Iraq's 'Chemical Ali' hanged; 3 hotels bombed in Baghdad

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Smashy, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. Smashy


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    Jan 22, 2007
    Southwestern Oregon
    Jan 25, 2010 (10:50a CST)
    By BRIAN MURPHY (Associated Press Writer)

    BAGHDAD - Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was hanged Monday, ordered the infamous poison gas attack on the northern Iraqi Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988 that killed 5,000 people and earned him the chilling moniker "Chemical Ali."

    Al-Majid was executed a week after he received his fourth death sentence, the final one for the Halabja attack. He bore a striking resemblance to Saddam and was one of the most brutal members of the dictator's inner circle.

    The general led sweeping military campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s that claimed tens of thousands of lives - wiping out entire villages in attacks against rebellious Kurds and cracking down on Shiites in southern Iraq.

    He was one of the last high-profile members of the former Sunni-led regime still on trial in Iraq. His conviction and sentencing on Jan. 17 was his fourth death sentence.

    Al-Majid was a warrant officer and motorcycle messenger in the army before Saddam's Baath party led a coup in 1968. He was promoted to general and served as defense minister from 1991-95, as well as a regional party leader.

    In 1988, as the eight-year Iran-Iraq war was winding down, al-Majid commanded a scorched-earth campaign known as Anfal to wipe out a Kurdish rebellion in the north. An estimated 100,000 people - most of them civilians - were killed over less than a year. Later, al-Majid boasted about the attacks, as well as the separate March 16, 1988, gas attack on Halabja, where an estimated 5,000 people died.

    Saddam had suspected the Kurds, a non-Arab ethnic group in northern Iraq, of siding with Iran during the 1980-88 war.

    During the trials of figures in Saddam's regime, prosecutors played audiotapes of what they said were conversations between Saddam and al-Majid.

    In one of the recordings, al-Majid was heard vowing to "leave no Kurd (alive) who speaks the Kurdish language."

    He told the court that he used such language as "psychological and propaganda" tools against the Kurds, to frighten them into not fighting government forces.

    He also told the court in that January 2007 hearing that he was not worried about a death sentence, saying "I will face death with open arms."

    Al-Majid was also linked to crackdowns on Shiites in southern Iraq, including the bloody suppression of their 1991 uprising. In a previous trial, he was sentenced to death for that crackdown.

    After that uprising was crushed, Iraqi opposition groups released video showing al-Majid executing captured rebels with pistol shots to the head and kicking others in the face as they sat on the ground.

    His two other death sentences were for the Anfal campaign and for a 1999 crackdown that sought to quell a Shiite backlash in response to the slaying of a Shiite cleric who opposed the regime.

    The previous sentences were not been carried out in part because Halabja survivors wanted to have their case against him heard.

    Al-Majid, was Saddam's "hatchet man," Kenneth Roth, head of Human Rights Watch in New York, remarked when the general was touring Arab capitals seeking support two months before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. "He has been involved in some of Iraq's worst crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity."

    Hazem al-Youssefi, a representative of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, once described al-Majid as a standout in a regime of criminals.

    Al-Majid was no less brutal with his own family.

    His nephew and Saddam's son-in-law, Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel, was in charge for many years of Iraq's clandestine weapons programs before defecting in 1995 to Jordan with his brother, Saddam Kamel, who was married to Saddam's other daughter.

    Both brothers were lured back to Iraq in February 1996 and killed on their uncle's orders, together with several other family members.

    Al-Majid also served as governor of Kuwait during Iraq's seven-month occupation of the emirate in 1990-1991. Days before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, Saddam put him in charge of the key southern sector of Iraq.


    37 killed in Baghdad as 'Chemical Ali' hanged

    Jan 25, 2010 (11:32a CST)
    By CHELSEA J. CARTER (Associated Press Writer)

    BAGHDAD - Suicide bombers struck near three hotels popular with Western journalists and businessmen Monday just as Iraq announced the execution of Saddam Hussein's notorious cousin known as "Chemical Ali." At least 37 people were killed and more than 104 injured, security officials said.

    The blasts - coming in a span of about 15 minutes in downtown Baghdad - came shortly before state television announced that Ali Hassan al-Majid had been hanged.

    There was no claim of responsibility for the latest major attacks in Baghdad - about six weeks after a series of blasts killed 127 and brought outcry against Iraq's government for repeated security lapses as U.S. troops withdraw.

    Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the latest bombings "represent an extension" of the activities of insurgents linked to Saddam's regime. But he stopped short of declaring the blast as possible revenge for the execution.

    The first explosion struck at about 3:40 p.m. local time in the parking lot of the Sheraton Hotel, toppling high concrete blast walls protecting the site and damaging a number of buildings along the Abu Nawas esplanade across the Tigris River from the Green Zone.

    Two other blasts followed minutes later, striking near the Babylon Hotel and Hamra Hotel, which is popular with Western journalists and foreign security contractors.

    All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

    According to initial tallies, 15 of the victims were at the Hamra, 14 at the Sheraton, and the remaining 8 died at the Babylon, including two policemen.

    Outside the Sheraton, a high-rise tower with views of the Tigris River and the fortified Green Zone on the other side, the blast left a 10-foot-deep (three-meter) crater in the parking lot. Cars were torn apart by the spray of metal and glass, which littered the lawns and courtyards of the popular fish restaurants along the river.

    The force of the explosion was strong enough to topple a row of 10-foot (three-meter) concrete blast walls along the road.

    Iraqi police sealed the area and Iraqi helicopters circled overhead.

    At the Hamra, two men in a car opened fire on guards at the hotel checkpoint, a third police official said. The guards took cover and returned fire when the car exploded, he said.

    Baghdad's top military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, said suicide bombers were involved in all three attacks.

    In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks, saying they were an attempt to disrupt the upcoming March 7 parliamentary elections.

    "We unfortunately believe there will be continued efforts by the terrorists, by al-Qaida in particular, to try to upend the commitment of the Iraqi people to a democratic future," Clinton said.

    The explosions came hours after an Iraqi security official defended a bomb-detecting device that Britain banned for export to Iraq because of questions about whether it works, saying it would be a "big mistake" to withdraw it from checkpoints.

    Guards at checkpoints near both the Sheraton and the Hamra are equipped with the detectors.

    The ADE651, made by the British company ATSC, is used at security points across Iraq, including outside the protected Green Zone that includes the Iraqi parliament and the U.S. and British embassies. Britain halted the export of the machine to Iraq and Afghanistan after a BBC report challenged its effectiveness.

    The findings appeared to back up the U.S. military, which has had concerns about the device for months. In June, the U.S. military distributed a study using laboratory testing and X-ray analysis that found the ADE651 ineffective.

    But Col. Hato al-Hashemi, a senior explosives expert at the Interior Ministry, said the estimated 2,000 devices used by Iraqi security forces would not be taken out of service.

    "We have great confidence in this device," al-Hashemi said. "They have proven their effectiveness in discovering and seizing many car bombs and cars that were loaded with explosives and weapons."

    The government spokesman al-Dabbagh confirmed the execution of "Chemical Ali," but did not give other details or the precise timing of when it was carried out.

    The execution took place about a week after he was sentenced to death for the poison gas attacks that killed more than 5,000 Kurds in the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988.

    It was the fourth death sentence against him for crimes against humanity during the Saddam era.
  2. Kozel


    Likes Received:
    Jan 16, 2007
    46.58N 121.75W
    Yeah... Iraq.... Wasn’t there a war while ago? It was “won” and media forgot all about it.

    I seem to remember that there was this brutal Sunni dictator that was US puppet and US Navy even fought in the war on his side. Then he was replaced with very pro-Iran Shia government at a cost of trillion or two and few thousands of lives of best and bravest Americans.
    Now those Americans are just sitting in their fortified bases bored out of their minds, ready for order to leave by our great, new, young, all different, first black “messiah”/president..... and waiting, and waiting.
    “Best” foreign policy decision ever made!

  3. sopdan


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    Mar 27, 2002
    Central KY

    Metro Iraqis celebrate Chemical Ali's hanging

  4. RayB

    RayB Retired Member

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    Dec 2, 2005

    Huh. And just recently I heard a Libtard arguing that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. :upeyes:

  5. LongGoneDays

    LongGoneDays Misanthropical

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    Nov 12, 2005
    Killed more than 5000 civilians in a single attack you say? Wow that's like, way more than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.
  6. ArtCrafter

    ArtCrafter ¤Hocker Mocker¤

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    Jul 14, 2008
    Do that, and all you get is Hirosaki.


  7. silentpoet


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    Jan 11, 2007
    This Old Caddy
    Maybe he can say hi to Ted Kennedy.
  8. LongGoneDays

    LongGoneDays Misanthropical

    Likes Received:
    Nov 12, 2005


    Obligatory length for reply