U. S. political specialist: Saddam Hussein attacked the Kurds many times
In a special program broadcasted on VOA, the US Political Specialist, Mika Amitay, said the former Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, and his regime not only sought to kill Kurds by means of the Anfal campaign, they also attacked people with chemical weapons.
He said Saddam Hussein’s regime attacked Kurds using chemical weapons over 200 times with a view to crushing the Kurdish uprising.
“People around the world are only aware of the attacks Saddam made on Halabja in which 5 000 people died, but actually many other attacks were made on Kurds,” he said.
The official start and finish dates of the Anfal campaign which Saddam Hussein's regime carried out against the large Kurdish population in northern Iraq are February 23 and September 6, 1988, but the campaign is often thought to have lasted from March 1987 until May 1989. The purpose of the campaign was ostensibly to reassert Iraqi control over the area; however, the real goal was to permanently eliminate the Kurdish problem.
As early as April 1987, the Iraqis used chemical weapons to remove Kurds from their villages in northern Iraq. It is estimated that chemical weapons were used on approximately 40 Kurdish villages, with the largest of these attacks occurring on March 16, 1988 against the Kurdish town of Halabja.
Beginning on the morning of March 16, 1988 and continuing through the night, the Iraqis rained down volley after volley of bombs on Halabja filled with a deadly mixture of mustard gas and nerve agents. The immediate effects of the chemicals included blindness, vomiting, blisters, convulsions and asphyxiation. Approximately 5 000 women, men and children died within days of the attacks. Long-term effects included permanent blindness, cancer and birth defects. An estimated 10 000 survivors now live with disfigurement and sicknesses caused by the chemical weapons.
Saddam Hussein's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, was directly in charge of the chemical attacks against the Kurds, earning him the nickname "Chemical Ali."