Damascus, Asharq Al-Awsat has obtained an audio message recorded by a man claiming to be Ali Hassan al-Majid – who was better known as “Chemical Ali” – addressed to his son, Hassan al-Majid. This message was recorded on 12/12/2009, less than two months before al-Majid’s execution. In this recording, al-Majid, who in addition to being Saddam Hussein’s first cousin, served as his Defense Minister, Interior Minister, and chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Services, criticized the Iraqi Baathist party leadership, describing it as being “disastrous” and also accused Iraqi leadership figures of being “unqualified to being ruling leaders or members of the leadership.” He also revealed that “the vast majority of them [leadership figures] would lie to themselves, their party, their people, and their leader.” He also described a number of Baathist leadership figures as being “cowards, whether this was during their interrogations or trial.”
The audio message begins with al-Majid addressing “my son and companion Hassan al-Majid.” He then went on to say on to say that “personally, even if we can go back in time and the [Baathist] party returns, I would not return to work in the leadership of the party because it is a disastrous leadership…and I, comrade Hassan al-Majid, personally believe what I say, and I am not qualified to be a member of the disastrous leadership that I described.”
Mohamed al-Dulaimi, a senior member of the now outlawed Baathist party, said that he considered this recording “to be the second awakening of consciousness made by a prominent member of Iraq’s former leadership and [member of] the former Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council, Ali Hassan al-Majid.” When asked about the first awakening of consciousness made by a former member of the Iraqi regime, al-Dulaimi said that “this was the message by Taha Yassin Ramadan to Mohamed Younis al-Ahmed” that was also previously published by Asharq Al-Awsat.
In the recording attributed to Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was given the nickname “Chemical Ali” following the 1988 Halabja Poison Gas Attacks that he commanded, he says “I was asked over the phone about what I said in front of Judge [Mohammed] al-Oraibi [al-Khalifa], the Judge of the Halabja trial, and what I said is recorded and it can be obtained from the court’s archive of the trial, and the later hearing that was held to record the last words of those accused of the Halabja [Poison Gas Attack] case.” On this recording, al-Majid denied that he and those who were tried with him were responsible for ordering the chemical attack on Halabja, saying “I said that all of those present in the dock [with me] were not responsible for the attack on Halabja with chemical weapons or others, and that includes me personally. Even if we can go back in time and the [Baathist] party returns, I would not return to work in the leadership of the party because it is a disastrous leadership. This is what I said, and I personally, comrade [Ali] Hassan al-Majid, believe this.”
In the audio recording, al-Majid went on to say that following his experience with the Baathist leadership, he could say that “there is a not insignificant group of them who are unqualified to being ruling leaders or members of the leadership.” He also revealed that “he did not have the opportunity to communicate with the [Baathist] party following the [US] occupation until today [date of the recording]” and that he had no choice but to criticize this leadership which he himself was a member of. He also revealed that “the vast majority of them [the Baathist leadership] would lie to themselves, their party, their people, and their leader” and he described a “not insubstantial number of them” as being “cowards whether this was during their interrogation or trial.”
Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was better known as Chemical Ali, was executed on 25 January 2010 by hanging, after being convicted of genocide by the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal.
Baathist senior member Mohamed al-Dulaimi revealed this document as part of an “effort to unite the party” through “revealing facts and organizing in all transparency, nationalism, and affiliation.” Al-Dulaimi added that the ultimate goal of Iraqi Baathists today is “to leave the final choice to the people through the ballot box…under Arab supervision firstly, and international [supervision] secondly.” He also called on the former Baathists to “atone for their mistakes, be honest with the people, apologize for their mistakes, and return all the money they might have used their position to steal.” He also called for the abolishment of “the concept of Debaathification [i.e. the outlawing of the Baathist party].”