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 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 His extensive research is based on previously unpublished internal UN documents and discussions with UN decision makers (such as General Secretary Kofi Annan), Iraqi officials and politicians (including Saddam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.
H. C. von Sponeck worked for the United Nations for more than thirty years and in 1998 was appointed UN Assistant Secretary General. During his service he worked for the UN Development program in Ghana, Turkey, Botswana, Pakistan and India. Since his resignation from the UN he has served as a member of the board of trustees of various non-government organizations in Switzerland, Italy and the US, as an adviser for multilateral issues, and as a consultant for personnel development in international organizations.