Interesting and controversial story link About Time; although, it conflicts with a documentary that I watched about Iraqís retaliation against Kurdish
villages after the U.S. backed away, left them hanging and vulnerable to Saddamís forces.
The documentary included footage made by an Iraqi soldier using a personal video recorder. It showed clouds of gas hanging over valley of Kurdish
villages, before the Iraqi troops went into those villages to inspect the damage. The Iraqi soldier clearly stated that the gas was used by Iraqi
forces against the Kurds in retaliation for their intent to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The documentary also showed men, women and children all dead as
a result of the gas attack.
Why do you think that Iraqi soldier would share that video footage and make those claims, if it were not true?
May I submit further information and story links?
: August 12, 2002
In making his case to remove Saddam Hussein, President George W. Bush has no more appreciative audience than Iraq's Kurds. Having been on the
receiving end of Saddam's chemical arsenal, the Kurds want the Iraqi dictator gone as much as the American president does. Yet, as U.S. officials
meet with Kurdish leaders this weekend, they encounter a potent ally whose cooperation cannot be taken for granted.
The Iraqi Kurds have good reason to want Saddam gone. In 1983 his forces rounded up hundreds of Barzani's male relatives, who have not been seen
since. Nothing, however, rivaled the scale of the campaign that Saddam initiated in 1987 against the Kurds. In three years the Iraqi regime
systematically destroyed every village in Kurdistan, more than 4,000 altogether. Hundreds were attacked with mustard gas and nerve agents. Altogether
upward of 100,000 Kurds, and possibly as many as 180,000, died from gas, forced deportation and mass execution between 1987 and 1990.
Precisely because of the brutality of Saddam's vengeance, neither Talabani nor Barzani wants to jeopardize the de facto armistice that exists between
the Kurdish enclave and the rest of Iraq unless there are assurances of U.S. seriousness and protection.
IRAQ's CRIME of GENOCIDE
: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds
The Iraqi counterattack began midmorning on 16 March with conventional air strikes and artillery shelling from the town of Sayed Sadeq. Most families
in Halabja had built primitive air-raid shelters near their homes. Some crowded into these, others into the government shelters, following the
standard air-raid drills they had been taught since the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. The first wave of air strikes appears to have included the use
of napalm or phosphorus. "It was different from the other bombs," according to one witness. "There was a huge sound, a huge flame, and it had very
destructive ability. If you touched one part of your body that had been burned, your hand burned also. It caused things to catch fire." The raids
continued unabated for several hours. "It was not just one raid, so you could stop and breathe before another raid started. It was just continuous
planes, coming and coming. Six planes would finish and another six would come."
Those outside in the streets could see clearly that these were Iraqi, not Iranian aircraft, since they flew low enough for their markings to be
legible. In the afternoon, at about 3:00, those who remained in the shelters became aware of an unusual smell. Like the villagers in the Balisan
Valley the previous spring, they compared it most often to sweet apples, or to perfume, or cucumbers, although one man says that it smelled "very
bad, like snake poison." No one needed to be told what the smell was.
The attack appeared to be concentrated in the northern sector of the city, well away from its military bases, although by now these had been
abandoned. In the shelters there was immediate panic and claustrophobia. Some tried to plug the cracks around the entrance with damp towels, or
pressed wet cloths to their faces, or set fires. In the end they had no alternative but to emerge into the streets. It was growing dark, and there
were no streetlights; the power had been blocked out the day before by artillery fire. In the dim light, the people of Halabja saw nightmarish scenes.
Dead bodies both human and animal littered the streets, huddled in doorways, slumped over the steering wheels of their cars. Survivors stumbled
around, laughing hysterically, before collapsing. Iranian soldiers flitted through the darkened streets, dressed in protective clothing, their faces
concealed by gas masks. Those who fled could barely see and felt a sensation "like needles in the eyes." Their urine was streaked with blood.
"The loss of Halabja is a regrettable thing," remarked Foreign Minister and Revolutionary Command Council member Tariq Aziz, adding, "Members of
Jalal al-Talabani's group are in the area, and these traitors collaborate with the Iranian enemy." As the news of Halabja spread throughout Iraq,
those who asked were told by Ba'athist officials that Iran had been responsible. A Kurdish student of English at Mosul University recalled his shock
and disbelief at the news; he and his fellow Kurds were convinced that Iraqi government forces had carried out the attack but dared not protest for
fear of arrest.
In the days following the mass gassing, the Iranian government, well aware of the implications, ferried in journalists from Teheran, including
foreigners. Their photographs, mainly of women, children, and elderly people huddled inertly in the streets or lying on their backs with mouths agape,
circulated widely, demonstrating eloquently that the great mass of the dead had been Kurdish civilian non-combatants. Yet the numbers have remained
elusive, with most reports continuing to cite Kurdish or Iranian estimates of at least 4,000 and as many as 7,000. The true figure was certainly in
excess of 3,200, which was the total number of individual names collected in the course of systematic interviews with survivors.
Former Iraqi army chief charged over chemical attacks on Kurds
Danish authorities have charged a former head of the Iraqi armed forces, Nizar al-Khazraji, with war crimes for chemical weapon attacks on Iraqi Kurds
in the 1980s, police said Tuesday. Iraqi forces also launched a number of chemical attacks in Kurdish areas in 1987/88. Amnesty International
estimated that some 5,000 people died as a result of the chemical gas attack on the town of Halabja in March 1988. During 1988, some 55,000 Kurds fled
to Turkey and a similar number to Iran. Although Kurds were the primary targets of these abuses, other groups living in the predominantly Kurdish
north, including Assyrian Christians, Turcomans and Arabs, were also victims.
Kurdish villages surrounded by landmines
: story link -
Food for thought,