SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) – 29th Anniversary of “Anfal” Massacre Against Kurds

Basnews English – 14/04/2017 – Brutality is always awful , but it looks even more awful when a government starts to become brutal towards its own people. This is what the Iraqi Baathist regime did at the time of Saddam Hussein’s rule; it conducted horrific operations of massacres against the Kurdish people and demolished thousands of Kurdish-inhabited villages in northern Iraq. Anfal genocidal operation was one of  the most barbaric operations prosecuted against the Kurdish population.

The Anfal campaign in 1988 was a genocidal military operation led by Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime against the ethnic Kurdish population of northern Iraq. During the Iran-Iraq war, which lasted from 1980 to 1988, Kurds were perceived as an irredentist and as a threat to the Iraqi regime. Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam Hussein’s cousin and the Defence Minister of Iraq at the time, was designated by Saddam Hussein for the task of eliminating this perceived threat.

Anfal was the brutal counterinsurgency campaign waged by Ali Hassan al-Majid against the Kurds of northern Iraq. The operation was accomplished through eight separate stages which lasted from February until September 1988 and the most infamous crime was on March 16, 1988, which was the deadly chemical  attack on the Kurdish densely populated town of Halabja, near the Iranian border which led to the murder of over 5,000 civilians  and wounding thousands more which are still dying from health complications.

The chemical attack was only one of many modes of destruction, as Anfal intended to definitively cleanse the region through mass displacement and deportations. Iraqi security forces rounded up the civilians into concentration camps, the most notorious of which was Topzawa camp near the city of Kirkuk. Adult males and teenage boys were singled out from the camps for mass execution, while many children, women, and the elderly were left to die of disease and eminent starvation.

The Anfal assault, which devastated the presence of Kurds in Iraq, resulted in the murdering and disappearance of nearly 190,000 Kurdish people and it demolished an estimated 4,000 Kurdish villages through the use of chemical weapons, aerial attacks, and a host of other modes of destruction.

Since 2003, the Iraqi Special Tribunal convicted many of the operation’s leaders with crimes against humanity, genocide, and premeditated murder. Following the invasion of Iraq, the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal was established to adjudicate the transgressions of the Baathist regime. It focused on genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other criminal acts. Ali Hasan al-Majid was prosecuted for his direct role, and was found guilty of genocide by the Tribunal and executed in January 2010.