Chemical Ali’s death celebrated in Arbil

ARBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan — A lot has happened today. It seems the assault on Baghdad has begun, with a number of important and symbolic buildings now under control of the Americans, including a number of Saddam’s presidential palaces. Perhaps most dramatically for the Kurds, though, the British say they have killed Ali Hassan al-Majid (“Chemical Ali” in the attack on Basra. Al-Majid was the man in charge of the Halabja massacre in 1988 that left 5,000 Kurds dead.

ARBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan — A lot has happened today. It seems the assault on Baghdad has begun, with a number of important and symbolic buildings now under control of the Americans, including a number of Saddam’s presidential palaces. Perhaps most dramatically for the Kurds, though, the British say they have killed Ali Hassan al-Majid (“Chemical Ali”) in the attack on Basra. Al-Majid was the man in charge of the Halabja massacre in 1988 that left 5,000 Kurds dead.
In the Internet cafe where I was typing this, several young Kurds were hard-pressed to pull themselves away from Al Jazeera, which was broadcasting the Fox News coverage from inside one of the captured palaces. They gaped and then tut-tutted at the gold platings in the bathrooms on the screen.
“In four days, Saddam will be gone,” said Faisal Adil, 24, a final-year law student at the University of Sulahaddin near Arbil. As for al-Majid, “We are very happy now,” he continued. “He was a criminal. He was a killer, a Kurdish killer.”

Update on Blue on Blue

ARBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan — A little more information and clarification on the “blue on blue” (friendly fire) incident yesterday in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Twenty-two Kurdish fighters and five Special Forces died. Forty-five peshmergas were wounded, including Wazeri Barzani, a brother of KDP president Massoud Barzani.
The attack happened not because of the capture of Iraqi tanks, as early reports from Fawzi Hariri said yesterday, but because a Special Forces commander in the attacked convoy called in air strikes on a nearby Iraqi tank column and the American pilots hit the convoy by mistake.
More details as they become available.