Washington accuses Iraq of oil smuggling

Once again, Iraq decided to suspend oil exports under the UN program “Oil in exchange for foodstuffs," the IRNA Iraqi agency informs with reference to an official spokesman of the republic’s government. The spokesman says that the suspension of oil exports is a protest against the UN price policy restricting potential purchasers of oil products from Iraq. The government thinks that, while having economic sanctions imposed, the UN sets prices for Iraqi oil that are undesirable for importers.

It is true that the UN special committee for Iraqi oil sales sets prices lower than those set by Iraq itself. To settle the problem without any great damage to the economy of the country, Iraq has increased oil supplies to Syria, Jordan, and other Persian Gulf countries.

Recently, the US Congress published a report on Iraq’s illegal income from oil smuggling. According to the information published, Iraq’s illegal income from oil smuggling made up $6.6 billion (legal earnings made up $4.3 billion) between 1997 – 2001 and on financial machinations with goods supplied under the UN program “Oil in exchange for foodstuffs” ($2.3 billion).

US experts say that money earned this way were spent by Saddam Hussein on the purchase of goods and equipment banned by the UN. The purchases were made mostly in neighboring countries by smugglers operating in the Persian Gulf countries.

It deserves praise, gentlemen! The US Congress’s commission that issued the report inspires respect and suspicion at the same time. Where did the commission obtain this precise information about Saddam’s illegal operations? If the US Congress knows such details of Hussein’s machinations, it suggests that the USA probably purchased Iraq’s “black gold” itself. In addition, the report does not mention anything about illegal purchases of Iraqi oil by American and British oil companies. At the same time, two of the world's largest oil companies, Exon-Mobil (USA) and British Petroleum-Amoco (British-American), purchased Iraqi oil several times. Certainly, they operated through straw men, but this still does not change the fact of the matter. But it can’t be helped: Quod liced Jovi non liced bovi.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/06/04/42193.html

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