If Iraq were allowed to sell oil on the open market, don't you think there would be a harmful collapse in prices? Isn't Iraq only second to Saudi Arabia in the amount of oil it has? You can't buy the administration's line about preventing Saddam from acquiring equipment to build weapons of mass destruction. This may be a part of the sanctions policy, but at most a minor one. You think keeping the embargo in place has NOTHING to do with the current low price/barrel? I know this sounds sinister (that 6-7,000 children must die a month to keep oil prices stable) but I think this may part of the reason for the sanctions. One of the main reasons Russia is having problems is because of low prices, and there has been near panic about Primakov and crew in the media and elite circles (calling him a "spymaster" and a Communist). Elites must be just as nervous about Saudi Arabia where there are anti-American Islamic fundamentalist challenges to the monarchy that could gain even more prestige in the public eye if the country starts suffering from a further price falls. The political instability argument is a legitimate one.
Damon Mac Fodge