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Struggle for Iraq
Click on the events below to read about Iraq's history
Saddam's rise:
Iran-Iraq war:
Gulf War:
1990 - 1991
Second war:
Young activist
Hardline deputy
War breaks out
Israeli bombing
Chemical warfare
Western support
Truce and debt
Kuwait invasion
Desert Storm
Scud missiles
Civilian casualties
Ground war
Iraqi ceasefire
After the war
No-fly zones
Desert Fox
Inspectors barred
US-led invasion
Saddam captured
Iraq in turmoil
Trial of Saddam
OIL-FOR-FOOD, 1991-2002

Oil-for-Food was introduced by the UN to counter the impact of economic sanctions on the people of Iraq.

The sanctions came on top of damage to the country's infrastructure from the war and the effect has been devastating.

But it has been difficult to ascertain how much sanctions are responsible for the poverty and deprivation Iraqis have suffered since the Gulf War.

Unicef estimated in 1999 that child mortality in Iraq had doubled since before the Gulf War.

But reports of Iraqi children dying in poorly equipped hospitals have also been manipulated to powerful effect by Saddam Hussein.

It became clear that the elite had access to luxuries and Iraqi military spending remained high.

In 1991 the UN first offered to allow Iraq to sell a small amount of oil in return for humanitarian supplies. But it was not until the offer was increased to $2bn in 1995 that Saddam Hussein accepted.

The programme meant ordinary Iraqis had access to monthly basic food rations, although the first shipments of food did not arrive until March 1997.

In 1998, the co-ordinator of the programme, Denis Halliday, resigned, saying sanctions were bankrupt as a concept and damaged innocent people.

And his successor, Hans von Sponeck, quit his post in 2000, saying sanctions had created "a true human tragedy".

In 1999 the ceiling on the amount of oil Iraq can export was completely lifted, although strict controls remain on imports of "dual use" items which could potentially be used in the manufacture of prohibited weapons.

Iraqi women mourning children who they say died because of sanctions
Iraqi women mourn their children

An Iraqi woman carrying her monthly food ration

Oil-for-Food has given Iraqis
access to basic rations


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