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The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds
A Middle East Watch Report
Human Rights Watch
New York · Washington · Los Angeles · London
Copyright © July 1993 by Human Rights Watch.
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 93-79064
ISBN: 1-56432-108-8

Table of Contents

Supplementary Materials
The Anfal Campaign, Other Key Reports on Iraq
Give Iraqis real justice -- not a U.S. puppet show
Iraq: Killings, Expulsions on the Rise in Kirkuk

More on Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan

A Petition

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

The Venerable Chief and Leader, the Honorable Saddam Hussein (May God Protect Him), President of the Republic and Head of the Honorable Revolutionary Command Council:

Struggling Comrade, I greet you. And I present myself to you as a devoted citizen.

I implore you in the name of Ba'athist Justice to hear my plight, which has deprived me of sleep night and day. For I lost all hope and when I had no one left to turn to except yourselves, I came to you with my problem, which may be of some concern to you.


I, the undersigned, Assi Mustafa Ahmad, who returned as a prisoner of war on August 24, 1990, am a reserve soldier born in 1955. I participated in the Glorious Battle of Saddam's Qadissiyat in the Sector of Al-Shoush and was taken prisoner on March 27, 1982. I remained a prisoner until the day that the decision to exchange prisoners of war was issued. Then I returned to the homeland and kissed the soil of the Beloved Motherland and knelt in front of the portrait of our Victorious Leader and President Saddam Hussein. In my heart I felt a tremendous longing to return to my family. They would delight in seeing me, and I would delight in seeing them, and we would all be caught up in an overwhelming joy that could not be described.

However, I found my home completely empty. My wife and my kids were not there. What a catastrophe! What a horror! I was told that the whole family had fallen into the hands of the Anfal forces in the Anfal operation conducted in the Northern Region, under the leadership of Comrade Ali Hassan al-Majid. I know nothing of their fate. They are:

    1. Azimah Ali Ahmad, born 1955/ My wife.
    2. Jarou Assi Mustafa, born 1979/ My daughter.
    3. Faraydoun Assi Mustafa, born 1981/ My son.
    4. Rukhoush Assi Mustafa, born 1982/ My son.
I have thus come to you with this petition, hoping that you would take pity on me and inform me of their fate. May God grant you success and protect you. You have my thanks and respect.


Former Prisoner of War
Reserve Soldier/Assi Mustafa Ahmad
Without home or shelter in Suleimaniyeh/
Chamchamal/Bekas Quarter/
Haji Ibrahim Mosque October 4, 1990

The Reply
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Republic of Iraq
Bureau of the Presidency
Reference No.: Sh Ayn/B/4/16565

Date: October 29, 1990

Mr. Assi Mustafa Ahmad
Suleimaniyah Governorate
Chamchamal District
Bekas Quarter
Haji Ibrahim Mosque

With regard to your petition dated October 4, 1990. Your wife and children were lost during the Anfal Operations that took place in the Northern Region in 1988.

Yours truly,
Saadoun Ilwan Muslih
Chief, Bureau of the Presidency


Table of Contents

A Note on Methodology 

Chapter One: Ba'athis and Kurds
Kurdish Autonomy and Arabization 
Exploiting Kurdish Divisions 
1985-1987: Open War 

Chapter Two: Prelude to Anfal
The Chemical Threshold 
The Spring 1987 Campaign: Village Destruction andResettlement 
Early Uses of al-Majid's Special Powers 
Orders for Mass Killing 
Defining the "National Ranks": The Census of October 17, 1987 

Chapter Three: First Anfal: The Siege of Sergalou and Bergalou, February 23-March 19, 1988
The March 16 Chemical Attack on Halabja 
The Fall of the PUK Headquarters 

Chapter Four: Second Anfal: Qara Dagh, March 22-April 1, 1988
The Exodus from Qara Dagh 
Flight to Southern Germian 

Chapter Five: Third Anfal: Germian, April 7-20, 1988
The Plan of Campaign: (1) Tuz Khurmatu 
The Plan of Campaign: (2) Qader Karam and Northern Germian
The Plan of Campaign: (3) Sengaw and Southern Germian 
The Collection Points 
The Ambiguous Role of the Jahsh

Chapter Six: Fourth Anfal: The Valley of the Lesser Zab, May 3-8, 1988
The Chemical Attacks on Goktapa and Askar 
The Anfal Dragnet: East of Taqtaq 
The Shwan Area 
Zbeida's Story 
The Fourth Anfal Collection Points 18

Chapter Seven: Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Anfals: The Mountain Valleys of Shaqlawa and Rawanduz, May 15 -August 26, 1988
The PUK's Last Stand 

Chapter Eight: The Camps
The Popular Army Camp at Topzawa 
The Popular Army Camp at Tikrit 
The Prisoners from Bileh and Halabja 
The Women's Prison at Dibs 
A Prison Camp for the Elderly 
Deaths at Nugra Salman 

Chapter Nine: The Firing Squads
Muhammad's Story 
Ozer, Omar and Ibrahim 
Mustafa's Story 
Taymour's Story 

Chapter Ten: Final Anfal: Badinan, August 25-September 6, 1988
Badinan on the Eve of the Final Anfal 
"Apples and Something Sweet": The Chemical Attacks of August 25 269
On-the-Spot Mass Executions 
The Fort at Dohuk and the Women's Prison at Salamiyeh 

Chapter Eleven: The Amnesty and its Exclusions
Dispersal of the Camp Survivors 
The Mujamma'a Dumping Operation 
The Fate of the Christians and Yezidis 

Chapter Twelve: Aftermath
Continued Village Clearances 
Continued Mass Killings: Yunis's Story 
Continued Mass Killings: Hussein's Story 
The End of the "Exceptional Situation" 

Chapter Thirteen: The Vanishing Trail
The Ba'ath Party: Alpha and Omega of the Anfal Campaign 

Appendix A: The Ali Hassan al-Majid Tapes 

Appendix B: The Perpetrators of Anfal: A Road-Map to the Principal Agencies and Individuals 

Appendix C: Known Chemical Attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan, 1987-1988

Appendix D: Sample Mass Disappearances During Anfal,  by Region 

Appendix E: Glossary of Arabic and Kurdish Terms

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