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Anfal Campaign Trial

Former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, is on trial in Baghdad for the second time. He is awaiting the verdict of the first trial in which he and his colleagues were charged with murdering one-hundred-forty-eight residents of the town of Dujail in 1982. This time, Saddam Hussein and six others, are charged with genocide for what took place during what is called the Anfal campaign.

That campaign began in February 1988 when Saddam Hussein's army attacked Iraqi Kurds living in the northern part of the country. Iraqi prosecutors say more than one-hundred-eighty-thousand Iraqi Kurds were murdered. One Kurdish city that was attacked was Halabja. Led by Saddam Hussein's cousin, Ali Hasan al-Majid, Iraqi forces struck first with conventional bombs and artillery shells, driving Halabja's more than fifty-thousand inhabitants into basements and shelters. The Iraqi forces then dropped various chemical weapons, including mustard gas and sarin nerve gas, on the defenseless city. Five-thousand people died in Halabja within hours of the chemical attack. Ten thousand more were blinded, maimed, or disfigured. In the eighteen years since, thousands more have died from horrific complications, debilitating diseases, and birth defects.

Mohammad Ihsan, the Kurdish minister for extra regional affairs, calls this trial, "an omitted chapter in the book of Iraq's history":

"This is why we have to concentrate a lot in the trial and listen to Saddam Hussein. Why he committed such crimes against Kurds? Genocide: it is the crime of crimes."

President George W. Bush said that Saddam Hussein is, "a brutal dictator. He's a person who killed a lot of people." Now, says Mr. Bush, Saddam Hussein is being brought to, "the justice he didn't. . . .afford any of his fellow citizens."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.