Poison gas attack on Halabja 36 years ago (March 16)

Iraqi Kurdistan is still between all fronts

36 years after the poison gas attack on the Iraqi Kurdish city of Halabja on Mach 16, 1988, the Kurdish areas of Iraq are still in a precarious situation. “Back then, the NATO governments and the governments of the Warsaw Pact had, for geopolitical reasons, remained silent about these crimes against humanity,” stated Dr. Kamal Sido, Middle East expert of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), in Göttingen today. The region is suffering from an ongoing bombardment – sometimes from Turkey, sometimes from Iran- and again all sides decided to remain silent about the crimes.”
The judicial processing of the crimes of Halabja began late and progressed slowly. Meanwhile, those mainly responsible, including Saddam Hussein, have been convicted. “Unfortunately, the central government in Baghdad has learned little from history – and neither has NATO,” Sido criticized. “It took years before Halabja was allowed, as promised, to become an independent administrative district. The governments of NATO are once again ignoring the crimes against the Kurdish people of Iraq and Syria, because criticism would be geopolitically inappropriate.” 
On March 16 and 17, 1988, the Iraqi air force had attacked Halabja in north-eastern Iraq with poison gas. At least 5,000 people died within a few hours – and 10,000 more were injured. This attack was also made possible by German and European companies that participated in building up the Iraqi chemical weapons factories. Even before the massacre, the STP had accused more than 40 German and European companies of – by helping to build the poison gas factories in Iraq – being partly responsible for war crimes. 
Today, Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region of Iraq. The region has its own parliament, based in Erbil, and it has its own military units, the Peshmerga. The population is estimated at around eight million. The region is multi-ethnic and multi-denominational. In addition to the Kurdish people, there are also Assyrians/Chaldeans/Arameans, Armenians, Turkmen, Sunnis, Shiites, Yazidis, Christians, and other religious communities.