At a time when the international community is again threatening some countries with sanctions, this book comes as a warning. It should be mandatory reading for all those politicians and their foreign-policy advisors who continue to consider sanctions an effective form of policy. The author not only offers us a critical, lucid, and well-informed survey of political developments in Iraq, but also a heart-rending account of the suffering of the Iraqi people. It was they who bore the brunt of the 13-year's sanctions, while the members of Saddam's regime continued to live in luxury and accumulate huge fortunes. H.-C. von Sponeck, the former "UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq", explores the UN's sanction policies against Iraq, their consequences, and the domestic conditions during this period. His extensive research is based on previously unpublished internal UN documents and discussions with UN decision makers (such as General Secretary Kofi Annan), Iraqi officials and politicians (including Saddam Hussein), and ordinary Iraqis. The author's findings question who really benefited from the program, what role the UN Security Council and its various member states played, and whether there were then and are today alternatives to the UN's Iraq policies.
"In this sober and impressive study, Hans Graf Sponeck reminds us of the provisions of the Hague Convention of 1907 that bar any penalty inflicted on people for actions for which they are not responsible, an elementary moral principle and for the past century, a binding obligation on all states. In his meticulous and carefully reasoned review, he demonstrates with painful care and precision that the UN Security Council, but particularly the US and UK, radically violated these minimal conditions of civilized behavior in their sanctions program directed against the tortured population of Iraq, including the oil for food program that he valiantly tried to direct in a humane manner, struggling against their cruel and unremitting interference. It is necessary reading, with crucial lessons for the immediate future as well. And immensely sad". - Noam Chomsky "This is one of the most important books I can remember. Hans von Sponeck, one of the UN's most senior and respected officials, who resigned rather than carry out inhuman US Administration-driven policies against the ordinary people of Iraq, has blown the whistle on one of the greatest acts of aggression: the medieval siege of Iraq. Read this superb book and you will understand the danger the world faces from an imperialist power." - John Pilger