BAGHDAD – Ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein “confessed” to releasing orders for executions and a campaign against Kurds in which thousands of people are said to have been killed, President Jalal Talabani said.
But Talabani did not say whether Saddam had actually admitted to committing any crimes, or merely acknowledged that he was head of state and commander in chief of the army at the time of various military operations.
“I met the investigator who questioned Saddam,” he told Iraqiya state television in an interview late on Tuesday. “He said he had extracted important confessions from Saddam Hussein and he signed them.”
The revelations come amid continuing violence in Iraq overnight and on Wednesday in northern Iraq where U.S. and Iraqi forces are fighting insurgents and in southern Iraq, where a roadside bomb damaged a car.
Asked about the confessions, Talabani replied: “About the crimes he committed: he confessed to al-Anfal and the executions,” adding that Saddam had said: “The orders were released by me.”
Al-Anfal was a campaign against the Kurds between 1986 and 1989 in which over 100,000 people are said to have been killed and many villages destroyed. Talabani is a Kurd.
“Saddam deserves a death sentence 20 times a day because he tried to assassinate me 20 times,” he said, recalling his days as a Kurdish rebel leader fighting the Baghdad authorities.
Talabani’s comments, on the eve of a visit to the United States, appeared to be part of an orchestrated move by the government to prepare Iraqis for Saddam’s execution, expected to be carried out by hanging…