Iraqi presidency endorses execution of Chemical Ali

Iraq's presidency endorsed the execution of Saddam Hussein's cousin known as "Chemical Ali," who was sentenced to death for his role in the 1980s scorched-earth campaign against Kurds, a government adviser said Friday. The approval by Iraq's President Jalal Talabani and two vice presidents is the final step for the approval of Ali Hassan al-Majid's death sentence, which must be carried out within 30 days of the decision. Al-Majid was one of three former Saddam officials sentenced to hang in June after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for their part in the Operation Anfal crackdown that killed nearly 200,000 Kurdish civilians and guerrillas. An appeals court upheld the verdict in September. But the adviser said the presidency has not yet approved the death sentences against the other two -Hussein Rashid Mohammed, an ex-deputy director of operations for the Iraqi armed forces, and former defense minister Sultan Hashim al-Taie.