Five leaders of the Shiite Islamic Dawa Party were sentenced to death and killed as Saddam consolidated his power. In 2004, those murders were among many charges announced against Saddam. The U.S. State Department estimates thousands of Saddam's political rivals were killed.
1980 -- Fayli Deportations and Killings
Thousands of Kurds of the Fayli sect were persecuted. Some were expelled to Iran, others killed. Saddam thought of them as Iranian, and therefore as enemies. Fayli women were often imprisoned or put into camps.
1983 -- Barzani Abductions
After the Iraqi-based Kurdistan Democratic Party allied with Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam sought to punish the clan and its leader, Massoud Barzani. More than 5,000 males, some as young as 10, disappeared. Decades later the remains of 512 Barzani men were discovered in a mass grave. They were reinterred in 2005. A letter that shows Saddam's direct involvement in the crimes was discovered in Baghdad.
1988 -- Al-Anfal Campaign
From February to September 1988, Saddam conducted what has been called a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish population. Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majid, or "Chemical Ali," Saddam's cousin, carried out the Al-Anfal operation using chemical weapons. Human Rights Watch estimates between 50,000 and 100,000 died. Kurdish officials and some international human rights groups put the number killed as high as 182,000. Saddam was on trial for the Anfal campaign at the time of his execution. Six defendants remain in the Al-Anfal case, including "Chemical Ali," who is facing charges of genocide.
1988 -- Halabja Gassing
During the Anfal campaign, "Chemical Ali" ordered an attack against civilians in the town of Halabja. Iraqi forces dropped bombs containing mustard and nerve gases. An estimated 5,000 men, women and children died in a single day. Many more died from long-term medical problems, and birth defects are still common in the area.
1990s -- Marsh Arabs Devastated
Saddam attacked the Shiite "Marsh Arabs" by destroying their land. Once a significant wetland, the marshes in southern Iraq were devastated by a government drainage plan that left behind a wasteland. In 1991, 250,000 Marsh Arabs lived in the region. Now 90 percent of the area is in ruins and only an estimated 20,000 people remain. Tens of thousands live in refugee camps in Iran. Efforts are now underway to restore the marshes. Human Rights Watch calls the campaign against the Marsh Arabs a crime against humanity and other rights activists call it genocide. There are claims chemical weapons also were used.
1990 -- Invasion of Kuwait
In August of 1990, Saddam ordered the Iraqi military, the fourth largest military in the world at the time, to invade Kuwait, leading to the 1991 Gulf War. Iraqi soldiers are accused of torturing and executing hundreds of Kuwaitis, as well as taking hostages and looting. More than 700 oil wells were set on fire and pipelines opened, spilling oil into the Gulf.
1991 -- Kurdish and Shiite Rebellions
After heeding President George H.W. Bush's call to rebel against Saddam, Shiites and Kurds were crushed by immense Iraqi military force. Saddam turned his military against the people as part of his widespread crackdown after the war. The rebels thought they would have the backing of the U.S. military. Thousands have been discovered in mass graves.
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.
"Over the past five years, 400,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died of malnutrition and disease, preventively, but died because of the nature of the regime under which they are living." (Prime Minister Tony Blair, March 27, 2003) Under the oil-for-food program, the international community sought to make available to the Iraqi people adequate supplies of food and medicine, but the regime blocked sufficient access for international workers to ensure proper distribution of these supplies. Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, coalition forces have discovered military warehouses filled with food supplies meant for the Iraqi people that had been diverted by Iraqi military forces.
4,000 prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in 1984;
3,000 prisoners at the Mahjar prison from 1993-1998;
2,500 prisoners were executed between 1997-1999 in a "prison cleansing campaign;"
122 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in February/March 2000;
23 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in October 2001; and
At least 130 Iraqi women were beheaded between June 2000 and April 2001.
America remained complacent.