A look at the role of Saudi Arabia in recent years in politics and international conflicts, in particular at the changes in politics in recent years, as the kingdom is changing under the rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Chemicals were a key weapon for Saddam. With cousin Ali in command he could put down insurrections quickly and easily. The Shia uprising in 1991 was one of Saddam's weakest moments. "Basra fell into our hands. The police, the security services, were all done for", recounts Ebedulrehhem Salim. But then Ali Hassan Al Majeed, otherwise know as known as "Chemical Ali" or "the Damned" turned up. "They gathered the young people, tied them up with ropes, and blindfolded them. They shot them in public to frighten the people. Ali regained control of the province."Written by
Ulf Kjell Gür
General Ali Hassan al-Majid , who was reported yesterday to have died aged 62 during a bombing raid on Basra, southern Iraq, was known as "Chemical Ali" and "the Butcher of Kurdistan" for his atrocities in repressing Kurdish rebels in Iraq; he ordered the largest-ever chemical weapons attack on civilians, killing 5,000 and wounding 10,000. He was the first Iraqi "governor" of Kuwait after the 1990 invasion, presiding over a campaign of murder, rape and destruction of property. He later directed Baghdad's violent repression of abortive uprisings by the Kurds, and Shias in southern Iraq, after Operation Desert Storm had been halted by the Allied coalition following the liberation of Kuwait. Al-Majid, a diabetic who suffered in later life from hypertension and spinal infections, was a key associate for more than 20 years of his first cousin, President Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti. A Ba'ath Party veteran and influential member of the Revolution Command Council in Iraq, he was a dependable ally of the Iraqi leader, despite falling out of favour with him in the mid-1990s. Unlike others who angered Saddam, al-Majid was wily enough to recover after a temporary setback. In the autumn of 2002, the Bush administration named al-Majid as one of a "dirty dozen" of Saddam's closest henchmen who would face trial for war crimes, if they survived the overthrow of the Iraqi regime. See more »