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 His extensive research is based on previously unpublished internal UN documents and discussions with UN decision makers (such as General Secretary Kofi Annan), Iraqi officials and politicians (including Saddam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.
A real look at what went wrong
By John R. Mathiason - March 19, 2007
Hans Von Sponeck was the last UN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator in Iraq under the Oil for Food Program before the US invasion. the job of coordinator is, under any circumstances, a thankless one and Von Sponeck ultimately resigned. Written by a competent career development assistance adminsistrator for the UN Development Programme, A Different Kind of War is a highly thoughtful appraisal of what Von Sponeck saw and, more importantly, what he learned. He describes the management problems of a poltical program with multiple and, ironically, uncoordinated parts. but more importantly, he questions the efficacy (and the morality) of using sanctions as a means for enforcing political decisions in the complex multilateral environment of the 21st century. The book should be required reading for anyone concerned with the future role of the UN -- as both the Security Council as the intergovernmental decision-maker and the international public sector as the implementor of those... read more