Chemical Ali Hanged Until Dead, Dead, Dead

chemical-ali-executedThe government of Iraq has finally executed “Chemical Ali” Hassan al-Majid, arguably the most heinous official of the former regime save his cousin, Saddam Hussein.

Majid, an enforcer in Saddam Hussein’s regime and his cousin, had earlier been sentenced to death four times for genocide and crimes against humanity.  Earlier this month, he was sentenced to death for ordering the gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988.

It is believed that about 5,000 people died in the attack.  Iraqi jets swooped over Halabja and for five hours sprayed it with a lethal cocktail of mustard gas and the nerve agents Tabun, Sarin and VX.

No word on whether they will bother trying to carry out the other three sentences. My guess is not.

Majid was “executed by hanging until death,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.  “The execution happened without any violations, shouting or cries of joy,” he added, in sharp contrast to Saddam’s death on the gallows in 2006.

Excellent news, in that it would seem a strong indication that the Iraqi government has internalized the rule of law and respect for the fact that this is a state-sanctioned punishment rather than a revenge killing.  At very least, they’ve learned enough to lie about it.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    One down, 25 million left to go. We need to finish the job ASAP. Send the Enola Gay and Little Boy over there to take care of the rest of this mess.

  2. Idiot says:

    At very least, they’ve learned enough to lie about it.

    Do you really think he could have or should have been allowed to live?