THE VIEW FROM THE GROUND:EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS OF
CIVILIAN CASUALTIES AND DAMAGE
This chapter contains testimony about civilian casualties and damage taken by Middle East Watch from former residents of Iraq who fled during the war. The accounts are organized geographically, beginning with Baghdad and Basra, Iraq's largest cities. Journalists' reports and information from post-war visitors to Iraq are cited when they corroborate accounts of eyewitnesses interviewed by Middle East Watch or provide supplemental information.
Most of the testimony included here was collected in February 1991 by Middle East Watch in random interviews with evacuees and others in Jordan. Additional accounts were obtained after the war from interviews Middle East Watch conducted in New York, London, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
We must emphasize that this testimony provides only a partial view -- not a comprehensive accounting -- of civilian casualties and damage in Iraq during the air war. Moreover, as is true throughout this report, the accounts in this chapter represent only some of the testimonies obtained by Middle East Watch; accounts were omitted if details were sketchy or information was contradictory. Other testimonies were excluded because the civilian damage described by witnesses appeared to be truly collateral to allied attacks on legitimate military targets, a tragic but inescapable consequence of warfare.
We must further emphasize that while some of the testimonies in this chapter provide graphic descriptions of the total destruction of civilian objects -- most notably residential buildings -- it was not possible in many cases for Middle East Watch to ascribe with absolute certainty direct responsibility to the allied forces for this damage and the resulting civilian deaths and injuries. While we present these accounts for the documentary record, their inclusion here should not be taken to indicate that each attack was a violation of the rules of war by coalition forces. In some cases, it appears that damage to civilian objects was caused byinaccurate bomb or missile attacks. But inaccurate attacks -- or "misses" -- are not in and of themselves violations of the rules of war. And, as we note below, the inaccurate delivery of munitions can be due to a variety of actions by the attackers or the defender.
Other accounts in this chapter suggest that attacks may have been indiscriminate -- based on eyewitnesses' claims that there were no military targets in the immediate vicinity of the civilian object attacked. However, in the absence of an on-site investigation and additional factual information about military targets near the areas where bombs fell and missiles landed that might not have been known to the witnesses, Middle East Watch cannot conclude definitively that the attacks were indiscriminate and hence clearcut violations of the rules of war.
As we pointed out in the introduction to this report, the subject of Iraqi civilian casualties and damage during the air war remains one of the major unanswered questions of Operation Desert Storm. Middle East Watch believes that the accounts in this chapter are sufficient to draw certain preliminary conclusions about the bombing campaign and, we hope, to focus attention on the need for more information from the allied forces to break the silence surrounding this issue.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
· Although, as described below, the allied air campaign raises troublesome issues, not one witness interviewed by Middle East Watch described seeing widespread destruction and damage in residential areas that would be suggestive of indiscriminate bombing on a systematic basis during the air war.
· Nevertheless, among the civilian objects in Iraq documented in this report that were destroyed or damaged were over 400 one- and two-story homes, 19 apartment buildings and several hotels; two hospitals and two medical clinics; two schools and one mosque; various commercial buildings; and public market areas in four cities -- Basra, Falluja, Samawa and al-Kut.
· Numerous witnesses described incidents in which civilian structures, most typically houses in residential areas they lived in or knew well, were destroyed or damaged in areas where they believed there were no conceivable military installations or facilities nearby, including antiaircraft artillery. Despite additional questioning and substantial probing by Middle East Watch, these interviewees insisted that there were no legitimate military targets located in these areas. These accounts, taken separately over a series of days -- and, in some cases, months -- from individuals of different nationalities, suggest that some civilian casualties during the war were not the product of inaccurate bombing --mere misses -- but of attacks that, pending convincing justification from the allies, appear to have been indiscriminate.
· Additional witnesses provided accounts of bombs and missiles that fell wide of their targets, most often bridges and telecommunications towers,1 by 200 or 300 meters or more, causing death and injury -- often substantial --to civilians, and total destruction or substantial damage to civilian objects, most often residential buildings.
These accounts contrast sharply with the picture of pinpoint accuracy portrayed by allied military spokespersons during the war. For example, Gen. Robert Johnston, chief of staff to Gen. Schwarzkopf, stated in early February that "I quite truthfully cannot tell you of any reports that I know of that would show inaccurate bombing, particularly north ofthe Saudi-Kuwaiti border....I cannot tell you of any that I know of that have grossly missed their targets." Although, as we point out below, inaccurate attacks might be attributable to a variety of factors involving the attackers or the defender, the number of these accounts, particularly in light of the pinpoint targeting known to have been possible with the aircraft and munitions available to the allies, suggests a failure to use all possible means to limit collateral civilian casualties.
· The Iraqi authorities told United Nations representatives who visited the country in March 1991 that about 9,000 homes -- housing some 72,000 people -- had been destroyed or badly damaged during the air war. Some 2,500 of the buildings were in Baghdad and another 1,900 in Basra.2 However, one member of a U.S. delegation who visited Baghdad for four days after the war did not find physical evidence in the city to support the Iraqi government figures. After traveling around Baghdad, she concluded that the Iraqi figures were "not credible."3
Particularly because of our inability to obtain permission to visit Iraq after the war, Middle East Watch lacks sufficient information to assess the overall accuracy of Iraqi statistics about damage to civilian houses during the air war or to attempt to quantify the destruction nationwide. However, this chapter alone includes testimony from former residents of Iraq indicating that hundreds of homes and other civilian buildings throughout the country were destroyed or damaged when allied bombs and other ordnance missed apparent military targets by hundreds of feet or more.
British journalist Patrick Cockburn, who was based in Baghdad during part of the war, wrote about the inaccuracy of some attacks even in that city, where post-war visitors generally have noted that the bombing appeared quite precise:
From the beginning, the allies' bombs and missiles were never as accurate as might have appeared from the spectacular destruction of a number of prominent targets. Allied intelligence about buildings and other facilities to be destroyed has also been at fault. In Baghdad, opposite the Mansour Melia hotel, a telecommunications tower had been neatly gutted by a single bomb. But elsewhere there were craters where missiles had hit houses or waste ground, or were far from any obvious targets.4
Another journalist who was in Iraq during the air war told MEW: "I had the impression that the precision of the bombing diminished day after day. When I returned to Baghdad with the first group of journalists, the pinpoint bombing was not as pinpoint."5 He speculated that decreasing availability of precision-guided bombs or their high cost were possible reasons for the change as the war dragged on. Regarding incidents in which bombs fell wide of intended military targets, he added that in these cases it was possible that "pilots flew into a wall of antiaircraft artillery and just let the bombs drop."
· The various incidents of civilian damage and resulting casualties in Iraq warrant explanation from the allied forces, and in particular the United States, given its lead role in directing the international military coalition and planning and coordinating the air war. It is not enough to dismiss these incidents as inevitable instances of inaccuracy: too many bombs reportedly fell nowhere near any apparent military target. The U.S. and its allies should explain why this happened. In other cases, pilots missed their apparent targets by wide margins. Here, allied commanders should explain whether the precautions required to avoid civilian casualties, detailed in Chapter One of this report, were taken in all cases. Allied commanders should also explain how the likelihood of collateral civilian damage was taken into account in selecting targets. This is made more urgent by the disclosure before the Commons Defence Select Committee by British Air Vice-Marshal Wratten that "the RAF twice refused to bomb targets given to it by US military commanders because the risk of civilian casualties was too high."6
· As discussed in Chapter Three, allied commanders should also facilitate an assessment of allied compliance with the rules of war by disclosing the kinds of munitions that were used in populated civilian areas of Iraq, including data about the expected accuracy of these munitions, particularly the unguided "dumb" bombs.
· Middle East Watch also calls on the U.S. to disclose whether an effort was made, during routine bomb damage assessments, continuously to monitor and document the extent of civilian casualties and damage as the war proceeded. If such analysis did not take place, the allies have a duty to explain why it did not, particularly given the numerous public assurances from allied spokespersons during the war about the care taken to spare Iraqi civilian lives.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF DAMAGETO CIVILIANS AND CIVILIAN OBJECTS
As noted above, Middle East Watch cannot draw definitive conclusions from the information included in this chapter about the actual causes of the destruction of civilian objects in Iraq. We present here some of the possible factors that may have been responsible for inaccurate bombing or for what, in the absence of additional information, appear to have been indiscriminate attacks.
Damage Caused by Allied Pilots who did not Follow the "Positive-identification" Rule
To the degree possible and consistent with risk to aircraft and aircrews, aircraft and munitions were carefully selected so that attacks on targets within populated areas ... could provide the greatest degree of accuracy and the least risk to civilian objects and the civilian population. Where required, attacking aircraft were accompanied by a high number of support mission aircraft in order to minimize aircrew distraction from their assigned missions.7
The report states that pilots "attacking targets located in populated areas were directed to return to base with their munitions if they lacked positive identification of their target; a significant percentage of the sorties by attack aircraft did so."8
The Pentagon should provide additional information on this important point, as it can help clarify some of the damage on the ground reported by eyewitnesses. The Pentagon should disclose the number of attack sorties that did not comply with the positive-identification rule, and the extent to which damage to civilians and civilian objects can be attributed to this factor. In addition, the Pentagon should disclose whether targets were assigned to aircrews in which positive identification might not have been possible, and, if so, the provisions of the rules of engagement in these cases.
Damage Caused by Ordnance
from Iraq's Crippled Air-Defense System
The allied forces quickly crippled the system when Iraq's early-warning radar sites along the country's southern border were attacked in the opening hours of the war.11 Continued electronic jamming of Iraqi radar and attacks on radar antennae by HARM missiles caused the Iraqis to fire their defensive surface-to-air missiles blind, or unguided.12 Jamming by the allies of Iraq's command-and-control system's frequencies "disrupted the radio communication links, severing Baghdad's ability to communicate with its radars, missiles and artillery batteries."13 It is not yet known why the Iraqis fired so many defensive surface-to-air missiles during the war and, according to Aviation Week, "[i]ntelligence units interviewed Iraqi prisoners of war trying to learn the reasons for theseemingly bizarre unguided launches," which could have included a simple attempt to frighten allied pilots.14
This "blind fire" by the Iraqis has been mentioned as one cause of the reported damage on the ground. During the war, Gen. Schwarzkopf stated that Iraqi defensive surface-to-air missiles could have caused some of the damage: "Knowing the way they are now indiscriminately firing their missiles, and before, it's highly probable that what goes up must come down."15
Damage Caused When Allied
Pilots Took Evasive Action to Avoid Iraqi Air Defenses
Although Coalition aircraft were able to fly virtually unopposed in Iraqi airspace, the surface-to-air missile (SAM) and antiaircraft artillery (AAA) threats were at times very heavy and sometimes lethal.16
For example, one nuclear-research site outside Baghdad, a quarter-mile square, "was surrounded by an earthen berm, many calibers of antiaircraft artillery (AAA) and numerous SAM sites."17 F-16 pilots reported heavy defensive fire, were forced to bomb "from a fairly great distance and did little damage with a large number of aircraft," according to the commander of a U.S. tactical fighter squadron.18 Aviation Week reported: "The level of defensive fire varied each night, and [Lt. Col.Ralph] Getchell, [commander of the 415th tactical fighter squadron], surmised this may have been linked to the health of the [Iraqi air-defense system], the amount of ammunition available, and gunners' morale."19
According to Aviation Week, "coalition aircraft operating low-level missions reported encountering `enormous' Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) and surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and, in the first week, the RAF lost four aircraft on such low-level operations."20
To avoid enemy fire in such circumstances, pilots would "jink and dive" -- zigzag -- which decreases the accuracy of an attack. Pilots also flew above the range of defensive systems: "As with most other allied aircraft, the F-15Es went to higher altitudes for their attacks to escape heavy enemy SAMs and AAA encountered early in the war."21 Higher-altitude bombing, however, decreases the accuracy of both smart and dumb munitions.22
Damage Caused by Allied
Munitions that Malfunctioned, Were Known to be Inaccurate, or were
Untested in Actual Warfare
Similarly, The Washington Post reported that not only "dumb" bombs were inaccurate, but some precision munitions as well:
Independent analysts also note that the allied coalition has been using several types of munitions with poor accuracy records in past conflicts and poor operational test results, including at least one type of guided bomb found to be so inaccurate that its production was halted abruptly six years ago.24
In stating that precision-guided weapons may have been responsible for some of the civilian damage in Iraq, Middle East Watch in no way suggests that it would have been preferable to use unguided weapons in populated areas. To the contrary, as we explain in greater detail in Chapter Three. Rather, we note that civilian damage caused by precision-guided weapons should be investigated both to determine why these weapons at times went astray and to avoid such errors in the future.
The Pentagon's July 1991 report provides no conclusions about the performance of weapon systems and munitions, in sharp contrast to the public claims of spectacular accuracy from U.S. military and civilian officials. Nor does the report indicate which weapons systems may have been responsible for civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects. The report contains only one sentence about the performance ofprecision-guided bombs: "According to the Air Force, over 80% of the precision guided bombs released were hits, limiting collateral damage."25 The report states that any conclusions about the performance of weapons systems must be based on comprehensive data collection and analysis, which was only in the earliest stages as of the report's publication.
The report also highlights an often-neglected aspect of the war, namely the use of new weapons systems and munitions:
While some equipment, weapons and munitions had been in the inventory for some time, others were new. In fact, some were still in the developmental stages when the war began and were fielded prior to completion of normal test and evaluation schedules. A few systems had been used in combat prior to the Gulf War, but many were not combat proven. Therefore, an evaluation of the employment and performance of military equipment, weapons and munitions takes on a special significance and requires a thorough, systematic analysis of all available data.26
For example, Operation Desert Storm was the first time that Tomahawk cruise missiles27 were used in warfare. Middle East Watchcollected information about Tomahawks that crashed into civilian areas where no obvious military targets were in plain sight (see Chapter Five). The Pentagon has not released information about the accuracy of the 288 Tomahawks launched at Iraqi targets during the war, nor has data been disclosed about inaccurate Tomahawk attacks that caused civilian casualties and damage, even though the U.S. Navy admits that in 15 percent of all launches the missiles did not hit their intended targets.28 During the war, according to former U.S. Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, Pentagon officials acknowledged that the overall success rate of individual Tomahawks was closer to 66 percent.29
The Pentagon's July 1991 report provides little information about the Tomahawk's performance, although it does state that "initial indications" point to the fact that the missiles were "highly successful."30 The report contains no specific information about the missile's success in hitting its assigned targets; the only hard data provided is about the success of the missile's launch phase: of the 288 fired, "282 are assessed to have successfully transitioned to a cruise profile for a 98 percent launch success rate."31 Nothing is said about the extent to which Tomahawk misses caused civilian casualties and damage. Gen. Sir Peter de la Billiere, the British joint forces commander, claimed that civilian damage attributed to cruise missiles occurred because the missiles were"intercepted and shot down [by the Iraqis] over areas occupied by civilians."32 During the war, The Washington Post interviewed U.S. officials about reports of Tomahawks hitting residential areas around Baghdad:
U.S. officials said the weapons were aimed at airfields, and may have gone off course by themselves or been deflected by Iraqi antiaircraft fire. More than 280 of the cruise missiles have been fired to date, and at least a few can be expected to malfunction, several officials said.33
Middle East Watch understands that the specific U.S. Department of Defense instructions require that all new weapons and their effects undergo a legal review to ensure compliance with international law.34 The office of the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Air Force, for example, must review all new weapons for legality and state whether the weapon is consistent with restrictions imposed by international law. Permanent files of opinions in implementation of the Defense Department instruction must be kept. To our knowledge, the Defense Department directive is still in effect. The Pentagon's July report did not indicate whether munitions used in Iraq that were not "combat proven" -- such as the Tomahawk cruise missile -- had been approved for legality prior to their use in the conflict. The Defense Department should clarify this point.
THE NEED FOR ANSWERS
Given the numerous specific accounts of civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects in Iraq, Middle East Watch believes that thePentagon should provide information in each of these cases that could shed light on the eyewitnesses' claims. Answers to the following questions would help clarify the circumstances surrounding reports of attacks that caused often-substantial damage to civilian objects in Iraq:
· Is there evidence of the damage described in the testimonies in this chapter from U.S. bomb damage assessment photographs and other reports?
· If there is evidence of damage, was there a legitimate military target in the immediate vicinity that was the intended object of attack? What was the target in each case? Is there documentation that this target was successfully attacked? What are the possible explanations for the reported damage to civilian objects in each case?
· Of the cases in which there is evidence of civilian damage but no legitimate military target in the vicinity, what are the suspected factors that caused the reported civilian damage?
· What further steps can be taken to ensure that in future conflicts civilian casualties are minimized?
Allied statements, reflecting a concern over adverse publicity for civilian targets hit in Baghdad, suggest that greater-than-usual care was taken to avoid civilian casualties in the Iraqi capital. Even there, however, testimony taken by Middle East Watch reveals that the allied bombing campaign came at a considerable civilian cost.
The city of Baghdad, on the Tigris River, has four million residents. By 1989, 55 percent of Iraq's urban population lived in Baghdad, up from 35 percent in 1960.35 However, this population was substantially reduced during the air war. Reuters reported on February3 that as many as one million Baghdad residents may have evacuated the city by the time the war began.36 One journalist told MEW: "There were huge queues of cars going north and going south beginning around January 13. People were driving out of Baghdad like crazy; it was a tremendous exodus."37 Most took shelter with friends or relatives in towns and cities they assumed would be spared the worst of allied bombing, particularly in the Kurdish north and the southern cities of Najaf and Karbala, where holy Shiite shrines are located.
Reports both during and after the war attested to the overall accuracy of the allied air forces' bomb and missile attacks in Baghdad. In the war's opening days, most eyewitness accounts, including those of journalists themselves based in Baghdad, noted the precision of the bombing. On the first full day of the air war, the Iraqi Defense Ministry was bombed; one BBC correspondent said he saw three bombs hit the building: "It seems it was hit very, very accurately and it appears that there was extraordinarily little damage around it."
Eyewitnesses reported that civilian casualties and
damage most frequently occurred in areas near Iraqi military targets. For
example, most evacuees at the Jordanian border interviewed by The New York Times on January 22 said that
civilian casualties were "concentrated in areas near military targets."38
The Washington Post obtained similar accounts
from evacuees in Jordan who "spoke of serious damage to civilian
neighborhoods adjacent to military, political and industrial sites."39
AnIndian electrical engineer said the bombing in Baghdad was "perfect."40
Middle East Watch obtained additional accounts from
former residents of Baghdad, included below, who described incidents of
inaccurate bombing of military targets. For example, in an incident in the
first week of February, described in detail below, allied aircraft twice
attacked Jumhouriyya Bridge, one of five major bridges linking downtown
Baghdad with the other bank of the city across the Tigris River. The first
strike did not destroy the bridge but the second strike on or about
February 5, with two rockets, did. Iraqi officials reported that two other
rockets landed off-target and destroyed two movie theaters and 200
shops.43 Testimony taken by Middle East Watch
from three former residents of Baghdad about this incident, corroborated
in part by a journalist, indicates that the allied strike on the bridge in
fact was messy and not precise -- one rocket created a 15-by-8 meter
elliptical crater in a civilian neighborhood at least 300 meters from the
Successes in the city centre were primarily against telecommunications centres and ministries which were large and standing apart from other buildings .... Where the targets were smaller buildings -- generally intelligence centers -- little different from the buildings nearby, accuracy was less impressive, bombs or missiles being several hundred yards off target.44
The Use of U.S. "Stealth"
Bombers to Attack Targets in Downtown Baghdad
Air crews were informed to bring home the ordnance if they weren't sure they were locked to the right target. We made very few mistakes. I'm quite proud of the factthat we achieved high levels of destruction against military targets with minimum collateral damage.47
Gen. McPeak said that the F-117s hit their targets with precision and caused minimal collateral damage:
We did not carpet bomb downtown Baghdad. As a matter of fact, it's obvious to anyone who's been watching on television, the pictures of Baghdad neighborhoods untouched, people driving around, walking around on the sidewalks and so forth. We took special care to make sure that we attacked only military targets, and we attacked them quite precisely.
The Pentagon's July 1991 report makes a similar point:
Coalition targeting policy and aircrews made every effort to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage. Coalition rules of engagement directed pilots to withhold their weapons if the target could not be positively identified or if other factors were likely to degrade weapons performance (for example, cloud cover, weather, or other constraints). Because of these restrictive policies, only the use of precision guided munitions enabled the destruction of key targets in the heart of downtown Baghdad while leaving untouched civilian buildings virtually next door.48
The Pentagon's public claim of near-perfect attacks on downtown Baghdad that left civilian buildings "untouched" is contradicted by reports of the attack in February on the Ministry of Local Government in downtown Baghdad left six civilians dead amd others injured. The Ministry reportedly was first bombed on January 22 but little damage wascaused.49 It was headed at the time by Ali Hassan al-Majid,50 a cousin and confidant of Saddam Hussein, who for a short time after the Iraqi invasion served as the "governor" of the "province" of Kuwait.51 On February 12, one day before the bombing of the Ameriyya shelter in Baghdad, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Local Government -- housed in two five-story buildings on the west bank of the Tigris -- were hit in an early morning raid. An Associated Press account, cleared by Iraqi censors, described the attack:
Two fireballs rose in the city after raids scored direct hits on the two ministries near densely populated Haifa Street, a business and residential route in the city center. Witnesses said at least 6 people were killed on Haifa Street and 17 were wounded, many seriously....Residential neighborhoods adjacent to the buildings also were damaged. So powerful were the bombardments that part of the Local Government Ministry crumbled to the ground.52
* * *
Despite the unrelenting bombing of targets in Baghdad during the air war, journalists and others who visited the city after the war generally have not disputed Gen. McPeak's assessment of the low level of "collateral damage" in the city. An American journalist who left Baghdad on March 6, pursuant to an Iraqi government order that all foreign journalists depart by 4 a.m. on March 8, wrote in an uncensored report from Jordan:
Baghdad is not a ruined city. It is possible to drive through many neighborhoods and even down main avenues without seeing a trace of bomb damage. There are some shops and homes that were destroyed by wayward bombs and missiles, as well as by Iraqi antiaircraft fire returning to earth. But the most spectacular damage is to big targets such as postal and telecommunications buildings, government ministries, bridges and power plants.53
A correspondent who visited the city in April reported that damage "appeared remarkably limited. Baghdad's skyline has been preserved, and most high-rise buildings emerged unscathed." He noted that government buildings were still standing but "their interiors have been gutted" and that targets such as the Baath Party headquarters and telephone exchanges were "destroyed with precision."54 One post-war American visitor, the member of a four-person U.S. delegation that visited for four days to document civilian casualties and damage, wrote: "We expected to find enormous unreported destruction....Instead we found a city whose homes and offices were almost entirely intact....I think the reason we didn't see more destruction was that it wasn't there."55 (The group did not visit the outskirts of Baghdad, Basra or other cities in southern Iraq.)
Also significant in minimizing casualties was the fact that the residents of Baghdad were prepared for war because of the recent experience during the bombardment of the capital during the Iran-Iraq war, several phases of which were known as "The War of the Cities" because both countries launched surface-to-surface missiles at each other's major urban areas (see introduction to Part Three). The Iraqi government constructed air raid shelters, civil defense personnel gained experience coping with casualties and damage, and buildings were camouflaged. In Febuary 1988 the Iraqi authorities carried out an experimental evacuation of Baghdad.57 Air raid shelters were put to use during the Desert Storm bombing campaign. Ironically, the highest reported casualty toll in any incident during the air war occurred on February 13 when the Ameriyya civilian shelter in Baghdad was targeted and destroyed with two precision bombs dropped by U.S. aircraft, killing 200 to 300 civilians. (The attack on the shelter is discussed in Chapter Three.)
The Unrelenting Bombing of
Baghdad: Unanswered Questions
The purpose of our bombing facilities in the vicinity of Baghdad is essentially to go after the command and control system of the Iraqi armed forces. We're looking at principally military targets, command and controlinstallations, air-defense sites that could put our planes at risk, but they are militarily oriented targets.
Given this clear statement, the allies have yet to explain the factors leading to the civilian casualties and damage that did occur in Baghdad, some of which are detailed below. The Pentagon has stated that some of the damage in the city was caused by Iraqi defensive fire: "Some damage in downtown Baghdad, blamed by Iraq on US planes, was in fact caused by Iraqi antiaircraft fire and [surface-to-air missiles] fired without guidance."58
But other factors also may account for some of the damage. First, regarding the Stealth bomber, these aircraft are not infallible in their targeting, as a Pentagon official conceded in February.59 Their accuracy during the bombing campaign has not been revealed. Second, the Stealth used ordnance that was not battle-tested. Gen. McPeak stated in his briefing that the Stealth were equipped with case-hardened 2,000-pound bombs "that we have not used before"60 but the Pentagon has not revealed how accurately this new ordnance functioned. Third, the Stealth bomber was not the only aircraft to attack targets in Baghdad. It is not yet known how the Pentagon defined the boundaries of "downtown" reserved for the Stealth, nor is it known what other aircraft and ordnance were used to attack targets in the sprawling city outside the downtown area, or how accurate that weaponry was. Last, the accuracy of sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles -- reportedly used to attack "high-value" targets in Baghdad -- has not been publicly disclosed by the Pentagon.
Another lingering issue is the Pentagon's reluctance to identify the military targets in Baghdad that were the objects of continuing allied bombardment after the successful strategic strikes in the first days and weeks. For example, well into the air war on February 12, journalists inBaghdad reported more than 25 explosions in central Baghdad: the result, at least in part, was that the five-story Ministry for Municipal Affairs on Haifa Street was totally destroyed and the Ministry of Justice, nearby, was damaged. As noted above, witnesses reported six dead and 17 wounded.61
When asked about the intense bombing of the city that day, Lt. Gen. Thomas Kelly, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided little information: "We are going after hard targets in Baghdad. Therefore, it takes more bombs on each target in order to be successful."62 But in a statement the same day in Washington, Rear Adm. Mike McConnell, intelligence director for the Joint Chiefs, said: "Virtually everything militarily that Saddam Hussein has to bring to bear . . . is either destroyed or combat ineffective. The only effective fighting force left is the army dug in in the field."63 If Adm. McConnell's statement was accurate, it suggests that there was little justification for the bombing that continued in Baghdad after February 12. MEW thus calls on the Pentagon to demonstrate that further destruction in Baghdad and elsewhere, particularly of civilian or dual-use objects, offered a definite military advantage under the circumstances ruling at the time, as required by the rules of war.
The issue is pressing in light of the significant bombardment of Baghdad after February 12. Most tragic was the attack on the Ameriyya civilian air raid shelter on February 13, killing 200 to 300 civilians, as discussed in Chapter Three. Three days later, according to a Pentagon report, the Pentagon decided to limit bombing in downtown Baghdad: "Concerns about negative publicity...contributed to a decision to curtail bombing in downtown Baghdad after 16 February."64 The report included no additional information on the extent to which bombing was limited or curtailed. But two days after the decision reportedly went intoeffect, in the late evening of February 18, it was reported that "the allies launched one of their most ferocious attacks in the center of Baghdad".65 According to a journalist, the bombing began at 11 pm:
[M]issiles began skimming past the windows of the al-Rashid hotel. Against a background roar of high-flying aircraft, the hum of a cruise missile was heard every 10 minutes or so, followed by a terrific explosion that shook the entire hotel. The attack continued until 1:30 am. . . .[I]t was difficult to estimate how many missiles had fallen. But the consensus among correspondents was between 10 and 20.66
Perhaps because of Adm. McConnell's admission on February 12, the Pentagon publicly would not confirm that these intense missile attacks had occurred. Gen. Kelly described the bombing of the city during this period as "not exceptionally heavy," despite journalists' reports of the powerful explosions felt in the Rashid Hotel.67 Gen. Kelly responded to a German television correspondent's claimed sighting of several Tomahawk missiles flying past the hotel by stating that "we haven't fired a Tomahawk missile in a number of days."68
At 1:35 a.m. on February 27, Radio Baghdad announced that Iraqi troops had been ordered to leave Kuwait and move to the positions they occupied prior to August 1, 1990. But that night Baghdad wasbombed for the 39th consecutive night, according to The Washington Post; one resident described the raids as "a sleepless night of horror."69
The issue of the continued bombing of Baghdad was raised at Gen. McPeak's press conference on March 15 when a reporter asked about the bombing of Baghdad late in the war. "You were continuing to strike targets in Baghdad," the reporter said. "You drew the map. It looked like 900 to 1,000 sorties a day against strategic targets. Can you give us some sense of breaking down those strategic targets and what kinds of things were you still hitting in Baghdad weeks into the war?" Gen. McPeak refused to answer: "We were not flying 900 sorties a day late in the war against strategic targets. Beyond that, I think I'll duck the rest of the question."70 Middle East Watch believes the Pentagon and its allies now have a duty to answer these troubling questions.
Middle East Watch collected no evidence that civilian areas of Baghdad were the object of systematic indiscriminate attacks by allied air forces that might lead us to suspect that such attacks were a matter of policy. Nevertheless, former residents of Iraq and Western journalists reported attacks in residential quarters that appear not to have been directed at specific military targets, according to their accounts. Other eyewitness accounts suggest that the claims by U.S. military and Bush Administration spokesmen of pinpoint accuracy in the bombing attacks were incorrect. Middle East Watch thus calls on the Pentagon and other allied commands to explain why the civilian damage described in this chapter occurred, including an assessment of the choice of targets, the selection of the means and methods of attack, and the manner in which attacks were executed.
Middle East Watch collected testimony from former residents of Iraq, as well as additional information, about the following incidents of civilian casualties and damage in Baghdad:
· bombing in the bataween quarter: what were the targets?: Middle East Watch took six separate accounts -- in interviews in New York, Jordan and Saudi Arabia -- of civilian casualties and damage in Bataween, a residential quarter of one- and two-story buildings on the east bank of the Tigris River in downtown Baghdad. An Iraqi doctor who was in Baghdad during the war and later fled to Saudi Arabia told MEW that 30 to 40 civilians were killed when bombs fell on a few houses on Saddoun Street in Bataween. He said that the only possible military targets in the neighborhood were places where it was rumored Saddam Hussein may have been hiding.71
A European journalist, who was based in Baghdad for 12 weeks prior to and after the start of the war, told MEW that Bataween's old one- and two-story homes are constructed of ochre-colored clay tile, which leaves a lot of dust in the air when they collapse. He saw the aftermath of an attack in Bataween that occurred in mid-February: "The bombing was in the second block. Thirty houses were completely destroyed." He had been told that one or two residents were killed and 20 injured. "I don't see why this area was hit, there is nothing military there," he said.72
An Egyptian driver told MEW of an attack in Bataween on or about the night of February 11 which destroyed seven buildings. The one-or two-story houses, for low-income families, were located on or near Saddoun Street, close to a market. He had seen them before the bombing. The houses collapsed and the crater was full of rubble. The driver lived one km away in the Karada district and went to see the damage the next morning. He was told that civilians had been killed but he did not see any bodies. He said that there was nothing of military significance near the houses. The closest government building was the six-story Ministry of Higher Education, about two km away.73
Middle East Watch interviewed a Sudanese employee of the Sheraton Hotel, located about one km from the site of the bombing, who went to see the damage. He estimated that about 20 homes, two to three stories high, had been destroyed or damaged. They were not far from a vegetable market. He saw no military objects nearby, not even antiaircraft guns. Although he slept in the hotel shelter after the air war started, he was worried enough about safety to leave Baghdad the day after the bombing in Bataween.74
In a separate interview, an Egyptian printing company employee provided an account possibly of the same attack. He told MEW that he saw five to six residential buildings damaged by bombing in a low-income residential neighborhood behind Nasr Park at approximately 5 am on or about February 13. Nasr Park is in front of and opposite Tahrir Square, near Bataween. The houses were on a branch of Tunis Street close to offices for doctors and import/export businesses, and about 500 meters from the Nasr bus station, which he said is between Saddoun and Nidhal Streets. The Egyptian, who had lived in Iraq for five years, worked in this area. He saw the damage at about 10 am on the the morning it occurred. He said the buildings were old two-story single-family houses. There was "considerable destruction," he said. He did not see a crater. He heard that many civilians were killed, but did not know the number. He told MEW that there was no bridge or military target near the houses, not even antiaircraft guns. The tallest structures nearby were five-story private buildings -- there were no government buildings in the area, "absolutely nothing."75
Middle East Watch also took an account of an earlier nighttime attack in Bataween on or about January 20 or 21, when two residential duplexes in the neighborhood were completely destroyed. A Sudanese worker saw the damage to the buildings, which he said were on al-Mushajar Street, the next day. The cinderblock buildings, which he had seen many times, were adjacent two-story duplexes, where a total of fourfamilies lived. The Sudanese lived a half-kilometer from the buildings. There was one water-filled bomb crater; the houses were completely destroyed, he told MEW -- nothing was left of them but metal. He said there was no military building nearby or anything of military significance.76
· cruise missiles in the karada and masbah quarters: what were the targets?: The Karada and Masbah neighborhoods of Baghdad each were attacked on the same day with Tomahawk cruise missiles. Reuters reported that at least 11 people were injured in the two attacks, including six children.77 Masbah is an exclusive enclave of expensive marble-facaded houses enclosed within high walls, according to a journalist interviewed by MEW. The neighborhood is located on the Tigris River south of downtown. He said that Taha Yasin Ramadan, Iraq's then-First Deputy Prime Minister (and now Vice President), was believed to live there. He also noted that in the nearby Karada quarter were "a lot of houses of security people" as well as a five- to six-story building known as "The Ship" among diplomats and Iraqi intellectuals. The building was believed to be the headquarters of the Iraqi security apparatus; CBS journalist Bob Simon and three others who vanished with him for almost six weeks were thought to have been detained there.78 According to the journalist, Saddam Hussein's eldest son Udai was believed to live in the area between Masbah and Karada.
Several journalists reported that five or six Tomahawk cruise missiles hit Baghdad on February 1. One of the missiles landed in Karada and one other in Masbah. One journalist told MEW: "I saw six missiles flying by. We were only allowed to see two of the sites that were hit," in Masbah and Karada.79 The Pentagon said on February 1 thatthe Tomahawks were fired at Baghdad toward airfields but, according to The Washington Post, "U.S. officials declined to say more about the volley of missiles fired at Baghdad [on February 1]".80
The first missile landed in Masbah, leveled the home of an Iraqi merchant, Razzak Salman, and started a fire. Reporters saw four victims from the blast, including a boy six to eight years old, being put into ambulances. Journalist Patrick Cockburn, who visted both neighborhoods, wrote that he saw "no sign of military facilities nearby . . . There was no question of the explosions being caused by anything other than Tomahawks. I saw the missiles go over, was at the sites where they exploded an hour later and, at Karada, handled a piece of the missile."81 A resident of Karada, Hashem Jassem, said: "This is just bombing. There are no government buildings around here."82 The Washington Post reported that in the second missile attack several houses were destroyed in the Masbah quarter; the missile landed less than 1,500 feet from the U.S. Embassy compound. One journalist told Middle East Watch that this missile landed 150 feet from the house of Saddam Hussein's son Qusai; he said the crater from the missile was approximately 15 meters wide and 10 meters deep.83 Reuters described the attack in a report:
Correspondents were taken to the blackened ruins of a
house near the U.S. Embassy. According to a diplomat, the missile appeared
to have been aimed at the house of Saddam's second son, Qusai, and
overshot it by 50 yards.84
Middle East Watch learned of a subsequent attack on the Karada quarter from a Sudanese worker, who said that a dermatologist -- whose first name was Basil and had a difficult-to-pronounce Persian surname --was killed when a bomb directly hit his house at 52 Nen Khamsen street on or about the evening of February 11. The doctor's wife and children were in a shelter and were not injured. The Sudani saw the house four or five hours after the bombing but did not see a crater; he thought the "rocket" fell inside the house -- its walls and the rest of the structure collapsed, and two adjacent houses were badly damaged. He said therewas nothing of military significance or importance that he could see in the neighborhood, and that this was the only part of the neighborhood attacked that night.89
· destruction of the central bank: The Central Bank of Iraq, located on the east bank of the Tigris in the city center south of Martyrs Bridge and west of Rashid Street, was attacked by allied aircraft. MEW interviewed a journalist who saw the exterior damage but did not go inside the building. "It was a very big modern building, five or six stories," he said. "It was cracked open at the top...it looked as if it had been destroyed from the inside."90 The Washington Post reported that the bank was "ruined...its roof collapsed, its pillars buckled inside their masonry lining."91
Middle East Watch is not aware of any allied briefer's acknowledgement that the Bank was attacked or release of information about the reasons for the attack. The financial institutions of an enemy are not listed in the U.S. Air Force, Navy or Army operations manuals as undisputed or per se military targets (see Chapter One). For the attack on the Bank to be justified under the rules of war, the Bank had to be making an effective contribution to Iraq's military action and its destruction had to have offered a definite military advantage to the allies in the circumstances ruling at the time. The allies' justification of this attack must particularly address the prevailing circumstances: Iraq's inability, given the effective international embargo and blockade, to use its currency or foreign reserves to import arms or other military-related supplies and materiel in support of its war effort.
· civilians killed in attack on major bus station: A Sudanese worker interviewed by The Independent claimed that central Baghdad's busstation had been attacked, injuring dozens of people and killing two.92 MEW interviewed Iranian ex-combatants against the Khomeni government who left their camp near Hilla and went to Baghdad on about January 30, en route to Jordan. They arrived in the city at the bus station at al-Lauwi and saw a large crater in the middle of the yard. They were told that perhaps 40 to 50 people waiting for buses had been killed and injured in the open station when the bombing occurred on or about January 25. The Iranians said that the station is 15 minutes by car from the center of the city and is a departure point for buses that travel inside Iraq.
They told MEW that the station's building and buses parked nearby were burned. The crater in the yard was about five meters in diameter, filled with asphalt and debris. The stores in the one-story zinc buildings with iron beams nearby, some 20-30 meters from the crater, sold bus tickets, cigarettes and other items. There were no military targets near the bus station -- no bridge, tower, antiaircraft guns, they said. About 300 meters away was an intelligence building, which had been bombed before the bus station was hit. No other buildings were damaged in this attack.93
· five to six houses totally destroyed in the working-class quarter: MEW took three separate accounts of an attack in the working-class Nahda quarter on the east bank of the Tigris River which totally destroyed at least five residential buildings. A European journalist saw a 300-meter row of five to six flattened buildings on a street off Rashid Street, which runs parallel to the Tigris in the city center, near the al-Shawi mosque. The street houses locksmiths, mechanics and artisans, he said, adding that no military targets were visible.94
Several Sudanese interviewed by MEW also saw the damage to six houses near the mosque in Nahda; they described the houses as two-story cinderblock buildings. They saw a crater, approximately six meters wide, in the midst of the houses. "There was nothing there but civilians," one told MEW. "There was no military installation or operation in that area and the closest government office was about one and a half km away, a post office. The bridges were very far away. The tallest buildings were four stories, all residential."95
An Egyptian furniture finisher, separately interviewed by MEW, said that on or about February 11 six buildings on Kifah Street in Nahda were destroyed in nighttime bombing. The man, who lived 200 meters away and worked in the area, saw the damage the next morning. There were four craters about 3 to 4 meters apart near the destroyed buildings, he said. The attached two-story buildings had stores on the first floor. One crater, filled with water, was five meters in diameter; it was near a bakery. The doors had been blown off nearby stores. The only government office nearby was a small post office that distributes mail, the Egyptian said. There were no factories, tall buildings or military emplacements nearby: "It is all civilian." He heard from neighbors that civilians had been killed in this attack but did not know the number.96
· six houses in residential neighborhood sustain direct hit: Six houses in the Mansour quarter in western Baghdad were hit in a bombing raid on February 10 or 11, leaving several civilians dead and substantial damage. A Sudanese employee of the Melia Mansour Hotel, who lived in the neighborhood not far from the International Exhibition and Trade Fair building on Mansour Street, said that his house was damaged and two of his friends injured in this attack. Some of the houses that were directly hit had three floors, some five floors. The buildings were not located on a main street. He went to look at the houses the next morning but civil defense personnel prevented anyone from entering. He saw ambulances removing many dead and injured from these damaged houses. He saw two bomb craters inside the cluster of six houses; the craters, each four meters in diameter, were filled with water. The houseswere about four kms from a broadcasting station, which he believed was the closest target. As far as he knew, there was nothing of military significance closer than that, he told MEW.97
He said that the attack began with an initial explosion at around midnight but not much in his house was damaged, then the planes returned after four or five minutes and bombed again. This time, there were two explosions and his house was damaged, mainly on the second floor. Part of the side of the building and a corner were knocked off, but the roof did not collapse. His two injured housemates, a Sudanese and an Egyptian, had been sleeping on the second floor. One had shrapnel in his lower right leg and the other in his calf, and they were taken to the hospital. He said that they heard the air raid siren go off but did not go to the shelter because they were afraid of being trapped inside, he said.
· commercial area in residential neighborhood bombed; four homes damaged: On or about February 13 or 14, bombs fell in the Kadhimiyya quarter in northwestern Baghdad, according to two former residents interviewed by MEW. Some stores were hit and four nearby one-story homes damaged, according to an Egyptian truck driver who saw the damage the next day. There were no antiaircraft guns or other military targets near the buildings: "There was not even any government office nearby." The driver saw a crater five meters in diameter and two meters deep in front of the stores.98 The Egyptian may have been referring to the attack described by the Associated Press in a February 15 dispatch from Baghdad: "In one poor neighborhood...a dozen shops were wrecked during an allied bombing raid two nights ago".99
An Egyptian hotel employee, interviewed separately, said he saw the damage to four homes in Kadhimiyya on the same day they were bombed in mid-February. He heard that all the civilians inside were killed. He too knew of no military targets nearby.100 After the war, a U.S. visitor to Baghdad was taken to a site in Kadhimiyya where nine houses were bombed; local residents said that 40 people had been killed in the incident.101
· five homes collapse, killing family of six: On February 18 in the Saddoun quarter of downtown Baghdad, five houses on Rasafi Street collapsed from nighttime bombing and the windows of surrounding houses were shattered. A family of six in one house was killed, according to an Egyptian interviewed by MEW who saw the damage the next day. The family had just returned 10 to 15 minutes earlier from the shelter, he was told, thinking the air raid was over; the authorities do not let people leave the shelter if they think the air raid is in progress, he said. The houses were part of a row of one- and two-story homes. The post office, the nearest object of military significance, was a half kilometer away and was not hit that night.102
· five residential
buildings in vicinity of doura oil refinery completely destroyed: MEW
interviewed a Sudanese family who reported seeing on or about January 20
five or six residential buildings that they were told were damaged in
bombing on the second day of the war. The houses were on Saja Street,
about 1.5 to 2 km from the Doura oil refinery south of Baghdad, the
closest military target to their knowledge. The
Times of London reported that the Doura refinery was destroyed on
The family, including two adult sisters and a brother, got out of their bus to look at the damaged buildings. The concrete houses were completely destroyed; nearby on the street was a crater three meters in diameter and very deep, filled with rubble. Other bombs also had fallen on the street in front of the houses, leaving many craters of the same size and some unexploded rockets. They heard that many civilians were killed and injured.104 This attack confirmed the family's decision to move in with relatives hundreds of kilometers west of Baghdad.
Journalists took similar accounts from evacuees in Jordan about civilian areas that were hit during the attack on the refinery. The Wall Street Journal interviewed a Sudanese factory technician who lived in the Doura suburb and saw many civilian casualties during the attacks on the oil refinery near his home. "The whole area was hit," he said. "You didn't know what was happening. You couldn't tell who was helping or who was injured."105
The Washington Post obtained similar testimony from evacuees:
The residential neighborhoods of Jadriyyah and Qadissiyya, and the Doura central bus station, were also hit, according to a group of refugees who reached here from Baghdad today....
"On the first morning after the raid, a bus full of people at Doura was hit, when the planes came in the daytime," one man said. Half a dozen others interviewed separately confirmed the report.
"Last night [January 20], some kind of rocket fell near our home in Jadriyyah. The bombing is not precise," he continued.106
Reports of Damage near
Middle East Watch collected testimony from former residents of Baghdad about inaccurate attacks on two other bridges in the city --Sarafiya Bridge and Jumhouriyya Bridge -- which caused the loss of civilian life and damage, sometimes considerable, to civilian objects. These accounts follow.
· restaurant destroyed, civilians killed, near sarafiya bridge: Several two-story buildings with stores on the first floor and residences above were damaged or destroyed on the first night of the war in the Waziriyya neighborhood just north of the city center, according to a Mauritanian student interviewed by MEW. He went to theneighborhood the morning after, when he saw smoke rising, fearful for his schoolmates who lived there.
His friends survived, but near their house, on a street he thinks was Abi Taleb, a main thoroughfare, he saw damage to a restaurant that was owned by Egyptians. It was a concrete detached building of two stories, with a residence on top. A bomb had landed in the corner on the street directly in front of the restaurant. The crater was about one to one and a half meters in diameter and the same depth. The roof fell down into the first floor and the walls were "tilting open," damaged but not completely collapsed.
Next to the restaurant was a photo studio and next to that a barbershop; both businesses were damaged. The roof of the studio had fallen in. The restaurant was on a 60 degree corner; on the other side of the 60 degree angle was a food store and next to it a metalworking shop, also damaged. The outer door of the food store was completely damaged and food and vegetables had been strewn in the street. The metalworking shop was slightly damaged on the outside but collapsed on the inside. Neighbors told him that members of three families were injured and killed.
The student said there was a bridge about 200 meters away that was not hit. (MEW maps of Baghdad indicate that the only bridge across the Tigris River in the vicinity of Waziriyya is the Sarafiya Bridge; the distance from Abi Taleb Street to the bridge is over 750 meters.) The student noted that on the top of a building 300 meters away was an antiaircraft emplacement dating from the Iran-Iraq war, closer to the bridge than to the restaurant.109
· five houses damaged, civilians injured and killed, near sarafiya bridge: Five houses on both sides of Jami'at Ali Khatum Street in the Medical City area north of the city center were badly damaged on January 21, according to what an Egyptian couple learned when they emerged from an air raid shelter with their two children. They heard that several Iraqis had been killed and injured in the attack, butthey did not see the bodies because civil defense personnel had already removed them.
The buildings were attached single-family houses of good construction, which they knew because they had lived in the neighborhood for three years. Four were one-story houses and the fifth was two stories. "This was not a poor area," they said. Shops in the area were damaged as well. The rocket directly hit one of the houses, the roof of which fell in, although some walls were still standing. The planes tried several times to hit the nearby Sarafiya Bridge, but the antiaircraft fire drove them away so they dropped the bombs on the houses, the couple guessed.
The houses were about 200 to 300 meters from Sarafiya Bridge, which the planes never hit to this family's knowledge, although there were two attacks. The damaged houses were located on a street perpendicular to the bridge. This Egyptian couple, who owned a small store and lived in a six-story building next to the bridge, promptly moved to the countryside for safety. When their food ran out, they left for Jordan.110
This censored account by a Baghdad-based foreign journalist may refer to the same attack:
The effect of the missile is devastating. The roof of the building and the thick layer of cement of the first story have collapsed like a sugar lump. Of the little restaurant below, nothing is left. Just a few plates, still carrying the remains of a meal, and a few twisted pots and pans....
On the other side of the street, some of the locals of Al Sarafia suburb watch us in silence. The blast has blown out the windows of the little hospital on the corner andscattered glass shards over the carpets in the Adila Jatun mosque.111
· shops and two cinemas damaged near jumhouriyya bridge: On or about February 5 at 2:30 am, a rocket fell in a bus yard adjoining a market and two cinemas in downtown Baghdad, according to an Egyptian, 28, interviewed by MEW. The Cinema Rasafi was totally damaged and the Cinema Fardoz, next to it, was partially damaged. The crater, 15 by eight meters in elliptical size, was five or six meters from the cinemas. The crater filled with water. There was damage to some 10 to 15 buildings, with doors blown out and glass shattered. All the windows of the Afrah al-Nasr hotel, about 100 meters from the site, were broken. The Egyptian lived in this hotel, but on the night of the attack had been in a shelter.
He said that the area was at the crossroads between the entrance to Saddoun and Rashid Streets in the Souk al-Haraj neighborhood in downtown Baghdad. (Other former residents interviewed by MEW regard this as part of the Bataween quarter.) The bus yard is for local buses in Baghdad. There is no military post nearby; Jumhouriya Bridge is 300 meters to one km away -- it was damaged by bombing the day before. In this attack the bridge was attacked again, the Egyptian told MEW. The tallest building nearby was the seven- to eight-story old Cultural Ministry, now used for artists' exhibits. Located about 100 meters from the cinema, its windows were shattered from the explosion. There was no antiaircraft or other military on top of this building.112
Middle East Watch also interviewed two Jordanians who saw the damage to the bus yard and two cinemas. They said they heard that six Egyptians were killed who had been sleeping in the cinema.113 A press report, co-authored by a journalist who spent part of the war inBaghdad, corroborated aspects of the testimony taken by MEW: "al-Jumhuriya bridge across the Tigris was hit twice, but one bomb landed 400 yards away in Tahrir Square, demolishing part of an empty cinema."114 Associated Press reported from Baghdad on February 6 that two rockets hit Jumhouriyya Bridge and destroyed it, in the second attack on the bridge during that week.
· restaurant destroyed near jumhouriyya bridge: A two-story cement building, with a restaurant on the first floor and an apartment above, was destroyed in a nighttime attack on a Monday in the middle of February (probably February 11). A Yemeni married to an Iraqi woman told MEW that he had just completed construction of the building, with an apartment above for his family, 10 days after the invasion of Kuwait. It was located on Saddoun Street in al-Mushejar quarter of the city center on the east bank of the Tigris; several high-rise hotels were located close by.
The restaurant owner said that fortunately he, his pregnant wife and their child were in an air raid shelter at the time of the attack and no one was killed. The bomb caused the bottled cooking gas in the restaurant to explode. The family lost the contents of the restaurant and all their personal and household possessions in the ensuing fire. The roof of the building fell in and only about a meter and a half of the walls were left standing.
He told MEW that this was the third civilian building in the neighborhood to be damaged; the others were damaged on different nights. He thought about 25 rockets hit in a 100-meter or so radius of his restaurant. He speculated that perhaps the target was a vehicular tunnel about 50 meters away. The nearest antiaircraft guns were 100 meters away but they were not hit. The planes usually flew very high because of the antiaircraft, he said.
The Yemeni's building was located about 300 meters from a bridge over the Tigris. He said that the bridge has been hit about three times, at both ends and in the middle. Half of it fell in the river and theother half was suspended, with one end in the air. It was a large bridge, used by trucks, with a walkway on either side for pedestrians, leading to government and military buildings on the other bank of the river. (Based on this description, and the location of the restaurant on Saddoun Street, MEW believes the bridge is Jumhouriyya Bridge.)
The Yemeni said that he had two smaller restaurants: one in the Karada neighborhood, two km away, and the other in Baghdad al-Jedida, 14 km away. These buildings' windows and doors were slightly damaged in other attacks; the restaurant in al-Jedida was damaged when a nearby gas station was hit.115
During the war, little first-hand information reached the public about allied bombing in and around Basra, Iraq's second-largest city. Basra had been home to 1.5 million people in 1977, but by 1988 almost half the city's population was estimated to have fled the shelling during the Iran-Iraq war which killed thousands of civilians.116 Iraqi health officials in Basra told a representative of the U.S.-based Physicians for Human Rights, who visited on March 31 and April 1, that about 10 to 15 percent of the city's residents fled during the Gulf air war.
A former resident of Basra, who lived in exile for 16 years, drove into the city on March 1 from Iran with a convoy of trucks carrying food. He told MEW that the densely populated areas of Ashshar, Bratha'iyya and Old Basra were "badly hit" during the air war, while other areas were not touched.117 He visited Ashshar and found his family's house "totally destroyed," as were many houses nearby. He said the nearest military target was a bridge at least two miles away. Patrick Cockburn, a journalist for The Independent who was in Iraq during the war, toldMEW that there was much more extensive damage from allied bombing in Basra than in Baghdad.118
A detailed report of the allied bomb damage in Basra was filed by journalist Ed Vulliamy in May.119 In contrast to the low level of bomb damage journalists and others saw in post-war visits to Baghdad, Vulliamy found, from walking around Basra, that the bombing had not always been precise:
The destruction meted out by the "precision" bombing of Al-Basra was merciless, ruinous and all-consuming, not always that "precise", and not always "strategic." Walking in Al-Basra, it is easy to work out which buildings were flattened from the air and which were shelled during the rebellion and counter-rebellion: the allied bombers struck at civilian homes, schools, hospitals, mosques and a host of buildings in the city centre.
He also noted that "offices that manage the oil industry were gutted; the port was knocked flat, factories obliterated. Most important, the electricity power stations and the water treatment centers, water tanks and towers were done away with. It was not merely the transformers in the water plants that were bombed, but the giant Japanese-built turbines themselves, which cannot be repaired under the embargo." MEW obtained information from two other witnesses about damage to water-supply facilities in Basra (see Chapter Four).
Despite reports of damage to civilian objects in Basra, some key targets apparently were untouched by allied bombs. A journalist who traveled to Basra in early February from Baghdad reported that near Basra "barracks seen from the road are still standing, albeit empty."120 An Iraqi exile who entered Basra on March 1 told MEW that a Republic Guard garrison just outside the city was intact, as was the Muhammad al-Qasim army camp near al-Jumhouriyya.121
Civilian Casualties and
Damage in Basra
U.S. Brig. Gen. Richard Neal discussed at a briefing
in Riyadh on February 11 the daily bombing of Basra and "collateral
damage." He noted that the city "is a military town in the true sense. It
is astride a major naval base and port facility. The infrastructure,
military infrastructure, is closely interwoven within the city of Basra
itself."124 Gen. Neal cited chemical and oil
storage facilities, port installations, warehouses and a naval base as
some of the military targets.125 He added: "Our pilots, I would stress,
go to extraordinary lengths to try to avoid...civilian damage. In most
cases they've been very, very successful."126
Middle East Watch collected testimony from former residents of Basra, as well as additional information, about the following incidents of civilian casualties and damage:
· two missiles crash into crowded market in daytime attack: An Indian plumbing foreman, who had lived and worked in Basra for one year, told Middle East Watch of a missile attack that he saw at about 11 am on January 24 or January 25.127 He said he was on his way to a market to buy fish for his crew when he saw two missiles fly by, 30 seconds apart. He saw no fighter-bombers in the sky. He watched the missiles crash into the market building, which was some 100 meters from where he was standing; he said his hair was blackened from the explosions.
When the missiles hit, "everything blew up and fell down," he told Middle East Watch. He ran to the scene and saw about ten to fifteen dead men, women and children. One small child, next to a dead woman, was crying: "Where is my mother?" Inside the market, which contained stands for food, clothing and shoes, he saw a crater filling with water and rubble. The market was near a television tower, about a three-minute walk away. The tower was destroyed in a bombing raid two days later.
· ashshar market area in downtown basra sustains damage from two missiles: According to former residents of Iraq, at least 15 stores were badly damaged when two cruise missiles landed in a vegetable market near downtown Basra. MEW interviewed Yemeni students whoattended university in Basra and lived about a half-kilometer from the wholesale vegetable market in Ashshar. The market stretches for one kilometer along both sides of a large street, they said. The market is adjacent to the Ashshar business district where the tallest buildings are hotels about six stories high. There are office buildings and shops in the district, but no military installations there, according to the students.
On or about January 20, at night, the students' house was shaken by a strong blast that broke the glass in the windows. Before the blast, they heard the whistle of a missile. They did not hear any planes and there was no air raid warning siren as there usually is when the planes attack. They did not leave their house. The next morning there was another blast of the same huge impact, preceded by the noise of a whistle. This occurred just before noon. This time, some of the students went out to look at the damage.
They saw that the vegetable market had been hit -- at the entrance and the stores at that end of the market. About 15 to 20 stores on both sides of the street, zinc-roofed of cinderblock construction, were badly damaged. There was a large crater in the street that had filled up with water, about six meters in diameter and maybe two and a half meters deep. Vegetables were scattered all over the rubble, the students said. Nearby buildings also had some damage, but it seemed to the students that the vegetable market had been directly hit twice.
Merchants told the students that the second missile fell 10 meters from the first, with the same type of damage to nearby stores and another crater of the same size in the street. When the students visited the market, there were people milling about, cleaning up the rubble. Some merchants were opening their shops as usual; Iraqis are used to it, one student said. The students did not know the number of civilian casualties from the two attacks.128 Chapter Three of this report contains additional testimony about damage sustained in two daytime attacks in this crowded shopping area in February.
· 25 houses destroyed in middle-class neighborhood during nighttime attack; at least 11 killed: An Indian civil engineer told MEW about an incident in a residential neighborhood on February 3, the night before he left Basra for Jordan, that destroyed about 25 houses and damaged many others, killing at least four civilians.129 His company's translator, an Iraqi, usually spent the night with the company's workers. But on the night of February 3 the translator wanted to return home to be with his wife and seven children. His home was in al-Hakimiyya, which he described as a one-kilometer-square residential neighborhood in the heart of Basra.
During the night, the translator's house was hit with a bomb. Half of the building collapsed, killing three grown sons and a daughter who was a schoolteacher. When the Indians heard what happened, they went to find their colleague. The engineer told MEW that he saw about 25 houses "collapsed" by the bombing and many others damaged. The homes in the neighborhood were middle-class, single-family buildings, multi-storied, of solid brick and stone construction with reinforced concrete roofs. The engineer said that the damage was so extensive that he believed more than one bomb had been dropped in this area.
He said he had no way of knowing the total number of civilian casualties from the attack because the authorities were quick to remove the injured and the dead. Sometimes, he said, they cordoned off an area for safety, fearful that if a site was bombed once it might be bombed again. The engineer found the translator, who was in his house when the bomb fell, but could not learn much from him because the man was dazed and in grief.
According to the engineer, the neighborhood itself had no visible military targets. He speculated that only two possible targets were nearby. The closest was an office building of the state-run South Oil Company (see below for descriptions of attacks on two South Oil Company office buildings in Basra). The other, an area of diesel storage tanks, was about a kilometer away.
In a separate interview with a group of Tunisian workers, MEW obtained a second brief account of a house in al-Hakimiyya neighborhood that was destroyed. The Tunisians found a woman in tears who worked in their hotel. When they asked her what was wrong she told them that her aunt, who lived in al-Hakimiyya, had been killed, along with six other members of the family, when their house was hit by a bomb while the aunt was baking bread in a wood stove. Her body was buried in the rubble and not removed; the army put dirt over the rubble the next day. The woman said that other houses were damaged in the attack but that her aunt's house sustained a direct hit. The Tunisians were not certain about the date of the incident, but it occurred prior to February 10, based on the date of their interview with MEW in Jordan.130
· about 60 homes damaged in several attacks in al-ma'qil neighborhood: Some 60 single-family residential buildings were destroyed or damaged in al-Ma'qil neighborhood during bombing raids that occurred on several different days in late January, according to three Yemeni students interviewed by MEW.
The Yemeni students had lived in Basra and often traveled on the bus to school past al-Ma'qil. They described the area as a low-income community, its attached single-family houses constructed of cinderblock with zinc roofs. A major road traverses the perimeter of the neighborhood but its interior alleys are too small for cars. According to the students, there are no office buildings, TV towers, petrol fixtures or industrial plants in the vicinity.
The earlier bombing in January resulted in the destruction of about 10 houses. One of the students said he saw a woman, still bleeding in the left arm and chest, the next morning. The second bombing, on or about January 22, resulted in damage to about 40 houses and about 18 wounded men, women and children, according to another student who saw them. When they heard about this bombing, they went to see what happened; classes had been suspended when the air war started.
One student saw the aftermath of a bombing in the neighborhood on or about January 25. That night was cloudy, he remembered, because of the black smoke in the sky from distant fires. He passed by the next morning at 8 am and saw a group of 20 houses "flattened" -- the walls were not standing, there was only rubble. He said that the buildings were not of strong construction. The student saw a crater near the houses that was filled with water. People were crying, saying that "12 were killed in this house" and "all but two children were killed in this house." They were in a bus that slowed down but the driver would not stop because he was afraid that the site would be hit again. The following day, when the student passed the area again, people were still digging out the bodies with a front end loader. He did not know the total number of dead and injured.131
A Physicians for Human Rights representative who visited Basra on March 31 and April 1, saw five sites in al-Ma'qil where homes had been destroyed by allied bombing. In an attack on January 23 at 4:30 am, local residents said that 50 people were killed; seven others died when bombs fell on another section of the neighborhood the same night.
· eight adobe houses destroyed in al-zubayr, south of basra: A Sudanese truck driver, 28, who had lived in Iraq for two and a half years, told MEW that he saw eight houses completely destroyed and nearby houses damaged in al-Zubayr, a city about ten miles southeast of Basra. He put the date of the incident at 12 to 15 days after the war began. It occurred at about 3 am and he saw the damage the same morning.
He said the houses were rubble: "no walls, roofs, nothing." They were old adobe buildings -- attached single-family dwellings with zinc roofs, wood beams, most of them two stories high. The buildings were located on the main road; this driver had seen them many times before.
He saw four craters, each about three meters in diameter and two meters deep -- the craters were inside the houses and on the street infront of the houses. He did not see any casualties but was told by others that eight civilians were killed and about 16 injured in the attack.
He said that there were no bridges or office buildings nearby and the houses were one to two km from the antiaircraft guns. He noted that a communications tower was about a kilometer away, and the post office was one to two km away. The same night the post office was bombed and destroyed; the tower next to the post office was also bombed but was still standing after the attack. The post office had been bombed before the houses were hit, and was attacked again after the bombs fell in al-Zubayr.132
After the war, a Physicians for Human Rights representative visited an old residential section in the center of al-Zubayr. He saw several completely destroyed homes around a large bomb crater. Residents reported that the attack occurred at 10:30 pm on January 18; 17 were killed and another 15 injured in ten houses, they said. Doctors in the town told PHR that approximately 200 civilians were killed and 300 to 400 injured during the air war.
· only hospital in al-zubayr destroyed: At least two journalists who visited al-Zubayr after the war noted that the 400-bed General Hospital was destroyed during the course of allied bombing. One noted that the small al-Baten clinic was the only medical facility currently serving the city of 150,000.133 Another wrote that the clinic's "frail concrete structure is already teeming with people....500 mothers beseige the centre every day," bringing babies and children "for treatment of diarrhoea, typhoid and gastroenteritis -- the precursors of cholera."134 A representative of PHR visited the clinic on April 1 and said it was the only one of five health centers in al-Zubayr that was functioning and the General Hospital was almost completely destroyed. A New York Timescorrespondent, during a visit to Basra in July, wrote: "Ten miles away in Zubair, allied bombs struck the city's only hospital, medical officials here said, making it unusable."135
· mosque damaged: A journalist who traveled from Baghdad to Basra and spent the night of February 9 in the city. He told Middle East Watch that Basra that night "took a big pounding."136 The next day he saw damage to an old mosque outside the city. He did not know when the mosque was damaged. The mosque, a clay-tile structure surrounded by a palm tree grove, is located about 200 meters from the warehouses at the edge of the Shatt al-'Arab waterway, which has been unusable since the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980 due to mines and sunken vessels. Part of the front wall of the mosque, and an inside wall, had been blown out by the blast from bombs that landed 50 to 100 meters from the building. The minaret was not damaged. Both bombs left craters four meters wide.
The mosque was 500 meters from the Pepsi Cola factory located in an industrial park -- see below for a description of this attack -- and the bomb craters were between the mosque and the Pepsi plant. The journalist said that there were no visible military targets in the vicinity of the mosque. A Washington Post correspondent who visited Basra in May wrote that the plant was "located close to a military fuel depot."137
· bombs miss small bridge; hospital sustains damage and six patients killed: Indian construction workers who had evacuated to Jordan told The New York Times before January 30 that bombs had hit a hospital in Basra.138 Middle East Watch took an account of bombsthat hit the General Teaching Hospital in Basra on or about January 26 from a group of eight Tunisian construction workers who lived together in a five-story hotel about 100 meters from the hospital. They left Basra on February 23; they had been living in the city for seven months.
The 435-bed hospital is a U-shaped yellow cement building of several stories, with an elongated bottom line. It backs on and is about 25 meters from al-Kornash street which runs along the Shatt al-Arab waterway. A bridge, perpendicular to al-Kornash street, is about 35 meters from the hospital. The bridge, for small cars and pedestrians, goes to Tenuma, a small town about 17 km from the Iranian border.
The Tunisians said that the hospital had a Red Crescent flag on top, on a pole, and a second banner about 30 meters square, white with a red crescent, on the side of the building facing some restaurants and bars perpendicular to the bridge. They had been inside the hospital before the bombing: "It was a general hospital, used by everyone." They said that there were no targets of a military nature other than the bridge nearby. There were no antiaircraft guns near the bridge because of the presence of the hospital.
Three bombs fell near the hospital at about 7:30 am on or about the tenth day of the war, the Tunisians told MEW. The first and the third bombs fell in the waterway near the hospital. The second bomb fell only a few meters from the rear of the hospital. The crater from this bomb was about five meters in diameter and was filled with water.139
One of the Tunisian workers went to the hospital from the hotel at about 8:30 am and helped move the injured from the second floor. (None of the other Tunisians interviewed went inside but they all saw the damage from the outside.) Several patients in the hospital were injured from shrapnel and broken glass. The blast had turned over some of the hospital beds and a few of the patients were on the floor. All the injured had been in the rear of the hospital. The Tunisian said that the nurses would go to a patient, see if he was still alive, then ask the volunteers to carefully push the hospital bed, with the patient in it, to another location.They had to be careful with patients on intravenous, he said, and carefully hold the solution above the patients' heads. If the patient was dead, the nurse would cover the body with a blanket and leave it where it was.
He did not remember how many injured or dead he saw on the second floor. It was a hectic scene; there was blood on the floors and walls; when he finished working his clothes were covered with blood. He said he moved mechanically most of the time, and worked for several hours, until about noon.
The elevator was not working because of the lack of electricity but a generator was soon hooked up. There were so many patients to be moved that the elevator was very busy and sometimes they used the staircase to move people, a hard job, the Tunisian said. Patients were moved to the unaffected wings of the hospital, and some were taken to other facilities in Basra.
MEW was able to confirm part of the Tunisians' account with a British journalist who visited Basra and learned from the hospital's director that in late January a bomb hit the hospital and several patients were killed.140 Similar information was also provided by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). In a meeting with a PHR representative on April 1, the hospital director said that the facility was damaged by a bomb on January 26 at 7:30 in the morning. The bomb left a large crater right next to one of the hospital's walls, according to PHR. Glass in the windows had shattered and parts of the ceiling in the intensive care unit (ICU) had collapsed. The hospital director told PHR that three patients in the ICU died when the ceiling fell on them and three others, including a young child, were killed from shrapnel and flying glass in other parts of the hospital. At the time of PHR's visit, the ICU was still not functioning and badly damaged equipment had not been removed. The hospital director said he assumed that the target was the nearby bridge over the Shatt al'Arab because this was not the first time that allied aircraft tried to bomb this bridge.
· small bridge missed again; restaurants and bars sustain damage: The day after the bombs fell near the hospital, the Tunisians said that a row of nearby restaurants and bars suffered damage in another failed attack on the bridge at approximately 8:30 at night. The restaurant row was about 150-200 meters long, consisting of about seven attached one-story buildings. The farthest building was about 200 meters from the bridge and the closest some 50 meters from the bridge, perpendicular to al-Shuhada street, which backed on an esplanade along the waterway.
Four bombs were dropped on the area, damaging the restaurants and bars. There were some Egyptian workers who used to sleep in the stores and the Tunisians did not know what happened to them. They heard that some civilians were injured and killed in the attack, but they did not know the numbers and did not see any of the bodies. They saw no craters and believe that the bombs landed directly on the buildings.141
The Tunisians told MEW that the following day -- at about 7:30 am and again at 6:30 pm -- the bridge was finally hit. One of the Tunisians was outdoors during the morning raid. He heard the planes coming and ran toward the door of his hotel, but the bridge was hit before he got inside. The power of the blast pushed him through the door and tore his leather jacket on the shoulder. (He showed the MEW representative the tear on the jacket, which he was wearing.) The next day they heard from soldiers that there had been three families on the bridge trying to leave Basra for the safer haven of Tenuma. When the bomb destroyed the bridge, the cars sank into the river and the passengers drowned, according to the soldiers.142
· 50 homes damaged, ten killed, as bombs miss telecommunications tower in daytime attack: MEW took testimony about the inaccurate bombing of a telecommunications towerthat damaged dozens of houses in the Khamsamil residential area, a low-income quarter of one- and two-story houses about two to three km from downtown Basra. Several Indians live in the neighborhood and sell clothing and shoes. One of the Indian residents of Khamsamil saw planes come on January 18 or 19 after lunch; at least 10 people were found dead in the rubble of the houses. The Indians from the neighborhood told their Indian friends elsewhere in Basra of the raid, and an Indian plumber interviewed by MEW went to see the damage for himself several hours later.
He said that he saw over 50 houses damaged: "broken,
all the concrete walls down, all glass in the houses broken."143 He did not see any dead or injured
since they had already been removed by the authorities. He told MEW that
the area contains no military objects or army posts, but said that about
200 meters away was a TV or communications tower.
· civilian casualties and damage from nighttime bombing of railroad station: There is a railroad station in the al-Moaka neighborhood of Basra, five km from the city center. Middle East Watch interviewed a former resident of Basra who lived several hundred meters from the station. He said that on the first day of the war, it was attacked and partially damaged. About 10 days later, the station was bombed againand a nearby bank and four homes were damaged. The bank and the homes were on one side of Mahta Street and the railroad station was on the other side. The homes were one-story single-family buildings, each with a small yard around it.
On or about January 27, the witness heard an explosion at about 8 pm, followed by antiaircraft fire. The planes returned again after 10 or 15 minutes: there were two more explosions. After it seemed there was no more danger, the witness and his housemates went with their flashlights to see what happened, since the explosions had been so close by.
At the railroad station they saw a crater. Five ambulances were at the scene, and they saw medics removing the bodies of a woman and two children from a one-story house that had been reduced to rubble across the road from the station. The roof of the house had fallen in. Civil defense personnel came and moved the bystanders away -- they do not allow people to get too close to the rubble when there is a bombing, the witness said. He did not see a crater, only rubble of what had been the house. When he went to pay his condolences to the grieving families of the neighborhood, he learned that there had been 36 dead and injured.144
· soda-bottling plant destroyed: Tunisian construction workers who had lived in Basra for eight months told Middle East Watch that the city's Pepsi Cola bottling plant was bombed.145 A journalist who visited Basra on February 9 and February 10 confirmed to Middle East Watch that the Pepsi plant -- located in an industrial park near the harbor area -- had been "completely destroyed."146 He said that the building was made of metal sheeting, painted blue and white, and that the walls were "blown out, perhaps from the blast of the explosion." AWashington Post correspondent who visited Basra in May wrote that the plant was "located close to a military fuel depot."147
· reports of attacks on oil-industry administrative buildings: Middle East Watch took two separate accounts about the apparently inaccurate bombing of office buildings of the South Oil Company in Basra. The company operates the southern oilfields of Iraq that account for two of every three barrels that Iraq produced, according to The Wall Street Journal.148 A Yemeni student, 26, who left Basra on February 9, told MEW of the bombing of an administrative office of the South Oil Company located on Malek Ben Dinar Street, on the road going to Ashshar in downtown.149 He said that a sign outside the three-story building read: General Management, South Oil Company. The building is surrounded by a fence one meter high and there is a gatehouse for a guard at the entrance. The gatehouse was totally destroyed in the attack but the main building was not directly hit. The student said that the building only had offices -- there was no equipment or operating stations on the site. He said the windows of the homes across the street from the building were shattered from the blast.
In a separate interview, MEW learned of a nighttime attack on the Hakimiyya neighborhood in the heart of Basra on February 3, which collapsed about 25 houses and killed at least four civilians (see above). An Indian civil engineer who saw the damage from the attack thought that the target might have been an administrative office of the South Oil Company, which was located about 60 meters across the road from the houses that were destroyed. He said that he had passed the building often -- it was large, four stories, situated in an open compound without a fence. There were no oil facilities on the site. The engineer said that the building was not marked in a military fashion and had a sign with thename: South Oil Company. "From the outside, it looked like just another office building," he told MEW. He said that the building did have guards, but added that every state building in Iraq is guarded, from banks on down. The building had no checkpost -- anyone visiting could go inside to the reception area without being stopped. He said he thought that this building was the likely target when the houses across the street were attacked because he knew that another South Oil Company office building -- several kilometers away -- had been attacked on January 28 or January 29.
During the war, coalition forces attacked Iraqi oil refineries and major oil storage facilities. At a briefing on January 18, Gen. Schwarzkopf was asked to confirm that Iraqi oil refineries and petroleum storage depots were military targets as such. He did not directly answer the question, but replied as follows:
Let me tell you that we have consistently, all along, made it a point of not going against targets that were not of a military nature or would not contribute to the military effort. So any targets that we hit along those lines would be targets that we feel would contribute to the military effort, and not just simply done for the sake of destroying something.150
Gen. Schwarzkopf was equally evasive at a briefing on January 27 when a reporter noted reports that between 50 and 60 percent of Iraq's refinery and oil storage capacity had been destroyed and asked if these were priority targets. The general's brief reply was: "If it's a military target, it's very high on our list of priorities."151 Several days later on January 30, a journalist asked Gen. Schwarzkopf to comment on oil-industry reports that 50 to 90 percent of Iraq's refined petroleum located near oil refineries and electrical generating plants had been destroyed. The general again refused to provide detailed information, limiting his response to the following:
I told you, we went after militarily significant targets. We didn't want to destroy their oil industry, but we certainly wanted to make sure they didn't have a lot of gasoline for their military vehicles.152
The allied attacks on the two South Oil Company office buildings in Basra raise questions about the appropriateness of these buildings as military objectives in the circumstances prevailing at the time of the attacks. Although theoretically in a position to contribute to military action as management operations for Iraq's oil industry, allied attacks on refineries and other production and storage facilities -- combined with the crippling of sources of electrical power and all communications -- would appear to have left oil-industry managers with little to administer and no effective means of administration. Thus the role of these administrative facilities and their personnel in assisting Iraq's military effort would not seem to make the "effective contribution to military action" required by the U.S. Air Force rules and customary international law. In addition, it must be noted that although it is permissible to attack the production of export items whose earnings are vital to finance an enemy's war effort, Iraq was not able to generate export earnings from its petroleum industry since August due to the Security Council-imposed sanctions on all trade with Iraq and occupied Kuwait.
* * *
It is not yet known how many civilians were killed or injured in the allied attacks on Basra. The Iraqi government daily newspaper Al-Thawra reported on February 6 that 349 people had been killed in the city.153 Middle East Watch is unaware of additional statistics released since that time.
OTHER CITIES AND TOWNS IN SOUTHERN IRAQ
Continuing the pattern that Middle East Watch found in Iraq's two largest cities, former residents of communities that stretch south along the Euphrates River from Baghdad did not report widespread or systematic destruction of civilian areas that would be suggestive of a policy of indiscriminate bombing. But civilians living between Baghdad and Basra paid a price during the allies' not-so-perfect air war.
A Shi'a cleric who witnessed some of the allied bombing in the holy city of Najaf told MEW that the city was first bombed on the night of January 21. He said that the allies aimed at, but missed, a telecommunications tower (see below). He also described a sequence of events that would not be unfamiliar to residents of other cities of Iraq during the air war. The power station was attacked during the same week, depriving civilians of electricity, water and sewage removal facilities. Civilians "had to manage without electricity," while government buildings were supplied with standby generators, he said. Sanctions had affected food supplies four months before the air war started, and "the people were not prepared -- there were no stockpiles of food."154
Civilian Casualties and Damage
· 20 houses destroyed in an agricultural village: An Egyptian interviewed by MEW said that a group of about 20 attached single-family homes had been bombed in al-Haswa, a village 3 km east of Iskanderiyya, south of Baghdad on the Baghdad-Hilla highway. The man, an employee of the Iraqi Ministry of Health who lived in Iskanderiyya, saw the craters after the bombing, which he said took placein late January or early February. He was familiar with these houses and said they were simple residential buildings. The area itself was agricultural, he said, about 10 km from the Euphrates River; most of al-Haswa's residents were farmers.
There was no bridge in the village, no tower, no high buildings -- nothing. "This is indiscriminate bombing, they have no [military] targets. They just want to unload their bombs," the Egyptian charged.155 What impressed him most was the sight of civil defense personnel removing the dead from the rubble, including a woman with a baby in her arms. "It was a scene I will never forget," he said.
Journalists who visited al-Haswa and interviewed residents provided additional details about the attack. One correspondent speculated that the target may have been a road some 150 yards from the houses:
The next stop is in al-Haswa. . . The attack took place on the night of January 23 and has left in the mud three craters, each more than 30 yards in diameter and 10 yards deep. The bombs, which have damaged houses, were presumably aimed at the motorway 150 yards away.
"Under there," murmurs Faisa Ibrahim, gesturing towards the dirty water, "there are still people buried."156
A 31-year-old teacher from al-Haswa personally saw
five people killed from bombing in the village; her own house had been
heavily damaged and several family members injured.157
In the nearby village of Haswa, a crater about 50 yards in diameter marked the impact of what appeared to have been 1,000 pound bombs in an area of one-story houses surrounded by low walls....residents gave varying casualty figures, with 35 to 40 dead frequently mentioned....158
· 36 houses destroyed or damaged in nighttime attack: The Egyptian who provided MEW with the account of the bombing in al-Haswa, noted above, also saw damage to a group of 36 houses in Iskanderiyya during nighttime bombing of the area. The Egyptian had lived for 10 years in Musayyeb, a city about 12 km southwest of Iskanderiyya. He said the bombing, which occurred between 11:20 pm and 5 am on February 16 or 17, was "very savage."
The Egyptian visited the site the next morning. Some of the houses were damaged but still standing; others, where the rockets fell, were destroyed. He knew this area well, and emphasized that it was a residential area of one- and two-story detached single family homes.159 He was told that about 50 civilians had been killed. He saw limbs of some of the dead that had not yet been removed: arms and heads. He also saw four or five craters filled with water -- the craters were about 10 meters apart and about five meters in diameter.
He told MEW that Iskanderiyya was about 10 km from the nearest military site he knew of. That military site was also hit and soldiers killed, he heard, but he did not know if the military site was hit on that night or another, since there were raids almost every night. (A conventional weapons plant was located near Iskandariyya, according toThe New York Times; this may have been the "military site" to which the Egyptian referred.160)
The Egyptian left Iraq for safety reasons on February 19 with his wife, daughter and two sons. "The bombing was getting too close," he said.
· three houses destroyed in an agricultural village: Three one-story one-family houses on the main road in Hamya, a residential village, were destroyed in a nighttime attack on or about February 10. MEW learned of the incident from an Egyptian who rebuilds electric motors and lived since 1981 in Musayyeb. Hamya is located about three km from Musayyeb. The Egyptian saw the damage the next morning. Three homes on the main road of the village had been hit; the Egyptian had seen these buildings before.
He saw a crater in the middle of one house; the houses on either side had some walls still standing. The crater was about three meters across and two meters deep. He did not know the total number of casualties, but he saw four bodies being removed from the debris.161 One was an old man with a beard; the others were badly burned, he said. The village was located in an agricultural area and had "nothing important" -- not even an office building or a factory, according to the Egyptian.
· two-story medical clinic destroyed: A Sudanese resident of Hilla told Middle East Watch of the damage he saw to a small yellow two-story clinic in the Bakari neighborhood in the center of Hilla the day after it was bombed. The columns and foundations of the clinic were still standing, but not much else. He said he did not see any craters and did not know if anyone was killed or injured in the attack, adding that the clinic did not keep patients overnight.
He said that the windows and doors of nearby houses also were damaged in the attack. There were only residential buildings in this area, he said -- no military structures, no post office, no bridge, nothing. A tower, located about three km away, also was bombed that night, he told Middle East Watch.162
In a separate interview, two Pakistanis, an electrician and a welder, told MEW of seeing damage to a "hospital" in Hilla that was for "delivery cases, ladies and children." The men lived in Najaf and they said they frequently visited Hilla on the day of rest, Friday. They saw the damage two or three days after the bombing. The building, which they had seen many times during their visits to Hilla, was about three stories, located in the center of the city, near a shopping center. There were no military installations, bridges, factories or communications towers nearby. They said that the post office, the nearest government building, was about two km away, and an army training base was located outside the city. They also noted that a school near the "hospital" also was damaged.163
Journalists brought to the site by the Iraqi authorities wrote about the attack on the clinic, confirming aspects of the account taken by Middle East Watch. One dispatch appeared in The Washington Post:
In Hillah, correspondents were taken to a residential area hard hit by allied bombs as well as a secondary school and a clinic in the city center. Blackboards in the school and sheets of medical reports in the clinic left no doubt for this reporter that these buildings were as billed.164
Another report appeared in The Guardian:
Here [in Hilla] they show us a clinic and a secondary school, both hit by a missile in the early hours of January 18. "No one died because the attack was at night and both places were empty," explains Hassan Rasac, a 35-year-old teacher. "Bush wants to frighten us."165
· three residential buildings destroyed: Three three-story residential buildings were destroyed in al-Kufa, according to a 42-year-old Kashmiri carpenter. He was one of 10 Kashmiris interviewed by MEW in a group of 113 Pakistani construction workers who lived in a workers' compound in nearby Kifl. The carpenter said the incident took place five or six days after the start of the war, on or about January 23; al-Kufa is located about 12-15 km northeast of Najaf and 20 to 25 km south of Kifl.
The Kashmiri was helping a driver take water from their purification plant to civilians. He saw three residential buildings, each three stories high, that had been totally destroyed by a bomb: "Everything is going to out, there is no wall stay on the buildings," he said in broken English.
Three families lived in one of the houses. He could not get closer because the police had cordoned off the area. He saw an ambulance, and said that many "ladies and small children" were killed. He said bystanders told him that 104 people were killed in the three buildings. The houses were located one kilometer from a bridge and the post office, which were not damaged in the attack.166
· two-story house destroyed as bomb misses bridge by 500 meters: A Pakistani worker interviewed by MEW saw a house in Kifl hit by a bomb as he was traveling at about 2 pm on or about January 20on a company road that leads north to Karbala. Kifl, a town on the east bank of the Euphrates River, is south of Hilla. The Pakistani heard one explosion but did not see a plane. He stopped his truck and ran to the house.
The house, a two-story building that the Pakistani had passed often, was located about 100 meters from a primary school. The school was not damaged, but the house was totally destroyed -- "all finished," the Pakistani said. The parents were working in the fields but two children were inside when the bomb hit the building. Only pieces of one child could be found after the attack; the other, 12 years old, was injured. "All people crying," the worker said of the scene as the relatives ran to the house, which caught fire after the bombing. The fire brigade and police arrived to put out the fire while he was there.
The eyewitness was one of a group of 113 Pakistanis who had been working in Iraq for two years on the construction of a tire-production factory near Najaf, 130 km southwest of Baghdad. The workers lived in a compound close to Kifl, a village about 35 km from Najaf.
The house was about 500 meters from the water purification plant built on the Euphrates in Kifl about six months before by the Pakistani workers for their own use; the house was about 250-300 meters from a minor road built for their construction company. Near the plant was a bridge over the river which could be used by large trucks. Other than the bridge, there were no military objects near the house, which was separated by 20 meters from the other houses whose windows were shattered. The bridge was not damaged in the attack and was still standing when the Pakistanis left for Jordan on February 15.167
· bomb misses bridge by 500 meters, falls in residential quarter, six killed: A Sudanese driver, 31, who lived in southern Iraq for five years and hauled gravel, told MEW of a bomb that fell at 8 pm on or about February 7, killing six of his neighbors. He lived in asmall community about 45 kilometers north of Basra on the Basra-Baghdad highway.
The explosion was so close it "damaged my ears" -- he said he could not hear immediately after but that his hearing shortly returned. The one-story concrete house he lived in with seven other Sudanese drivers had shrapnel all over it, including on the roof. The glass in the windows shattered. He and his housemates went out as soon as it was clear, and saw that their Iraqi neighbor's home had been totally destroyed. The house was 50 meters from their own, and about 150 meters from the river.
The Sudanese saw the bodies of his neighbors, whom he knew personally. There were 10 people in the house. Six were killed outright, two were injured, and two escaped injury. One of the two injured lost a leg and died two days later in the hospital. The other lost a hand. The house was totally destroyed. He did not see a crater.
Other houses in the neighborhood were damaged but he did not hear of other civilians injured or killed. Close to another house, a cow was killed. He did not see a crater. He said that a bridge was about 500 meters away, but that there were no factories, government buildings, offices or towers in this community of about 150 houses.
· bridge missed again, one killed: The next night
there were two more raids in the area, the Sudanese driver who provided
the testimony above told MEW. In the first, some cows were killed, he was
told. In the second, a few hundred meters away from where the cows were
killed and immediately after the first attack, a young man was killed when
a rocket fell close to his family's house. Six family members were
sleeping inside the house, but only the son was killed, according to the
father, to whom the Sudanese talked the next day when they saw the damage
to the side of the house and to a pickup truck that was parked nearby. The
house was next to the road. This man said he no longer felt safe and left
with friends for Baghdad the same day, en route to Jordan and then home.168
· bomb misses telecommunications tower; at least 20 killed in two-story house: Middle East Watch obtained three accounts of the inaccurate bombing of a telecommunications tower in the city of Najaf in the first week of the war that resulted in the destruction of residential buildings and the loss of civilian life. A Pakistani construction worker who lived near Najaf told MEW that several days after the start of the war civilians were killed during a nighttime attack. He and his housemates heard two explosions and they went out together to look at what had been hit. They saw a two-story house with the top story severely damaged and collapsed on the lower story. Najaf is a very old city, he said, and people build attached houses, on their neighbors' walls. He was told that 20 people asleep in the house were killed, all members of the same family. Others were injured. The windows of nearby houses had shattered.
They did not see the inside of the house because the police and fire brigade had arrived and did not permit civilians to help or get in the way. The worker told MEW that the bombs fell 10 km from Kufa, where there is a bridge that was bombed after this attack. He noted that Najaf and Karbala are holy places for Shia Muslims and that no military encampments are located in these cities. The house where the family was killed was two km from the holy shrines, he said.170
Reuters reported from Iraq that local residents said 12 bombs were dropped in a residential area of the city, apparently aimed at but missing a telecommunications tower.171 The residents said the attack took place on January 20 and that 50 houses were hit, killing at least 20 civilians. The Reuters correspondent who visited the site saw "several houses that had received direct hits." A U.S. visitor to Iraq in May saw evidence that bombs fell in this residential area. "I saw four big craters next to each other, in a line, each about eight feet by 12 feet," she said.172 It was difficult to tell how many houses had been destroyed in the attack, because rebuilding was in progress during her visit. One resident told her he was "the luckiest man in Iraq." He showed her where one bomb had landed in the front of his house and a second in the back yard; the house itself remained standing.
Middle East Watch interviewed an Iraqi Shi'a cleric who was in Najaf on the night the allies first bombed the city. He said he believed that the attack on the residential area described above was not deliberate, but that a telephone exchange tower was the likely military objective. He said that the attack occurred at approximately 9 pm, and residents were in their houses because there were no shelters in Najaf. Bombs fell in the al-Amir residential district of the city, aiming for the telephone exchange tower and the power station. The power station was hit later the same week, he told MEW. There were no Iraqi military units stationed in Najaf and no military industries, according to the cleric, but there were cement, brick and tire factories in the area.173
A resident of Najaf who fled to Iran told MEW that
there was extensive damage from allied bombing in two civilian areas of
the city: al-Amir and Mutanabi, killing 60 and injuring 200. "We think
they were hit either by mistake or by Saddam for propaganda value," he
"Why did they do that?" asked Saeed Haber, a middle-aged trader, near the ruins of the al-Yarmuk Hotel in Diwaniyeh, 110 miles south of Baghdad.
"This hotel had no military people in it," said Haber, who ... spoke to reporters taking government tours of hard-hit civilian areas. "Neither had my shop next to it. Bush says his planes are hitting only military targets. He is lying."
Local officials say the al-Yarmuk was among many non-military facilities -- small shops and kebab restaurants --ravaged during three recent bombing raids. All were near a telecommunications center, ostensibly the focus of allied attacks.
In the al-Yarmuk bombing, 11 people died and 49 were hurt, according to manager Saeed Ahmed Mohammed, a 46-year-old Egyptian.176
· civilian casualties in bombing of bus station in hilla: About three weeks after the beginning of the war, on or about February 7, a bus station in the center of Hilla was bombed at night. A former resident interviewed by MEW saw six cars in the garage that were badly damaged as well as stalls in a nearby market. He heard that civilians were killed and injured in the attack but did not personally see any casualties. He said that there were electric generators 600 km from the garage butthat these were not the principal ones for the city and were not bombed. He also said there was an army service office about 70-75 meters from the station. The post office and tower were one km from the bus station.177 Iranian refugees interviewed separately by MEW confirmed aspects of this account. They had lived nearby in Shomeli camp and saw the Hilla bus station two to three days after it was bombed. They saw many damaged and burned cars, as well as some damaged stores.178
· civilian casualties and damage in samawa from cluster bombs179: A Sudanese truck driver told MEW about what he thought were delayed-action bombs that were dropped in his neighborhood, Ashudhada, on or about February 7, at 4:00 in the afternoon. He said that a rocket landed in the yard of a home and that the blast reduced the cinderblock structure to rubble. The house was about one kilometer away from where he lived with seven other Sudanese.180
He said that first he heard an air raid siren, followed by the explosion. Then, after 20 minutes, he heard a series of small explosions, like gunfire, that lasted for a half-hour. He stayed indoors until the explosions stopped. When he and his housemates went outside, they saw a small green metal device in the yard, about 10 meters from the house. It was the size of a metal Spam can (the Sudanese reached for a nearby Spam can to indicate the size of the device). The device had no wires or protrusions on it: "When you looked at it, you would not think it was an explosive." Suddenly it detonated in a small explosion similar to those he had heard while indoors, and created a small crater one foot wide and about 18 inches deep.
The neighborhood is totally residential, the witness said. Its cinderblock single-family homes are one or two stories high. It has no government buildings, military installations or communications facilities. He added that this was not the first time that the residents of Samawa saw this type of bomb. Other bombs fell in the Ashuhada neighborhood and other residential areas since the start of the war. Some of the small bombs were yellow and some green. "They exploded near houses, even if no one approached," he told MEW, indicating that the bomblets were on delayed-action fuses. He was unaware of any civilian casualties from these devices.
In a separate interview, another former resident of Samawa said that on or about February 14 two rockets fell on either side of a crossroads about 15 kilometers north of the city.181 The crossroads, known as Takata al-Warqar, is where the main road north to Diwaniyya intersects other small roads, including one that leads to historic ruins.
The witness told MEW that he had traveled to the crossroads to pick up his car, which he had left there the day before. He said he found that the area had been bombed -- he saw many small army-green-colored bombs, perhaps 50, in different places alongside the road. He said the bombs were circular on top, but that the bottom halves were not visible because they were buried in the mud. He did not realize these were bomblets, however, until he saw a rocket of the same green color -- with the letter "F" in black and "danger" in English -- that had opened in two parts. The second part of the rocket was far from where he was, on the other side of the crossroads. He saw no crater from the rocket itself. After he noticed the rocket casing, he did not move closer than two meters to the bombs because he was afraid. He carefully left the area -- he had been told that people had been killed by small bombs like these that exploded after one or two hours or after one or two days. He told MEW that the devices did not explode while he was at the crossroads.
A Bedouin family of his acquaintance lived in an adobe house near the crossroads and he believed they were killed or injured by the bomblets. He saw their pick-up truck, its exterior damaged fromshrapnel. The inside of the truck was destroyed; he saw blood on the inside walls; shoes and clothes were scattered around the vehicle. He did not see any bodies. The pickup was about five meters away from where he saw one of the rocket casings. He insisted that there was nothing of military significance near the site. Two to three meters from the crossroads was a small area where vans and other vehicles picked up passengers. There were no buildings at the pick-up point.
He also heard from a fellow worker that a family from the al-Baath neighborhood in Samawa, which is near a high steel bridge, said that similar small bombs had fallen in the garden of their home. The family, fearful that the bombs might explode, warned the worker away from the garden. He told Middle East Watch that the steel bridge -- the largest of three in Samawa -- had been bombed four times and had not collapsed, but a large crater in the middle of the span prevented vehicles from using it.
CITIES AND TOWNS IN WESTERN AND NORTHERN IRAQ
This section contains accounts of incidents that caused civilian casualties and damage in cities, villages and towns to the west and north of Baghdad. Middle East Watch collected eyewitness testimony about the inaccurate bombing on February 14 of the bridge in Falluja, west of Baghdad, which the Iraqi authorities initially said killed 130 civilians and injured 78; these accounts are included in Chapter Three. MEW also obtained testimony about a series of attacks in Rutba, the largest town in the far west of Iraq near the sites from which missiles were launched into Israel. In one incident in Rutbah, civilians were strafed and killed in the early evening by a low-flying airplane.
Civilian Casualties and
Damage in Rutba
· bomb hits house in early evening, killing five: On February 20, at about 7:00 in the evening, a bomb fell on a residential building in Rutba, killing four Iraqi civilians, according to a Sudanese family interviewed by MEW. The family was in their home when a bomb fell on their neighbor's house, located 75 meters from their own. There was no air raid shelter in Rutba, so residents stayed in their homes at night.
After they felt the danger had passed, they went to see what had happened to their neighbors, who were friends. They saw two houses, both of concrete construction, that were damaged. In the first house, a one-story residence, a woman and her three daughters, one of them married and pregnant, had been killed -- "all that remained of the house was the gate." They did not see the bodies of the dead women because they were covered with black plastic. The father was injured. In the second house, shrapnel from the bomb hit the water tank over the three-story structure, causing it to collapse on the building, killing the father who was on the third floor at the time. Four cars parked outside the first house were totally destroyed. There was one bomb crater next to the house, about three to four meters across and nine meters deep.
Antiaircraft guns were about two to three km away, they told MEW. There were no government buildings, bridges or military installations in the vicinity of the houses. There was a gas station about a half-kilometer away. "This is a civilian area for poor people," one of them told MEW. Two days after this attack, the family left for Jordan.182
· airplane opens fire, killing members of wedding party: On February 14 at about 6:00 pm, two Sudanese sisters were on the roof of their relative's one-story house in Rutba watching a wedding party in progress a block away. As the bride arrived in a car with her female relatives, the men, who were outside the house in the garden, shot off their guns in the air in traditional celebration. The women watched as a plane, black with yellow on the front, dove down and began to shoot.They hit the ground. They heard the plane return several times, shooting at the wedding party each time.
The next day, the women took a sick child to the hospital and saw many wounded people from the wedding party. They saw some children who had been injured in the stomach; the nurses had put gauze over the wounds to stop the bleeding. They were told by the injured that the bride and her female relatives were killed and that others who were inside the house were injured. The men outside in the garden also were killed.183
· bomb hits house in midnight attack, injured family of 14 survives: The Sudanese mother of five children and her 13-year-old son told MEW of the bombing of a three-story house next door and seven meters from theirs in Rutba, where they had lived for five years. The neighbor's home, which housed a family of 14 people, was completely destroyed in an attack that took place on or about February 13, at midnight. The Sudanese family's house was damaged in the raid, and three cars parked in front of the neighbor's house were badly damaged. The houses were in a residential area of Rutba, close to the main road.
Three planes flew over the houses and dropped a bomb which landed on the neighbor's house. The Sudanese boy saw the crater inside the rubble of the house, which he said was "very big" -- he estimated it was 20 meters across. "Even water came to the surface of the ground," filling the crater, he said. His mother said she had been too scared to go look.
At the time of the bombing, the family had been on the first floor. The bomb fell on the roof, and the second and third floors collapsed onto the first floor. Since the walls fell on many family members, debris had to be removed to find them. No one was killed, but eight family members were injured, some severely. A son, 22, lost both arms. The 13 year old son, a schoolmate of the Sudanese witness, lost a leg. Some of the girls, ages eight, 15, 17 and 18, were burned in the faces and heads. The father was injured in his left arm; the mother was injuredin her legs and arms. The police came and took the injured to the hospital.
The witnesses were not certain about the possible military targets in the area. They said that they could see a radio tower from their home, at a distance. It was bombed several times, before and after the night of the attack, but was not hit that night. The tower was finally knocked down two days after the house was bombed. They told MEW that they had heard that there was "something military" in the area to protect it, but they never saw it and did not know where it was.
The woman said that she did not venture out much during the war. She had seen "many, many people" being carried in traditional fashion on the shoulders of their relatives in numerous funeral processions. She said there were "too many" civilians killed and injured in Rutba. She had heard that some civilians were killed near the radio tower but she did not know where others had been killed.184
· school completely destroyed, hotel damaged, at least three civilians killed: A Sudanese family told MEW that on February 17 the tower on top of the four-story post office in Rutba was bombed and collapsed. The next day, it was hit again and completely destroyed. This Sudanese family saw it burning the next day. When the post office was hit, the windows and doors of nearby houses were damaged.
The post office and the hospital were on one side of the main street about 20 meters apart. On the other side of the main street was the market, a school (one of five in the city), and a hotel. The market, post office and hospital were the only ones in Rutba; there is also a small clinic.
The school, a one-story cinderblock building, had about six classrooms and three offices. The school was attacked by allied aircraft on February 19: one rocket exploded and three did not. The school was completely damaged in the attack, its roof and most of the wallscollapsed. The army detonated the unexploded bombs in the school. After two to three days, there was still smoke and fire in the school, and a bad smell, causing residents headaches and watery eyes.
The seven-story cinderblock hotel was between the school and the main street; people of many nationalities lived there, including Sudanese and Egyptians. The hotel was damaged on the same night as the school; "it looked collapsed," one Sudanese told MEW. They believed that a bomb fell on the roof of the hotel at 2 am when it was full of people. One of their relatives was injured in this hotel; his leg was amputated below the knee and he was badly burned on one side. At the time the Sudanese left for Jordan, their relative was still in a hospital in Baghdad. They knew of three other Sudanese who were killed in the hotel, but they did not know how many others. They were told there were "many dead" from this attack.185
23 Houses in Agricultural
Area Hit with Bombs in Two Separate Attacks, No Survivors
The same man said that about 15 attached, two-story cinderblock houses were hit at 4:00 in the afternoon on a clear day in early February. He was in the market when the bombs fell. He did not see the planes but heard them after the bombing. He went to look at the damage immediately after the attack. The area was two km from the market in the al-Malab neighborhood, on al-Eskan Street. He saw an ambulance taking the bodies of 15 men, women and children. People at the scene said there were no survivors and that 17 people had been killed. There was no military emplacement in the area, no antiaircraft. There wererailroad tracks some two km away, which were bombed four days later. Nothing else was bombed on this afternoon.186
Reports from Northern Iraq
At the time of the bombing the workers were asleep and did not hear the noise of any planes. After the attack, one man ran outside and saw three planes flying away; it was a clear night, and he could see the stars. The bombs fell on open ground next to the house. There were two large craters about three to four meters from the side of the house; each crater was about five meters in diameter and three meters deep. The four adjacent homes, of similar construction to theirs, were badly damaged but no one in the other houses was injured or killed. The bombs fell closer to their house than to any other house.
There were about 150 houses in the village, which was surrounded by flat farmland. Most of the residents were farmers. The Sudanese had lived there for two years, earning money from free-lance construction work. The village is two km from the river; a railroadstation is about 10 km away. The only other objects attacked in the immediate area, that they know of, were the railroad tracks, located about 2 to 3 km from their home. The railroad tracks were hit three nights after the bombs fell next to their house. They did not know if there were any houses damaged when the tracks were hit although there are houses nearby. The Sudanese insisted that there was no military base or installation even close to their village or nearby factories, government buildings, communications towers or post offices.
One survivor still had shrapnel in his left leg, which he showed to the MEW representative. Another was wearing sunglasses; he removed them to show he had sustained still-visible injuries in the area around his eyes, eyebrows and nose. He said that he was not able to see at all for some time after the blast; his vision had since returned but was weak. He was treated for nine days at Mosul Hospital. The workers told MEW that seven others were injured in the bombing; four were still in the Republican Hospital in Mosul in serious condition when their housemates departed for Jordan. Three had head injuries and one had surgery to remove a kidney. The workers told MEW that they decided to leave Iraq because the war had become "too much."188
Peter Arnett of CNN traveled with Iraqi officials to al-Dour, north of Baghdad, and reported on January 25 that some two dozen homes were destroyed in an allied attack. The town, on the east bank of the Tigris River, is south of Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit and about 25-30 km north of Samarra. Arnett said that 23 houses had been "flattened" in bombing raids and that residents said 24 civilians had been killed. He said he was told that the town had no military installations. Gen. Kelly, director of operations for the Joint Chief of Staff, did not deny that the houses had been destroyed but said: "In the vicinity of that town there was a military munitions depot, a chemical warfare production and storage facility, and a military communications site," in an obvious reference to nearby Samarra.189
* * *
Iraqi Kurdish opposition groups provided some information to the press about the allies' bombing in the north. They noted military targets that had been attacked in the early days of the war, and also stated straightforwardly that civilian areas themselves did not appear to be targets for allied aircraft.
Hoshiar Zibari of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said that from sources in Iraq "we know for sure no civilian or residential areas have been targeted," although when pressed he said that some civilians have been affected, but only those located in residential areas adjacent to military targets. He reiterated that most targets had been hit directly, adding that it was impossible to assess the extent of damage inside installations because these facilities were heavily guarded. Zibari did not have estimates of civilian casualties.190
The KDP list of targets attacked that was presented to the press in London on January 22 included major airfields at al-Qayyara in the north, major oil refineries at Bajii and al-Qayyara, a chemical plant at al-Qa'im near the Syrian border in western Iraq, and the Fifth Army corps headquarters in Arbil.191
In the second week of February, Masoud Barzani, another Iraqi Kurdish leader, identified sites in northern Iraq that had been bombed by allied aircraft. He said that most of the targets attacked were airfields and bridges, military barracks, and oil fields, refineries and petroleum storage facilities, noting: "Up to now we have definitive information that the allies have not targeted civilian objectives of residential areas."192
Barzani described some of the bombing as "very accurate," but added that civilians were injured or killed in cases of inaccurate bombing or where military targets had been located in civilian areas. He cited the bombing of a helicopter base in Harir, a town east of Arbil, that resulted in an estimated 300 Kurdish civilian casualties. He said that the base was "deliberately" located within a detention center where thousands of Kurds were interned.
Barzani also provided information about non-military targets that he said had been bombed in northern Iraq, including a sugar refinery in Suleimaniyya, and -- in Mosul, Iraq's third largest city -- a textile plant, Ibn Betar hospital and a domestic heating-gas plant. He also said that the Iraqi security headquarters and the central prison in Mosul had been bombed. Barzani estimated the number of civilian casualties in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq at 3,000.
A KDP statement released in Cyprus on January 25 said that 60 civilians had been killed, and hundreds wounded, in the areas of the north around Mosul and Kirkuk.193 The KDP said the bombing of military and industrial facilities was 50 percent successful, and mentioned that the following targets had been attacked: Saddam Dam north of Mosul, the Debis power station, television stations in Kirkuk and Mosul, and a uranium mine near Serseng. The statement also noted:
Life has been paralysed in the country because of the destruction of power stations, oil refineries, communications centres and bridges. Electricity and telephone exchange lines have been cut off in the northern towns. Land transport is minimal due to the knocking down of several vital bridges and petrol shortages.194
The statements by Kurdish leaders about the overall accuracy of allied bombing in northern Iraq were echoed by residents of the north who fled to Iran during the post-war uprisings and were interviewedthere during a fact-finding mission by representatives of Middle East Watch and the U.S. Committee for Refugees. Civilian areas of Kirkuk, a major city in the north, were not attacked during the air war, according to a resident. He said that Iraqi soldiers during the war told residents that "the U.S. attacked Falluja but not Kirkuk, so we are going to get you."195 A teacher who fled Kirkuk in early April told the U.S. Committee for Refugees that no houses in Kirkuk were bombed, only "military places and police stations -- they shot in the exact places they wanted to shoot."196 The teacher also said that helicopters were placed "in between houses to make it so that if the American planes attacked the helicopters they might hit civilian targets. Rockets and airplanes were kept in schools to prevent them from being hit or if they were hit to make it a propaganda point."
A resident of Suleimaniyya who fled the city in early April said that it was called "Bush City" because allied aircraft were "playing" in the sky but never bombed the city; residents waved at allied planes.197 A former Iraqi soldier who was a student in Suleimaniyya told a representative of the U.S. Committee for Refugees: "The bombing was very precise. It did not hit any of the houses in Suleimaniyya."198
1 One journalist who was in Iraq during the air war told MEW that telecommunications centers were "visible and distinctive targets." He said that the buildings, typically two stories, "are all marked by triangular red and white masts about 15 meters high; many had satellite dishes on top." In many cases, the centers were located in tightly packed residential districts. "In one incident in Diwaniyya, an entire street and a hotel was wiped out. The telecommunications tower was wedged in between two streets," he said. (MEW interview, July 19, 1991.) See Chapter Five for a description of this incident, in which 11 civilians reportedly were killed and another 49 injured.
4 Patrick Cockburn, "Myth of pinpoint bombing," The Independent, February 14, 1991.
5 MEW interview, July 19, 1991.
6 New Statesman and Society, June 21, 1991 at 27.
7 Pentagon Interim Report at 12-2 to 12-3.
8 Pentagon Interim Report at 12-3.
9 McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 2. Aviation Week reported: "In addition to the radar and command and control systems, the Iraqi air defense system contained several hundred Soviet SAMs and more than 100 French Roland command-guided SAMs as well as antiaircraft artillery (AAA)." (Bruce D. Nordwall, "Electronic Warfare Played Greater Role In Desert Storm Than Any Conflict," Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 22, 1991 at 68.)
10 Pentagon Interim Report at 2-4.
11 According to the Pentagon: "The air defense system, partially blinded by the first attacks, was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attacking aircraft. Nothing approaching the depth, breadth, magnitude, and simultaneity of this coordinated attack had been previously achieved. The Iraqi air defense system could not coordinate a defense." (Pentagon Interim Report at 4-3.)
12 See, for example, Guy Gugliotta, "High-Tech Weapons Earn Rave Reviews in Wartime Debuts," The Washington Post, February 3, 1991.
13 Bruce D. Nordwall, "Electronic Warfare Played Greater Role in Desert Storm Than Any Conflict," Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 22, 1991 at 68.
15 The Independent, February 5, 1991.
16 Pentagon Interim Report at 6-4.
17 Michael A. Dornheim, "F-117A Pilots Conduct Precision Bombing in High Threat Environment," Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 22, 1991 at 53.
20 Carole A. Shifrin, "Britain's Gulf Role Highlights Value of Flexible Tactics, New Technology," Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 22, 1991 at 107.
21 M. Lenorovitz, "Air Crew Training, Avionics Credited for F-15Es High Target Rate Hits," Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 22, 1991 at 107.
22 "Preliminary reports indicate the allies' tactic of dropping precision munitions from higher altitudes -- 15,000-20,000 ft. -- diminished their lethality." (John D. Morocco, "Looming Budget Cuts Threaten Future of Key High-Tech Weapons," Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 22, 1991 at 66.) "The problem with bombing from higher altitudes is the loss of accuracy when using unguided weapons. Early analysis indicates dumb bombs dropped by attack aircraft were not all that effective, according to a Pentagon official." ("Flexibility of Attack Aircraft Crucial to Crushing Iraq's Military Machine," Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 22, 1991 at 46.)
23 David White, "Britain admits bombs missed target and hit town," Financial Times, February 18, 1991.
24 R. Jeffrey Smith and Evelyn Richards, "Many Bombs May Have Missed," The Washington Post, February 22, 1991.
25 Pentagon Interim Report at 6-2.
26 Pentagon Interim Report at 6-1.
27 The missile is designed to carry a conventional 1,000-pound high-explosive warhead, or "a cluster of 166 soda-can-size `bomblets' that can be dropped over three targets en route to a fourth." ("The Mind of a Missile," Newsweek, February 18, 1991.) Each of the 166 bomblets from the cluster-bomb unit carries a half-pound of explosives. (Francis Tusa, "Pinpoint strikes vindicate 40 years of planning," The Guardian, January 18, 1991.) The circular error probable (CEP) of the Tomahawk BGM-109A is 280 meters, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. (The Military Balance 1990-1991, Brassey's: 1990 at 217.) This CEP notwithstanding, the Tomahawk has been heralded for its pinpoint accuracy because of its ability at times to land within less than 100 feet of a target. (Will Bennett, The Guardian, January 18,1991.)
28 Molly Moore, "War Exposed Rivalries, Weaknesses in Military," The Washington Post, June 10, 1991. "When the Navy...got the sea-launched missiles included in the war plan, the Air Force remained so skeptical of their accuracy that in one case it assigned as many as 30 missiles to hit a Scud missile assembly plant, according to a senior Navy official. The Navy now reports the missiles struck 85 percent of their targets, and naval authorities say initial uncertainty over the Tomahawk forced them to fire up to twice as many of the $1.75 million weapons as they needed--costing taxpayers an extra $245 million." (Id.)
29 "The Mind of a Missile," Newsweek, February 18, 1991.
30 Pentagon Interim Report at 6-8.
31 Pentagon Interim Report at 6-8.
32 David Fairhall, "No absolute way to measure damage," The Guardian, February 4, 1991.
33 R. Jeffrey Smith, "U.S. Military Pressed About Civilian Casualties," February 3, 1991.
34 Air Force Regulation 110-20, dated September 10, 1981, implements Department of Defense Instructions 5500.15.
35 World Bank, World Development Report 1990 at 239.
36 Bernd Debusmann, "No Havens, Says Resident of Baghdad," The Washington Post, February 4, 1991.
37 MEW interview, July 19, 1991.
38 Alan Cowell, "Refugees From Baghdad Report Some Casualties Among Civilians," The New York Times, January 23, 1991.
39 Nora Boustany, "Iraq, Arabs Dispute U.S. on Raids," The Washington Post, January 23, 1991.
40 Phil Reeves, "Refugees from Baghdad say city `a complete mess,'" The Independent, January 25, 1991.
42 Lamis Andoni, "Defiance and sadness as allied bombing raids envelop Baghdad in a dreadful beauty," Financial Times, January 25, 1991.
43 "Iraqis Sever Ties With Six Nations," The New York Times, February 7, 1991.
44 Christopher Bellamy and Patrick Cockburn, "Allies assess precision of bomb raids," The Independent, March 19, 1991.
45 Rick Atkinson, "Allies to Intensify Bombing To Prepare for Ground War," The Washington Post, February 8, 1991.
46 McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 4.
47 McPeak Briefing , Transcript at 5.
48 Pentagon Interim Report at 2-7.
49 "2 Government Ministries Hit in Raids on Baghdad," The New York Times, February 13, 1991.
50 Ali Hassan al-Majid, now Iraq's Minister of Interior, was appointed in 1987 to head Ba'ath Party operations in northern Iraq, presided over the repression of the Kurds and is widely considered responsible for ordering chemical weapons attacks in 1988 against Kurdish civilians and rebels. He became Minister of Local Government in June 1989. In March 1991, the Ministry of Local Government was dissolved, pursuant to a decision of the ruling Revolution Command Council; its departments were absorbed into the Ministry of Interior and Ali Hassan al-Majid was appointed Minister of Interior by Saddam Hussein.
51 Simon Henderson, Instant Empire/Saddam Hussein's Ambition for Iraq (Mercury House, San Francisco: 1991) at 88 [hereinafter Henderson].
52 "2 Government Ministries Hit in Raids on Baghdad," The New York Times, February 13, 1991.
53 Lee Hockstader, "Death, Defeat Come Home to Baghdad," The Washington Post, March 7, 1991.
54 William Drozdiak, "Saddam's Presence Remains Pervasive After Gulf Defeat," The Washington Post, April 29, 1991.
55 Erika Munk, "The New Face of Techno-war," The Nation, May 6, 1991 at 583.
56 Christopher Bellamy and Patrick Cockburn, "Allies assess precision of bomb raids," The Independent, March 19, 1991.
57 Dilip Hiro, The Longest War/The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict (Routledge, New York: 1991) at 200 [hereinafter Hiro].
58 Pentagon Interim Report at 24-1.
59 Rick Atkinson, "Allies to Intensify Bombing to Prepare for Ground War," The Washington Post, February 8, 1991.
60 McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 15.
61 The Washington Post, February 13, 1991.
62 The Washington Post, February 13, 1991.
63 The Washington Post, February 13, 1991.
64 Pentagon Interim Report at 24-1.
65 Alfonso Rojo, "Bombs rock capital as allies deliver terrible warning," The Guardian, February 20, 1991.
67 Rick Atkinson and Ann Devroy, "Soviet Proposal `Falls Well Short,' Bush Says," The Washington Post, February 20, 1991.
69 Rick Atkinson and William Claiborne, "Baghdad Announces Retreat; Allies Encircling Iraqi Forces," The Washington Post, February 26, 1991.
70 McPeak Briefing, Transcript at 11.
71 MEW interview, Rafha Refugee Camp, Saudi Arabia, May 28, 1991.
72 MEW interview, March 25, 1991, New York.
73 MEW interview, Aqaba Transit Center, Aqaba, Jordan, February 21, 1991.
74 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 15, 1991.
75 MEW interview, Ruwayshed Transit Center, Ruwayshed, Jordan, February 24, 1991.
76 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 22, 1991.
77 From News Services, "Cruise Missles Level Houses In Baghdad," The Washington Post, February 2, 1991.
78 MEW interview, March 25, 1991, New York.
79 MEW interview, March 25, 1991, New York.
80 The Washington Post, February 2, 1991.
81 The Independent, February 2, 1991.
82 From News Services, "Cruise Missile Level Houses in Baghdad," The Washington Post, February 2, 1991.
83 MEW interview, July 19, 1991.
84 Bernd Debusmann, "Dazed Disbelief in Iraq," The Washington Post, February 15, 1991.
89 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 22, 1991.
90 MEW interview, New York, March 25, 1991.
91 Lee Hockstader, "Iraqis in Devastated Capital Worry," The Washington Post, February 28, 1991.
92 Phil Reeves, "Fugitives tell of civilian suffering," The Independent, January 30, 1991.
93 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, March 1, 1991.
94 MEW interview, New York, March 25, 1991.
95 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 22, 1991.
96 MEW interview, Aqaba Transit Center, Aqaba, Jordan, February 21, 1991.
97 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 15, 1991.
98 MEW interview, Aqaba Transit Center, Aqaba, Jordan, February 21, 1991.
99 "Jubilation in Baghdad, and Then Bombing," The New York Times, February 16, 1991.
100 MEW interview, Aqaba Transit Center, Aqaba, Jordan, February 21, 1991.
101 Erika Munck, "The New Face of Techno-war," The Nation, May 6, 1991.
102 MEW interview, Aqaba Transit Center, Aqaba, Jordan, February 21, 1991.
103 Richard Beeston, "'We could lose a million,'" The Times, January 21, 1991.
104 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 25, 1991.
105 Tony Horwitz and Geraldine Brooks, "Baghdad Portrait: The City Becomes Grim Ghost Town," The Wall Street Journal, January 30, 1991.
106 Nora Boustany, "Refugees Describe Air Raid Horrors," The Washington Post, January 21, 1991.
107 "Allies Bomb Baghdad," The New York Times, February 8, 1991.
108 Alfonso Rojo, "A bridge too near for civilians as bombers strike," The Guardian, February 8, 1991.
109 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, March 1, 1991.
110 MEW interview, Ruwayshed Transit Center, Ruwayshed, Jordan, February 24, 1991.
111 Alfonso Rojo, "Dining out can be deadly in Baghdad," The Guardian, January 28, 1991.
112 MEW interview, Ruwayshed Transit Center, Ruwayshed, Jordan, February 18, 1991.
113 MEW interview, Amman, Jordan, February 23, 1991.
114 Christopher Bellamy and Patrick Cockburn, "Allies assess precision of bomb raids," The Independent, March 19, 1991.
115 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, March 1, 1991.
117 MEW interview with Ali al-Basri, London, May 4 and May 6, 1991.
118 MEW interview, London, May 7, 1991.
119 Ed Vulliamy, "Fear At the End of the Basra Road," Weekend Guardian, May 18-19, 1991.
120 Bernard Estrade, Paris Agence France-Presse, February 19, 1991, as reported in FBIS, February 21, 1991 at 27.
121 MEW interview with Ali al-Basri, London, May 4 and May 6, 1991.
122 Philip Shenon, The New York Times, November 22, 1990.
123 The New York Times, January 25, 1991.
124 Rick Atkinson and Ann Devroy, ""Bush: No Immediate Plan to Start Ground War," The Washington Post, February 12, 1991.
125 R.W. Apple, Jr., "Allies Step Up Gulf Air Offensive; Strikes Focus on Iraqis in Kuwait," The New York Times, February 12, 1991.
126 Ron Howell, "A War of Words Over Civilian Toll," Newsday, February 12, 1991.
127 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 15, 1991.
128 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 13, 1991.
129 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 12, 1991.
130 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 28, 1991.
131 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 13, 1991.
132 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 26, 1991.
133 Saeeda Khanum, "Inside Iraq," The New Statesman, May 24, 1991.
134 Ed Vulliamy, "Fear At The End of the Basra Road," Weekend Guardian, May 18-19, 1991.
135 Patrick E. Tyler, "Iraqi Hospitals Struggle With Wounds of War," The New York Times, July 5, 1991.
136 MEW interview, New York, March 25, 1991.
137 Jonathan C. Randal, "Battle-Scarred Basra Struggles Toward Recovery," The Washington Post, May 23, 1991.
138 Alan Cowell, "War Refugees Flood Jordan, Telling of Raids and Extortion," The New York Times, Jan. 30, 1991.
139 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 28, 1991.
140 MEW interview, London, May 7, 1991.
141 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 28, 1991.
142 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 28, 1991.
143 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 15, 1991.
144 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 16, 1991.
145 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 28, 1991.
146 MEW interview, New York, March 25, 1991.
147 Jonathan C. Randal, "Battle-Scarred Basra Struggles Toward Recovery," The Washington Post, May 23, 1991.
148 James Tanner, "Iraq is Fast Rebuilding Its Ravaged Oil Trade Into a World Leader," January 8, 1990.
149 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 16, 1991.
153 Rick Atkinson, "Gulf Ground War Not Felt Imminent," February 7, 1991.
154 MEW interview, May 7, 1991, London.
155 MEW interview, Aqaba Transit Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 21, 1991.
156 Alfonso Rojo, "Press corps stocks up for guided tour of death and destruction," The Guardian, February 4, 1991.
157 Fred Bruning, "In Iraq, `No Place to Hide,'" Newsday, February 4, 1991.
158 Bernd Debusmann, Reuters, "No Havens, Says Resident Of Baghdad," The Washington Post, February 4, 1991.
159 MEW interview, Aqaba Transit Center, Aqaba, Jordan, February 21, 1991.
160 "Iraq: Targets for U.S.," The New York Times, November 19, 1990.
161 MEW interview, Aqaba Transit Center, Aqaba, Jordan, February 21, 1991.
162 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 25, 1991.
163 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 18, 1991.
164 Bernd Debusmann, Reuters, "No Havens, Says Resident Of Baghdad," The Washington Post, February 4, 1991.
165 Alfonso Rojo, "Press corps stocks up for guided tour of death and destruction," The Guardian, February 4, 1991.
166 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 18, 1991.
167 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 18, 1991.
168 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 18, 1991.
169 Richard Dowden, "Iraqi revolution in chaos," The Independent, March 7, 1991.
170 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 18, 1991.
171 "Baghdad Jolted by Waves of B-52 Attacks," The New York Times, February 5, 1991.
172 MEW interview with Frances Farenthold, New York, June 6, 1991.
173 MEW interview, London, May 7, 1991.
174 MEW interview, Qom, Iran, May 3, 1991.
175 R. Jeffrey Smith, "U.S. Military Pressed About Civilian Casualties," The Washington Post, February 3, 1991.
176 Fred Bruning, "In Iraq, `No Place to Hide,'" Newsday, February 4, 1991.
177 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 25, 1991.
178 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, March 1, 1991.
179 See footnote 149 in Chapter Four.
180 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 15, 1991.
181 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 25, 1991.
182 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 25, 1991.
183 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 25, 1991.
184 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 28, 1991.
185 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 25, 1991.
186 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 22, 1991.
187 Interview with Hoshiar Zibari, representative of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on National Public Radio, January 22, 1991, London.
188 MEW interview, Azraq Evacuee Center, Azraq, Jordan, February 15, 1991.
189 Michael Wines, "CNN Reports Allied Bombs Killed 24 Civilians in Iraqi Neighborhood," The New York Times, January 26, 1991.
190 National Public Radio interview, January 22, 1991.
191 Glenn Frankel, "Iraqi Rebels Say Air Raids Hit Iraqi Industry Hard," The Washington Post, January 22, 1991.
192 Barzani was interviewed in Iran, near the Iraqi border, by journalist Jonathan C. Randal. See "Kurd Region Casualties Put at 3,000," The Washington Post, February 11, 1991.
193 The Independent, January 26, 1991.
195 MEW interview, April 19, 1991, outside Saryaz Camp, Bakhtaran Province, Iran.
196 Interview in Dolenav Refugee Camp, Kurdestan Province, Iran, April 24, 1991.
197 MEW interview, Hirwe Camp, Iran, April 20, 1991.
198 Interview in Quds Refugee Camp, Kurdestan Province, Iran, April 23, 1991.