Don’t expect to hear much about it in the mainstream media — especially now that John Burns is no longer in Iraq for the New York Times – but this Sunday a Baghdad court is expected to hand down a verdict in the case against one Ali Hassan Al-Majid – better known as Chemical Ali.
He and five other Saddam henchmen have been on trial for their role in the genocidal “Anfal” campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1988. Around 182,000 people were killed during the Anfal, many of them with poison gas. Mass graves are still being found.
The trial is a problematic story for much of the media because it undermines the fashionable anti-war narrative in which Saddam Hussein was just another run-of-the-mill dictator, no worse than most others.
Mention of the Anfal or the mass graves – which are still being found by the way — is rather discomforting for the Bushitler crowd.
The other defendants include Sabir al Douri, and Farhan Mutlaq Saleh.
They were respectively director of military intelligence and head of military intelligence for Iraq’s eastern region under Saddam.
De-Baathification may have been carried out crudely and excessively after the Liberation of Iraq, but the case against it is usually overstated. I for one am glad that mass murderers like these are on trial rather than leading Iraq’s security forces, shoulder to shoulder with American troops.