In Reply to: HELP ! posted by Ir@qi on September 08, 2001 at 02:25:24:
With New, slow, and improved Genocide, no one will notice.
From Reuters News Wire
Tuesday September 4, 12:11 PM
Life in sanctions-hit Iraq is harsh and short
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Take a trip round the crippled Iraqi capital and the
consequences of 11 years of United Nations sanctions become apparent --
power cuts, polluted water, a decaying infrastructure and factories and
people without work.
The almost bankrupt country suffers from widespread poverty, one of the
highest rates of infant mortality in the world and a health service which
"The sanctions are the equivalent of dropping a nuclear bomb," says a U.N.
official in Baghdad who privately sides with Iraq. "So called civilised
countries do not treat other nations like this, even one which lost a war."
The sanctions were imposed in 1990 when the United Nations voted to punish
Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait and prevent it from importing technology to
Six years later the U.N reached a memorandum of understanding with Iraq
allowing it to sell "oil for food" and other humanitarian goods.
Baghdad says it has exported the equivalent of $47 billion (32 billion
pounds) of crude under the deal but received only $12 billion worth of
According to newly released official Iraqi figures, $16 billion earned by
Iraq in oil sales went as reparations for the Gulf War. Another $19 billion
worth of contracts that it tried to negotiate for goods and food were
rejected or frozen by the U.N. sanctions committee in New York.
"Foreign firms cream off the contracts allowed under oil for food," said an
official at a west European company with an office in Baghdad.
"The Iraqis do not stand a chance to compete. Under sanctions, manufacturers
have inferior quality and traders cannot obtain visas to travel."
"It is pointless to invest even if we could afford to. There is no supply
chain to maintain new equipment," says a senior businessman.
He says it still takes months to receive U.N. approval for orders to replace
simple equipment and even then he is at the mercy of Jordanian and Syrian
middlemen who handle the process.
He has been unable to get any new equipment for his company since sanctions
"The state is not pumping any money into the economy either," he said,
adding that the nearly bankrupt government could not afford repairs to the
electricity grid or to clean up contaminated water.
The only signs of new business in the streets are traditional kebab
restaurants and billiard salons to entertain masses of unemployed youths.
In the trendy Arasat district, the number of shops selling imported clothes
is on the rise, but their goods are beyond the reach of most Iraqis whose
average monthly salary dropped to the equivalent of $5 after the collapse of
the dinar at the start of the Gulf War in 1991.
The dinar strengthened significantly when Iraq and the U.N. reached the "oil
for food" deal but collapsed again when it became apparent that the
agreement was not going to spur the economy or earn the government enough
The private sector has been shrinking since the 1958 revolution which
brought down the monarchy and steered Iraq toward a command economy.
Attempts by President Saddam Hussein to sell state assets and decrease
dependence on oil in the 1980s were relegated to second priority during the
war with Iran.
With a large section of the population dependant on the government, depleted
state income has hit Iraq hard.
U.N. officials say almost no new schools have been built since 1990 while
the student population has doubled. Half the schools are not fit to be
used -- they have no desks or functioning lavatories.
Iraq says the U.N. sanctions committee has blocked the import of components
needed to maintain hospitals and rebuild infrastructure. The committee says
Baghdad has not ordered enough health and educational components allowed
under "oil for food".
The deterioration in the standard of living has strengthened Iraq's case for
lifting the sanctions with increasing support from Russia and China, which
have thwarted U.S. attempts to institute "smart" sanctions targeting the
Iraqi government more narrowly.
"Smart" sanctions called for by the United States and Britain are aimed at
easing restrictions on civilian goods to Iraq, strengthening a ban on
military supplies and curbing smuggling.
"The understanding on the international level is wider than ever now that
the sanctions were imposed to achieve unlawful objectives of the United
States and Britain on Iraq," Foreign Minister Naji Sabri told Reuters.
Iraqis are bitter, remembering how their country used to pioneer human
development in the Middle East, spending huge amounts on adult literacy
programmes, training, public health and information technology.
"Iraq needs billions of dollars to repair this country and the United States
allows it millions," says a leading economist, who forecast the sanctions
will force the economy into its 11th year of contraction.
"It is difficult to quantify the extent of the damage the sanctions
inflicted, but it is massive. The government does not provide any data for
fear it would be beneficial to the enemy," the economist said.
He was one of tens of thousands of Iraqis whom Saddam sent to obtain
post-graduate degrees in the West, and one of the few who remained in the
country after the sanctions were imposed.
"Iraqis will return en masse once the sanctions are lifted. "This was a very
prosperous country," he said, citing few improvements, such as a pick up in
construction activity after the sanctions committee allowed the government
this year to import building material.
Iraqi consumers are also finding a wider choice of goods since the
government struck trade preference deals that abolished import duties on
items from Syria and allowed Lebanese traders in the country.
Business delegations from Thailand, India and Finland last month descended
on Baghdad to assess the market.
As well as encouraging sanction-busting trade, the government is attempting
to adopt a more disciplined monetary policy. Saddam recently asked his
ministers to "reread" old guidelines, to stop printing money and streamline
the tax system.
"They are quietly preparing to be ready when the sanctions are lifted," the
Copyright © 2001 Reuters Limited
: I found this on the Web. please try to help this organization help our people. Signing a petition is the LEAST we can do.
: It is up to the international community in particular to promote solutions that lead to harmony and renewal in social life and to take responsibility for avoiding deviations that could turn populations into innocent victims. – Pope John Paul II speaking about Iraq on 12/17/98. Pax Christi USA urgently appeals to the consciences of all people of faith and goodwill to support efforts to halt the ongoing humanitarian devastation in Iraq resulting from ten years of economic sanctions by calling upon the United Nations to end these sanctions immediately.
: Here is your chance to take part in a global petition, go to this link print the text, get as many people as you can to sign it, and post it to the address given before 30th September.
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