Is the Current UN and US Policy toward Iraq Effective?

William F. Donaher, Ross B. DeBlois
2001 Parameters  
On a day like this day 10 years ago, evil and all those who made Satan their protector lined up in one place, facing those who represented the will to defend what is right. Iraq has remained, the people have remained, the army has remained. . . . Iraq has triumphed over the enemies of the nation. " --Saddam Hussein, 17 January 2001[1] More than ten years ago, President George Bush ordered US troops into the Persian Gulf in response to Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait. At the end of the
more » ... ulf War in 1991, the United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq--UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 661--which were to remain in place until the provisions of UNSCR 687 were complied with, mainly the certification that Iraq has destroyed all of its weapons of mass destruction. In 1991, the UN expressed grave concern over the humanitarian situation and proposed a number of measures that would allow Iraq to sell limited quantities of oil to meet the population's basic needs while the sanctions remained in place. Iraq refused all offers. Over the following five years there was widespread suffering, with food shortages, an absence of essential medicines, and a general deterioration in essential social services. [2] In 1996, the UN established the Oil-for-Food program, which allowed Iraq to sell oil for the purchase of goods essential for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. Weapons inspections in Iraq, conducted by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), stopped prior to the December 1998 bombing of Iraq. Inspections have not been resumed, while sanctions and the Oil-for-Food program remain in effect. Is this policy successful? Sanctions have kept Saddam "in his box," but the Oil-for-Food program has allowed him to blame the UN for doing little to stop the widespread suffering and deprivation of his people. In addition, Saddam has not allowed weapons inspectors inside Iraq for the last three years, and support for the economic embargo on the international front is wavering. Now the situation is made even more complicated by the war on terrorism and Saddam's stated support for those who would harm the United States and the Western world. Still, President George W. Bush and his administration have an opportunity to revisit the policy toward Iraq and devise a strategy that will work. This article reviews the current sanctions and Oil-for-Food policy in Iraq from both national security and humanitarian intervention perspectives. The article is organized into three main sections--a review of the background, an analysis of the current policy in terms of national security and humanitarian criteria, and a recommendation for future policy.
doi:10.55540/0031-1723.2061 fatcat:3ulcm5ycfzdknorxn3fbybpwue