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Excellent article...I didn't realize you worked for the UN...you must have many interesting perspectives on all this (and more).
(And by the way, welcome back ask!)
"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
It has been very frustrating to see the misdirected criticism. Yes, the OFF enabled Saddam to siphon off enormous resources, but as outlined above, this was not the UN's responsibility. It was not staff that failed, it was the respective national delegations (some particular ones) that prevented the UN from fully implementing the sanctions.
In the comments over at BT, Oui posted this link to a Kos-entry early November. I had missed it then, but it is an excellent piece, which unfortunately did not get much attention.
Anyway, time to wrap up here in the office - it's weekend!
In a global economy, distinctions between "American" or "French" companies are essentially a joke. The Volcker report paints a picture of layer upon layer of front companies and cut-outs, off-shore subsidiaries and hastily slapped together strategic partnerships: "Iraq's preference for French companies and the limited number of recipients in France for Iraqi crude oil led certain companies to pass themselves off ... as being French-based." The report cites a 1998 letter from a French official to an Iraqi official based in Paris, in which he expressed "his concerns and his government's concerns ... regarding the increase in British and American companies as well as others who exploit the decision of the Iraqi leadership in providing priority to conducting business with French companies by signing contracts with Iraq through their offices in France."
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