Ex-UN official slams Security Council
By Shaker Al Taee and Hachem Kamel
Gulf News - January 10, 2003
Denis Halliday, former United Nations Assistant Secretary General,
yesterday said that the sanctions imposed on Iraq since 1990 have
Halliday, who resigned as the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad in
1998, told Gulf News in an exclusive interview here yesterday that the
Security Council "is a body out of control and corrupted by the U.S."
Here is the full text of the interview:
[Q] Do you think the forthcoming Blix report to the Security Council on
alleged Iraq's weapons of mass destruction will be a turning point in the
[A] I think if we are overly optimistic about this matter. He (Blix) will
give us an honest appraisal that hopefully will show that there is no
capacity of producing weapons of mass destruction capacity in this
country. However, I fear that many are going to be disappointed if that
does not put an end to the economic sanctions and return of the Iraqi
people to their ordinary life.
We cannot continue to punish the Iraqi people for the decisions made by
their government many years ago. This is outrageous. The population of
this country now is 16 per cent less than what it was 12 years ago.
Why are they punishing the children, who are not responsible for what had
happened to Kuwait or anything else? We have got to stop that.
If Blix does an honest job, we have got to make sure that the UN respects
his decision and the Security Council lifts the embargo, and we fully
welcome Iraq back to the international community.
[Q] In case an attack is launched, do you think that dropping food for
the Iraqi people would enough to save their lives?
[A] I have no faith in the U.S. whatsoever in terms of the humanitarian
consequences of this unfair war. They supposedly provided foodstuff to
the Afghani refugees, but they ended up dropping military packages on
They don't seem to understand that the Iraqi government has been feeding
its 27 million people everyday for years. This is a huge operation in the
world, and nobody can do this, except the Iraqi government. They are
extremely efficient. The U.S. military has no idea of what we are talking
about. This is not something that requires food drops. This is a massive
operation of international effort and the delivery of food to this
country should be done through ships every week every month.
We are facing an absolute catastrophe if the U.S. goes ahead with its war
plans, and if there is a war and if food supplies ran out, which of
course they will in three of four months. We would have starvation in
this country very quickly. You know if they do destroy the water systems
like they did before, we will have outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and
dysentery, which are real killers, particularly for children.
[Q] Do you still consider the oil- for-food-programme a "fiasco"?
[A] I think we have treated the Iraqis as refugees in their own country,
feeding them with their own money. It is an outrageous thing. The Iraqis
have now sold, I believe, $60 billion worth of oil under this programme.
However, they have received less than $20 billion worth of food,
medicines, and basic equipment and utilities as water, agriculture,
education and healthcare.
Some $40 billion have disappeared. Where has all this amount gone? It has
gone into Kuwait, to compensation, to pay for Unscom, Unmovic, and
military inspections. It has gone to finance the UN presence in this
country with its 4,500 personnel. It is paying for the new military
inspections. It is paying for somebody's establishment in New York, Paris
and Rome. It is ridiculous!
The Iraqi people, who have great difficulties because of lack of money
for sophisticated drugs or equipment, are financing large part of the UN
system. It is a crime, a financial crime you might say being imposed on
the Iraqi people.
[Q] You have been quoted as saying that the Security Council is corrupt,
how do you see its role in the future?
[A] I have said that the Security Council has been corrupted by its
permanent members particularly by the U.S. and Britain in connection with
Iraq. There are many other issues we can talk about. We have resolutions
in the council, which have impacts, and those impacts are incompatible
with the articles 1 and 2 of the UN Charter, incompatible with human
They are in fact incompatible with the Geneva Convention. Sanctions
themselves are designed to target civilians, though the Geneva
Conventions are designed to protect civilians. The whole thing is wrong.
We need massive reforms of the UN Security Council.
We need to remove the permanent membership issue, or at least expand it
so that the South as opposed to the North is properly represented. I have
a lot to say about the United Nations and its lost credibility. But I
think the Iraqi experience under UN auspices is so incredibly bad, in my
view genocidal, that the UN has done irreparable damage to itself.