"With God's help, we have managed to eliminate from our beloved North the saboteur factions and collaborators with the enemy. The situation in the Northern Region now calls for certain measures commensurate with this new phase."
-- Communique from Ali Hassan al-Majid's Northern Bureau, November 1988.
As the experience of the Yezidis and Christians suggested, the general amnesty of September 6 was not the end of the Anfal story. As we shall see, there were continued mass executions of prisoners captured before the amnesty. The Ba'ath Party's Returnee Reception Committee (Lajnet Istiqbal al-A'idin) continued to function until at least February 1989, relocating the families of "saboteurs" to complexes on the Erbil plain.1 In addition to the sworn residence statements mentioned earlier, "returnees to the national ranks" were also to undertake: (a) to live in housing assigned to them and not to change their address; (b) not to take part in any "saboteur" activity; and (c) to "stand for their country"--on pain of punishment as stipulated by the law.2
The new mujamma'a of Ber Hoshter, to the north of the city of Erbil, was opened for returnees on November 27, 1988,3 and the resettlement of the families of suspected peshmerga in nearby Girdachal went on for at least another six or seven months after that.4 The regime appears to have set up a special Pursuit (or "Follow-Up") Committee (Lajnet al-Mutaba'a) to enforce the terms of the returnee program, and a flurry of orders from Amn and other agencies exhorted the security forces to greater vigilance of the complexes. Amn also issued arrest warrants for anyone who left the mujamma'at without permission or otherwise infringed the terms of their resettlement. In at least one case, the Erbil governorate's Committee to Fight Hostile Activity (Lajnet Mukafahat al-Nashat al-Mu'adi) also appears to have revived a pattern more characteristic of the 1970s, relocating individual Kurdish families in the south of Iraq.5
By the end of the year, the note of urgency in government documents had somewhat diminished, to be replaced by a tone of wary confidence. "With God's help," began an order from Ali Hassan al-Majid'sNorthern Bureau, "we have managed to eliminate from our beloved North the saboteur factions and collaborators with the enemy."
The situation in the Northern Region now calls for certain measures commensurate with this new phase, taking precautions against any new method to which the remaining saboteurs may turn--those who will try to create pockets of sabotage from which to carry out acts that will inspire their sympathizers, and give the impression to their masters abroad that they still possess footholds in our nation's soil and are capable of undertaking acts of sabotage. There is no doubt that, from now on, we will not find a group of saboteurs that is large in size, or that operates out of fixed bases, or that launches large-scale operations. Instead what we may find are small mobile groups of saboteur elements numbering no more than ten or fifteen. These groups would then wait to gauge the level of our response to their acts. If the reaction is normal and routine, then they will redouble their activities, broaden their base and undertake larger operations in graduated phases. They would also organize their internal structures in such a way as to keep in touch with some of their friendly elements who may have benefited from the amnesty decree.6
Al-Majid clearly felt that he faced a delicate dilemma. On the one hand, he could not afford to appear lax, in case this emboldened the peshmerga. To prevent this, he ordered draconian measures by the security apparatus. "Force and just harshness" must be used in the struggle. "There shall be a prompt and decisive response to any incidents that may occur, with the scale of the response being out of proportion to the scale of the incident, no matter how trivial the latter may be."
On the other hand, as far as the economic life of Iraqi Kurdistan was concerned, "what is called for is a departure from emergency measures, because the continuation of the economic siege gives the impression that we are still nervous about the situation." The blockade of the north would be relaxed slightly, the document concluded, although there would still be restrictions on the sale of gasoline, a blockade on the sale of certain foodstuffs and a continued ban on any sale of food outside the complexes. Any mujamma'a found to be involved in smuggling food to "the seats of sabotage" would immediately have its food rations terminated.7
Now that the rural population had been removed, there would also be a new census, or "sub-census," to determine and count the numbers of those who were not registered in the 1987 census in the Autonomous Region.8 By the following spring planting season, the regime was even prepared to countenance the resumption of some modest farming activities in the Kurdish countryside. On April 9, 1989, the Northern Bureau Command issued order no.3335, which modified the ban on farming in the prohibited areas. At least in principle, these lands could now be worked once more by their owners (although not by amnestied returnees), or leased for agricultural use if they were the property of the state.
In practice, however, little changed. There would be no rebuilding of what had been destroyed. "The prohibited areas have been demarcated, and agriculture may not be pursued there," Amn reminded its branches. "Nor shall there be [any] human presence in them, due to their effect in the military and security sphere and their location in the Third Phase [of village clearances]."9 Clause 5 of Northern BureauCommand directive SF/4008, ordering the summary killing of anyone found in the prohibited areas, remained in force.10 Having eradicated much of its Kurdistan bread basket, Iraq would be more reliant then ever on food imports and generous agricultural credit from abroad, notably the U.S. and Australia.11
Farmers would only be allowed to work their lands if they agreed to act as informers for Amn about any suspicious activities in their area. Indeed, in February 1990, Amn proposed to tighten these restrictions even further. Agriculture should only be permitted, the security agency suggested to the Fifth Army Corps, if the farmer in question was fully trusted by the authorities, and pledged in addition not to build any fixed structure and to refrain from working at night.
By now, only a few hundred villages remained intact in the three governorates that make up the Kurdistan Autonomous Region. According to a survey prepared by the Ministry of Reconstruction and Development of the new Kurdish government, 673 villages were still standing in the three governorates of Erbil, Suleimaniyeh and Dohuk;4049 had been destroyed. Of those that remained, some two-thirds were concentrated in the environs of Erbil city, Makhmour and Aqra--areas that had been excluded altogether from Anfal.12
Yet there was no guarantee of lasting security for the minority of villages that had survived the Anfal campaign. On April 15, 1989, order No.3448 of the Northern Bureau authorized the "evacuation and rounding up" of an unspecified number of villages belonging to the Bradost and Dolamari tribes, in order to make way for a new dam on the Greater Zab river at Bakhma, an idea which had been in the works since the 1950s. The Bradost and Dolamari had been loyal to the government, but their location, in an area where the territory once controlled by the PUK abutted the traditional strongholds of the KDP, now became a liability. The Bakhma impoundment, in addition to its economic advantages, would drive a permanent strategic wedge between these two rebellious regions.13
Just a few miles to the south of the Bradost and Dolamari settlements, another fourteen villages were demolished in a joint army-Amn sweep in December 1988 and their inhabitants deported to the nearby complex of Basirma. This time the stated pretext was not the Bakhma Dam project but continuing counterinsurgency operationsagainst any lingering pockets of peshmerga resistance.14 One of the villages affected was Serkand Khailani, a relatively large place of close to a thousand people. It had survived Anfal, but army troops now stormed it with artillery, helicopters and ground forces, as well as units of the Mafarez Khaseh.15 In the wake of the assault, Serkand Khailani was razed to the ground and most of the villagers arrested. Everyone was taken to Shaqlawa, where they spent the night confined to IFAs at the army base, and from there to Basirma--everyone, that is, except for five people, who were taken off by Amn in a separate jeep. They included the wife, brother and teenage daughter of the village headman, or ra'is.
The headman himself was picked up by Amn in a separate incident early in 1989. He was detained for seven months at Amn's Erbil headquarters and repeatedly tortured--beaten with a cable, suspended from a hook on the ceiling, soaked in water and given electric shocks to the earlobes. At frequent intervals, cellmates were taken out to be executed. Yet curiously, during the long sessions of interrogation that the ra'is endured, the five disappeared villagers of Serkand Khailani were mentioned only in passing. They were saboteurs, he was told, and he would never see them again. After seven months, without a word of explanation, the headman was released. At about the time he got back to the Basirma complex, he received two documents from the Census and Sanitary Department of the Ministry of Health in Erbil. They were death certificates for the two men who had disappeared. The date they bore was February 20, 1989; the cause of death was given as "execution by firing of bullets." No word was ever received about the fate of the threewomen, although documents describing their execution were reportedly found by the peshmerga during the 1991 uprising.16
Murder, in other words--including mass execution--continued to be a fundamental tool of the regime in its dealings with the Kurds, even though Anfal was now over and most of the countryside was uninhabited. Anyone found in a "prohibited area" was likely to be killed, as was anyone suspected of peshmerga activity in the few villages that had been spared. Some of these killings were ordered by the Ba'ath Party's Northern Bureau, and Ali Hassan al-Majid appears to have kept a close personal eye on the elimination of prominent "saboteurs." (A handwritten note from September 1988, by the director of the Shaqlawa office of Amn, passes on al-Majid's compliments to the agents responsible for the liquidation of a Communist Party cadre and the burning of his body: "Well done!" the Northern Bureau chief writes. "May God bless them for their faith and loyalty.")
Other executions were decreed by Saddam Hussein himself; others by the Revolutionary Court (Mahkamat al-Thawra); and others still by special military tribunals.17 A large number of individual death certificates and other official documents bear witness to these executions. An August 1989 report from Amn Suleimaniyeh, for example, enumerates eighty-seven executions since January 1 of that year. Many were people picked up in "prohibited" villages; one was a literature teacher executed for teaching his students the Kurdish language in Latin script.18
Most crucially, there continued to be mass executions of people who had been captured during the Anfal campaign but remained alive in custody at the time of the September 6 amnesty. Some were even killed after surrendering during the five-week amnesty grace period, their crime recorded in official documents as suspected membership in or collaboration with an illegal organization, such as the PUK, the KDP or the Islamic Party.19 Middle East Watch was also able to find two survivors of these post-amnesty mass killings.
Yunis was a 19-year old peshmerga who had fought with the PUK in the battle of Sergalou and later in the Balisan Valley during the Sixth Anfal. Cut off from his main peshmerga force near Akoyan by Iraqi troops, he hid out for a while with relatives in the town of Khalifan. But he was persuaded by rumors of an amnesty to surrender to Amn in the town of Sadiq around the middle of August.20 The local Amn office speedily transferred him to the agency's headquarters in Erbil, where he shared a large cell with about a hundred other prisoners--a mix ofpeshmerga, deserters and Anfalakan from the Koysinjaq area. Yunis was interrogated and tortured off and on for another three weeks.
One day at the beginning of September, Amn guards assembled the prisoners, stripped them of their possessions and loaded them into a single large civilian bus. It was so crowded that the men had to sit on each other's laps. Their destination was the Popular Army camp on the outskirts of Dibs, which they reached at about 7:00 that evening. The prisoners received two daily rations of stale bread and water. Each day there were further rounds of questioning by plainclothes agents--also Amn men, Yunis guessed. Then, on September 6, guards told them that there had been a general amnesty and that they would be released.
But nothing changed. The daily interrogation sessions continued, together with brutal forms of torture. Beatings with a length of electrical cable were an everyday routine. The interrogators also devised two other standard torments. One was to fill a plastic bag with water and ice cubes, suspend it from the ceiling, pierce it with a pin, and allow the freezing liquid to drip on to the forehead of the prisoner, who was lashed to a bedframe beneath. This went on for up to twenty minutes each time; after ten, the pain was acute, and the prisoner would thrash around on the bed in a vain attempt to evade the icy drip. The ice-water treatment alternated with the application of extreme heat. The interrogators would slide a hot electric stove under the prisoner's bed for four or five minutes at a stretch, causing painful burns to the lower back.
These torments were the worst that Yunis personally had to endure. But one day, just before the amnesty was announced, he and the other prisoners from Erbil watched through the windows of their cell as three men accused of being "internal peshmerga"--that is to say, active in the cities--were brought into the courtyard below. The men were blindfolded, made to stand on chairs and tied to posts in the yard, arms raised above their heads. The chairs were then kicked away, leaving the prisoners' feet dangling a couple of feet from the ground. Next, guards attached one end of a string to an empty Butagaz container and the other to each prisoner's scrotum. When the signal was given, the guard would drop the gas cylinder, ripping out the man's testicles. Within half an hour, all three were dead.
A few days later the guards entered Yunis's cell, carried out a head count of the prisoners and told them that they were to be transferred. By now their numbers had swelled to about 180, including new arrivals--as before, a motley assortment of peshmerga, deserters andordinary civilians. Each man was blindfolded and stripped of his IDs and had his hands tied behind his back. The prisoners were then loaded into six windowless vehicles, with benches in the rear and a separate driver's compartment--of the same sort, in other words, as those described by survivors of the earlier mass executions near Ramadi. They left Dibs at about 7:30 p.m. just before sunset. It was the evening of September 14, according to Yunis, and the general amnesty had been in force for eight days.
The buses turned left out of the camp gate, drove along a paved surface for a few minutes and then turned right on to a dirt road. As the bus bumped along this track, Yunis managed to work his hands free and loosen his blindfold. After an hour or so the convoy came to a halt, and the guards began to pull the prisoners out through the rear door. When it came to Yunis's turn, they saw that his hands were no longer tied. The guards pushed him to the ground and kicked him viciously. Over the top of his blindfold, Yunis could see a uniformed officer walk over and raise his hand. There was a sharp blow to the base of his skull with a heavy metal object, and Yunis felt himself falling forward. The last thing he knew before he lost consciousness was the touch of his fingers on another human face.
When he came to, he found that his lower body was covered with sand. He saw now that he was in a narrow trench--twenty yards long, one yard across and two deep--apparently dug by a backhoe. As he took stock of his surroundings, he heard the sound of a bulldozer approaching, and a fresh load of dirt was dumped into the trench next to him, throwing up a large cloud of dust. In the dust and darkness, Yunis scrambled free, away from the buses, the bulldozer and the voices of the guards. In the distance, to the east, he could see fires, which he guessed were the oilfields of Kirkuk.
He ran in the direction of Kirkuk until he reached a paved road. Hearing the sound of an engine, he jumped out to flag it down, but as the sound grew nearer he realized that it was an army IFA truck accompanied by a jeep, and he flung himself down by the roadside before the drivers could spot him in their headlights. Before long a civilian car stopped. The driver, a fellow Kurd, was wearing the uniform of the Popular Army, but Yunis was too exhausted to care, and to his relief theman drove him to Dibs without asking too many questions. From there, Yunis eventually rejoined his fellow peshmerga in Iran.21
"Hussein" presents a very different case. A year younger than Yunis, he was sympathetic to the peshmerga cause, as indeed most Kurds were, but was not politically active himself. At the time of Anfal, he and four companions had found work as carpenters in a number of towns and complexes around Erbil. On November 26, 1988, they were working on a house in the village of Shiwarash, which had escaped destruction during the 1987 campaign on the Erbil plain, when four or five pick-ups and Landcruisers pulled up, filled with members of "security and the organization"--in other words, Amn and the Ba'ath Party. The five young men were bundled into the vehicles and driven first to Party headquarters in Khabat. As they approached their next destination, Hussein heard church bells ring. From this he concluded that they were in Einkawa, a Christian suburb of Erbil.22
Here they stayed for three days, handcuffed and blindfolded with their cummerbunds (pishtend). They were given no food or water and forbidden to leave their cell, even to urinate. An electric light burned day and night, while a team of interrogators, headed by a man whom his colleagues referred to as Amn Lieutenant Ghassan, tried to get the five to admit to their connection to the PUK. The Lieutenant played "good cop"; when his gentler methods failed, he transferred the prisoners to harsher colleagues. Each denial of PUK links brought a fresh round of torture. Hussein endured the falaka, in which the prisoner is beaten on the soles of the feet while seated with his legs in the air; he was hung from the ceiling by a rope tied to his handcuffs; if he passed out, he was revived by being burned with a lighted cigarette.
After three days of this, Hussein and his companions were taken to Amn headquarters in Erbil, where Yunis had been held three monthsearlier. There, each man was placed in an isolation cell that measured less than ten square feet.23 Hussein counted the passage of nine days, the first seven filled with interrogation and torture. Again, there was the falaka; again, suspension from the ceiling. But there were new tortures as well--the application of burning irons to his legs and neck; electric shocks to the tongue and penis. The interrogators told him that if he confessed to his PUK ties, he would be released; if he denied them, he would be executed. He told them that he knew nothing.
On the seventh day, Hussein was forced to put his thumbprint to a piece of paper. He was still blindfolded, and the contents of the document were not read out to him. With this, the questioning and the torture ceased, and two days later a guard opened the door of Hussein's cell to tell him that Saddam Hussein had decreed another general amnesty.24 All the prisoners were to be freed. Hussein and his four friends were again placed in a common cell, handcuffed once more, and taken to a waiting vehicle. As they drove--between an hour and two hours on a paved road, then another half-hour on dirt--they could hear the guards discussing their fate. "Where are we taking them?" asked the first. "To the south," answered another. And then a third voice joined in: "They cannot live in the south." At that, the five men knew what was going to happen to them.
When they stopped, it was twilight and cold. "Sit down and don't move," the guards told the prisoners. "We are going to take your photographs." They sat crosslegged in a line, and almost at once the guards opened fire with automatic weapons. The first volley of shots missed Hussein and he instinctively threw his head into his lap for protection. As he did so, a bullet from a second round of firing struck him in the right shoulder, passing right through the flesh. The impactknocked him forward into a deep ditch, and he could hear the bodies of the other four men tumbling in beside him. There was another burst of gunfire. When it was over, the executioners shovelled earth roughly on top of their five victims and went on their way.
Hussein, semi-conscious, pushed aside the dirt, which had not fully covered him. He lay where he was for two hours as darkness fell. The grave, he saw now, was an abandoned and derelict well, its walls eroded by rainfall. He touched his friends to see if they were alive, but there was no response. Clawing his way upward over their bodies, he managed to pull himself out of the pit, leaving only his Adidas track shoes behind. It was cold and raining, and in the distance he could see two separate clusters of city lights. Closer at hand, perhaps two miles away, he saw the glow of a fire and struck out in that direction. Shoeless, and with his feet bruised and swollen from the falaka torture, it took Hussein all night to reach the house.
He guessed--wrongly, as it turned out--that he was somewhere near Kirkuk, and called out in Arabic, "Family of the house!" (ahl al-beit). A man's voice answered, "Come on in!" (tfaddal). He knocked, and a woman opened the door. Seeing a young man barefoot and covered in blood, she started back in fear and beat her breast in pity. But the couple brought him a meal of water and tea and sheep's fat (samneh), and he told them the outlines of his story. As he talked, the woman fetched Arab clothing and a heavy Popular Army greatcoat to conceal the bloodstains from the wound in Hussein's shoulder. And at daybreak the man took him to the door to show him where he was. The nearby highway, where Hussein could see electricity pylons and passing trucks, led in one direction to Mosul and in the other to Al-Qayyara. The man explained that the lights that Hussein had seen in the night belonged to the Arab towns of Tharthar and al-Hadhar.25
Eventually, like Yunis, Hussein escaped to Iran. Some time later, Amn presented his mother with the young man's death certificate.26
When did Anfal reach its conclusion? The question can be answered in a number of different ways. In a strict military sense, it ended with the victory over the KDP in Badinan and the announcement of the September 6 amnesty. From the point of view of the Iraqi public, it may be said to have ended on October 1, when ritual celebrations of the victory were organized by the ruling Ba'athist Party.27 As far as the logic of Anfal as a campaign of extermination is concerned, it certainly went on for several more months, at least until well into 1988.
Some might even argue that Anfal lasted until June 1989, for it was then that Iraqi troops destroyed Qala Dizeh, a large town of some 70,000 people to the east of Dukan Lake. Qala Dizeh is an ancient settlement and a celebrated name in Kurdish history, for it was the target of a notorious bombing raid by the Iraqi Air Force on April 24, 1974, which left hundreds dead.28 As a city, Qala Dizeh itself was exempt from the narrow logic of Anfal, but certainly not from reprisals or punitive action. Although parts of the city center had been demolishedin 1987, Ba'ath Party officials repeatedly assured the residents that they had nothing further to fear. The area around Qala Dizeh, which included the nearby town of Sengaser and the complexes of Pemalek, Tuwasuran and Jarawa--built for evacuees from the border clearances of the late 1970s--was also spared by Anfal. Although some villages were destroyed here in mid-1988, their population had not been "Anfalized."
Sandwiched between the depopulated Iranian border area and Dukan Lake, and in relatively flat terrain, the Qala Dizeh area had not harbored any significant peshmerga threat during Anfal, and the regime had been content to leave it alone. But by the spring of 1989, it had become a glaring anomaly, the only sizeable population center that remained so close to the Iranian border. Worse, the mountains to the east had become the principal regrouping point for the PUK as it struggled to reassert a presence inside Iraq, and on March 22, 1989, the RCC's Northern Affairs Committee ordered "maximum measures" against the area east of Dukan lake.29
In late May, troops surrounded Qala Dizeh with tanks and heavy artillery and gave the townspeople a month to leave. They were to be moved "in the public interest," to "modern villages."30 A number of choices were offered: trucks would take them either to Bazian, on the road to Suleimaniyeh, or to three new complexes on the Erbil plain--Khabat, Kawar Gosek and Daratou. It took the army engineers three weeks, beginning June 1, to demolish Qala Dizeh, and they left nothing standing, not even the new electrical power substation and the water-pumping station that the regime itself had built in 1987. On June 24, 1989, Qala Dizeh was officially declared a "prohibited area."
Yet Qala Dizeh may best be seen, perhaps, as a postscript to Anfal--a return to the same logic of anti-Kurdish activities that had gone on for years. The best answer to our question may be that the logic ofAnfal ended when the behavior of the Iraqi bureaucracy shifted into a perceptibly different gear. This is not the same as saying "when the killing stopped," or "when the deportations ended," or "when the last village had been burned and bulldozed." For killings and deportations and scorched earth policies have been a feature of life under the Ba'ath Party for many years, and they continue to this day. But, by the spring of 1989, it is safe to say that the Iraqi regime felt that all the goals of Anfal had been met, and on April 23, the Revolutionary Command Council issued its decree No.271, in which the special powers conferred upon Ali Hassan al-Majid were revoked.31 The sense that the Kurdish problem was now fully under control is further reinforced by Saddam Hussein's December 1989 decision to abolish even the Northern Affairs Committee of the RCC, which had been in existence for more than ten years.32
With his task in Kurdistan complete, other duties now awaited Ali Hassan al-Majid's singular talents--notably, after the August 1990 invasion, as Governor of occupied Kuwait.
"I would like to admit," he told Ba'ath officials gathered to welcome Hassan Ali al-Amiri, his successor as General Secretary of the Northern Bureau, "that I am not the right person for the current stable situation.... I hope that the comrades in the North will not ask Comrade Hassan Ali to do things that he cannot do. Because that stage is over. It will no longer be allowed for a member of the Party to have power over the army, because the exceptional situation has come to an end. These powers are not being withdrawn from Comrade Hassan Ali because he is not capable of the task, but because that stage has finished."33
Al-Majid was evidently well-pleased with his efforts--not, he added, that the humanity of his motives should be doubted. "I cry when I see a tragic show or movie," he told his audience that day. "One day I cried when I saw a woman in a movie who was lost and without a family. But I would like to tell you that I did what I did and what I was supposed to do. I don't think you could do more than what I could do."
During another meeting with Party officials, al-Majid is heard to remark that, "What we have managed to do is something which the Party and the leadership never achieved until 1987. Some of it was just the result of help and mercy from God. Nothing else." An unnamed party member chimes in to offer praise. "Only God can do more than you did. Otherwise you can do anything. This Ba'ath Party can do anything."34
1 The minutes of the Ba'ath Party's Returnee Reception Committee meeting on February 1, 1989 refers to the relocation of a saboteur's family in the Ber Hoshter complex. The minutes of another meeting of the committee, dated September 13, 1988--a week after the declaration of the general amnesty--resolve that "people who used to live in areas controlled by the saboteurs are to be treated as saboteurs," and notes that returnees are to be transferred to the complexes by the Iraqi Police and the [Erbil governorate's] Committee to Fight Hostile Activity.
2 A number of sworn statements to this effect, bearing various dates in late 1988, were found among files recovered from Ba'ath Party offices in Erbil.
3 According to an undated Ba'ath Party letter found in Iraqi government files in Erbil.
4 This was reported to us by a family from the village of Gelnaski, one of the principal KDP headquarters in Badinan, whose son was reportedly executed after surrendering under the amnesty. Middle East Watch was shown a grave at Dohuk that supposedly contained the young man's body. It lay in an unmarked area outside the Dohuk municipal cemetery that appeared to contain approximately forty-five other graves. Middle East Watch interview, Dohuk, June 4, 1992.
5 A series of instructions from the local Committee to Fight Hostile Activity in Shaqlawa indicates that five families from the Harir area, totalling thirty-seven people, were deported to the marshy southern governorate of Thiqar (formerly Nasiriya) on January 2, 1989, in vehicles supplied by the Traffic Directorate (Mudiriyat al-Murour) of the Erbil governorate. These people were accompanied by a regular Iraqi Police officer, indicating that there was nothing secretive about the transfer.
An Amn Shaqlawa memorandum, dated May 16, 1989, also notes that the former residents of the destroyed village of Khirkhawa, who now live in complexes, will be deported to the south if the "saboteurs" attempt to make contact with them.
6 These are extracts from the decisions taken at a meeting held on November 8, 1988, and relayed to Amn chiefs in the Autonomous Region by a set of instructions from the region's Security Director, no.14951, dated November 21, 1988 and classified "Secret and Confidential."
8 Plans for the sub-census are outlined in a communique from the Office of the Presidency, no. K/2/1/45508, dated December 2, 1988. These in turn are conveyed to the Ministry of Planning in letter no. 548 from the Northern Affairs Committee of the RCC, dated January 25, 1989.
9 The "Third Phase," in other words, clearly refers to the period since June 22, 1987 and continuing after the Anfal operation. This order is conveyed in letter no.6271 from Amn Erbil to Amn Shaqlawa, dated April 26, 1989 and apparently classified.
10 This was true until at least July 1989, several months after the derogation of al-Majid's exceptional powers. Erbil Committee to Fight Hostile Activity, "confidential" letter no. 3489 to Fifth Army Corps, dated July 5, 1989. The only exceptions to the rule were Amn informers and members of the Mafarez Khaseh, whose presence in the prohibited areas had to be coordinated in advance with the military. The exceptions are spelled out in an Erbil governorate Amn letter to the internal security section of Fifth Army Corps Command, no. Sh 3/1524, dated February 13, 1990.
11 Between 1983 and 1988, Iraq acquired more than $2.8 billion in U.S. agricultural products under the Commodity Credit Corporation's (CCC) credit-guarantee program. In 1989, the Bush administration doubled the CCC program for Iraq, raising credits to a level exceeding one billion dollars in 1989. In addition to credit guarantees, the CCC program included interest-free loans and direct sales at prices subsidized by the U.S. government. See Middle East Watch, Human Rights in Iraq, New York, 1990, p.152.
12 Resool's figures (op. cit.) closely parallel those of the Ministry. He cites a cumulative total of 3,839 villages destroyed since 1975. The villages that were spared include a hundred or so belonging to the loyalist Surchi tribe in the qadha of Aqra. On January 28, 1988, on the eve of Anfal, the Shaqlawa Security Committee "pointed out that it will not object to the lifting of the security prohibition regarding these villages, due to the fact that their population belongs to the Surchi tribe and that most of them are volunteer members of the National Defense Battalions. Furthermore, these villages have been beyond the reach of the saboteurs, their inhabitants have not collaborated with them, and no confrontations have occurred in the region." Amn Erbil to Amn Shaqlawa, letter no. S T/17922 of November 21, 1988.
13 The Bakhma dam project was conceived originally as a small-scale irrigation and electricity-generating project. However, after the Ba'ath came to power in 1968 it grew more ambitious. Scheduled for completion in 1994, the dam remained only partially built by the time of the Kurdish uprising in March 1991, when its machinery was extensively looted and damaged. Middle East Watch interview with a former administrator in the Erbil headquarters of the Jahafel al-Difa' al-Watani (or jahsh), Erbil, July 7, 1992.
14 These fourteen villages lay between the town of Khalifan and the Greater Zab river. Their names are listed in an Amn Erbil report, dated December 11, 1988, as Faqian, Kulken Kolo, Madgerdan, Mingerdan, Daljar, Qalata Sin, Pir Marwa, Deremer, Serkand, Suka, Serkoz, Kuska, and upper and lower Jimkei. Resool, op. cit., pp.65-67, lists nineteen villages in the nahyas of Salah al-Din and Harir destroyed during December 1988. Serkand Khailani is the only name that appears on both lists, and its story follows.
15 On the Mafarez Khaseh and other special jahsh units, see above p. 22-24.
16 Middle East Watch interview, Basirma complex, September 11, 1992. An internal Istikhbarat report on Serkand Khailani village, dated November 1, 1988, noted that a number of Kalashnikov rifles had been found in this man's home, concealed in a child's crib. Again, the match-up of documentary and testimonial evidence is striking.
17 Letter No.25163 from the Security Director of the Suleimaniyeh governorate, dated October 29, 1988, mentions executions ordered by the Ba'ath Party's Northern Bureau and by the Revolutionary Court. One former prisoner was brought before Military Court No.23 in Erbil, a body with the power to impose the death sentence. In this particular case, the court's powers were superseded by "a special [execution] order from Baghdad." The man eventually escaped, and was interviewed by Middle East Watch in Khaneq complex on August 27, 1992.
18 Secret and confidential letter no. 19727 from the director of Amn Suleimaniyeh to the director of Amn Autonomous Region headquarters, August 24, 1989.
19 Handwritten documents found in an Amn Erbil file.
20 Many Kurds in the Khalifan area surrendered prematurely as a result of these rumors. Another was a PUK peshmerga named Haydar Awla Ali Muhammad-Amin, whose arrest on September 15, 1988 is referred to in an Amn document of September 7, 1990. Haydar was persuaded to surrender to Amn by one Najma Grou, a leader of the Amn-controlled Kurdish Mafarez Khaseh. After this he disappeared. In response to his wife's persistent requests for news, Najma Grou told her, "Go home: your husband is no more." Middle East Watch interview, Galala complex, March 23, 1993.
In an earlier interview in Sadiq, July 18, 1992, Yunis told MEW that the only person he recognized in the group to be executed was a relative from Galala named "Haydar Abdullah." Since Awla is a shortened Kurdish form of the name Abdullah, this was almost certainly the same man.
22 Middle East Watch interview, Erbil, July 14, 1992.
23 Middle East Watch accompanied Hussein to the former Amn building in Erbil on July 14, 1992, where he identified the room in which he had been detained.
24 The Revolutionary Command Council did in fact issue an amnesty decree on December 14. Yet Hussein was convinced--and his chronology bears this out--that the date of his attempted execution was December 8. Amnesties, as noted elsewhere, are a regular feature of life under the Ba'athist regime, and yet another was decreed on February 29, 1989, this one for all those who had fled to Iran, with the exception of PUK leader Jalal Talabani.
25 And thus of particular interest, since the archaeological site of Al-Hadhar, south of Mosul, was mentioned several times as a mass execution site during Anfal. See above p.253. Hussein's story is based on a Middle East Watch interview, Erbil, July 14, 1992.
26 A third reported example of post-amnesty killings involves Omar and Rahman, the two brothers from the Sheikh Bzeini area whose flight during the Fourth Anfal is recounted above at pp.185-188, and who were captured by the army in mid-June, 1988. Another prisoner who was released under the September 6 amnesty saw them in jail at that time, still alive, but that is the last that was ever seen of them. Middle East Watch interview, Daratou complex, July 15, 1992.
27 Yusef Rahim Rashid, a lawyer with the Kurdish Human Rights Organization (KHRO) told Middle East Watch that he attended one such ceremony in Erbil.
28 The motive for the 1974 bombing was apparently the KDP's decision to reopen the University of Suleimaniyeh in Qala Dizeh. The university had been closed down by the regime that March.
29 RCC Northern Affairs Committee directive no. 1925 of March 22, 1989, signed by Abd-al-Rahman Aziz Hassan. These measures were to include the temporary deportation to the south of families who had contact with the "saboteurs." The directive also insists that the "clear instructions" of Northern Bureau Command directive no. SF/4008 of June 20, 1987 should continue to be observed.
30 Middle East Watch interviews with former residents, Qala Dizeh, May 23, 1992.
31 The RCC decree is conveyed in a circular from Amn Erbil to all Section Security Directors, no. Sh 3/7604, classified "secret and confidential" and dated May 17, 1989. The circular reads, "By virtue of the Revolutionary Command Council's decree no. 271 of April 23, 1989, it has been decided to abrogate RCC decree no. 160 of March 24, 1987 granting special authority to the Comrade Secretary General of the Northern Bureau."
32 RCC decree no. 771 of December 3, 1989, signed by Saddam Hussein, revoking RCC decree no. 997 of August 2, 1979.
33 Audiotape of a meeting between Ali Hassan al-Majid and unnamed officials, Kirkuk, April 15, 1989.
34 Audiotape of meeting between Ali Hassan al-Majid and unnamed officials, Kirkuk, May 26, 1988.