“Survivors painted a grisly picture of noiseless bombs producing yellowish smoke smelling of bad garlic or rotten apples; of people, plants and livestock dying instantly as dead birds and bees fell from the sky. The bodies of the dead burned and blistered and later turned blackish blue.”

Peter Galbraith and Christopher Van Hollen

Chemical Weapons Use in Kurdistan: Iraq’s Final Offensive

Staff Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate [1]

On August 20 1988, Iraq accepted and signed a UN organized cease-fire with Iran, thus ending officially an eight years long war. But the conflict did not end for everyone. In the hours following the cease fire, Iraq’s Republican Guards turned on the Kurdish rebels.

On August 25, the Iraqi minority was the target of the most ferocious chemical attack. By August 29, thousands of Iraqi Kurds had reached the Turkish border but Ankara never let them in.

By the end of September, 478 Kurdish villages near the Turkish borders had been destroyed. An estimated 40,000 were deported to concentration camps. More than 3,000 were executed.

A report of the Senate mission, dated September 1988, unambiguously states that:

“Right now the Kurds are paying the price for past global indifference to Iraqi chemical weapons use. The failure to act now could ultimately leave every nation in peril.”

Back to the Present (2008)

The BBC has just produced a documentary regarding the bombing of Pan Am 103, entitled: The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie.

“In 1988, 270 people were killed in Britain’s worst terrorist attack. But has the full story of Pan Am flight 103 been revealed,” the BBC website asks.

The trailer for this program, which is to be broadcast on BBC Two on Sunday 31 August 2008 at 21.00 BST, can be viewed here.


Whatever Happened To The Iraqi Kurds?

The authors interviewed more than 200 Kurdish refugees who fled to Turkey. See also Middle East Watch, Human Rights in Iraq, pp. 75-85 and Physicians for Human Rights, Winds of Death (Somerville, Massachusetts: PHR, February 1989). More recent interviews of survivors by Middle East Watch produced further corroboration, with similar details; interviews London, October 1990, Diyarbakir, Turkey, November 1990.

Nervous Iraqis Cheer the Cease-Fire


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