In researching the previous post on Iraq’s internally displaced people I came across several references including the one below (from the US State Department website) to a report called “Life under Saddam Hussein” that was ostensibly written by some of today’s most vocal NGO critics of the Bush Administration’s handling of the Iraqi refugee issue. To hear them today, the refugee “crisis” is all Bush’s fault.
I’m not always the greatest at finding stuff on-line so it’s possible I overlooked it. If anyone has a link to this pre-Iraq War document please send it to me at our e-mail address in the right column. I would really appreciate it.
Human Rights Watch estimates that Saddam’s 1987-1988 campaign of terror against the Kurds killed at least 50,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 Kurds. The Iraqi regime used chemical agents to include mustard gas and nerve agents in attacks against at least 40 Kurdish villages between 1987-1988. The largest was the attack on Halabja which resulted in approximately 5,000 deaths. o 2,000 Kurdish villages were destroyed during the campaign of terror.
Iraq’s 13 million Shi’a Muslims, the majority of Iraq’s population of approximately 22 million, face severe restrictions on their religious practice, including a ban on communal Friday prayer, and restriction on funeral processions.
According to Human Rights Watch, “senior Arab diplomats told the London-based Arabic daily newspaper al-Hayat in October  that Iraqi leaders were privately acknowledging that 250,000 people were killed during the uprisings, with most of the casualties in the south.” Refugees International reports that
“Oppressive government policies have led to the internal displacement of 900,000 Iraqis, primarily Kurds who have fled to the north to escape Saddam Hussein’s Arabization campaigns (which involve forcing Kurds to renounce their Kurdish identity or lose their property) and Marsh Arabs, who fled the government’s campaign to dry up the southern marshes for agricultural use. More than 200,000 Iraqis continue to live as refugees in Iran.”
In August 2003, Refugees International published a plan which Judy wrote about here. But, the excerpt above was published at the State Department in April 2003, so there must have been some earlier report about Saddam Hussein creating a refugee crisis.