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Return Of Chemical Warfare Resonates Among Survivors In Iran, Iraq

A Kurdish woman visits the graves of her relatives who were killed in the gas attack in 1988 on the 24th anniversary of the attack at the memorial site to the victims in the Iraqi town of Halabja.
A Kurdish woman visits the graves of her relatives who were killed in the gas attack in 1988 on the 24th anniversary of the attack at the memorial site to the victims in the Iraqi town of Halabja.
By Golnaz Esfandiari
Hoshmand Morad vividly remembers the day his city suffered the deadliest chemical-weapons attack ever carried out on a civilian population.

The air suddenly smelled of apples. Pink, white, and yellow clouds cast a pall over the city. Dead bodies littered the road.

These are childhood memories for Morad, who was just 6 years old when his native city of Halabja, in Iraq's Kurdish region, was targeted in a chemical bombing campaign carried out by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's air force. Human Rights Watch estimates that as many as 5,000 residents of the city were killed and 10,000 injured in the March 16, 1988, attack.

Many died instantly from the effects of the sarin, VX, and mustard gases believed to have been used. Others suffered from severe blisters and vomiting before succumbing, according to eyewitnesses and various reports.

With Morad's parents among the dead, he was driven by his uncle to a new life in neighboring Iran. He had hoped the horrors of that day would never be repeated. But that hope was dashed last month when Morad learned that chemical weapons had been used in the suburbs of Syria's capital city, Damascus.

Morad says he watched images and videos of the August 21 attack in Ghouta with pain. "I felt very sad, I cried for them. It reminded me of the day when Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against children, women, young and old residents of Halabja," he says. "The feeling was shared by all Halabja survivors who demonstrated and called on the international community and organizations to investigate this crime and bring to court those who use chemical weapons and also those who produce them."

About 5,000 Kurdish adults and children were killed by the Iraqi chemical attack on the town of Halabja in northeastern Iraq on March 16, 1988.
About 5,000 Kurdish adults and children were killed by the Iraqi chemical attack on the town of Halabja in northeastern Iraq on March 16, 1988.

Today in his early 30s, Morad uses his position as spokesman of the Halabja Chemical Victims Society to remind the world of the horrors of chemical warfare. Speaking to RFE/RL from Halabja, he describes chemical weapons as "a danger to the future of humanity."

Morad's warnings are echoed by Zmnako Mohammed Ahmad, another survivor of the Halabja gas attack. Ahmad lost his father and four siblings in the attack and it took 22 years for him to be reunited with his mother.

Ahmad, whose mother still suffers from respiratory problems as a result of her exposure to chemical agents, says there is no room for leniency toward those behind the attack near Damascus. "About 5,000 people were martyred in Halabja, including my relatives. About 68 percent of those killed were children and women," he says. "Today, in Syria, most of the victims are children. I believe that those who kill children should be dealt with in the toughest way."

'More Than Words' Needed

The United States and Western partners have pinned the blame firmly on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which is in the third year of a brutal civil war. Secretary of State John Kerry has cited a U.S. intelligence assessment estimating that the Ghouta attack killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.

Russia and China have countered U.S. President Barack Obama's argument that the world has a moral responsibility to punish the Syrian regime over its use of chemical weapons. Moscow has left open the possibility that Syrian rebels could be responsible for the attack, and has called for indisputable evidence of Assad's guilt to be presented. Beijing has warned of the negative effects a military intervention in Syria would have on the global economy.

The use of chemical weapons, regardless of who used them, has resulted in universal condemnation, however. Ahmad sees that as a positive, but he wants to see more than words. "In 1988, when the Halabja chemical bombing took place, the United States was silent. The whole international community was silent," he says. "Several years later, in 2003, the U.S. helped us get rid of the Ba'athist regime and Saddam Hussein. I hope the same happens today and the U.S. helps the Syrian people."

Following the Halabja attack, which became a symbol of the brutality of Hussein's regime, the world did not intervene.

The international community was also largely silent after chemical weapons were used against tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers and civilians during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. The United States played a role in those attacks, according to a recent report by "Foreign Policy," by providing Iraq with tactical and intelligence information that it exploited to gas Iranian soldiers.

Remembering Sardasht

As a result, many of the estimated 100,000 survivors of those attacks against Iran are skeptical of Washington's humanitarian concerns when it comes to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Among them is Shahriar Khateri, a physician and a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War who was exposed to chemical warfare. He raises awareness about the plight of victims by serving as the director of international relations for Iran's Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support.

"At least seven official documents regarding chemical attacks against Iran were submitted to the UN but no action was taken," Khateri says. "There are also documents that prove that the U.S. and some EU countries helped Saddam. With regard to Syria, no official report has been issued yet, but the U.S. is in a hurry to go to war."

On August 27, a second Iranian group condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria as an "inhuman crime."

The Society for the Defense of the Rights of Chemical Weapons Casualties in Sardasht, located in the Kurdish-populated area unofficially known as Iran's Kurdistan, called on the United Nations and rights organizations to immediately prevent the continuation of such atrocities through humanitarian intervention and by bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Sardasht came under chemical attack several months before the 1988 attack on Halabja. But Sardasht received scant media coverage and was quickly forgotten. Not so for survivors of the bombings, many of whom suffer from the long-term consequences of chemical agents.

"Once more the breaths are imprisoned in the chests, tears are falling, bloody coughs have colored the green grass, and the rain of death is pouring on innocent people," a statement issued by the society reads. The statement adds that had the chemical bombings of Sardasht and Halabja been taken seriously, the tragic events that unfolded in Syria never would have happened.
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Comments
     
by: Matthias
September 08, 2013 23:24
I understand the outrage about chemical weapons, and I share it. What I don't understand is the implied reasoning that children being torn apart by grenades or riddled with shrapnel is comparatively humane. Why are hundreds of indiscriminate victims of chemical weapons a red line, but thousands of equally indiscriminate victims of "conventional" weapons are not?
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 09, 2013 07:19
Matthias, the "chemical attacks" in Syria today is the same thing as the "arms of mass destruction" of Saddam Hussein 10 years ago. Both are just a pretext for the US military industrial complex that needs to start wars regularly in order to continue receiving transfers of funds from the US budget in order for the top-representatives of this complex to continue enjoying high standards of living. Other shakers and movers behind this cheap propaganda campaign are Israel and Saudi Arabia that have their own stakes in trying to remove the legitimate govt of Syria. That's all there is to this story about the "chemical attacks".

by: Anonymous
September 09, 2013 00:33
Great reading about the perspective of those who have been affected by these horrible weapons. They seem to believe that action must be taken. Let's hope chemical weapons will never be used again.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 09, 2013 07:59
VIDEO: Congress Charade: Most on Capitol Hill swaying against Syria war cry - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-72lX--9i9k

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 09, 2013 19:06
:-)) And what is this new rethorical twist of one of those cheap US clowns??? Now he says that Bashar should "surrender his chemical arms within a week" - and then what??? Case solved or what :-))?? Are these guys now really so afraid that the US Congress will vote their "interesting initiative" on starting WWIII around the issue of the "Syrian chemical weapons" down? :-))
Anyways, here is the source, particularly interesting are those comments posted - apparently - by US citizens, very few of whom (judging by the comments) are taking the clown seriously:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/world/middleeast/kerry-says-syria-should-hand-over-all-chemical-arms.html?hp

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 10, 2013 04:07
:-))) Aha, so, now that the democratically elected US clown is realizing that he has no chance of getting a majority of the House of Reps to second his suicidal plan to start WWIII, all of a sudden he finds the new Russian proposal on Syria "potentially interesting" :-)).
Or it's probably just Putin and Lavrov who are helping the clown save his face and present himself - once again - as a "peace-loving individual" :-)).
But should the events turn this way - no one needs to be fooled by that: the US military-industrial complex is too desperate to drag the world into WWIII, as long as only the eternal continuation of wars justifies the fact of its own existence. So, one can be sure that the situation will "escalate" again a couple of months from now.
In Response

by: Ivan from: California
September 10, 2013 15:27
No, it is Putin saving face because he knows US cruise missles will fly right past the Russian radar without a blip. Putin really wants to sell his weapons and wants the world to think his weapons are good for defense, they are not. They are only good for killing. See all the dead Syrians? Thanks Putin.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
September 10, 2013 19:32
Really, "Ivan", the US cruise missiles are going to fly anywhere :-))? Very frankly, I will believe it first when I see it. What I see so far, "Ivan", are entertaining videos on which Sen. McCain is getting attacked by US citizens who appear to be extremely upset by the fact that he and other losers are so keen on dragging your bankrupt country into another war that it can only lose :-)).
The entertaining McCain VIDEO: John McCain ATTACKED In Town Hall Meeting - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2H8XDIJ2yE

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Kings Beach, CA USA
September 10, 2013 12:45
Halabja victims were not murdered by nerve or blister agents that Saddam Hussein regime produced but they were killed by the Hydrogen Cyanide gas. Toward the end of of the Iran-Irag war, 1980-1988, the Islamic Republic was the only country in the Middle East producing the deadly gas in mass quantities. They used the gas to destroy Halabja to give the regime in Tehran the propaganda opportunity to show what Saddam Hussein was doing to his own people. Members of the Western media visited the site but Western condemnation of Saddam Hussein never materialized. Later on, Saddams Husseins murdering of his people became one of the excuses used by Washington to start the Gulf War in 1990!
The New York Times, published a detailed co-op about the subject, I believe in 2004-2005! I read it!
For further research by your news organization, please ask The New York Times, for a copy of the article!
This is an extremely serious matter and must be researched further by our Western media.

by: Hamik Gregory from: Kings Beach, CA USA
September 10, 2013 13:15
About the Islamic Republic attack on Halabja, Iraq with poison gas, please read the New Yourk Times article below:
By Stephen C. Pelletiere
Published: January 31, 2003
Google! You will find it!
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 10, 2013 16:38
it's here: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/31/opinion/a-war-crime-or-an-act-of-war.html

bt there's a fair amount of material saying that was not the case: http://web.archive.org/web/20030102224708/http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/programs/dc/briefs/030701.htm
In Response

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Kings Beach, CA USA
September 11, 2013 12:56
The web site you are refering to: http://web.archive.org/web/20030102224708/http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/programs/dc/briefs/030701.htm
gives us an unconvincing explanation of how the Islamic Republic used chemical weapons in the past. For a more convincing article about the subject please refer to: http://www.iranwatch.org/our-publications/history-irans-chemical-weapon-related-efforts!
This is an extremely serious matter. Further study and research by all of us that interested in the subject is required.

by: geral from: usa
September 10, 2013 22:46
No Clean Hands In USA.

http://api.ning.com/files/Gl0rHpgzlOnR135AdkLV*amtDXnZeU10D5X-0zuP*2TEmM3sV2P77cvFyUPJVW-I4DaZ5bVQkPvL3eyWEDhSRRrf*YutAFRR/20120509mafia.jpg

Black Budget, Black Operations, torture, assassinations, etc., obscured by president and media:USA intel use bio-chem weaponry, DEW, etc., on selective Targets foreign & domestic:

For twenty five years I have been surveilled 24/7 and for ten years I have been tortured by DEW by the fbi assassins in their efforts to imprison or kill me.

http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/hightechassau.html



http://barcelona.indymedia.org/newswire/display/472272/index.php


Very few credible persons have proof of the atrocities committed by the fbi/cia/dod/doj and the same few are often denied a forum to record same; all mainstream media block my posts and many Indymedia prevent my publications. The general population also shows little interest in holding murderous tyrants of the US government responsible for their crimes because they (the people) benefit in the main from the atrocities committed by their leaders in the name of the people. Nevertheless, my work must continue because *mankind as a whole and in its awakened senses, finds totally unacceptable torture, imprisonment (often by secret courts and in one's own body), assassinations, mass murders, etc. as I and others describe.

http://venezuela.indymedia.org/es/2013/09/33022.shtml

or:
http://argentina.indymedia.org/news/2013/09/846259.php


My affidavit:
http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/affidavit2007.html

*
http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/specialupdate.html

Additional bedtime reading:

federal burro of investigation:

http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/436163-geral-sosbee/1929821-public-notice-attributed-to-and-owned-by-the-fbi

fbi operative tells me: "kill yourself":
http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/hatemailpartsix.html

We must hold fbi responsible:
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2008/11/382350.shtml?discuss



Torture:



http://www.boell.org/downloads/Lingis_on_torture.pdf

fbi operative 'paint me doubtful' proclaims to the world that I am a possible "mass murderer":


http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2013/02/422103.shtml?discuss

We must prosecute fbi:
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2012/07/254469.php

fbi historically:
http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/fbimisconduct.html

The Age of Madness:

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/age-madness-critical-review-fbicia-operations/9375


A de facto overthrown government , USA:

http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/436163-geral-sosbee/1289931-unofficial-fourth-branch-of-usa-government-usurps-power

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