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.

The Kurdish Globe - - NATIONAL -

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.

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