Tragic birth defects in Iraq caused by US radiation pollution: Expert
An Iraqi environmental scientist reveals hidden aspects of Iraq's radioactive pollution caused by the US' wars and its occupation.
Iraqi environmental pollution activist and researcher Dr. Souad Naji Al-Azzawi revealed some aspects of Iraq’s decades-long crisis of nuclear radioactive pollution, warning of the danger of ignoring the problem, which led to environmental and health problems that pose a grave threat to the health of the Iraqi people.
Al-Azzawi told Sputnik that during the Second Gulf War of 1991, around one million shells of different sizes that contained depleted uranium were used, which contaminated close to 1750 km2 of land west of Al-Basra Province in Iraq. Some consider that the combined destructive force of these shells was seven times that of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima during WW2.
She also said that there is evidence of war crimes during the Second Gulf War, during which the shelling and starving of the Iraqi people did not cease, with some considering that this amounts to genocide.
Al-Azzawi went on to say that some countries stopped purchasing or storing weapons of mass destruction in the aftermath of the Second Gulf War, but that never stopped the US from continuing to produce and use them, which happened again during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, in Afghanistan, and in its operations in Syria, as it is acting like a superpower over which no one has authority, not even the United Nations.
The activist revealed that between 2003 and 2004, 181,000 artillery shells containing depleted uranium were used throughout Iraq, namely in Fallujah, causing birth defects in a huge number of children, some of whom died as a result. Moreover, the people of Iraq were also exposed to doses of radiation caused by wind movement over areas where tanks and vehicles destroyed during the war using radioactive shells were assembled, creating “tank graveyards”, especially around Al-Basra Province. These areas would come to form a continuous source of radioactive pollution.
The researcher added that after the US occupation of Iraq, the new pro-US Iraqi government constantly denied that radioactive pollution in the country was caused by US strikes, and by so doing opposing what US researchers themselves admitted to.
She also pointed out that after the US invasion of Iraq, “trained thieves came in with US occupation forces and stole 10,000 barrels containing radioactive waste from the Atomic Energy Agency in Tuwaitha south of Baghdad, and in the midst of the chaos, some Iraqis looted the waste barrels, drained them of their contents, and began using them for everyday use like water and food storage. This area now has elevated rates of cancer diagnoses and birth defects, but no one brings it up.
In August 1990, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and Iraq’s forces occupied the country for seven months before they were driven away by US-led forces during the Second Gulf War. Iraq was placed under a heavy international economic embargo from 1990 till it was occupied by the United States in 2003, and has not witnessed political or economic stability since then.