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Re: Halabja

Dear All,

I am also grateful for Glen's copious research and thoughtful response,
as well as Colin's references on allegations of Iran's CW use in 
Halabja.  I make additional points to further debunk "fog of war" 
claims (which are standard response of GOI officials queried 
about Iraqi CW use) and to provoke additional discussion. 

While Halabja is the most well-known CW attack site, dozens of other civilian 
sites were also hit by Iraqi military forces using combinations of CW, and possibly 
other agents, between March 1987 and October 1988.  Human Rights Watch's 
"Genocide in Iraq" (Yale University Press, 1993) establishes, through eyewitness 
and Iraqi government documentation,  that at least 40 other villages were attacked 
in a calculated scheme to depopulate rural areas providing support to Kurdish rebels. 
 Research by Dr. Dlawer Ala'Aldeen ("Death Clouds: Saddam Hussein's Chemical 
War Against the Kurds" December 1991) and others, while not reflecting stringent
HRW methodology, still identify almost 300 sites of alleged unconventional weapons
attacks by Iraqi forces. The systematic use of CW agents by Iraqi forces, and 
motivations behind it, further bolster arguments against "fog of war" theories.

What little forensic evidence exists also seems to point squarely at the Iraqi regime as the 
source of CW exposures.   Soil samples from the Berzjini site near the Turkish border 
were confirmed by UK's Porton Down to contain mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin.  
The UN also documented use of the nerve agent tabun in Iran in its April 1988 report 
(referenced in Zanders publications highlighed by Colin). In addition to these potent weapons, 
Iraq is known to have weaponized many other chemical, biological and radiological agents 
at the time of the attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan.  To my knowledge, there have yet to be systematic 
forensic sampling at known or suspected attack sites, begging the question of whether other 
agents were used.  

Given current concerns about WMD use, preparedness and low-level exposures,
it would seem that this question is especially relevant.  And, to provoke additional discussion 
among CASI participants, one might suggest that reported rising incidences of cancer, congenital 
abnormalities and other disorders throughout Iraq and among Gulf War veterans result from 
something more than exposure to DU. 

Is it folly to imagine that a systematic environmental and health assessment could ever be 
conducted anywhere in Iraq?

Mike Amitay, Director 
Washington Kurdish Institute
605 G Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20024
202-484-0140 (tel)  202-484-0142 (fax)

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