22 August, 2013


Twenty five years ago we saw on our television screens carefully edited coverage of the atrocity at Halabja when Kurdish men, women and children were killed in their homes by Saddam’s chemical weapons. The news of this genocidal attack was brought to the attention of the world’s media by Iranian war correspondents. The Iraqi government’s use of chemical weapons caused outrage throughout the world yet, two days later, ambassadors from five Arab states headed by the Saudi Ambassador presented themselves at the Foreign Office in London to deny that Saddam had used chemical weapons.
Today we have again viewed scenes of suffering caused by chemical weapons, this time in the suburbs of Damascus, and broadcast across the world by the media and social networks. Foreign governments are calling for the UN weapon inspectors who are in Damascus to be given access to the stricken area. Syrian rebels blame Assad’s government for this attack and, as Saddam did a quarter of a century ago, the government protests its innocence yet there can be no doubt that someone in a high position authorised the use of these weapons of mass destruction.
As the UN and western governments demand answers should they not also ask where did these weapons come from and who supplied the chemicals for them? Is it possible that the chemicals used in Syria came from Saddam’s regime? There were many in Iraq who witnessed numerous truck movements into Syria during the last months of Saddam’s regime and for sure these activities were monitored by western satellites.
Ironically, yesterday, the Saudi representative in the UN asked for an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss atrocities carried out by Dr. Assad’s government when a quarter of a century ago Arab states endeavored to wipe the Kurdish blood from the hands of their brother Saddam.
The young leaders of western governments, especially Obama, should take heed of a famous Arab proverb that says,” I and my brother against our cousin and I and my cousin against the enemy”. Twenty five years ago Saddam and many Arabs viewed the Kurds as enemies and it is imperative that western leaders remember this proverb or they will continue to make mistakes in dealing with this volatile, merciless region of the world.

22.8.2013 South Wales-UK 

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