Myth Number 2: UN Sanctions were effective against Saddam Hussein
The American people - indeed the people of the world - have been told -over and over again : UN sanctions were effective in preventing Saddam Hussein from developing weapons of mass destruction , and , as a result , there was no need to invade Iraq.
I sometimes wonder if those who hold this view have inherited -virtually intact- the condescending colonialist views of the old British Empire. The Iraqis,in this context,would be regarded privately as "bloody Wogs" : a "lesser breed without the Law", who would back down when confronted by the "New Raj" - otherwise known as the United Nations.
The text of this 75 page UNSCOM report - written in 1988 - will suggest the Iraqis were otherwise inclined . It details the persistent,methodical evasion of imposed sanctions for a period of several years.
As far as I know, the UN never released this document - but they gave the Iraqi government a copy - in English - which the Iraqi Intelligence Service squirreled away in their files.
I've run across several UNSCOM reports in the IIS files - (apparently about the only way we have of seeing these documents, as the UN itself is not a particularly forthcoming organization). One that caught my eye was a dreary multi-page list of "exceptions" reported by UNSCOM inspectors , who were looking at Saddam's Bio-weapons program.( "Programme" in UN-speak.)
The Iraqis - like the Russians , and everyone else who adopted "Russian" Bio-warfare doctrine ,maintained Dual Use facilities , that could be converted from ordinary pharmaceutical production into Bio-warfare production with a minimum of time and effort.
When the UNSCOM inspections began , hundreds of these dual use facilities were inspected; and equipment that could be used for Bio-warfare was tagged ,and, wherever possible, sealed. " So much for that !", the inspectors crowed.
When the inspectors made a return trip, a year later,they found hundreds and hundreds of violations of the imposed "sanctions": broken seals, misssing seals,missing tags,and - worst of all - missing equipment.
When they asked about these "exceptions" they got " The-dog-ate-my-homework" excuses. Huge stainless steel fermentation vats - used to brew "biologicals" - were said to have been diverted to "ice cream manufacture",and spray dryers were just....gone.
How did the UN react to this rather massive violation of sanctions ? Very quietly.
The tags and seals were re-affixed ...and the final report said the facilities had passed inspection.
One of the methods Iraq used - or attempted - in an effort to manipulate the imposition of sanctions was large scale bribery. Rolf Ekeus,the UN diplomat who supervised UNSCOM inspections until 1996 is quoted :
According to the journalist Christopher Hitchens, Ekéus "told me that he'd been offered by Tariq Aziz in person, to his face, a bribe of a million and a half dollars to change his inspection report. That was going on throughout the entire process. Rolf wouldn't, of course, agree to take it, but if they were asking him, it means they were asking everybody."
By now, everyone knows about the "Oil for Food" program - (and its attendant scandals) - but relatively little has been said about the fact Iraq was operating its own "Oil for Money" program - right under the noses of UN inspectors- at the same time.
It was a relatively simple operation: the Iraqi government merely turned three valves - closed with much fanfare by the UN - back on ; and oil began flowing to Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. The oil was sold at a discount,and was paid for with US $ 100 bills : of which there were great stacks in the Iraqi treasury.
Saddam used the money to buy vast truckloads of weapons , ammunition , radar systems, and high-end computers; to hire weapons specialists from France, Germany,Russia, Turkey ,and Italy; to build 17 palaces : some of which were designed to survive anything short of a direct nuclear hit.
The Iraqi armed forces were re-equipped , and trained to a high state of readiness ; Fedayeen guerrillas were recruited from surrounding Arabic countries,and as many as 8,000 Palestinians were imported for specialized military training in guerrilla warfare.
One would think, after over a decade of UN sanctions, Iraq would have been in very bad straits . The ordinary people were - but the government,the military,and the weapons scientists were living "the good life" - as attested to by page after page of Iraqi Intelligence dossiers on salary increases, bonuses, and awards of brand new homes.
There was still plenty of cash left over: When Operation Iraqi Freedom began , and it became clear the Iraqi government would fall, Saddam sent his son Qusay and a companion to the Iraqi Central Bank to pick up a little "walkin' around money" (Translation courtesy of Joseph Shahada -"Veritas")
Posted on 09/07/2006 7:42:11 AM PDT by jveritas
Document http://220.127.116.11/Released/09-06-06/CMPC-2004-001648.pdf dated March/19/2003 is hand written order from Saddam Hussein to the governor of Iraq Central Bank to give his son Qusay Saddam Hussein and another crony named Hikmat Mazban Ibrahim a total of ONE Billion Dollars so it will be protected from what he called the “American Aggression”. Of course this money was meant to be smuggled to some foreign secret bank accounts for Saddam family. This money was found by the US troops shortly after the fall of Saddam regime and handed later on to the free Iraqi government.
Translation of http://18.104.22.168/Released/09-06-06/CMPC-2004-001648.pdf
In the name of God the most merciful the most compassionate
Mr. Governor of the Iraqi Central Bank
We authorize through this letter that Mr. Qusay Saddam Hussein and Hikmat Mazban Ibrahim to receive the following:
1. Nine hundred and twenty millions American Dollars
2. Ninety millions Euros.
In order to protect it from the American aggression
Do what is necessary
President of the Republic
Were UN sanctions effective ? You be the judge !