Iraq's presidency gives go ahead for execution of 'Chemical Ali'

The Saddam Hussein henchman known as "Chemical Ali" for gassing thousands of Kurdish civilians is due to hang within the month, following the endorsement of his death sentence Friday by Iraq's presidential council. But even survivors were notably subdued about the news in a nation weary of violence and suffering. The agreement among Iraq's three-member presidential council - President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, along with the Sunni and Shiite vice presidents - eliminated the last barrier before Ali Hassan al-Majid can be executed. The presidential council spared the lives of two other Saddam aides, in what was seen as a possible attempt to appease minority Sunnis. The two men - Hussein Rashid Mohammed, former deputy director of operations for the Iraqi armed forces, and former defense minister Sultan Hashim al-Taie - are in US custody, as is al-Majid.