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RE: Halabja

Message text written by "John Smith"
>Sir Terence has set the record straight on one issue of fact, but he has
used my inaccuracy to recreate some of the confusion about who carried out
the attack on Halabja, an important issue which had been substantially
settled by Glen's observations.

It is interesting what Sir Terence does and does not say in his brief
posting. He refers to the "two conflicting version of events", as if
responsibility for Halabja is an open question.>

Please read again what I wrote:

" Leaving aside the enormous difficulties of verifying at the time
either of the two conflicting versions of events, as they have been related
on this List,"

You have overlooked the three little words "at the time" and created your
own confusion! I was referring to the genuine difficulty all of us had in
the aftermath of Halabja of verifying what had happened. Halabja was
completely out of bounds to independent observers and while the indications
pointed to Iraqi responsibility, there were also reports circulating of
Iranian use of cyanide shells. Both these versions were aired on this List
recently. I no longer recall when reliable evidence of Iraqi responsibility
became available but it was I am sure only much later.  

< He adroitly - or should I
say maladroitly - sidesteps other parts of my statement: both the general
point about the UK government's nefarious alliance with the Saddam regime
during the period when he was London's representative in Baghdad, and the
specific one about the UK government's role in protecting Saddam from UN
censure for perpetrating the Halabja attack.>

You misunderstand the point of my intervention which was not to comment on
your  view of British policy towards Iraq, as the facts are widely on
record, but purely to correct your unfounded allegations about the purpose
and timing of David Mellor's visit to Iraq. You alleged: "the UK government
David Mellor to Baghdad to negotiate a major arms contract while the bodies
were still lying in the street [of Halbja]". I repeat that he did not
negotiate any arms deals whatsoever and as his visit was 3 weeks before the
attack on Halabja there were consequently no victims lying on the streets.

<Sir Terence is undoubtedly in a position to shed light on these and many
other questions of interest to the ordinary people of Iraq and the UK. It
would be interesting to know, for instance, which arms deals he did help to
arrange during the period in question (from, say, February 1988, which he
describes as "well before Halabja", which took place on March 16th, to
autumn of that year).>

The short answer is none. 

Terence Clark
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