Saddam's weakest point was the Shia rebellion in 1991. Basra had fallen into our hands. "The police and security services were all done for," Ebedulrehhem Salim recalls. But then came Ali Hassan Al Majeed, sometimes known as "Chemical Ali" or "the Damned." He was a Sunni who had been imprisoned by Saddam after his coup attempt in 1979.
In April 1992, Iraqi troops marched on Basra to put down the rebellion. They were met by only small arms fire from Iranian soldiers protecting the rebels. The Iraqis took no harm and soon left. It was clear that without heavy weapons, the rebels could not defeat them. So Saddam sent Chemiali out to meet with the leaders of the rebellion and make a deal: if they surrendered immediately, he would spare their lives.
Chemical Ali returned home triumphant and was given command of an army of 50,000 men. He defeated the rebels within a few weeks and forced them back across the border into Iran. This was the last battle between Iraq and Iran during the war.
After this victory, Saddam promoted Chemical Ali to general and gave him control of security forces in several other provinces too. This made Chemical Ali one of the most powerful people in Iraq. In 1996, he tried to make another coup but it failed when his supporters were caught by surprise at a meeting place they had chosen.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, Saddam Hussein's cousin, was personally in command of the chemical strikes against the Kurds, giving him the moniker "Chemical Ali." Kuwait was invaded by Iraqi soldiers on August 2, 1990. President Bush had given Iraq one month to withdraw from Kuwait before taking action. When Baghdad refused to withdraw, Washington led a coalition of countries in bombing Iraq into submission.
The Gulf War ended on February 28, 1991. United States officials said they had evidence that Saddam Hussein had used poison gas against his enemies including Iran, Kurdish rebels and members of his own population. The U.S. military launched more than 1,500 missiles at forty-seven sites across Iraq with the aim of destroying chemical weapons facilities and replacing Saddam Hussein's army with a civilian force under UN control.
In April 2003, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1441, which demanded that Iraq provide proof that it had destroyed its chemical weapons program or face military action. In October 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell told the United Nations that Iraq had failed to meet the deadline but did not use force against it. Critics say that this was a mistake since Iraq could have developed new methods for producing chemical weapons after it dismantled its original program. However, others say that the threat of military action helped pressure Iraq into surrendering its weapons programs.
An estimated 10,000 individuals survive, but they must deal with the deformity and illnesses caused by chemical weapons on a daily basis.
Saddam Hussein had four main commanders: Ali Hassan al-Majid, Ayad Allawi, Thamer Al-Naimi, and Muhammar Al-Jumaili. Each was responsible for certain regions of the country and had complete control over their forces. Al-Majid was in charge of the capital city of Baghdad as well as central and southern Iraq. He reported directly to Saddam Hussein. Allawi was in charge of northern Iraq and Iran. He held no official position within the military but was given authority by Hussein to lead attacks against Kurdish rebels inside Iraq.
Al-Naimi was in charge of the eastern region of the country. He was a major general in the Iraqi army and was often called upon by Hussein to help resolve internal disputes or problems that arose with other countries. Al-Jumaili was in charge of the western region of the country and had permanent residence there. He was also a major general in the Iraqi army and was considered one of Hussein's most trusted advisors.
Ali, who had at this time relocated his capital to Kufa in modern-day Iraq, refused to accept the ruling. When he went to pray at the Kufa mosque in 661, a group of puritanical Muslims known as Kharajites ('seceders') turned against him, and one of them stabbed him with a poisoned sword. Ali died within minutes...
Nowadays, people still talk about Hazrat Ali's killer. Some say he was a nobleman named Abu Sufyan who had left Islam because it allowed women to work. Others say it was someone else. But what is certain is that Hazrat Ali died without a successor, which meant that Kufa became the new capital of Islam. This is why Kufa is called "the city of justice" - its inhabitants were concerned about fairness, so they made sure that no one escaped punishment for any crime.
After Hazrat Ali's death, Kufa was ruled by six judges called "ulama". They decided important religious questions by voting on them. The judge with more votes would win. Sometimes this wasn't clear until later when another judge died or retired. Then the vote would be repeated until a winner emerged from among the remaining five judges.
This system was used to decide important issues such as the location of mosques, the timing of prayers, and the amount of charity that Muslims should give away.
According to Shia legend, Ali Asghar was murdered with a three-headed arrow by an enemy soldier named Hurmala when he moved his neck to prevent the shot from reaching his father. Ali Asghar died when he was just six months old. Shia revere him as the youngest martyr of the Battle of Karbala.
Ali Asghar was born in 815 AD at the end of the Abbasid Caliphate. His father, Imam Hussein, had been killed at the battle of Karbala and the young boy grew up in exile with his mother, Fatimah, who was still a young girl. When he was eight years old, Ali Asghar's uncle, Abu Lahab, led an army against Iraq; during this campaign, he captured and tortured Hussein's younger son, Al-Ameer. Enraged by this act, Fatimah ordered her eldest son to escape from captivity but he refused because it was against Islam. So she went to Abu Lahab alone to beg for her son's life but he also refused to save him. At that moment, an angel appeared before them and told them that if they wanted Ali to survive then they had to go to war again Karbala where Hussein was being held hostage. So they went there and fought until their forces were defeated. Then Fatimah was able to free Al-Ameer but she found out that her husband had been killed during the battle.