11/06/2006, 00.00
IRAQ
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Keep Saddam alive, says Kurdish leader

Saddam's trial should be global and bring to light all the massacres and genocides as well as the collusion of many Western and Middle-Eastern countries that backed or sold weapons to the dictatorship.

Paris (AsiaNews) – "Saddam Hussein ought to remain alive to be judged for all the crimes he inflicted on the Iraqi people. If he is eliminated, all the witnesses to his massacres and genocides will be gone," this according to Saywan Barzani, Kurdish representative in Europe.

For Saywan Barzani, nephew of the President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani, it is important "to reveal the truth about these massacres and genocides because they can show the role played by Western and Eastern countries in backing Saddam, in selling him weapons and in closing their eyes to what he was doing".

In view of the ideologically-contrived reaction to the former dictator's sentence (for or against the US; for or against the death penalty), Barzani's proposal is out of synch with what most say. "Executing him for 148 Shiites killed in Dujail," he noted, "when we are still waiting for the truth over the massacre of hundreds of thousands of other victims, Shia and Kurdish, could end up concealing the guilt of many others in the world who were linked to Saddam Hussein".

"Saddam's trial must be an education for the whole world. The US and the USSR played out the Cold War in Iraq; Middle Eastern dictatorships helped Saddam in the war against Iran, but also against the Iraqi people; all Western country, the Vatican being perhaps the only exception, sold weapons, poisonous gas, chemical bombs, anti-personnel mines to him".

According to Iraq's Human Rights Ministry, at least two million people were killed or wounded during the Iraqi invasion of Iran in the 1980s. In the first Gulf War 200,000 people died. In the 1991 Shia uprising, another 200,000 were killed. Saddam's genocidal policy against the Kurds left 500,000 Kurds dead. Under his regime, Iraq held the world record for disappearances—an estimated 200,000 people vanished after 1980, including 10,000 Feyli (Shia) Kurds and 8,000 members of the Barzani tribe.

In the 1980s, 4500 villages and 26 cities were destroyed. In Iraqi Kurdistan, 110 concentration camps called "collective camps"—"strategic" or "modern villages" in the regime's lingo— were created, surrounded by barbed wires and encircled by security forces. More than 750 000 Kurds of the mountainous areas were moved in these camps. In addition, another half-million was moved to the desert, in camps on the border with Saudi Arabia and Jordan, in Arar, Rutba, Nougra Salman, and Rumadiya.

Altogether, the former Iraqi regime was responsible for 4 million refugees, said Patrick Baudouin, honorary president of the Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme (FIDH) [International Federation of Human Rights Leagues].

Saddam Hussein is currently on trial in another case in which he is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity for the al-Anfal ("The Spoils") campaign carried out in 1987-1988 that killed more than 100,000 Kurds, many as a result of the use of poisonous gas. However, if his first sentence is upheld in the appeal phase, he might be executed before the Kurdish genocide trial is ever completed.

In answering a question about whether Hussein's sentence will improve things in Iraq, Barzani said: "A great deal of rhetoric is said about that. Saddam Hussein does not have any more power in Iraq. Whether he lives or dies won't change anything. No one backs him, and Iraq's problems are no longer caused by men linked to Saddam's fate. Even the idea that Iraq is on the verge of civil war or an ethnic-religious war is false.

"It is certainly true that there are extremists among the Shiites as well as among the Sunnis, but the real problem lies in the permeable borders. Suicide bombers keep on entering the country from neighbouring countries."

"Al-Qaeda said that it had 4,000 mujahideen ready to give their lives in Iraq. According to the Iraqi secret services at least 8,000 mujahideen have already died. This means there is a virtual army of fundamentalists in our country coming from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, etc. To these we must add the more than 46,000 common criminals Saddam Hussein released before his fall. The latter are running the abduction industry. The formers are running the car bomb industry. The result is insecurity everywhere."

"The problem is that the Americans won't accept our ways to impose security. If they left it to us in a few months there would be quiet everywhere."

"Look at Kurdistan. Security there is delegated to Kurdish peshmergas and there are no attacks and abductions, and the borders are under control."

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