ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Statistics regarding the number of child deaths during UN-imposed sanctions in Iraq in the 1990s were fabricated by Saddam Hussein’s government, according to researchers in London.
When the United States made clear their intentions to liberate Iraq from Hussein’s reign in the 2000s, the Iraqi dictator attempted to oppose the move by citing a controversial statistic.
Hussein claimed 500,000 children had died as a result of sanctions imposed on Baghdad by the UN after Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait in 1991.
The embargo was meant to pressure the Iraqi dictator to surrender his alleged stash of chemical weapons, including biological, as well as missiles by limiting non-essential imports.
However, the Iraqi government provided false information to the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF), researchers said in a report published by the British Medical Journal of Global Health.
“The government of Iraq cleverly manipulated survey data to fool the international community,” the report said.
The report also described the figure of 500,000 child deaths as “a massive fraud.”
Researchers pointed to the lasting influence of the falsified statistic which “received considerable attention and was widely believed to be true.”
“The more mundane truth that has emerged has received much less attention than the original spectacular lie,” researchers who wrote the report said.
Several reports in the 1990s suggested the statistics of child deaths “were marred by poor or inadequate methodology.”
Some reports even proposed the figures appeared to include children who died as a result of the Iraqi government’s oppression of Kurds in the late 1980s.
Editing by G.H. Renaud