A Different Kind of War

A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq

Hans C. von Sponeck
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    A Different Kind of War
    Book Description:

    At a time when the international community is again threatening some countries with sanctions, this book comes as a warning. It should be mandatory reading for all those politicians and their foreign-policy advisors who continue to consider sanctions an effective form of policy. The author not only offers us a critical, lucid, and well-informed survey of political developments in Iraq, but also a heart-rending account of the suffering of the Iraqi people. It was they who bore the brunt of the 13-year's sanctions, while the members of Saddam's regime continued to live in luxury and accumulate huge fortunes.

    H.-C. von Sponeck, the former "UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq," explores the UN's sanction policies against Iraq, their consequences, and the domestic conditions during this period. His extensive research is based on previously unpublished internal UN documents and discussions with UN decision makers (such as General Secretary Kofi Annan), Iraqi officials and politicians (including Saddam Hussein), and ordinary Iraqis. The author's findings question who really benefited from the program, what role the UN Security Council and its various member states played, and whether there were then and are today alternatives to the UN's Iraq policies.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-752-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. [Map]
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. List of Figures, Maps and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Hans C. von Sponeck
  6. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Celso N. Amorim

    At a moment when the international community is engaged in a necessary debate on how to update international structures, the bookA Different Kind of Warby Hans C. von Sponeck offers a significant contribution. The reflection proposed by Sponeck, from the point of view of his experience as a UN Humanitarian Coordinator to Iraq, points to the need for a profound restructuring of the United Nations and of the Security Council, so that they can effectively contribute to the objective of promoting peace and social justice.

    I met Hans Sponeck during the Iraq Panels (that Sponeck graciously calls the...

  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    The years between two wars, 1991 to 2003, were not years of peace for the Iraqi people. A dictatorship at home and a divided UN Security Council abroad brought Iraqis fear, deprivation and suffering.

    The Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Countries and the European Union all failed to play a role in this conflict because of their own internal ineptitude and weakness. The international public, citizens in all parts of the world, displayed a sense of justice and took over the role governments should have played in the Iraq crisis in supporting peaceful solutions based on human rights and...

  8. Chapter 1 The Oil-for-Food Programme: An Adequate Humanitarian Exemption?
    (pp. 3-172)

    I arrived in Baghdad on 8 November 1998. It was an overland journey of some 900 km from Amman: UN sanctions regulations did not allow scheduled air links, and special flights were rare. As the convoy of UN vehicles that had travelled with me from the Jordanian/Iraqi border at Trebil entered the compound of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, where United Nations offices were located, foreign and Iraqi Press were waiting. They wanted to hear the newcomer’s perception of the political clouds which had started to gather since the Iraqi Government had suspended cooperation with UNSCOM¹ and UN arms inspectors...

  9. Chapter 2 The UN Compensation Commission: Benefit for Some, Deprivation for Others
    (pp. 173-190)

    The European headquarters of the United Nations is located not far from the shores of Lake Geneva. The UN took over the buildings of the League of Nations in 1946. It gradually expanded across an immaculately landscaped estate that has been on loan first to the League of Nations and subsequently to the United Nations by the City of Geneva. The north-east wing of the United Nations houses the headquarters of UNCTAD, the UN body that deals with trade and development issues in low income countries, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and most of the larger conference rooms...

  10. Chapter 3 The No-Fly Zones, the Humanitarian Programme and Changed Security in Iraq following Operation Desert Fox
    (pp. 191-222)

    Thursday 16 December 1998 had indeed been a fateful day for Iraq and the United Nations. It was the day on which the Government of US took a big step beyond its declared Iraq containment policy. The October 1998 Iraq Liberation Act of the US Congress was no longer just an intention. Not long before midnight, US and UK war planes began their attack of Iraqi installations within and outside the no-fly zones. ‘Operation Desert Fox’, as it was called, lasted for four days during which about two hundred civilians lost their lives and seventy regime buildings in Baghdad were...

  11. Chapter 4 The United Nations Special Commission and the UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq: Two Units of the Same Organisation?
    (pp. 223-234)

    At the best of times the cohabitation of UNSCOM (the disarmament office) and UNOHCI (the humanitarian programme) at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad was uneasy. More often the atmosphere was tense and at times outright confrontational. This was not surprising. After all, UNSCOM manifested tough and uncompromising expectations of the UN Security Council that Iraq disclose its WMD arsenals and facilitate their destruction. UNOHCI, on the other hand, was in Iraq to mitigate the effects of an embargo through the Oil-for-Food Programme. In local parlance, the UNSCOM disarmament personnel were considered the ‘tough guys’, whereas UNOHCI humanitarian staff were dubbed...

  12. Chapter 5 The Government of Iraq, Its People and Their Rights
    (pp. 235-260)

    It was March 2000. I asked for an appointment with Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed Al Sahaf. There was a long list of issues I needed to discuss. The Oil-for-Food Programme, inadequate as it was, had more resources at that time because of higher oil prices. As a result, implementation of the humanitarian programme needed to be accelerated to make better and more timely use of these additional funds. At the same time, sanctions fatigue had set in internationally, giving the Government of Iraq the false hope that an end to sanctions was in sight.

    I wanted to discuss this and...

  13. Chapter 6 The UN Sanctions Structure: Confrontation, Fragmentation, Conclusions
    (pp. 261-276)

    The UN structure for managing economic and military sanctions, set up in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, was not static but evolved over time. By 1996, however, it had taken a shape which would remain until the March 2003 war. The UN Office of the Iraq Programme (OIP) in New York and its Iraq-based outreach, the UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator, formed the last supporting walls of the UN sanctions edifice that was constructed in 1996. From then onwards changes involved bureaucratic fine-tuning. 1996 was also the year when the cost of managing sanctions-related programmes...

  14. Postscript
    (pp. 277-278)
    H.C. von Sponeck

    A week after my arrival in Baghdad in November 1998 an Iraqi journalist greeted me with the words: ‘Welcome to Iraq, why don’t you resign like your predecessor did?’ I smiled, since I really did not have a good answer. The UN Secretary-General’s offer to me to be the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq was tempting. I knew of the humanitarian crisis that had befallen the Iraqi people and I knew that the Oil-for-Food programme was meant to reduce their suffering. I thought that my thirty years of UN service had equipped me to handle the assignment in Baghdad. This is...

  15. Appendices
    (pp. 279-304)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 305-308)
  17. Subject Index
    (pp. 309-319)
  18. Index of Names
    (pp. 320-322)