British Kurds remain grateful for removal of Saddam despite war inquiry

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Kurdish female fighters of the Peshmerga in northern Iraq. File photo

ARA News 

QAMISHLI – A new debate has remerged in the UK last Wednesday over the decision of the British government and former Prime Minister Tony Blair to support the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003. However, Iraqi Kurds remain grateful for the toppling of Saddam who massacred thousands of Kurds, although they admit mistakes where made by the coalition after the fall of Saddam regime.

The UK’s Iraq War inquiry finished a report last Wednesday after seven years, headed by Sir John Chilcot. The report concluded that the UK government had inadequate plans for the aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Alastair Campbell, the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman, wrote on his blog: “Plenty of Iraqis, and not merely Kurds and Shias, also remain glad that Saddam Hussein is no more. We just don’t see or hear them too often on British TV stations.”

Although there is a lot of criticism in the UK over the war, with many in the left calling for putting Tony Blair on trial, many Iraqi Kurds are grateful for the decision of Blair and former US President George Bush to topple Saddam. The decision of Bush earned him the nickname in Kurdish ‘father of freedom’.

“It is a sign of the resilience and confidence of the British people that its government commissioned such a major investigation into its decision to join the invasion of Iraq in 2003,” the representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the UK, Karwan Jamal Tahir, said in a public statement.

“It’s not for me to comment in detail on domestic decision-making but I can say that the Kurds are eternally grateful for the British helping to overthrow Saddam Hussein, who committed genocide against us,” he said.

“I also send the most sincere condolences of the Kurdish people to the relatives and loved ones of the British soldiers who died and to those who were injured,” he concluded.

Speaking to ARA News, Ari Murad, award winning Kurdish film maker and photographer based in the United Kingdom, said that he is grateful for the toppling of Saddam.

“The Kurds by and large supported the war in Iraq. My generation, that of the 80s, has suffered greatly at the hands of Saddam Hussein. I am a Feyli and Saddam killed more than 30,000 Feyli Kurds [Shia Kurds] and captured their assets. The entire state was functioned around his tribe and his family. Saddam Hussein was merciless to everyone, yes there are serious problems in Iraq now. Yet they are all of his very own making,” Murad told ARA News.

“There are protests now, people under Saddam either lived in total war or suffered mass starvations. Despite the rampant corruption people are free now to an express an opinion, despite the horrors people endured under Saddam there was never one protest. That in itself speaks volumes,” he added.

“Every Feyli family has their own personal horror story, I had an aunty I won’t say what type of aunty that was locked in her university graduation and gang raped by Uday [Saddam’s son] and his bodyguards,” he said.

“Nothing but a military intervention would of ended his tyrannical rule,” he concluded.

Shkar Sherzad Hafiz Sharif, a Kurd from the UK, told ARA News that Saddam’s regime has committed many crimes against the Kurds.

“Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein’s eldest son used to cruise around Baghdad and crash wedding parties. Kidnapping the bride and raping her and killing the groom if he dared say anything,” he said.

“The Ba’ath party would often throw people off high buildings on trumped up charges and they would blow people up by putting explosives in their pockets. They would execute dissidents by firing squad and then send the bill for the bullets to their family,” he added.

“They committed mass genocide on us Kurds killing approx. 180,000 of us. We all have relatives and friends who are no longer with us because of Saddam Hussein and his Ba’ath party. Yes, mistakes were made but we, as the victims of Saddam Hussein, know that he had to be removed,” he concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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