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Iraqi Kurdistan Genocide
Transcript of Iraqi Kurdistan Genocide
People to Know
By: Stephanie Morrison
The genocide that occurred in Iraqi Kurdistan was called the Al-Anfal campaign.
It was a military operation led by Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime in 1988. Saddam Hussein wanted the Kurdish people dead because he saw them as a potential threat to his regime.
The Campaign consisted of 8 stages that were carried out by Saddam Husseins' cousin Ali-Hassan al-Majid.
The campaign was carried out by chemical weapons, aerial attacks, mass murders (through a firing squad), starvation, willful neglect,gassing and concentration camps.
When genocides occur it is integral to know the area and the reasoning behind why the genocides occurred. Genocides do not just happen overnight, and so we need to examine the area and its past.
The genocide occurred because during the Iran Iraq war the Kurds started a rebellion to gain independence from the Iraq government.
Iraq saw them as the biggest threat to them not winning the war, so in 1988 they set out a campaign to get rid of the Kurdish rebels, and the rest of the population.
The genocide was able to happen because Iraq was already a very ultranationalist society, and they saw the Kurdish people as a threat to their country.
The genocide or campaign lasted until September of 1988 when the Kurdish rebels made an agreement of amnesty with the Iraqi government.
The entire genocide went unchecked by the global community. The UN did not step in at any point during the genocide.
The people responsible for these crimes were prosecuted in Iraq by the Iraqi Special Tribunal.
Iraqi Kurdistan is not actually a country. It is technically a part of Iraq, however the Kurdish people govern themselves. Iraqi Kurdistan is very unique in this sense because they have set up their own government ( a parliamentary system) and prime minister. The Kurdish people even have their own flag.
The history of Iraqi Kurdistan
After WWI the middle east was carved up with very little care to the people that were inhabiting the area. The Kurdish people and their lands were completely ignored by the Allies, because the land that they lived on was too valuable ( because of all the oil.)
Before the genocide of the Kurdish people, they had a civil war in Iraq. This lasted for 20 years between the Iraq government and the people of Kurdistan. The war broke out because Iraq wanted to rid itself of the Kurds. Eventually the UN was asked to come in, and there was a cease fire in 1970.
In 1974 the Autonomy Law was passed which secured the rights of the Kurdish people in Iraq. Unfortunately these laws were never actually implemented, and in 1988 under Saddam Husseins rule, the genocide occurred.
Kurdistan's regional government. (2011). What happend in the kurdish genocide. Retrieved from http://uk.krg.org/genocide/pages/page.aspx?lngnr=12&smap=130000&pnr=37
The Kurdish people have been around since 2400 BC.
They have never had a country of their own, but they have lived in the same area.
Because of the cultural differences between other countries that surround them, there have been many problems.
The Kurdish people have tried numerous times in their past to become an independent nation-state, but to no avail.
N/A. (n.d.). Brief history of kurdistan. Retrieved from Kurdistan's regional government. (2011). What happened in the kurdish genocide. Retrieved from http://uk.krg.org/genocide/pages/page.aspx?lngnr=12&smap=130000&pnr=37
Timeline of Events
February 23rd was the official start of the "campaign". The military attacked Yakhsamar, Sergalou and Bergalou. As they were attacking many people started to flee to the neighboring countries (mainly Iran.) Once they had overtaken the villages, they bulldozed the villages to the ground.
March 16th, 1988 is the infamous attack against Halabja. In this attack they used major chemical warfare. Planes flew overhead dropping mustard gas, hydrogen cyanide, napalm or phosphorous.
The Second Anfal
March 16, 1988
The Final Anfal
During this time there were Campaigns 4-7 which were very similar to the other Campaigns.
May 3- August 26 1988
The Third Anfal
August 26-September 6 1988
Benvenuto, J., Jacobs, R., & Lim, J. (2013). Al-anfal and the genocide of iraqi kurds, 1988. Retrieved from http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/center-study-genocide-conflict-resolution-and-human-rights/al-anfal-and-genocide-iraqi-kurds-1988
The estimated death count for the genocide is at least 100,000 Kurdish civilians. The average estimated number is 180,000.
About 4000 villages were destroyed, which is about 90 % of the Kurdish villages.
There are many instances in which people just went missing, and nobody knows what really happened to them. There were specifically a numerous amount of women and children that disappeared after the army had captured them.
The villages received chemical attacks, and in the initial attacks, thousands would die, and still thousands of others were injured and left to die.
People that had not died in the initial attack and had not escaped were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.
Men and boys were taken and were mass shot. (They specifically killed the men so that they wouldn't rise up and become an army.)
Halabja massacre March 16, 1988
February 23, 1988
People killed in this attack:
Civilians killed in this attack:
Human Rights Watch. (1993, July). Genocide in Iraq. Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/reports/1993/iraqanfal/ANFAL3.htm
Human Rights Watch. (1994, May 1). Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/reports/1994/05/01/iraq-s-crime-genocide-anfal-campaign-against-kurds
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Halabja poison gas attack. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halabja_poison_gas_attack
He was the leader behind the whole genocidal mission. It was under his authority that this atrocity happened.
He was the leader of Iraq
Saddam was caught by American troops, and sentenced to death by hanging for crimes against humanity.
Ali Hassan al-Majid
Is the cousin of Saddam Hussein
He was designated the task of implementing the genocide.
His nickname is "Chemical Ali" because of the extensive use of chemicals against the Kurdish people.
He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and was executed January 25, 2010.
March 22- April 1, 1988
During the second Anfal there were many more villages that were attacked with poisonous gasses. The amount of people who died in during this time is uncertain, but many people were trying to flee. The army continued to completely demolish the villages.
In these attacks, the troops would converge strategically so that there was only one route of escape, and then they would capture the people at specific check points.
Over 120 villages were demolished.
During this time was when they did a lot of the mass killing. During the other Anfals they found a few survivors to tell their stories, but after extensive search not a single male was found who had survived the camps and firing squads during this time period.
Why the Genocide Occurred
Flynn, B. (2013, March 26). Kurdistan regional government article. Retrieved from http://www.krg.org/a/d.aspx?l=12&a=47027
GDP Real Growth Rates: 1.5% (2008) 4.3% (2009)
Budget: 9.6 Billion (2010)
GDP- per capita (PPP) : $4,500 US (2009)
Life Expectancy: 70.25 years
AIDS/ HIV: The number of AIDS cases in Kurdistan, increased from 2 to 107 cases in 2012.
Main economic industries: Industry, (Natural gas / oil production.) Tourism , Housing.
Iraqi Kurdistan Today
Erbil, H. (2013, March 14). Aids cases in iraqi kuridstan. Retrieved from http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2013/3/state6922.htm
N/A. (N/A). Anfal campaign maps. Retrieved from http://www.rightsmaps.com/html/anfal1.html
Iraqi Kurdistan Today
*note- only watch for 3 min and 17 sec.*
Kurdistan Board of Investors. (2012). Kurdistan's economy. Retrieved from http://www.kurdistaninvestment.org/economy.html
In December of 2012 the plans for making a memorial in remembrance of the Kurdish genocide was unanimously approved.
Over the years there have been numerous ceremonies and events for the Kurdish people to reflect, and remember the atrocities that happened, and their family members who were victims of the genocide.
Iraqi Kurdistan is a much different place then the rest of Iraq. It is a very safe and pleasant place to live. The people have lots of freedom and there is peace and security in Kurdistan.
Guardian, T. (2012, December 13). Kurdish genocide memorial. Retrieved from http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=6552
CBS News. (N/A). Kurdistan report. Retrieved from: youtube.com