1987 88, al Majid led the Anfal campaign of attacks on Kurdish villages.
Amnesty International estimates that more than 100,000 Kurds were killed or
disappeared during this period.
Repression and control: some examples
A campaign of mass arrests and killing of Shia activists led to the
execution of the Ayatollah Baqir al Sadr and his sister in April 1980.
In 1983 80 members of another leading Shia family were arrested. Six of
them, all religious leaders, were executed.
A massive chemical weapons attack on Kurds in Halabja town in March
1988 killing 5000 and injuring 10,000 more.
A large number of officers from the Jabbur tribe were executed in the
early 1990s for the alleged disloyalty of a few of them.
7. After the Gulf War in 1991 Kurds in the north of Iraq rose up against Baghdad's
rule. In response the Iraqi regime killed or imprisoned thousands, prompting a
humanitarian crisis. Over a million Kurds fled into the mountains and tried to
8. Persecution of Iraq's Kurds continues, although the protection provided by the
northern No Fly Zone has helped to curb the worst excesses. But outside this
zone the Baghdad regime has continued a policy of persecution and
9. The regime has used chemical weapons against the Kurds, most notably in an
attack on the town of Halabja in 1988 (see Part 1 Chapter 2 paragraph 9). The
implicit threat of the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds and others is an
important part of Saddam's attempt to keep the civilian population under control.
10. The regime has tried to displace the traditional Kurdish and Turkoman
populations of the areas under its control, primarily in order to weaken Kurdish
claims to the oil rich area around the northern city of Kirkuk. Kurds and other
non Arabs are forcibly ejected to the three northern Iraqi governorates, Dohuk,
Arbil and Sulaimaniyah, which are under de facto Kurdish control. According to
the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) Special
Rapporteur for Iraq, 94,000 individuals have been expelled since 1991.
Agricultural land owned by Kurds has been confiscated and redistributed to
Iraqi Arabs. Arabs from southern Iraq have been offered incentives to move into
the Kirkuk area.
11. After the 1979 revolution that ousted the Shah in Iran, Saddam intensified a
campaign against the Shia Muslim majority of Iraq, fearing that they might be
encouraged by the new Shia regime in Iran.
12. On 1 March 1991, in the wake of the Gulf War, riots broke out in the southern
city of Basra, spreading quickly to other cities in Shia dominated southern Iraq.