UN Chapter 7 and Iraq

Almost all of the world’s countries have faced critical problems hastening their development and growth, yet many of them overcame such issues and nevertheless grew significantly. However, not all citizens are aware of the existence of such issues and further their causes. There are three main reasons behind the lack of awareness in such issues: first, the problems are not well communicated to the public, second, there is a general lack of interest in country problems, and third, the citizens are not closely affected by such problems.

Iraq was put under UN Chapter 7 Sanctions; I personally did not know in details what Chapter 7 is, what the sequences are and how it affected Iraq. One day I was wondering about the process of financial transactions from- and-to Iraq; I asked my father and he explained the whole issue. It wasn’t until that day that I finally started to realize what chapter 7 meant.

It is known that if a country breaks international laws, it will suffer the consequences of such actions. Iraq suffered from Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991. However, do we as Iraqis know what these consequences were? How did it affectIraq in the past? How long did Iraq suffer from these consequences?

Chapter 7 and the reason behind its imposition on Iraq:

Chapter 7 represents the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations Security Council, which was first imposed on Iraq on August 6, 1990. The sanctions were imposed due to Iraq’s violation of international laws and its decision to invade Kuwait.  The sanctions would have been removed if Iraq had met the three following conditions: to withdraw from Kuwait, to pay for damages caused in Kuwait (reparations of $52 bn), and to prevent and eliminate any weapons of mass destruction.

The sanctions were a near-total financial and trade embargo, with the exception of medicine and food. The sanctions were partially removed after 2003 (removal of Saddam Hussein’s power) yet the legal form of it continued till early July.

Limitations on imports:

The UN Sanctions Committee did not issue a list of the goods that were not to be imported to Iraq; the imports were evaluated on a case by case basis. The UN evaluated imported items applications. On the other side, they allowed medicine, food and all products necessary for civilian needs.

Limitations on exports (The Oil for Food Program):

This program was initiated by the UN Security Council in 1995 to fulfill the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people, and it was funded by the revenue from Iraqi oil exports.

In the beginning, Iraq was only allowed to sell $2 bn worth of oil every six months. However, in 1998, the amount was raised to $5.26 bn every six months.

Finally, the limitation on oil exports was removed in 1998.

Removal of Chapter 7 and its possible impacts:

The sanctions imposed on Iraq by the United Nations Security Council were removed in early July 2013. Therefore, Iraq was removed from Chapter 7 regulations to Chapter 6 regulations.

UN Chapter 6 is mainly there to continue to solve the outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait, which include the issue of the remaining compensations payments ($11 bn), missing people and missing Kuwait archives during Iraqi occupation.

It is believed that the removal of Iraq from the UN Chapter 7 regulation will affect Iraq positively because it will become more independent in terms of controlling money, importing weapons, and being fully recognized as a sovereign country.

By: Jwan Kittani (Slemani)