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http://220.127.116.11/ip/data/ipenglish/8084.htm London, Iraq Press, July 24, 2002 – Representatives of the regional Kurdish government in northern Iraq organized a symposium in the British capital in memory of those killed by Iraq's chemical weapons attack in the Kurdish city of Halabja 14 years ago. The meeting, attended by human rights organizations and British political figures, was an occasion to remind the world of the atrocities President Saddam Hussein committed against his own people. Iraqi aircraft shelled Halabja with chemical weapons on March 16, 1988 in an attack which left 5,000 dead and 7,000 injured or with long-term illnesses. The mass murder was almost ignored by the international community and Lady Olga Mittland, a former conservative MP, said the negligence was of grave consequences. "It is bound to have far greater dangerous consequences on the humanity at large if is disregarded," she told the meeting. "It will be stupid of us to think that the Iraqi president will repent and apologize for this heinous act when he was at the height of his power," she added. The attack on Halabja took place during the Iraq-Iran war when Saddam enjoyed the support of the west against Iran. Every year, the nearly 3.5 million Iraqi Kurds living in their Western-protected enclave remember the event in different ways. Kurdish TV displays a black band throughout its broadcast on March 16. Vigils, performances and exhibitions about the tragedy are organized across the region. On the road to Halabja, gas masks and shells of the chemical bombs – painted with question marks – are displayed at the entrance of the city. Memories of the massacre are still alive in Iraqi Kurdistan. Since the chemical attacks, the number of various forms of cancer, birth deformities, still-born babies and miscarriages is reported to have dramatically increased. Kurdish officials attending the meeting, held at Westminster, said they still feared a repetition of the attack on Halabja. "We have nothing to fend off ourselves against a chemical attack. We hope the world community will take this fact into consideration," said Hoshyar Zeibari of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Senior Iraqi opposition figures, among them Ahmed al-Jalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, and Seamind Banaa representative of the Kurdish regional Government in UK were also present. Ian Duncan, leader of the opposition Conservative Party, sent the meeting a letter in which he said that all parties were called upon "to remove the danger Saddam Hussein constituted to the region and the world." The perpetrators of the crime are still ruling in Baghdad, though the United States has vowed never to let Saddam obtain the means to rebuild his programs of weapons of mass destruction. There is increasing speculation that the U.S.-led war on terror could target Iraq. The Kurdish region would then have a key role to play, as it could become a base for attacks against Saddam. But the Kurds are wary of declaring their support for such a war. They say the world did nothing to punish Saddam for Halabja and there is no guarantee that he will not unleash another attack against them if they join forces with the U.S. against him. - - - - Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed _________________________________________________________________ MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos: http://photos.msn.com/support/worldwide.aspx _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk