Iraq tells U.N. 'terrorist groups' seized former chemical weapons depot

UNITED NATIONS Tue Jul 8, 2014 9:00pm EDT

Militant Islamist fighters on a tank take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014.REUTERS/Stringer

Militant Islamist fighters on a tank take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iraq's government has lost control of a former chemical weapons facility to "armed terrorist groups" and is unable to fulfill its international obligations to destroy toxins kept there, the country's U.N. envoy told the United Nations.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, made public on Tuesday, Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said the Muthanna facility north of Baghdad was seized on June 11. He said remnants of a former chemical weapons program are kept in two bunkers there.

"The project management spotted at dawn on Thursday, 12 June 2014, through the camera surveillance system, the looting of some of the project equipment and appliances, before the terrorists disabled the surveillance system," Alhakim wrote in the letter dated June 30.

The Sunni Muslim group known as the Islamic State is spearheading a patchwork of insurgents who have taken over large swaths of Syria and Iraq. The group, an al Qaeda offshoot, until recently called itself the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

"The Government of Iraq requests the States Members of the United Nations to understand the current inability of Iraq, owing to the deterioration of the security situation, to fulfill its obligations to destroy chemical weapons," he said.

Iraq would resume its obligations when the security situation improves and it has regained control of the facility, Alhakim said.

U.S. Defense Department spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said last month that the United States' best understanding was that "whatever material was kept there is pretty old and not likely to be able to be accessed or used against anyone right now."

"We aren't viewing this particular site and their holding it as a major issue at this point," Kirby said. "Should they even be able to access the materials, frankly, it would likely be more of a threat to them than anyone else."

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Missy Ryan in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Comments (20)
kurdstaat wrote:
“Never Again”?
German Chemical Corporation
Complicity in the Kurdish Genocide

Michael J. Kelly*

I apologize for the Gentian participation in the Kurdish genocide. The
trade of German companies with Saddam’s regime was an illegal act.
They should not have done that. Germany has to tell the people of
Kurdistan that it was a mistake. Gassing Halabja took place with the help
of German companies.’
—Claudia Roth, co-Chair, German Green Party, July 4, 2012

Jul 08, 2014 9:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kurdstaat wrote:
In several domestic jurisdictions, corporations may be prosecuted for
criminal wrongdoing within their home states.^ This is certainly true in the
United States.^ However, when multinational corporations commit crimes
abroad, they often escape prosecution for a variety of reasons—lack of
jurisdiction, lack of political will, or lack of well-articulated criminality under
international law. The complicity of German chemical corporations in Saddam
Hussein’s genocide against Iraq’s Kurdish population falls into all of these
The chemical weapons attacks unleashed on the Kurdish people of Iraq in
1987-1988 were the largest such attacks ever directed against a civilian population.”* Mustard gas, VX, SARIN and TABUN formed a lethal cocktail^
that eliminated 5,000 Kurds in the eity of Halabja in a single day.^ Who supplied
Saddam with this devastating technology? German industry’—the same German
industry that supplied Himmler’s S.S. with the poison gas to eliminate millions
of Jews at Auschwitz.^ This Article explores how German corporations failed to
learn the lessons of the Holocaust and considers the parameters of criminal
liability for corporate actors who persist in flouting international norms in
pursuit of profit.

Jul 08, 2014 9:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
kurdstaat wrote:
States responsible for providing chemicals to Saddam Hussain in order to commit genocide against Kurdish nation after Iran-Iraq war was over and Saddam had shown that he is eradicating Kurdish nation.

US –providing intelligence and coordination
and others

Thank you for your cooperation (corporation)

Stop genocide against Aryan Kurdish nation

Recognize greater Kurd State


Jul 08, 2014 9:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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