Efforts for recognition of Kurdish genocide by US Congress
The former US Ambassador’s spouse promises to work on the initiative to recognize the Kurdish genocide at the U.S. Congress.
Cheryl Bernard is a researcher with the RAND Corporation and President of ARCH International, which is a non-profit research and advocacy organization. She is a widely published novelist and author on topics relating to sociology, women in nation-building, and humanitarian aid. Bernard is the spouse of the former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad and has reportedly promised the ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and families of Halabja, as well as Anfal victims to work on the recognition of the genocide against Kurds at the U.S. Congress.
Fallah Mustafa Bakir, Minster of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations believes that raising such an issue at the U.S. Congress and working on its recognition is very important, despite the fact that the United Stated chose to keep silent when the catastrophe happened.
According to Aram Ahmed, KRG Minister of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, Bernard and an accompanying delegation visited the Ministry, and later on visited Halabja. They promised to work on recognition of the Kurdish genocide at the U.S Congress. The members of the delegation were experts on ethnic cleansing and genocide.
According to Minister Mustafa, although U.S’s stance towards the genocide was not pleasing for Kurds in the past, but after the Kurdish revolution of 1991 and especially following the Iraq war of 2003, a number of congressmen have expressed their friendship and empathy towards Kurds by promising that such things will never be allowed to reoccur.
The chemical attacks on Halabja were used as justification for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the U.S. administration against Saddam Hussein and his Baathist regime. When Collin Powel was the U.S. Secretary of State during President’s George W Bush’s period in office, Powel visited Halabja. US Consul, a number of the country’s congressmen and other official have also visited the city to witness the impacts of the chemical attack on the place and its people.
Luqman Abdulqadir, Head of Halabja Chemical Attack Victims Association believes that everyone who visits Halabja understands what has happened and what Kurds have endured.
It is expected that a Kurdish delegation consisting of government officials and victims of Halabja chemical attack will visit the U.S. to document the incident through sharing their narrative of history. The visit is planned following the anniversaries of Halabja and Anfal on March 16th and April 14th, respectively.
U.S. is perceived as a superpower globally, and many believe U.S. has contributed to the recognition of Kurdish genocide in an indirect way through establishing the Iraqi Supreme Criminal Court. Furthermore, due to the country’s power and authority in the world, it has considerable influence on the United Nation’s resolutions, and within the international community, which is why the formal recognition of the Kurdish genocide by U.S is an important step forward. The Norwegian, Swedish and recently the British parliament have officially recognized the genocide against Kurds. The next steps are generally accepted to be the U.S. Congress and later the Parliament of the European Union.
Zalmay Khalilzad, Cheryl Benard and John Ruggie pose for a photo at the UNA-USA 50th Annual Global Leadership Awards Gala, The Waldorf, Astoria, NYC, October 01, 2008.