“Iraq under Maliki : Danger of new genocide”
2013 – YEAR OF INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION OF HALABJA / ANFAL
By Roni Alasor / Lorin Sarkisian – Ararat News – 18.3.2013 – On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Halabja poison gas attack, Struan Stevenson, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) underlines that Iraq governed by such politicians as Nouri Al-Maliki, is still under the danger of a new genocide.
Talking to Ararat News (ANP) on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Halabja poison gas attack, Struan Stevenson, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) underlines that Iraq governed by such politicians as Nouri Al-Maliki, is still under the danger of a new genocide.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the gas poisoning of the Kurdish population in the city of Halabja in Kurdistan Region in Iraq, different European governments debate and recognize the Halabja poison gas attack as Genocide perpetrated by the Baath regime and Saddam Hussein. The British Parliament has already recognized it as Genocide. The topic is also on the agenda of parliaments in the Netherlands, Sweden and Canada. Struan Stevenson, Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with Iraq analyzes the importance of the remembrance of Halabja not only from historical point of view, but for the future of Kurdistan and the whole region. “In current Iraq, under the rule of Prime Minister Maliki, the danger of a genocide happening again is present and therefore it is even more important now to keep the remembrance of Halabja alive”, affirms the Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Stevenson.
“There is a famous saying that those who don’t learn the lessons of history will simply repeat them. If we don’t learn the lessons of the Anfal, of the Genocide against the Kurds, we will see it happening again. And this is the last thing we want to happen”, says MEP Stevenson. For the Chair of the Delegation for EP-Iraq relations, the Baath party had clear and well organised plan against the Kurdish population: “As we all know and take interest in these things, Anfal happened in 1986-1989, but the worst of massacres took place in Kurdistan in 1988. This was an arranged genocide organised by the Baath party and Saddam and over 180 000 people have been murdered, killed, executions and use of Sarin gaz in Halabja… We have seen the worst of human rights abuse taking place in this period and it was clearly a concerted effort by Saddam and the Baath party to wipe out the Kurds. Hundreds of villages were erased of the ground, were completely destroyed. Most churches, schools, hospitals devasted, women children killed, not only men. And this is something unacceptable in the history of our mankind and must never be repeated”. However, MEP Stevenson sees signs of policies directed against minorities and religious fractions even today in Iraq: “I hate to see this. I have taken great interest in what is happening with the asylum seekers and refugees in the camp Liberty. We have intelligence now that the mortar attack in camp Liberty that happened on the 9th February 2013 when forty mortar bombs were fired in the middle of the night at the area where most people were sleeping in a tiny camp that contains 3 500 people, this causes 7 deaths and over a hundred horrible injuries and we have intelligence now that would seem to indicate that the whole operation was planned by the Iranians, by Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei himself with the help and coordination of the Iraqi authorities…It seems from the intelligence that we are getting inside Iran that it was cooperation between Iraqis and Iranians. Unless people have learned the lessons from the Anfal and what happened there and the horrid story of the genocide that happened there, how they can perpetrate this new kind of massacre, the bombings that take place almost in a daily basis…There a secret prisons, women being raped in prisons, people disappearing. It seems that nobody has learned lessons from Anfal. We have to stop this oppression and genocide in Kurdistan. It’s necessary that the whole of the European parliament learns from these lessons”.
The city of Halabja, situated 81 km south east of Sulaimaniyah and 364 km north east of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, was subjected to an airborne chemical weapon attack in March 1988 by the former Iraqi regime. On March 16, 1988 Iraqi jets swooped over Halabja and sprayed it with a cocktail of mustard gas and the nerve agents Tabun, Sarin and VX for five hours. The death toll was widely estimated at 5,000, with more than 7,000 injuries. The Iraqi Supreme Criminal Court sentenced Saddam Husein’s cousin, Ali Hasan Majid notoriously known as “chemical Ali” to death for ordering the chemical attack.