Oil for food, or to support Saddam's regime?
What many have long suspected is, it seems, likely to be somewhat nearer to being proved. The scheme whereby Iraq could sell some oil, despite the sanctions placed on it subsequent to the 1991 Gulf War, in order to fund the purchase of food and medicine to relieve the suffereing of ordinary Iraqis was diverted by various means into a way of propping up the regime by siphoning off funds in the form of bribes or illegal sales of oil.
The UN Security Council has now announced approval for an inquiry into these allegations of corruption in what was a UN-run scheme. This is very welcome, but I wonder if it is doing this only because the evidence now coming to light has made its earlier inaction increasingly untenable. The presence of Paul Volcker as head of the investigative panel will, I hope, ensure that the inquiry is conducted in a rigorous, but fair, way so that whatever findings it comes up with can be judlged as credible.