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Persecution of the Kurds

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The Kurds have had a long and troubled history in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein tens of thousands of Kurds were massacred and their villages destroyed during Iraq’s war with Iran in the 1980s. In the aftermath of the 1990-91 Gulf War, the Kurds, staged an uprising against Saddam and fought to gain autonomy over the Kurdish-dominated region of northern Iraq. However, Iraqi troops  recaptured the Kurdish areas and hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled to the borders. A “safe haven” was then established by the UN Security Council to protect the Kurdish population.

Peter Galbraith was a professional staff member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations at the time and in March-April of 1991 he traveled to northern Iraq to conduct a study on the status of the Kurds. While in Iraq Galbraith discovered what was at the time the largest collection of documents of evidence of war crimes since World War II. Galbraith tells of the difficulties in securing and transporting such papers and how they illustrated the cravenness of Saddam’s regime. He was interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy beginning in 1999.

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