into Iraq at a later date without Sanctions Committee
approval.  Four lists have now been approved by the Sanctions Committee:
food and educational materials (1 March) and agriculture and health
materials (29 March).  Two members of the Sanctions Committee, presumably
the US and the UK, removed items from the lists.

SCR 1284 also allows the Government of Iraq to domestically purchase some
of the goods in the "oil for food" programme.  Prior to 1284, "oil for
food" had not allowed the Government of Iraq to submit contracts for the
purchase of domestic produce.  UN Agencies could purchase locally for
their work in Iraqi Kurdistan.  This policy has had detrimental effects on
the economy of South/Central Iraq as it meant that domestic producers
found themselves competing with essentially free imported foods.  Many
Iraqi farmers are felt to have taken fields out of production as a result;
there are not good data on how extensive a problem this was, though, as
the UN does not monitor abandoned fields.  This perverse effect of OFF may
also have encouraged Iraqi farmers to export their produce, a claim that
has been made repeatedly by UK government spokespeople (c.f. Baroness
Symons' remarks to the the House of Lords on 4 February 1999).  No UN data
have been published in support of these claims, nor have their proponents,
to our knowledge, presented any evidence in their defence.

This section of SCR 1284 also allows a "cash component" under OFF, the
ability to pay for local costs of implementing the OFF programme.  These
include installation and staff training costs; The Economist magazine
pointed out on 8 April that currently "[t]he UN also cannot spend money
training Iraqi doctors or teachers - an obstacle no amount of imported
medicines or textbooks can make up for".

The final section of SCR 1284 discusses the possibility of suspending
sanctions.  Its language is just as unclear as the language in SCR 687
(1991), which set out the conditions for lifting sanctions: if Iraq
co-operates for 120 days "in all respects" with a work programme that has
yet to be drawn up, then the Security Council will consider suspending
sanctions, although subject to a number of restrictions, also unspecified.  
This section of 1284 explicitly acknowledges that the sanctions cause
hardness by stating that the "fundamental objective" of suspending
sanctions is "improving the humanitarian situation in Iraq".  Thus 1284
re-affirms the formula adopted in 1991: humanitarian conditions in Iraq
will be held hostage to the political disputes between the governments of
Iraq and the members of the Security Council.


Security Council Resolution 1293, was passed on 31 March 2000.  It follows
the 10 March report of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security
Council [S/2000/208], which presented the report of the oil experts
commissioned by SCR 1284.  Relative to 1998, when the team of oil experts
last inspected Iraq, they again found Iraq's industry in a "lamentable
state" and noted that, "the decline in the condition of all sectors of the
industry continues, and is accelerating in some cases" [para. 24].  They
found that the Iraqi Ministry of Oil had taken high risk measures to
increase its production of oil, "in expectation of the arrival of spare
parts and equipment in 1998 and thereafter" [para. 25].

The "expectation of the arrival of spare parts" was based on SCR 1175 (19
June 1998), which allowed Iraq to import up to $300 million in oil spare
parts every 180 day Phase of OFF.  Nevertheless, by 31 January 2000 about
50% of the contracts for oil spare parts submitted by the Government of
Iraq had been placed on hold by the Sanctions Committee [S/2000/208, para.
51].  This meant that Iraq was not receiving the spare parts that it might
have expected.

Noting that Iraqi oil production had declined by about 10% by volume
[para. 48] in the weeks before their visit, the oil experts explained:

  49. ... the recent decrease in the production and export of crude oil
  can be attributed to the failure to replenish depleted wells, the delays
  in implementing wet crude treatment projects and the loss of producing
  wells - 56 in the south alone. Other contributing factors include the
  failure to carry out major plant and equipment overhauls, delays in the
  repair of the pipeline systems, the further decline in conditions on the
  Mina al-Bakr loading platform [Iraq's Gulf oil export facility] and
  limitations in the crude oil storage and transportation system. These are
  all factors that have arisen because of the lack of necessary spare
  parts and equipment.

 50. Exacerbating this situation is the fact that some applications
 have been placed on hold for a lengthy period of time, and when they are
 subsequently approved the suppliers have in certain cases been unwilling
 to perform as contracted because of significant changes in their costs or
 other related factors. As a result, the Government of Iraq must either
 renegotiate the contracts or identify new suppliers.

In addition to expressing concerns about contracts on hold,
recommendations had also been received from May 1999 onwards that the $300
million figure be doubled to $600 [S/2000/208, para. 54].  This
recommendation was finally acted upon by SCR 1293, which authorised this
doubling.  CNN reported that:

After refusing for months, the United States agreed to the measure and
sponsored the resolution to try to deflect criticism of its tough line on
Iraq sanctions, which has come under increasing fire at home and abroad.  
["Iraq welcomes Security Council decision to increase oil equipment
purchases", 31 March 2000]

They also reported that the "U.S. did release some [oil spare] parts
recently, and the move was reciprocated by Baghdad with an increase in oil
production that may help ease world oil prices".  The US government has
been concerned with rising oil prices during an election year.  Prior to
passage of SCR 1293, the Iraqi government seemed to be signalling that it
would not increase production.


SCR 1284 offers two means of improving the humanitarian situation in Iraq.  
The first relates to the elements of the third section of 1284: lifting
the oil sales cap, the import "green lists", domestic purchase and the
cash component.  The second relates to the possibility of suspending the
sanctions.  It seems unlikely at present that either of these sections
will lead to significant improvements in conditions in Iraq.

For the cap's removal to improve the humanitarian situation in Iraq two
further steps are necessary.  First, Iraq's oil infrastructure must be
capable of taking advantage of the removed cap: the sixth 180 day "phase"
of "oil for food", which ended in December 1999, was the first in which
Iraq managed to reach the cap, and this owed partly to increased oil
prices (the cap had been specified in dollar value rather than volume of
oil).  To this end, SCR 1284 also commissioned oil experts to assess
Iraq's oil infrastructure and to report back to the Security Council.

Second, the revenues in the UN escrow account must be used to improve the
humanitarian situation.  Under "oil for food" there are two sides to this.  
On one side, the Government of Iraq must contract for imports.  There seem
to be at least two ways in which this takes place imperfectly: the
government is often slow to find what it regards as suitable suppliers;
and the government's definition of "suitable" is felt to include political
suitability.  On the other side, the Sanctions Committee seems to share
the imperfections of the Iraqi government: it is often slow to scrutinise
contracts and has placed holds on significant numbers of contracts.
The combination of these factors has meant that, of the $13.2 billion paid
into the UN escrow account by 31 January for humanitarian purchases
throughout Iraq, only $6.7 billion of goods had been delivered to Iraq,
with a further $2.7 billion in the works.  To the 31 January, Iraq had
sold a total of $21.5 billion of oil [S/2000/208, para. 203].

As to the "green lists", these contain items that the Sanctions Committee
has always approved in the past.  The lists are therefore unlikely to
allow new items into Iraq.  They are certainly not designed to help Iraq
repair its civilian infrastructure (electricity, water, sewage), whose
poor state (bombed in 1991 and not properly repaired since) may be central
to Iraq's continuing public health problems.  Some feel that the chief
benefit of the "green lists" will be to reduce the amount of paper used in
the Office of the Iraq programme: on some days they circulate 50 to 60
contracts to all 15 members of the Sanctions Committee.  Green list
contracts don't need to be circulated.

We know of no knowledgeable source who feels that the cash component,
another promising measure offered by SCR 1284, will be implemented.  The
problem seems to be that the mechanism for doing so will not be agreed
upon.  On the one hand, the US government will not allow the government of
Iraq to disburse the cash, although it is responsible for the running of
OFF in South/Centre Iraq.  On the other hand, the Iraqi government is
unlikely to allow UN Agencies to do so, for at least two reasons.  First,
it is concerned that UN Agencies are not sufficiently accountable (there
are stories of senior UN employees being pensioned off around Europe on
"oil for funds" funds rather than returning to their less pleasant home
countries).  Second, the Iraqi government is concerned about the UN taking
over Iraq's economy.  This fear may reflect both the government's desire
to prevent challengers to its own rule but also a more technical economic
fear: the government pays less for services than do UN Agencies.  
Increased Agency control of money might therefore mean that the money
stretches less; it may also bid up the price of services in Iraq, making
other purchases more costly too.

The second means of improving the humanitarian situation offered by SCR
1284 is the possible suspension of sanctions.  It seems extremely unlikely
that this will ever occur as SCR 1284 requires that the Government of Iraq
trust that the US will interpret generously its vague terms.

There is not, then, much reason to believe that SCR 1284 will necessarily
lead to much improvement in the humanitarian situation in Iraq.  Indeed,
it has never been presented this way by the US and the UK, the only two
permanent members to vote for it.  They have presented it instead as a
symbol of international determination that Saddam Hussein must comply with
their demands. White House National Security Adviser Sandy Berger believed
that the resolution gives the sanctions "a greater degree of legitimacy
and acceptability around the world" [Reuters, "U.S. Says U.N. Vote Adds
Legitimacy to Iraq Embargo", 19 December 1999].  The US stance therefore
seems consistent with its position on the various OFF resolutions over the
years: offer limited humanitarian improvement in return for shoring up
sanctions' legitimacy.  Indeed, Madeleine Albright made this explicit when
she explained her support for the "oil for food" deal offered in SCR 986:

  Frankly it is the best of all possible ways to make sure that the
  sanctions regime remains in place so that Saddam Hussein is not entitled
  to pretend he is concerned for his people and shed a lot of crocodile
  tears [US Information Agency, "US looking forward to Iraqi oil sale
  agreement", 16 April 1996]

The Government of Iraq has yet to accept SCR 1284. As a result, Unmovic is
not yet in a position to enter Iraq.  As a result, it cannot draw up its
work programme and Iraq cannot start to co-operate with it.  One strand of
thought believes that the Government of Iraq will eventually realise that
it must co-operate with 1284, and will eventually do so.  The other
strand, observing that the government seems more stable now than it was
when it first allowed weapons inspectors in, believes that the Government
is under no pressure to give in.  Thus acceptance of SCR 1284 has become
another battleground for the US and Iraqi governments to fight on, to the
detriment of Iraq's population.


Under the sanctions, imports to Iraq require the approval of all 15
members of the Sanctions Committee.  Contracts that are not accepted or
rejected outright may have "holds" placed on them, ostensibly to allow the
Sanctions Committee to obtain further information relating to the contract
at hand.  With very few exceptions, only the US and the UK place holds.  
This reflects both the more hard line position taken by the US and UK
towards Iraq and also the resources required to properly scrutinise
contracts, which smaller missions do not have.

On 27 March, the UN disclosed actual figures on holds for the first time
[Office of the Iraq Programme, "Weekly update for the period 18 to 24
March 2000", 28 March 2000].  Reuters credited the US with $1.67 billion
in held contracts, and the UK with $140 million, some of them overlapping
with those of the US ["US unblocks some Iraq contracts; $1.67 billion
held", 27 March 2000].

The announcement of these figures probably reflects the continuing
attempts by some UN staff to influence the behaviour of the US and the UK.  
This dates back to at least 23 October 1999 when the Secretary-General
wrote to the Security Council expressly to remind the Council of his
concern "about the growing number of applications placed on hold"
[S/1999/1086].  While "some effort ha[d] been made recently ... in lifting
holds on drought-related applications ... the number of holds overall
continue[d] to increase".  In particular, the following sectors were
mentioned: telecommunications (100% of Phase V contracts on hold),
electricity (65.5%), water and sanitation (53.4%) and oil spare parts and
equipment (43%).  The two most common reasons cited for holding a contract
were insufficient details (e.g. a contract to sell "pumps" to Iraq) and
concerns about end users.

The end user concern is a claim that a contract may have "dual use"
capabilities.  Security Council Resolution 1051 (1996) established a list
of items considered to have "dual use" abilities.  This list was to be
maintained and updated by Unscom (and now by Unmovic).  If the Government
of Iraq sought to import contracts containing items on this list,
Unscom/Unmovic was required to be notified in addition to the Sanctions
Committee.  If the contract was approved in spite of its "1051 notifiable"
items then Unscom/Unmovic would add the items on the contract to its
database and reserve the right to inspect them at will within Iraq.  As
Unscom/Unmovic has been absent from Iraq since former Unscom Executive
Chairman Richard Butler withdrew inspectors before the US/UK bombing in
December 1998, the US and the UK argue publicly that they must be more
cautious about approving "1051 notifiable" contracts.

One military expert feels that Iraq's civil power needs are so great that
the Government of Iraq will give them a higher priority than "dual use"
activities.  Nevertheless, this expert feels that the US and the UK are
not interested in this sort of sophisticated reasoning, and therefore
place blanket holds for political reasons. There are, however, felt to be
differences between the approaches of the US and the UK over holds.

The US has allegedly changed the way that it explains its decisions to
hold or block contracts.  Apparently, while the US used to note that
contracts contained "goods notifiable subject to 1051", they now tend to
note that "goods are dual use".  While the former is a technically
meaningful statement, the latter is not.  This shift in US practice is
felt to be intentional, and may reflect a desire to avoid allowing its
decisions to be judged against objective benchmarks.  In its defence, the
US has claimed that Unscom/Unmovic interprets its own 1051 lists too
narrowly.  Some individuals close to this process feel that the US is now
less interested in thinking carefully about Iraq than it was in 1995 -
1996 and that, since the December 1998 bombings, the US strategy has been
limited to spoiling tactics.

On the other hand, it is claimed that the UK attempts to adhere closely to
the 1051 lists unless it is concerned that the companies involved may be
front companies for Iraqi intelligence services or otherwise suspect.  
This difference in approach has led some British officials to express
concern in private about the behaviour of their US counterparts.

When presenting the Secretary-General's 12 November 1999 report to the
Security Council, Executive Director of the Iraq Programme Benon Sevan
presented the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's estimate that holds
had "resulted in ... the loss of as much as 20,000 tons of wheat
production. FAO also estimates that delays in the arrival of vaccines have
resulted in the loss of around seven million kilogrammes of meat."  The UN
Development Programme estimated that "Iraq could potentially achieve a 50
per cent increase in electricity supply if these holds were released".

In his 10 March report [S/2000/208] the Secretary-General promised the
Security Council that the UN Office of the Iraq Programme:

  will continue to provide information to the [Sanctions] Committee on the
  impact of holds on applications in the implementation of the programme
  with a view to encouraging members of the Committee to lift such holds.
  [para. 105]

In response to this pressure, the US released $111 million of holds,
mostly on humanitarian supplies (including cranes, forklift trucks, car
batteries and refrigeration equipment) and oil spare parts.  At the same
time, the US announced new holds so that, as of 19 April, total holds in
the humanitarian and oil sectors had climbed to $1.72 billion [Associated
Press, "U.S. places more holds even as it announces releasing", 27 March,
2000; Office of the Iraq Programme, "Update for the period 8 to 14 April
2000", 19 April 2000].  A particularly famous hold released by the US was
that placed on a harbour dredger for the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq's major
port of entry.  Silt accumulation in the harbour restricted its use,
something noted by the Secretary-General in his 12 November 1999 report
[para. 24] and his 10 March 2000 report [para. 72].  Five NGOs attacked
the hold in a joint press release on 23 March, causing the US Deputy
Representative James Cunningham to announce the next day in the Security
Council that the US had released the hold.

The Security Council again discussed holds on 20 April.  Benon Sevan
encouraged the Council to take this matter seriously and to put in place a
mechanism to more speedily address holds.  He regretted that previous
meetings on the subject had produced "much talk but no result".


On 12 November 1999, the Secretary-General's report at the end of Phase VI
of "oil for food" was submitted to the Security Council [S/1999/1162].  
In South/Central Iraq, it noted a "marked improvement in the timeliness of
the submission of applications for the commodities necessary to bolster
the nutritional value of the food basket, such as pulses, milk and cheese"
[para. 16].  At the same time, "the caloric value of the food basket, as
was the case during previous periods, has fallen short of the Programme
targets", largely due to "under-procurement of some commodities" by the
government of Iraq [para. 40].  The government of Iraq had, though,
contracted for the first time to purchase all the targeted nutritional
goods allowed it under "oil for food" [para. 51].  However, "[f]urther
development of the [targeted nutrition] programme will require ...
large-scale social mobilization.  This would, however, require a cash
component, agreement for which has not yet been reached" [para. 52].

In the north of the country, "distribution efficiency rates ... remained
lower ... than in the centre and south of the country", although they had
improved [para. 73].

On 14 January, the Secretary-General submitted two reports arising from
SCR 1284 to the Security Council.  The first, S/2000/22, reported on how
the third part of SCR 1284 (on humanitarian provisions without sanctions'
suspension) was being implemented.  It updated the Security Council on
steps being taken but does not otherwise contain interesting information.

The second report, S/2000/26, responded to a request made in a previous
Security Council Resolution to produce a detailed list of spare parts
necessary to allow Iraq's oil industry to meet the oil sales cap of $5.256
billion per 180 day Phase that Iraq faced prior to SCR 1284.  This report,
based upon an oil expert's mission to Iraq, is probably superseded by the
mission called for in SCR 1284.  That mission is reported on in
S/2000/208, which has already been mentioned.

S/2000/208 was submitted on 10 March and covers a wide array of topics in
some depth.  Its introduction reminds the Council that:

  despite the great increase in the range of resources available to meet
  humanitarian needs throughout Iraq, with a very substantial quantity of
  inputs to be delivered, the programme was never intended to meet all the
  humanitarian needs and must be assessed in that context. [para. 10]

The six oil experts who travelled to Iraq in January found that the:

  lamentable state of the Iraqi oil industry had not improved [since
  1998]. It is apparent that the decline in the condition of all sectors of
  the industry continues, and is accelerating in some cases. This trend
  will continue, and the ability of the Iraqi oil industry to sustain the
  current reduced production levels will be seriously compromised unless
  effective action is taken immediately to reverse the situation.
  [para. 24]

It went on to note that Iraq's "recent decrease in the production and
export of crude oil can be attributed ... the lack of necessary spare
parts and equipment" [para. 49].  The Ministry of Oil had therefore
decided to reduce production in the interests of safety and oil field
husbandry until spare parts arrived.

The government of Iraq had continued to under-purchase proteins for the
food basket in the South/Centre of Iraq but reduced the nutritional
shortfall by using its own stocks.  These disbursements were repaid in
kind [para. 125].  While its targeted nutrition programmes seemed slow in
starting up the government of Iraq now seemed to be providing them with
sufficient support [para. 130].  Although medical supplies were increasing
it was of concern that "complementary inputs", allowing, for example,
clean drinking water were also required [para. 135]; the value of
sanitation contracts on hold exceeded that of those delivered [para. 148].  
Furthermore, the erratic arrival and distribution of drugs "may have
contributed to the increase in deaths attributable to cardiac, diabetic,
renal and liver disease" [para. 137].

The Secretary-General was pleased by the performance in the agricultural
sector and noted that "oil for food" had "helped to slow down the rate of
deterioration of local food production, but [was] not sufficient to
increase production at the national level" [para. 144].  The education
sector continued to fail to "provide an appropriate teaching and learning
environment" [para. 152].  The installation rate of delivered electrical
supplies (96%) exceeded that of any other sector but was still unable to
prevent network deterioration because of the scale of inputs required and
the fact that twice as many goods were on hold as had been delivered.  
This created emergencies which, in turn, required even more expensive
repairs [para. 156].  For most Iraqis, the power was out for between 9 and
18 hours a day [para. 157].

In the north, there had been a "significant drop in acute malnutrition and
the decrease in chronic malnutrition" [para. 165].  "Full courses of drug
treatment are now being provided for chronic illnesses" but insufficient
medicines and medical supplies were being procured, in part because "local
health information systems remain largely ineffective in identifying
priority requirements" [para. 168].  Agricultural performance was, in some
cases, "exceeding the targets" set in spite of "[f]requent interference by
the local authorities ... [in] certain projects" [paras. 172, 174].

The educational sector was also improving but textbooks were delayed, in
part due to "operational deficiencies in the public printing facilities in
Baghdad" [para. 181].  The electrical sector was still lagging, in part
because of the emergency efforts related to the "drought and the
preventive nature of dam rehabilitation" and in part because of the time
taken to build an electrical grid and the government of Iraq's refusal to
provide technical details of the existing grid.  The "technically most
efficient" way to build the north's electrical supply would be
"[r]econnection to the national electricity grid", requiring a significant
expansion of Centre/South generating capacity [paras. 187-188].

In conclusion, S/2000/208 is a wealth of information.  At the same time,
it has frustrated some UN staff who feel that it has glossed over
important details that are known to the UN in Iraq but which have been
lost along the way.


As we understand it, US policy makers see themselves as facing a dilemma.  
On the one hand, they recognise that their policy has inflicted incredible
suffering on an entire nation and may cause longer terms problems in the
Middle East.  On the other hand, they are highly publicly committed to
this policy and are not being offered a face-saving exit by the Iraqi

Their problem, then, may be similar to the one they faced when they
realised that their war in Vietnam needed to end.  One of the main
differences now, though, is that their Iraq policy is not nearly as
politically embarrassing or costly at home.  As a result, the current
administration's strategy seems to be centred on an attempt to keep Iraq
out of the news.  One Congressional aide told us that the rumour was that
there were to be no front page stories on Iraq until after the elections.  
Certainly presidential candidates have seemed happy to respect this, with
one exception.  Pat Buchanan, contesting the candidacy for the Reform
Party, spoke to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in
Washington on 16 December 1999.  He referred to Denis Halliday's
assessment that:

  5,000 Iraqi children die every month from the impact of sanctions on
  Iraq's water supply, sanitation, diet, and medical care.  The deaths
  come from dysentery, cholera, and malnutrition, which lowers resistance
  to other diseases. Halliday holds America, the principal advocate and
  enforcer of UN Security Council sanctions, responsible for the deaths of
  60,000 Iraqi children every year, and of 500,000 since 1991. If his
  figures are correct, more Iraqi children have been lost in nine years to
  U.S. sanctions than all the American soldiers killed in combat in all
  the wars of the 20th century. [Toward a More Moral Foreign Policy]

On 1 February a letter signed by 70 members of the US House of
Representatives was submitted to President Clinton.  It asked that he
"de-link economic sanctions from the military sanctions currently in place
against Iraq", remarking that the sanctions had inflicted suffering on
ordinary Iraqis while leaving the regime untouched.  It also noted that
the "goal of these sanctions, however, seems to have changed" from a
disarmament goal to a regime change goal.  House Minority Whip David
Bonior (D-Michigan) called the sanctions "infanticide masquerading as
policy" [Washington Post, "U.S. Looks At Easing Sanctions On Iraq;
Pressure Mounts For Increasing Humanitarian Aid", 25 February 2000].

On 2 March Congressman Conyers (D-Michigan), one of the initiators of the
1 February letter, introduced the "Humanitarian Exports Leading to Peace
Act of 2000" to the House of Representatives (HR 3825 IH).  It would
modify US laws enforcing the 1990 UN sanctions to allow the export, with
some restrictions, of:

  food or other agricultural products (including fertilizer), medicines,
  medical supplies, medical instruments, or medical equipment, or with
  respect to travel incident to the sale or delivery of food or other
  agricultural products (including fertilizer), medicines, medical
  supplies, medical instruments, or medical equipment. [section 3]

If passed, Congress would "take all necessary steps to end the suffering
of innocent populations, primarily children and the elderly, by allowing
the free flow of humanitarian aid to Iraq without threat of prosecution"
[section 6].

February's letter produced a response from the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  This began by remarking that "[f]ew world
leaders pose more of a potential threat to US and western interests than
Saddam Hussein does".  It believed that "[i]f UN sanctions were lifted,
funds from Iraqi oil exports would go directly to Saddam Hussein, not the
Iraqi people" and therefore urged Clinton "to stand firm in continuing to
support the UN sanctions regime until Iraq abides by all relevant Security
council resolutions".  It avoided quoting UN documents and contained
simple factual errors.  For example, it claimed that the sanctions regime
"directs that ninety percent of the revenue gained by Iraq for the export
of its oil be spent on providing food, on satisfying the humanitarian
needs of the Iraqi people, and on covering the costs of the inspection
regime".  In fact, 30% of the revenue generated under "oil for food" is
spent on compensation payments, leaving only 70% for the items that they
mention.  In spite of these errors, 73 representatives had signed it by 24

This willingness to sign a factually incorrect letter that failed to
recognise that a dictatorship is not a representative form of government
may be explained in part by the comments of Toni Berry, on the Iraq Desk
at the U.S. State Department.  Speaking on 24 January to US members of
Voices in the Wilderness, she is reported to have said that, "Congress
would never go along with a change in policy that alleviates suffering as
long as Saddam Hussein is still in power".

Independently of these letters, Congressman Tony Hall (D-Ohio) spent five
days in Iraq (16 - 20 April) on a trip facilitated by the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.  While his press
release upon his return made clear his belief that "lifting sanctions at
this point would be irresponsible" he also felt that "Iraq's people are
suffering terribly, and it was heartbreaking to see their pain firsthand.
I left Iraq convinced that a great deal more could be done to address its
people's humanitarian needs, and I am determined to do all I can to
persuade the U.S. Government to take these steps" ["Hall Calls for Smarter
U.N. Sanctions that Spare Innocent Iraqis", 24 April 2000].

This momentum may be continuing as a number of Representatives are now
asking US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for a meeting at which
Iraq policy can be discussed.


On 10 February the British House of Commons' Select Committee on
International Development published its second report on "The Future of
Sanctions".  While this examined the use of sanctions in general those on
Iraq were given the most attention.  It reported that not all of the
"humanitarian distress is the direct result of the sanctions regime",
noting both a "tendency to blame all such distress on sanctions in the
absence of clear evidence" and the willingness of "Saddam Hussein ... to
manipulate the sanctions regime and the exemptions scheme to his own ends"
[para. 39].  It went on to claim, though, that:

  This does not, however, entirely excuse the international community from
  a part in the suffering of Iraqis. The reasons sanctions were imposed in
  the first place were precisely the untrustworthiness of Saddam Hussein,
  his well documented willingness to oppress his own people and
  neighbours, his contempt for humanitarian law. The international
  community cannot condemn Saddam Hussein for such behaviour and then
  complain that he is not allowing humanitarian exemptions to relieve
  suffering. What else could be expected?  A sanctions regime which relies
  on the good faith of Saddam Hussein is fundamentally flawed. [para. 40]

The report recommended that, "careful thought must now be given as to how
to move from the current impasse without giving succour to Saddam Hussein
and his friends" [para. 41].  It concluded by noting that, "[w]e find it
difficult, however, to believe that there will be a case in the future
where the UN would be justified in imposing comprehensive economic
sanctions on a country" [para. 42].

Select Committee reports are usually responded to within two months by the
ministries concerned.  This deadline has now passed but we have yet to
hear of any official response.  The House of Lords has also taken a
concern in this issue: on 21 March Lord Hooson, a Liberal Democrat, Lord
Moynihan, a Conservative, and Lord Islwyn, a Labour peer, all asked
clearly informed and pointed questions that recognised the that the
sanctions have caused ordinary Iraqis and their failure to "topple Saddam
Hussein and his regime".

While these are certainly good signs they do not yet seem to represent a
breakthrough.  As we understand the situation, the UK's Iraq policy is to
support the US policy.  Central to this government's perception of its
role in the world is its "special relationship" with the US, which it
regards as allowing it to intermediate between Europe and the US.

This "special relationship" has been rejuvenated under the current
government but is not immune to slight.  Britain's moves to normalise ties
with Libya after Libya's co-operation in the Lockerbie bombing trial in
1999 have been cited as an important case study.  Although the US State
Department knew that normalisation with Libya was inevitable it apparently
made it very clear that it did not want the UK to be taking a lead in this
without Washington's approval.  As the US Administration is more publicly
committed to its low intensity war against Iraq than it was to its Libya
policy, it is felt to regard any challenges to this as much more serious
as well.

One lobbyist with almost thirty years of experience says that he has never
seen politicians react to an issue as they do to Iraq.  He claims that
everyone freezes when Iraq is mentioned, even people who have known him as
friends for decades.  At the same time, he does feel that there is a
growing group of parliaments who are becoming increasingly aware of this

The Canadian House of Common's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and
International Trade submitted its own report on report on the sanctions on
Iraq on 12 April.  It recalled the "actions of the Iraqi regime of Saddam
Hussein in the 1980s and early 1990s" and cited the humanitarian and
disarmament panel reports to the Security Council (March 1999).  It
expressed its deep concern that "evidence presented to the Committee that
in the past year the humanitarian situation in Iraq has in fact seriously
deteriorated" and quoted "certain witnesses" who believed that SCR 1284
"will not, even if implemented, enable Iraq to create the economic
conditions necessary for ending the humanitarian crisis."  It therefore
recommended that Canada restore diplomatic ties with Iraq and:

  Notwithstanding the adoption of Security Council Resolution 1284,
  urgently pursue the "de-linking" of economic from military sanctions
  with a view to rapidly lifting economic sanctions in order to
  significantly improve the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people,
  while maintaining those aspects of the multilateral embargo necessary to
  satisfy security requirements and contribute to the overall goal of
  regional disarmament;

Canada's foreign minister announced that it was providing CDN $1 million
(about US $680,000) for the refurbishment of Iraqi schools [Department of
Foreign Affairs and International Trade, "Canada Announces Humanitarian
Assistance For Iraq", 17 April 2000].  The Iraqi government has refused
the donation, but Canada pointed out that it will be given to Unicef for
use in Iraq.  A week prior to this Canada announced that it was sending a
new naval vessel to the Gulf to support the embargo [Department of
National Defence, "Defence Minister renews Canada's contribution to the
Arabian Gulf, 12 April 2000].

On 13 April the European Parliament passed a resolution on Iraq.  It noted
that "the Iraqi people are in a tragic situation as a result of the
imposition of sanctions" which, "in nine years, have not succeeded in
weakening the Iraqi regime, which caused the conflict and bears most of
the responsibility for it".  It then called on the Security Council to
clarify the terms in SCR 1284, and for "the lifting of sanctions [to be]
announced as a matter of urgency" while still "exercis[ing] vigilance with
regard to the Iraqi regime".  It also asked that "attention is drawn to
the need to abide by the rules of the UN Charter and that, consequently,
military action not authorised by the Security Council is discontinued".

The next week saw the Security Council discussing its use of sanctions
throughout the 1990s.  Their discussions were centred on "The Sanctions
Decade", a report commissioned by the International Peace Academy in New
York.  New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade welcomed the
Security Council's proposals for improving sanctions but claimed that
"they did not go far enough".  He noted that sanctions, "could cause
devastating suffering and long-term degradation to civilian populations,
far in excess of the damages inflicted by armed conflict and war" and
that, when they had been "imposed on authoritarian regimes they often led
to manipulation and profiteering by the elite" [New Zealand Government
Executive, "New Zealand pushes for change on UN sanctions", 18 April
One of the common threads in recent parliamentary statements about Iraq is
an interest in "smart sanctions" as a means of targeting a government but
not a population.  The appeal of "smart sanctions" seems to derive from
the knowledge that the "un-smart" sanctions on Iraq have caused incredible
hardship.  Recognition of this is certainly a positive development.  
Nevertheless, this interest in "smart sanctions" may betray a confusion
about the nature of dictatorial regimes: while overseas bank accounts of
target governments can be frozen with some work, a dictatorial government
is often able to expropriate resources directly from its population.  The
call of the UK Select Committee on International Development for steps
that "move from the current impasse without giving succour to Saddam
Hussein and his friends" seems to have failed to grasp the true dilemma
facing British and American policymakers: healthier and richer Iraqis
means that there is more available for the government of Iraq to take.


Since our last newsletter Amnesty International (AI), Save the Children
Fund UK (SCF), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and other NGOs have become more
vocal about the consequences of the sanctions on Iraq.  This is an
excellent sign as AI and HRW, the world's two best known dedicated human
rights organisations, have been hesitant in the past to act on the
suffering in Iraq caused by the sanctions.

Since February, AI USA has been promoting a petition noting that
signatories are "deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Iraq
since the imposition of UN economic sanctions".  Their Annual General
Meeting over 10 -12 March passed a motion which resolved that "some
economic measures are a violation of International Humanitarian Law and
fall within Amnesty International's mandate" and called upon the
"International Executive Committee to write a letter to the UN Security
Council and the UN Secretary General calling on the UN to de-link economic
measures from military sanctions".

AI UK's AGM passed three Iraq motions on 16 April.  The first noted that
there was sufficient evidence about suffering resulting from the sanctions
from international humanitarian organisations for AI to "express its
concern' and mention the recommendations of other organisations" without
any change in their mandate.  While AI's current mandate prevents them
from taking a position on "whether or not civil rights are violated by
sanctions, blockades and embargoes" they noted that "AI could oppose human
rights abuses that arise from sanctions, blockades and embargoes", without
taking a position on these instruments in general.  It therefore decided
to "campaign urgently on the issue of human rights abuses arising from
particular sanctions regimes where there is sufficient evidence from
internationally recognised organisations" and to ask the International
Executive Committee to "urgently extend" its mandate.  This motion passed

The second motion recognised and supported the positions taken by various
UN bodies and supported the petition of AI's International Secretariat to
the Security Council.  It decided to circulate the petition to local
groups "for action as they see fit" and to publish an article on the
effects of the sanctions in AI UK's Journal.  This too passed

The third motion supported the US motion.

On 4 January 2000, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the President of
the Security Council and an attached explanatory memorandum.  In their
letter, HRW wrote that SCR 1284 "by no means addresses the full extent of
the crisis" in Iraq.  It also noted that, "[r]estoration of the civilian
economic infrastructure is essential to returning child mortality rates
and other public health indicators to the levels and trajectories that
existed prior to the embargo and war".  While recognising the human rights
abuses committed by the Iraqi regime, and pointing to its own work in
drawing attention to them, the letter nevertheless believed that:

  Charges that Iraqi malfeasance and incompetence are entirely responsible
  for the severity and extent of the humanitarian crisis, moreover, are
  not credible. The Council should not use the high degree of Iraqi
  government culpability for the humanitarian crisis to obscure its own
  share of responsibility. The severe deprivations and widespread
  pauperization facing the great majority of Iraqis today cannot be
  dissociated from the unprecedentedly comprehensive and protracted
  character of the embargo. The Council should not continue the sanctions
  without substantial modification, in order to address the continuing
  humanitarian crisis and the inadequacy of the current humanitarian

The letter went on to recommend that the Security Council:

1. implement all of the recommendations of the UN Humanitarian Panel
report "promptly and without condition", including those not
incorporated into SCR 1284;

2. "Restructure the sanctions regime ... by permitting the import of
civilian goods and investments in the country's economy while
strengthening prohibitions on imports of a military nature";

3. "Establish an international criminal tribunal to try Iraqi government
officials and former officials";

4. instruct the Sanctions Committee to "conduct its operations with
greater transparency and to monitor closely the humanitarian impact of
the sanctions"

On 23 March HRW issued another statement, this time in conjunction with
Save the Children Fund UK and four other US organisations (Global Policy
Forum, Mennonite Central Committee, Peace Action Education Fund and Quaker
United Nations Office).  Hanny Megally, HRW's executive director for the
Middle East and North Africa, was quoted as saying that, "the U.S. should
stop pretending that the sanctions have nothing to do with the dire public
health crisis confronting millions of Iraqis."
Save the Children Fund UK has been active in Iraq since 1991; its work is
currently restricted to Iraqi Kurdistan as the Iraqi government does not
allow NGOs active there to work in South/Central Iraq as well.  More
recently, they have also been engaged in advocacy in the UK on behalf of
Iraqi children.  On 25 January they issued a position statement on The
Impact of Sanctions on the Children of Iraq, in which they stated that:

  Nine years of sanctions have deprived a vast number of children of
  their right to realise their full potential. Both the targeted and
  sanctioning states have a responsibility to ensure that Iraqi children
  can grow up in an environment that protects and provides for their
  physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. The
  comprehensive economic embargo has severely constrained the Iraqi
  State's capacity to exercise its responsibilities for social welfare and
  prevents Iraqi children from ensuring their rights to a safe and secure

They have since issued two press releases and written two letters to
editors of daily newspapers criticising the sanctions.  SCF has
consistently stressed the need to view Iraq's humanitarian problems from a
long term perspective.  They have been critical of the "hand-out" approach
that has marked it to date, believing that this is, "not only undermining
[young Iraqis'] rights, but perpetuating the next generation's hostility
towards the international community" ["Charity calls on UN to remember
Iraq's children", 22 March 2000].

On 29 February, SCF, the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British
Understanding (CAABU) and the All-Party Committee for European-Arab
Co-operation held a panel discussion for Members of Commons and Lords.  
The parliamentarians present were primarily not publicly associated with
the situation in Iraq.  They were particularly concerned with what
practical steps they could take to influence this government's policies,
given the central role currently given by British foreign policy to a
close relationship with the USA.

The Red Cross movement, which is independent of the UN, has also been
increasingly vocal about the effects of the sanctions on Iraq.  In
December 1999 they released a report entitled, "Iraq: a decade of
sanctions".  It claimed that, "[as] in war, it is civilians who are the
prime victims of sanctions" and that

The "oil-for-food" programme, introduced by UN Resolution 986 in 1995, has
not halted the collapse of the health system and the deterioration of
water supplies, which together pose one of the gravest threats to the
health and well-being of the Iraqi civilian population.


On 13 February Hans von Sponeck, Denis Halliday's successor as UN
Humanitarian Co-ordinator, announced his resignation, which took effect on
31 March.  Since November 1999, von Sponeck had been under public attack
from the US State Department.  In a 5 November briefing, State Department
spokesman James Rubin explained its position:

  we do not believe it is appropriate for a UN official, whatever
  private views he's entitled to have, to challenge the position the
  United Nations Security Council has taken about the wisdom of the
  sanctions regime.  That decision has been made, and to question it
  exceeds his competence and authority ... he has issued reports about
  subjects he knows even less about, which is the effect of civilian
  casualties throughout Iraq in the no-fly zones... We do not believe that this gentleman deserves
  to be leading this important effort.

In spite of US attacks on von Sponeck, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had
protected him in November, extending his term until 25 April, rather than
complying with Washington and replacing him [Reuters, "U.N. official
critical of Iraqi sanctions may leave job in April", 11 February 2000].

Before announcing his resignation, von Sponeck told CNN in an interview

  As a U.N. official, I should not be expected to be silent to that
  which I recognize as a true human tragedy that needs to be ended...  The
  very title that I hold as a humanitarian coordinator suggests that I
  cannot be silent over that which we see here ourselves. [Reuters, "Top
  UN Official Urges End to Iraq Trade Sanctions", 8 February 2000]

In the same interview, he acknowledged that "oil for food" had done some
good but that it did not "guarantee the minimum of that a human being
requires which is clearly defined in the universal declaration of human
rights".  In an interview given on 16 February to Al-Jazeera, the Qatari
TV station, he explained:

  I do not think it is fair to make the civilian population subject to
  bargaining ... (by) the government of Iraq on the one hand and the other
  in the Security Council. The real victims are those who walk the streets
  of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul.

At a 1 March press conference in New York, von Sponeck stated that,
"Education is the key concern that I have."  Displaying photographs of
children sitting on the ground in bare classrooms, he declared, "Here is
the new generation of Iraqis prepared for leadership."  The sanctions had
led, he said, to "an intellectual embargo".  He told of how some "parents
sent their children out in the morning and refused to allow them to return
home until they had earned one and a half dollars for the day". [UN News
Centre, "Press briefing by outgoing Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq";
Agence France Presse, "Iraq suffering ‘intellectual embargo' under
sanctions: von Sponeck"]

As he prepared to leave Baghdad on 29 March, von Sponeck explained that,
"I cannot any longer be associated with a programme that prolongs
sufferings of the people and which has no chance to meet even basic needs
of the civilian population"  [Reuters, "Top UN official leaves Iraq, says
programme failed"].

On 15 February Jutta Burghardt, head of the World Food Programme in Iraq,
also announced her resignation.  While her resignation had initially been
described by some in New York as coincidental, she clarified her position
by noting that, "I fully support what Mr. von Sponeck is saying."  The
Washington Post claimed that the von Sponeck and Burghardt resignations
followed their conclusion that SCR 1284 "provided false hope that the
suffering of ordinary Iraqis would soon be eased".  ["U.N. Aide Who Quit
in Protest Plans Report on Airstrikes on Iraq", 17 February 2000].  Ms
Burghardt has told journalists that she has promised the WFP that she
would not speak to them until 1 April.


The drought that began last year has continued.  In December 1999, the
Associated Press reported that, "More than 1 million sheep were reported
to have perished and yields of wheat, barley and other cereals were at
least 70 percent lower than expected after too little rain this past
year". Dr. Al Khair Khalaf-Allah of the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization in Baghdad added that "The present state is so perilous ....
Absence of rain this year is going to have a catastrophic impact on
animals, orchards and vegetable growing areas in addition to other crops"
["Iraqis Pray for Rains", 2 December 1999].

The ICRC claimed in its 14 December 1999 Special Report that 1999 had been
the driest year since 1932, with only two inches of rain falling to date,
5% of the annual average. The report felt that the:

  potential consequences for agriculture and drinking water supplies are
  devastating... The Iraqi water board has no solution to this alarming
  situation, and UN Resolution 986 [oil for food], which at the best of
  times provides slow and incomplete solutions to the serious water and
  sanitation problems in Iraq, does not make provision for such
  exceptional situations.

By reducing the amount of water in reservoirs the drought has also reduced
Iraq's electrical generation capability.  The Secretary General's 12
November "oil for food" report to the Security Council had indicated that
a "list of drought-related applications on hold was prepared and resulted
in the release of a number of these applications" [S/1999/1162, para. 20]
but we have not heard of further Sanctions Committee action in this
respect.  UN agencies sought to implement emergency responses to the
drought, reducing the amount of money available for the rest of "oil for


The sharp rise in oil prices over the past year has also seen an increase
in Iraqi oil smuggling.  Selling outside of "oil for food" both allows the
Iraqi government control over proceeds and allows it to avoid the 30%
deduction for compensation claims.  One of the main means of smuggling oil
out of Iraq had been to run vessels along Iranian coastal waters, where
they could not be intercepted by the US-led Maritime Interdiction Force.  
It seems that Iran is taking steps to reduce smuggling through its waters,
possibly both to shore up the international price of oil by taking some
Iraqi oil of the market and to see whether the US will respond to the
conciliatory gesture [, "Iraqi Oil Smuggling and the U.S.
Dilemma", 13 April 2000].

The government of Iraq may seek to use Syria as an alternative smuggling
route; it has opened an interests section in Damascus for the first time
in 20 years [Reuters, "Iraq Diplomats Back in Syria After 20 Years", 26
February 2000].  The UAE and Bahrain are opening embassies in Iraq
[, "Bahrain, UAE Reopen Baghdad Embassies", 5 April 2000].

Oil may also have given the government of Iraq another means of making
money.  According to energy industry sources, OPEC officials have often
taken positions in the oil futures markets.  By betting on the outcomes of
the same OPEC meetings that they were attending, this was an easy way to
make money.  This practice has apparently improved but "oil for food" has
made a gift of this to the government of Iraq.  As Iraq's oil sales are
now highly politicised, and as Iraq is not part of the OPEC discussions,
Iraq's government is felt to have more ability to influence the price of
oil than it has had in the past.  While industry sources are certain that
the government of Iraq is using the futures markets to generate revenue
for itself, we have been unable to obtain estimates of the quantities of
money felt to be involved.


On 24 March, Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Sergei Lavrov, claimed in a
Security Council debate that:

  the United States and Britain, since December 1998, had invaded Iraqi
  airspace nearly 20,000 times, hitting food warehouses, oil pipeline
  stations, and last year killing 144 people and wounding 466 others.
  [Reuters, "Under attack, U.S. defends keeping Iraqi sanctions"]

A source for these data was not mentioned but Lavrov's figures were not
contested.  Two weeks later, French foreign ministry spokesperson Anne
Gazeau-Secret quoted very similar figures of 175 dead civilians and nearly
500 injured since the start of 1999.  These were Iraqi figures.  Ms
Gazeau-Secret called the bombings "pointless and deadly"; Foreign Minister
Védrine has called them "inefficient and cruel" [Agence France Presse,
"France alarmed at fatal US-British air-raids on Iraq", 7 April 2000,].

The Washington Post reported on 17 February that Hans von Sponeck was
preparing a final report on the consequences of the bombing.  Responding
to James Rubin's criticism that the sources for this information were
Iraqi, von Sponeck noted that "U.N. staff workers witnessed 23 of the 99
airstrikes investigated by his office. He said he personally witnessed
three attacks" [Washington Post, "U.N. Aide Who Quit in Protest Plans
Report on Airstrikes on Iraq"].

In the original 24 March debate Kofi Annan said that he hesitated to
speculate on "whether Iraq would cooperate more or better [with weapons
inspectors] the moment the bombing stops.  But I don't think the bombing
helps" [Reuters, "Annan says bombing doesn't make Iraq cooperate", 24
March 2000].  China has called on the US and the UK "to cancel the no-fly
zones over Iraq and stop military actions against the country" [Agence
France Presse, "China urges US, Britain to cancel Iraqi no-fly zones", 7
April 2000].

Private reports suggest that, as in the case of holds placed on contracts,
the UK may be attempting to rein in the US.  It is felt that the RAF
encourages USAF to remove 'borderline' targets from it's approved target
lists.  It has been suggested that USAF pilots on patrol will often claim
that "the wire has been tripped", the prelude to bombing, when RAF pilots
have detected no threat.


The National Petition launched in August of last year, coinciding with the
ninth anniversary of the sanctions' imposition, was handed in to Downing
Street in November with 16,000 signatures.  This was less than had been
hoped for, a performance that some felt reflected the relatively short
period of time over which signatures were collected.  Thanks are due to
all who collected signatures (and who continue to send in copies of the
petition!), and especially to the New Internationalist magazine for
distributing copies of it.

On 3 February the Foreign and Commonwealth Office held a day of seminars
on Iraq.  Three of their core Iraq staff are leaving this year for other
positions in what seems to be a routine transfer.

On 6 March Carlton TV screened "Paying the Price: The Killing Of The
Children Of Iraq", a hard-hitting documentary by John Pilger, Denis
Halliday and Felicity Arbuthnot.  Aired at prime time, it reached a
considerable audience and contributed to debate in the British, Irish and
European parliaments and press.  It has also generated interest and
positive reviews in the United States.  We expect that this documentary
represents a significant step forward in public awareness about the
situation in Iraq.  Copies of the film can be ordered from Carlton at 020
7 486 6688, 25 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7RZ.

As we write, the sixth delegation of Voices in the Wilderness UK is making
its way to Baghdad.  They are taking with them medicines and educational
supplies with an export permit.  As on previous trips, they have announced
to 10 Downing Street their intent to break British law by doing this.  10
Downing Street has again not responded.


If you are wondering how you can get more involved in campaigning for a
lifting of the non-military sanctions on Iraq, please get in touch with
us.  We are always happy to discuss ideas or point you to groups in your

Financially, CASI now has about 800 pounds in our bank account.  We are
always happy to send newsletters to anyone who is interested, by email or
on paper, and are fortunate to be able to afford this.  If you also
receive this newsletter on paper and do not mind receiving them only by
e-mail in future, please let us know: this will reduce our expenses
somewhat. If you wish to support CASI, we would also encourage you to
consider membership.  Lifetime membership costs five pounds; we are happy
to accept larger donations.  Upon disbanding, all CASI funds will be
donated to a charity working in Iraq.
The CASI website is at or

CASI can be reached by email at, by fax on 0870
063 5022, by telephone on 0468 056 984 or by post at CASI, c/o Yousef
Ghazi-Tabatabai, Trinity College, Cambridge CB2 1TQ, UK.

Andrea Brady and Eliza Hilton

On 13-14 November 1999, over 150 delegates from five countries arrived in
Cambridge to attend a conference entitled 'Sanctions on Iraq: Background,
Consequences and Strategies'.  Eighteen speakers from four countries -
including prominent historians, diplomats, public health specialists,
anthropologists, journalists, activists and Iraqi citizens - chronicled
Iraq's manifold suffering under the sanctions regime.  In session after
session, the audience contributed their challenges, questions, private
reflections and professional experiences.  The result was an impassioned
debate.  While the whole dynamic of this dialogue cannot be reproduced in
print, the Proceedings will offer the speeches that launched it.

The texts of the Proceedings were edited with their authors' help from
transcribed recordings.  They invite readers to engage critically with
this narrative of disaster.  For the many possible 'narratives', as Eric
Herring points out, deserve our most alert and critical attention.  The
official narratives of containment and relief which justify governmental
positions are beginning to be questioned: few may now believe that
sanctions effectively 'contain' Saddam Hussein's weapons development
programme with minimal human suffering.  But who can provide a more
reliable account of the impact of sanctions on the state of Iraq, from
public health to weapons of mass destruction to family and social ties?  
And how can we validate that account, except by comparison with other

These Proceedings offer a variety of viewpoints, sometimes conflicting and
often mutually elaborating, which reflect the contradictions inherent in
the official line.  Although Ivor Lucas paints a damning portrait of
Saddam Hussein, he disassociates sanctions from Hussein's personal rule.  
George Joffé questions the conventional wisdom on the relation between
British and American policy in the Gulf and access to oil; Chris Doyle
deconstructs the ambivalent relationship between Iraq, the Middle East,
and the West; Hugh Macdonald disentangles the accusations and the facts of
Iraq's weapons programmes.

Some of the speakers draw our attention to the silent costs of sanctions:
Nadje Al-Ali sows some seeds of optimisim in the creativity and endurance
of women, but surveys the moral and social impact of hardship on Iraqi
families.  Nikki van der Gaag recalls the wasted artistic and
archaeological treasures of Iraq; Harriet Griffin reflects on the life of
Iraqi refugees.  Emad Salman and Felicity Arbuthnot, provide compelling
personal testimony to the dolorous conditions of life in Iraq.

Most of the speakers undermine British and American governmental doctrine
on the validity of sanctions, but perhaps none more powerfully than
Richard Garfield.  Garfield negotiates ambiguous public health data to
substantiate the human cost of sanctions: Iraq is the only instance of a
sustained increase in mortality outside or war, famine or genocide in a
population of more than 2 million in the past two hundred years.  Later,
Doug Rokke unveils an environmental and medical catastrophe with a 4
billion year half-life – one for which Iraq, its hospitals and
infrastructure evicerated by sanctions, is now completely unprepared.  
The shocking consequences of the use of Depleted Uranium munitions he
exposes are matched only by the chilling and continued indifference of the
US and British governments.

The courageous work of activists and humanitarians is also profiled here.  
Representatives of Save the Children (UK) Rita Bhatia and Andrea Ledward
outline the operational constraints, challenges and potential victories of
humanitarian groups working on the ground in Iraq and in the halls of
power.  From another perspective, Milan Rai offers a brief history of
activism on Iraq's behalf.

The informative speeches by the defenders and framers of governmental
narrative (Jon Davies for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Anis
Nacrour for the French Embassy) were given off-the-record; they have
elected to prepare statements instead.

The Proceedings do not impose one particular conclusion on these varied
presentations.  However, a few certainties can be said to have emerged
over those two November days: that the failure to incorporate an
evaluation component into sanctions provisions has been exceptional and
disastrous, preventing humanitarian agencies from obtaining vital data to
shape their programmes; that mechanisms to trigger the end of sanctions
are complex and political; that the logic of linking compliance in weapons
inspections with suspension of sanctions is incomplete; and that the
sanctions regime is largely dictated by the will of Washington.

We hope that the Proceedings, like the conference that inspired them,
extend the community of people actively campaigning for the end of
sanctions in Iraq.  But however they are read or used by activists,
humanitarians, students, policy makers, the interested, the curious, or
the concerned, we are privileged to have joined in the chorus of Iraq's 22
million suffering people.  Like them, we wish to give witness to this
unspeakable tragedy.

*** Sanctions on Iraq
*** 220 pages - 5.00 pounds + P&P - May 2000
*** ISBN 1-903488-22-2

Order a copy now - write to CASI or e-mail Eliza Hilton at

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