Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Saddam was taking in $2,000,000,000 a year in illicit oil sales.

Saddam Hussein raked in $2 billion a year in a sanctions-busting ploy which kept the former Iraqi president in luxury and the dilapidated oil sector alive, an Iraqi oil industry executive said on Tuesday.

In the eyes of the United States, Iraq was smuggling 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to Syria and Turkey illegally to fill Saddam's coffers and purchase components for banned weapons of mass destruction.

But for many in Iraq, the former Oil Minister Amir Muhammed Rasheed was conducting "barter trade" outside United Nations supervision, helping to generate cash to buy equipment for the country's cash-starved oil network, the executive said.

"I considered it a patriotic duty to break the embargo. It was Amir Rasheed's greatest achievement," the executive, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.

"Some of the money went to the presidential account to build palaces and buy luxury cars for Saddam's cronies. But the remainder was used for medicine, spare parts and equipment."

This is still a fraction of the amount he could have made had he disarmed and proved that he no longer sought WMD.

< email | 5/20/2003 11:02:00 AM | link

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