Iraq: Oil-For-Food Program, International Sanctions, and Illicit Trade [February 28, 2003] [open pdf - 86KB]
"The 'oil-for-food' program has been the centerpiece of the long-standing U.N. Security Council effort to alleviate human suffering in Iraq while maintaining key elements of the Gulf war-related sanctions regime. In order to ensure that Iraq remains contained and that only humanitarian needs are served by the program, U.N. Security Council resolutions have mandated substantial controls on Iraqi oil exports and humanitarian imports. All Iraqi oil revenues earned under the program are held in a U.N.-controlled escrow account and cannot be accessed by the Iraqi government. After six years of the program's operations (1996-2002), there is a consensus among observers that the program has substantially eased, but not eliminated, human suffering in Iraq. Concerns about the program's early difficulties prompted criticism of the United States; critics asserted that the U.S. strategy was to maintain sanctions on Iraq indefinitely as a means of weakening Saddam Husayn's grip on power. At the same time, growing regional and international sympathy for the Iraqi people resulted in a pronounced relaxation of regional enforcement -- or even open defiance -- of the Iraq sanctions. The United States argued that continued sanctions were critical to preventing Iraq from acquiring equipment that could be used to reconstitute banned weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30472
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://www.fpc.state.gov/