I was trying to find out what the charges against Saddam Hussein are, and I came across some information about the gassing of the Kurds in '88. I
had only heard that Saddam was responsible the chemical attacks, until now. Apparently, there is much debate about whether or not Saddam was the
culprit in the Kurdish genocide.
1990 Pentagon report
Iraqi Power and U.S. Security in the Middle East
Excerpt, Chapter 5
U.S. SECURITY AND IRAQI POWER
Introduction. Throughout the war the United States practiced a fairly benign policy toward Iraq. Although initially disapproving of the invasion,
Washington came slowly over to the side of Baghdad. Both wanted to restore the status quo ante to the Gulf and to reestablish the relative harmony
that prevailed there before Khomeini began threatening the regional balance of power. Khomenini’s revolutionary appeal was anathema to both Baghdad
and Washington; hence they wanted to get rid of him.
United by a common interest, Iraq and the United States restored diplomatic relations in 1984, and the United States began to actively assist Iraq in
ending the fighting. It mounted Operation Staunch, an attempt to stem the flow of arms to Iran. It also increased its purchases of Iraqi oil while
cutting back on Iranian oil purchases, and it urged its allies to do likewise. All this had the effect of repairing relations between the two
countries, which had been at a very low ebb.
In September 1988, however -- a month after the war had ended -- the State Department abruptly, and in what many viewed as a sensational manner,
condemned Iraq for allegedly using chemicals against its Kurdish population. The incident cannot be understood without some background of Iraq’s
relations with the Kurds. It is beyond the scope of this study to go deeply into this matter; suffice it to say that throughout the war Iraq
effectively faced two enemies -- Iran and the elements of its own Kurdish minority. Significant numbers of the Kurds had launched a revolt against
Baghdad and in the process teamed up with Tehran. As soon as the war with Iran ended, Iraq announced its determination to crush the Kurdish
insurrection. It sent Republican Guards to the Kurdish area, and in the course of this operation -- according to the U.S. State Department -- gas was
used, with the result that numerous Kurdish civilians were killed. The Iraqi government denied that any such gassing had occurred. Nonetheless,
Secretary of State Schultz stood by U.S. accusations, and the U.S. Congress, acting on its own, sought to impose economic sanctions on Baghdad as a
violator of the Kurds’ human rights.
Having looked at all of the evidence that was available to us, we find it impossible to confirm the State Department’s claim that gas was used in
. To begin with there were never any victims produced. International relief organizations who examined the Kurds -- in Turkey where
they had gone for asylum -- failed to discover any. Nor were there ever any found inside Iraq. The claim rests solely on testimony of the Kurds who
had crossed the border into Turkey, where they were interviewed by staffers of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
It appears that in seeking to punish Iraq, the Congress was influenced by another incident that occurred five months earlier in another Iraqi-Kurdish
city, Halabjah. In March 1988, the Kurds at Halabjah were bombarded with chemical weapons, producing a great many deaths. Photographs of the Kurdish
victims were widely disseminated in the international media. Iraq was blamed for the Halabjah attack, even though it was subsequently brought out
that Iran too had used chemicals in this operation, and it seemed likely that it was the Iranian bombardment that had actually killed the
Thus, in our view, the Congress acted more on the basis of emotionalism than factual information, and without sufficient thought for the adverse
diplomatic effects of its action. As a result of the outcome of the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq is now the most powerful state in the Persian Gulf, an area in
which we have vital interests. To maintain an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Gulf to the West, we need to develop good working relations with all
of the Gulf states, and particularly with Iraq, the strongest.
I'm researching this further and will post what I find. If, however, this is the case, I can't figure out what we are arresting Saddam for. The
only information I could find on the charges against him, pointed to war crimes from the mass murder of thousands of Kurdish civilians with chemical
Now I'm really confused???
[Edited on 14-12-2003 by jezebel]