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Case Studies in Sanctions and Terrorism: Iraq

Case Studies in Sanctions and Terrorism

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Case 80-2
US v. Iraq (1980–2003: Terrorism; Chemical and Nuclear Weapons)
See also Case 90-1 US and UN v. Iraq
(1990: Invasion of Kuwait, Impairment of military capability, destabilization)

| Chronology of Key Events | Goals of Sender Country | Response to Target Country |
Attitude of Other Countries | Economic Impact | Assessment |
Author's Summary | Bibliography |

Economic Impact

Observed Economic Statistics

Iraq: Trade with United States and world, 1979–82 (millions of dollars)

Year
Imports from United States
Total
imports
US percentage of total

1979
486
7,006
6.9
 
1980
797
13,642
5.8
 
1981
1,005
19,040
5.3
 
1982
931
19,936
4.7
 

Source: International Monetary Fund.
Calculated Economic Impact (annual cost to target country)

Reduction in US exports of certain chemicals and Nuclear weapons–relevant technologies; welfare loss estimated at 30 percent of face value of trade
Negligible
 
Reduction in US exports of engine cores, commercial jets; welfare loss estimated at 10 percent of face value of trade (given availability of alternate suppliers)
$22 million

 
 
Relative Magnitudes

Gross indicators of Iraqi economy
  Iraqi GNP (1979)
$35.2 billion
  Iraqi population (1979)
12.9 million
   
Annual effect of sanctions related to gross indicators
  Percentage of GNP
0.1
  Per capita
$1.71
   
Iraqi trade with US as percentage of total trade
  Exports (1979)
3
  Imports (1979)
7
   
Ratio of US GNP (1979: $2,418 billion) to Iraqi GNP
69

Assessment

David Flores
“It seems unlikely that the denial of exports to the four terrorist-supporting countries named by the Department of State will greatly influence them to halt their support of terrorism. Products comparable to the US exports, at least in the case of commercial aircraft, can usually be obtained from sources other than the United States.” (Flores 1981, 589)

Authors’ views
Despite congressional pressure and several instances of bad behavior by Iraq, Reagan and Bush administration increasingly concentrated on narrow sanctions to thwart Iraqi acquisition of chemical and nuclear weapons rather than broad-based sanctions in response to terrorist allegations.

Author's Summary

Overall assessment
Policy result, scaled from 1 (failed) to 4 (success)
2
Sanctions contribution, scaled from 1 (negative) to 4 (significant)
2
Success score (policy result times sanctions contribution) scaled from 1 (outright failure) to 16 (significant success)
4
 
Political and economic variables
Companion policies: J (covert), Q (quasi-military), R (regular military)
International cooperation with sender
1
International assistance to target: A (if present)
Cooperating international organizations
Sanction period (years)
23
Economic health and political stability of target, scaled from 1 (distressed) to 3 (strong)
2
Presanction relations between sender and target, scaled from 1 (antagonistic) to 3 (cordial)
2
Regime type of target, scaled from 1 (authoritarian) to 3 (democratic)
2
Type of sanction: X (export), M (import), F (financial)
X
Cost to sender, scaled from 1 (net gain) to 4 (major loss)
2


Bibliography

American Israel Public Affairs Committee. 1982. Iraq and International Terrorism. Washington (16 March).

Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. 1988. U.S. Economic Sanctions Imposed against Specific Foreign Countries 1979 to the Present. CRS Report for Congress. 9 September (revised). Washington.

Flores, David A. 1981. Export Controls and the US Effort to Combat International Terrorism. Law and Policy in International Business 13: 521–90.

Foreign Broadcasting Information Service. 1981. Daily Report: Middle East and North Africa. 3 September, E1.

General Accounting Office. 1980. Licensing for Export of Turbine Engine Cores to Italy for Use in Iraqi Frigates. Washington.

International Monetary Fund. 1982. Direction of Trade Statistics. Washington.

Potter, William C. 1982. Nuclear Power and Nonproliferation. Cambridge, MA: Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain.

US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export Administration. 1990. 1990 Annual Foreign Policy Report to the Congress. January. Washington.

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