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Tehran Denounces Iraqi Chemical Weapons Use
[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 23 - July 25, 1988
Ludwig De Braeckeleer (ludwig)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-26 05:39 (KST)   

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Sunday, July 25, 1988

"I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes."
--Winston Churchill (1)

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Backed by tanks and airplanes, Iraqi troops pushed about 60 kilometers inside Iranian territory. Several thousand Iranian soldiers were captured. Then almost immediately, the Iraqis surprisingly withdrew from Iranian territory.

Tehran media reported that the Iraqi army had used chemical weapons in the attack. In a statement read on Tehran radio on Saturday, Ayatollah Khomeini denounced the chemical bombings of Halabja.

Earlier, in March, Iraq allegedly killed several thousand people when it used mustard gas in an attack at Halabja, a Kurdish city located in an Iranian-held section of Iraq. Nerve agents (Sarin, Tabun and VX) were also used in the attack. A blood agent may also have been used. (Human Rights Watch has since qualified the attack as an act of genocide.)

Iraqi Special Tribunal

Saddam Hussein was not charged for the events related to the Halabja attacks at the Iraqi Special Tribunal (set up in 2004). There is circumstantial evidence that Saddam had personally authorized the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds. It is estimated that 30,000 Kurds died from these weapons during the eight-year-long war.

Ali Hasan al-Majid, better known as Chemical Ali, also escaped the charge of crime against humanity for his direct role in the chemical attacks of Halabja.

Since the Reagan administration had removed Iraq from the State Department list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, US companies were allowed to export chemical precursors to the Saddam regime.

For instance, US Companies Alcolac International and Philips provided thiodiglycol, a precursor of mustard gas. On March 12, 2008, the Iraqi government announced that it would take legal actions against the suppliers of chemical used in the Halabja attacks. Both Alcolac International and Philips have been reorganized.

Back to the Present

Despite various letters of complaint [see the last two articles], the Libya page of the Web site of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office still alleges erroneously that Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah was declared "not proven" while he was in fact declared not guilty.
1. In 1920, the Arab and Kurdish people of Mesopotamia revolted against the British occupation. British troops took heavy losses. At the time of the insurrection, Winston Churchill was serving as the British Empire Colonial Secretary. Churchill personally authorized the use of chemical agents, mostly mustard gas, on the resistors.

Mostly concerned with the cost of suppressing the insurrection, Churchill was confident that chemical weapons could be inexpensively employed against the Iraqi resistance. The records regarding Churchill's proposal were not released until the 1980s.


Ludwig De Braeckeleer has a Ph.D. in nuclear sciences. Ludwig teaches physics and international humanitarian law. He blogs on "The GaiaPost."
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ludwig De Braeckeleer

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