“I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes.”

Winston Churchill [1]

Backed by tanks and airplanes, Iraqi troops have pushed about 60 km deep inside Iranian territory. Several thousand Iranian soldiers were captured. Surprisingly, Iraqis almost immediately withdrew from Iranian territory.

Tehran media reported that the Iraqi army had used chemical weapons in the attack. In a statement read on Tehran radio, Ayatollah Khomeini has yesterday denounced the chemical bombings of Halabja.

Last March, Iraq allegedly killed several thousands people when it used mustard gas in an attack at Halabja, a Kurdish city located in an Iranian-held section of Iraq. Nerve agents (Sarin, Tabun and VX) were also used in the attack. Blood agent may also have been used. N.B. Human Right Watch has since qualified the attack as an act of genocide.

Saddam Hussein was not charged for the events related to the Halabja attacks at the Iraqi Special Tribunal. There is circumstantial evidence that Saddam had personally authorized the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds. It is estimated that 30,000 Kurds died from these weapons during the 8 years long war. Ali Hasan al-Majid, better known as Chemical Ali, also escaped the charge of crime against humanity for his direct role in the chemical attacks of Halabja.

As the Reagan administration had removed Iraq from the State Department list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, US companies were allowed to export chemical precursors to the Saddam regime.

For instance, US Companies Alcolac International and Philips provided Thiodiglycol, a precursor of mustard gaz. On March 12 2008, the Iraqi government announced that it would take legal actions against the suppliers of chemical used in the Halabja attacks. Both Alcolac International and Philips have been reorganized.

Back to the Present

In spite of the various letter of complaints [See last two posts], the Libya page of the web site of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office still alleges erroneously that Fhimah was declared “not proven” while he was in fact declared not guilty.


1) In 1920, the Arab and Kurdish people of Mesopotamia revolted against the British occupation. British troops took heavy loss. At the time of the insurrection, Winston Churchill was serving as the British Empire Colonial Secretary. Churchill personally authorized the use of chemical agents, mostly mustard gas, on the resistors.

Mostly concerned with the cost of suppressing the insurrection, Churchill was confident that chemical weapons could be inexpensively employed against the Iraqi resistance. The records regarding Churchill proposal were not released until the 1980s.

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