Thursday, December 27, 2007
BAQUBA, Dec 27 (IPS) - The Iraqi government announcement that monthly food rations will be cut by half has left many Iraqis asking how they can survive.
By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail
"The government also wants to reduce the number of people depending on the rationing system by five million by June 2008.
Iraq's food rations system was introduced by the Saddam Hussein government in 1991 in response to the UN economic sanctions. Families were allotted basic foodstuffs monthly because the Iraqi Dinar and the economy collapsed.
The sanctions, imposed after Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait, were described as "genocidal" by Denis Halliday, then UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq. Halliday quit his post in protest against the U.S.-backed sanctions.
The sanctions killed half a million Iraqi children, and as many adults, according to the UN. They brought malnutrition, disease, and lack of medicines. Iraqis became nearly completely reliant on food rations for survival. The programme has continued into the U.S.-led occupation.
But now the U.S.-backed Iraqi government has announced it will halve the essential items in the ration because of "insufficient funds and spiralling inflation."....."