Thursday, May 12, 2005

Claudia Rosett on Oil-for-Food Do we really need to justify the war with Iraq any more? Despite all this, the usual idiots won't care.

Citing interviews with Saddam’s former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan, and an unnamed former senior Iraqi official, the Senate report says that Iraq's Baathist regime, in doling out rights to buy cheap oil through the U.N. program, “gave priority to foreign officials, journalists and even terrorist entities.” Ramadan, Saddam’s former vice president, told Senate investigators that such oil allocations were “compensation for support.” According to the report, the list of terrorists named by these Iraqi officials as engaging in this quid pro quo includes “the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Abbas, and the Mujahedeen-e Khalq.”

Another of the report’s findings is especially interesting in light not only of Saddam’s subversion of Oil-for-Food to bust sanctions, but also as context for the hot debate within the U.N. Security Council just prior to the U.S.-led military overthrow of Saddam in 2003. The report explains that the prime targets of Saddam’s scheme to buy influence were “individuals and entities from countries on the U.N. Security Council.” Both documents and interviews with former senior officials of Saddam’s regime confirm that “The regime steered a massive portion of its allocations toward Security Council members that were believed by the Hussein regime to support Iraq in its efforts to lift sanctions — namely, Russia, France, and China.”

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