Iraq Sanctions 1990-2003, Failure.
by, Jun 14 2012 at 04:12 AM (387 Views)
Prolonged sanctions levied against Iraq were expected to cripple Saddam’s regime or force compliance with UN mandates. This did not occur. Prior to the sanctions, Iraq imported 3.8 million tons of wheat annually. The sanctions imposed were expected to force Saddam to acquiesce, due to his reliance on imports of food. Saddam utilized these sanctions to create a protected market for domestic producers and import substitutes. With the predominance of agriculture having taken place in the central region where Saddam enjoyed the most support form the Baath Party, his supporters most benefited from the lack of imports.
While Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) is counterproductive to broader development goals, it is critical if there is a lack of an alternative. Iraq responded to the sanctions of the International Community in stages. First, Hussein gained control over agricultural output, putting control over these products in the hands of the Central Government. By 1992, the government made it known that merchants must comply with the execution of roughly 40 that were overcharging. Stage 2 consisted of increasing control over the monetary system. Dinar $ 25 notes were not longer valid. The purpose was to harm the Kurds in the North, who held over 1.3 billion of these notes. Increased control over agriculture and the monetary system allowed the Saddam regime to consolidate power and legitimacy.
While the Oil embargo denied Iraq its principle source of foreign trade, ISI took effect with success. Eventually, international consensus dissipated and Iraq was able to again export oil. Despite the Iraqi media speaking of the negative impacts of the sanctions, this was to espouse international sympathy. The fact is the sanctions failed.