US holds in UN Committee 661: "Smart" Sanctions
Since the U.N. adopted economic sanctions in 1945, in its charter, as a means of maintaining global order, it has used them fourteen times (twelve times since 1990). But only those sanctions imposed on Iraq have been comprehensive, meaning that virtually every aspect of the country's imports and exports is controlled, which is particularly damaging to a country recovering from war.

The itemized list [2M] of US holds in the Iraq Oil for Food Program used to produce these results comes from an accidentally released 661 Committee contract report from March 2001 that gave line item details on approved and withheld sales for the Oil for Food program from 1997 up to when the report was released. The original spreadsheet and details about the report and its release can be found here, and more commentary on the attempts to publish it here, credit for publishing the data goes to Drew Hamre.

All I've done is code a simple perl script that checks against goods and "reason for non-compliance". "Header Status" reflects status as of March 2001.

The intention of the US seems clearly, during the Gulf War and during the sanctions program, to have been to make living in Iraq impossible and to lay the blame for the suffering entirely at the feet of Saddam Hussein: the effects of sanctions would be part of a propaganda campaign for the US policy of 'regime change'. The policy resulted in massive numbers of premature deaths: from the purposeful destruction of water treatment facilities and other civillian infrastructure during the Gulf War and then blocking or holding up supplies required to repair and maintain them; the blocking of medical supplies; the malnourishment from an underfunded Oil for Food program that was used, at the same time, to pay off war reparations to the Princes of Kuwait; the prevention of other reconstruction of essential civillian infrastructure for 12 years. By 1999 the infant mortality rates more than doubled from their rates previous to the Gulf War. The State Department has never attempted to explain what change in policy Saddam made with respect to child health-care that might have resulted in such a rate increase: the answer why is obvious, because it was entirely the direct result of US and UNSC policy. How many died, exactly, will never be known - if the lower estimates are taken there is clear evidence for serious crimes against humanity, if the upper estimates are taken it could be easily argued as a case of genocide. The range of credible estimates is in the hundreds of thousands to the millions.

None of the four men most responsible for the sanctions policy - George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush (least of the four), and Saddam Hussein - have been indicted for it.

For more information on the sanctions program visit CASI. For more information about the Oil For Food program visit Oil For Food Facts.

--josh buermann

Hold byHeader StatusGoodsAmountReason for non-compliance or holdReceivedMissionExporter