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The Acts of the Democracies
Several reasons are given for the continuing of sanctions against Iraq ("the leader of Iraq is a dictator", "Iraq is making weapons of mass destruction") but the real reason is to do with safeguarding Saudi Arabia's economy which is dependent on the world oil price. Phyllis Bennis admits this in Covert Action:
"If Iraq were allowed to resume oil exports, analysts expect it would soon be producing 3 million barrels a day and within a decade, perhaps as many as 6 million. Oil prices would soon drop ... And Washington is determined to defend the Kingdom's economy, largely to safeguard the West's unfettered access to the Saudi's 25% of known oil reserves".
A strong Saudi Arabian economy is important to the USA arms industry which sells nearly 70% of all its arms to the country.
The sanctions are especially damaging to the civilian population. The USA Defense Intelligence Agency states (in a document, which was partially declassified but unpublicised):
"Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline. With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations Sanctions to import these vital commodities. Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease. Food processing, electronic, and, particularly, pharmaceutical plants require extremely pure water that is free from biological contaminants."
This policy is attacked by Cynthia McKinney, a USA senator who says:
"Attacking the Iraqi public drinking water supply flagrantly targets civilians and is a violation of the Geneva Convention and of the fundamental laws of civilized nations."