News Release

Interviews Available: Lifting Sanctions; Controlling Oil; A New Mideast

Today’s lead story in the Washington Post about the U.S. proposal to lift the economic sanctions on Iraq — headlined “U.S. to Propose Broad Control of Iraqi Oil, Funds” — notes that “the proposal would give the United States far greater authority over Iraq’s lucrative oil industry than administration officials have previously acknowledged.” Also today, President Bush is giving a speech on his administration’s vision for a new Mideast. The following are available for comment:

BERT SACKS
Active for years with the humanitarian group Voices in the Wilderness, Sacks was fined by the U.S. government after going to Iraq and distributing medicine. He said today: “For years Voices in the Wilderness called for lifting of U.N./U.S. economic sanctions on Iraq, holding them to be a lethal form of coercion. With the U.S. now an occupying military power in Iraq, do we continue to support the lifting of economic sanctions? In return we ask the question: Who will protect the oil wealth of Iraq for the Iraqi people? …. We call for the Iraqi people’s wealth and welfare to be put into the hands of the U.N. for now, as the only body able to do so with international legitimacy.”
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FRANCIS BOYLE
Professor of law at the University of Illinois and author of “Foundations of World Order,” Boyle said today: “The U.S. draft resolution at the U.N. outlines the piracy not just of Iraq’s oil, but also Iraq’s assets around the world…. The question of sanctions on Iraq ignores the broader questions of the legal basis for sanctions in general. After Iraq illegally invaded Kuwait in 1990, the U.N. Security Council applied economic sanctions to force Iraq’s withdrawal. The U.N., following the same principle, should clearly do the same to the U.S. now and impose sanctions on it….”

RAHUL MAHAJAN
Mahajan is author of the forthcoming book “Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond.” He said today: “For a dozen years, whenever the anti-sanctions movement talked about the suffering caused by the economic sanctions — well over 500,000 children under the age of five dead and a society in ruins — the constant refrain from U.S. government officials was that the suffering was not caused by sanctions but by the regime. Once the regime is destroyed the officials now argue that sanctions are actually harmful and that it’s necessary to remove that burden in order to provide humanitarian aid and reconstruction…. The reality is that the U.S. is moving to consolidate control over Iraq and the Middle East. It wants to set up permanent military bases in Iraq, making it the main Middle East staging area for U.S. ‘force projection.’ The Security Council draft resolution being currently circulated would give the U.S. very open, explicit control over Iraq’s oil industry…. Yet the way that the sanctions work now allows for most imports to be automatically approved without any requirement for deliberation by the Sanctions Committee. Furthermore, the biggest bureaucratic delays were created by deliberate U.S. under-staffing…. In the long run, the sanctions must be lifted; in the short run, there is no compelling reason to lift them in the absence of a legitimate Iraqi government that has the right to make choices, which can only happen if U.S. and other ‘coalition’ forces withdraw and the people of Iraq are given a genuine chance to exercise their right to self-determination.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167