News and opinions on situation in Iraq

Genocide Charges Against Saddam Hussein Dropped: Report

It seldom happens that I can report “news” to you, as opposed to “news analysis,” but in the last few hours I’ve received messages from my Iraqi contact in London with important news that has not yet made the world press. As most of you know, I have for the last two years argued that whatever else Saddam Hussein did for good or ill as Iraq’s president since 1978, there is no evidence that he committed genocide. That he “never gassed his own people,” i.e., the Iraqi Kurds, which has been an assertion that has been repeated so often by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and the American press that I’m sure 99.9% of the people believe it is gospel.

The news from Mohammed Al-Obaidi today is that the team prosecuting Saddam for crimes against humanity has dropped the genocide charge “due to insufficient evidence.” Al-Obaidi assures me the news is true, and if it is, we should be learning about it soon from the news media. It will further complicate the administration’s problems in Iraq, as it had been relying on the genocide charge to justify “regime change” in Baghdad when the other rationales – WMD and Al Qaida connections – failed. I may be wrong, but if this turns out to be true, it would be a positive development in resolving the conflict in Iraq sooner, rather than later.  Once the U.S. press corps focuses on the issue, it would force President Bush to re-examine his own assumptions about the rationale for unilateral action and make it easier for him to shift gears toward greater international involvement in resolving the several conflated issues in the Middle East.

Here is the note I got from Al-Obaidi (who has been in exile in London for 20 years and is no fan of Saddam, but who has been among those who have insisted there was no genocide committed by his regime). It is followed with a press release he subsequently sent from the legal defense team that spent several hours with Saddam on December 16, which is interesting in and of itself, but which of course should be taken with a grain of salt.

Dear Jude: I have just been informed by Mr. Al-Khasawnah, Chief lawyer of Saddam`s legal team, that after the Iraqi lawyer, Mr. Khalil Al-Dulaimi met with Saddam a couple of days ago, the American legal authority in Iraq informed the lawyer that they have dropped the charges of Halabja and genocide in the south against Saddam due to insufficient evidence.

This clearly indicates that the information the legal team had about the responsibility of what happened in Halabja lies on Iran and not Iraq and made the American authority drop this charge against him.

Best regards

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