Same Old Stupid Sanctions

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Posted by Lilly from ? ( on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 at 1:49PM :

Same Old Stupid Sanctions

It looks as though the UN will adopt a British “smart sanctions”
proposal in a blaze of propaganda designed to prolong the suffering of
the Iraqi people. This Big Lie must be challenged at every opportunity.

We will be told that ‘sanctions are being lifted; from now on all
suffering in Iraq is entirely the responsibility of Baghdad’. This is a

The Three Needs
Even after the changes, economic sanctions will still:
1) prevent the speedy reconstruction of the public health infrastructure
of Iraq;
2) prevent the revival of the Iraqi economy, needed to provide jobs and
living wages for Iraqi families; and
3) prevent the development of the Iraqi oil industry needed to provide a
guaranteed steady income for reconstruction and revival.

The Four Tools
These are not real smart sanctions. Real smart sanctions target
particular elements in a government, and apply sanctions against them
(the army, the top political leadership, and so on).
The fake “smart sanctions” package Britain is putting through will still
ban the entire population of Iraq from bringing in foreign exchange,
from obtaining foreign loans or foreign investment, or from selling
Iraqi goods (other than oil) in foreign markets.
Iraq is allowed to sell oil to buy humanitarian goods (see box), but no
foreign exchange enters Iraq through ‘oil-for-food’. The economy remains
collapsed and cut off from the world.

>From Green to Amber
What the so-called “smart sanctions” may do is make it easier for Iraq
to import humanitarian goods. At the moment, when Iraq wishes to import
humanitarian goods, the items it orders are checked against a “green
list” of permitted goods. Items not on the list can be blocked by
members of the Security Council indefinitely - for any/no reason.
At the moment, $5.3bn worth of goods is on hold, almost all of it
stopped by the US and the UK. In the new system, there will be a list of
goods which are suspect - an ‘amber list’ - and all other civilian goods
will go through automatically.
Depending on how the new list is drawn up, the introduction of the
‘amber list’ may prevent the US and UK from interfering so much with the
UN ‘oil-for-food’ program.

This is not About Holds
The argument against the economic sanctions is not about food and
medicines. It is not primarily about how many goods Iraq can bring in,
or about the Sanctions Committee ‘holds’.
Even if the US and UK stopped imposing any holds whatsoever on civilian
and ‘dual-use’ goods, the economic sanctions would continue to kill. Mr
Tun Myat, the current UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said on 30
Nov. 2001, ‘No matter how much was brought in, Iraq still did not have a
functioning economy, without which it was not realistic to significantly
improve the situation there.’ (UN Press Briefing)
In Mar. 1999, a group of aid experts asked by the UN Security Council to
study the situation in Iraq concluded that ‘[t]he humanitarian situation
in Iraq will continue to be a dire one in the absence of a sustained
revival of the Iraqi economy.
According to the Fl, the “smart” sanctions ‘will not revive Iraq’s
devastated economy while control over Iraq’s oil revenues remains in the
hands of the UN, and foreign investment and credits are still
prohibited’ (Fl, 28 May 2001)
‘[A]lthough [Iraq] would be able to import more [under smart”
sanctions], it would still be denied the free movement of labour and
capital that it desperately needs... ‘Iraq needs massive investment to
rebuild its industry, its power grids and its schools, and needs cash in
hand to pay its engineers, doctors and teachers. None of this looks
likely to happen under smart sanctions.’ (Economist, 26 May 2001)
‘[T]he British proposal of “smart sanctions” offers an aspirin where
surgery is called for.’ (Economist, 24 Feb.2001)
Only lifting the economic sanctions altogether can revive the Iraqi
economy and enable the speedy reconstruction of Iraq’s public health
Collin Powell let the cat out of the bag: ‘Sanctions and the
pressure of sanctions are part of a strategy of regime change’. (FT, 14
Feb. 2002, p. 18) Sanctions are actually a blunt tool of political

The so-called “smart” sanctions are no more than a propaganda device
designed to undercut the growing anti-sanctions movement and to build
support for the coming war.

Text taken from:
Voices in the Wilderness UK April, 2002 Newsletter

-- Lilly
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