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8/22/03 - CHEMICAL ALI CAPTURED IN IRAQ - 2003-08-22

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq has captured one of the Saddam regime's most notorious criminals. Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," was number five on the coalition's list of the fifty-five most wanted Iraqis.

Majid was a cousin of dictator Saddam Hussein. He once ran Iraq's armed forces. He was known as "Chemical Ali" for his role in the notorious Anfal campaign of the late 1980s, in which chemical weapons were extensively used against Iraqis in the northern part of the country. An estimated one-hundred thousand Iraqi Kurds, Turkmen, and others were killed by Majid’s forces during the Anfal campaign.

Majid was governor of Kuwait during Iraq's seven-month occupation of that country in 1990-91. During that time, he led a campaign of torture, murder, rape, and wholesale looting against the Kuwaiti people. After Kuwait was liberated by a U.S.-led coalition in Operation Desert Storm, Majid brutally suppressed an anti-Saddam uprising of Shiites in southern Iraq.

The capture of "Chemical Ali" is one more victory in the campaign against the remnants of the Saddam regime. But as President George W. Bush said, terrorists and regime criminals will persist in their effort to destroy the Iraqi people's desire for self-government and peace:

“By attempting to spread chaos and fear, terrorists are testing our will. The terrorists want to return to the days of torture chambers and mass graves. The Iraqis who want peace and freedom must reject them and fight terror."

As President Bush said, the U.S. and its allies will stand with the Iraqi people as they work to rid their nation of the terrorists and criminals from the Saddam regime:

"America and our partners kept our promise to remove the dictator and the threat he posed, not only to the Iraqi people, but to the world. We will also keep our promise to destroy every remnant of that regime and to help the people of Iraq to govern themselves in freedom."

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, said Mr. Bush, will not let up in its effort to restore "hope to a nation beaten down by decades of tyranny."