Kurdistan Regional Government
MON, 17 JUN 2019 02:24 Erbil, GMT +3

Members of US congress join KRG Minister Falah Mustafa in commemorating Kurdish genocide

FRI, 28 MAR 2014 12:49 | KRG Cabinet

Washington DC, USA (KRG.org) — Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, was joined by United States congressmen, the Iraqi ambassador and American friends of Kurdistan at an event marking the 26th anniversary of the chemical attack on Halabja.

Representatives Marsha Blackburn and Chris Van Hollen as well as retired general James Jones, the former national security advisor, and Lukman Faily, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, Congressman Steve King, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran at the State Department, Brett McGurk and members of the Kurdish community, media and other institutions all took part in the commemorative event in the US Congress.

In 1988, the regime of Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons to kill thousands of innocent men, women, and children, and permanently debilitate many more. The incident was one of many attacks against the Kurds in a killing campaign that spanned decades and reached a peak 26 years ago when Halabja was attacked and a separate genocide campaign, called Anfal, were both launched.

During the commemoration, Minister Mustafa spoke about Kurdish history as well as present day Kurdistan. He said, 'In the past, we were oppressed and we lived in isolation.  Today, we are part of the community of nations, developing our region and engaging the globe at large.  The United States is an ally and a friend, and we are not shy in thanking the US for providing us the chance to succeed.' 

In November last year, Representatives Blackburn and Van Hollen sponsored a resolution (H.Res.422), calling on the US government to recognise the campaign of genocide against the Kurdish people in Iraq.  The bipartisan resolution that has garnered support on Capitol Hill also reaffirms the commitment of the House of Representatives to the friendship between the US and the Kurdish people.

The British parliament last year formally recognised the Kurdish genocide, along with South Korea, Sweden and Norway. The Kurdistan Regional Government and the Kurdish diaspora are working towards wider formal international recognition.

During the commemoration, General Jones spoke of one of his personal highlights in a long and decorated career in the service of the United States.  In 1991, he was a lieutenant colonel during Operation Provide Comfort, the US operation to defend Iraqi Kurds fleeing their homes in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and deliver much-needed humanitarian aid.  He said, 'Without hesitation, it was one of the most satisfying military missions of my 40-year career for a couple of reasons.  Number one, it was the right thing to do and I was very proud that my country chose to do it. Secondly, I fell in love with the Kurdish people; we all did.'