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Dutch Businessman Appeals War Crimes Charge of Supplying Iraq with WMD

Dutch Businessman Appeals War Crimes Charge of Supplying Iraq with WMDProsecutors at The Hague Appeals Court today presented official documents by Sadam Hussein's regime praising the Dutch businessman, Frans van Anraat, for supplying "rare, banned chemical substances" to Iraq "at a reasonable price", and for "expos[ing] himself to extremely dangerous consequences."  Van Anraat's case is before the appeals court on genocide charges.  He was found guilty in 2005 for war crimes for supplying the dual-use materials converted to chemical weapons used by Iraq during the 1980-1989 war with Iran.  Van Anraat admitted to supplying Iraq with dual-use chemicals but stated at the time he did not know they were destined for conversion to poison gas.  Van Anraat is alleged to have used transit routes from the US to Belgium and Japan to Italy to traffic the sensitive material.  There are several reports that Iraq used mustard gas and nerve agents against Iran during the war.  Chemical weapons were also used in attacks on Iraqi civilians, notably in the city of Halabja, a Kurdish area where as many as 4,000 civilians were killed.

US authorities began investigating van Anraat in 1989 after trailing his Japanese counterpart, Hishiro "Charlie" Tanaka.  Van Anraat was requested on extradition charges from Italy and he fled to Iraq.  He then requested Iraqi nationality directly to Saddam Hussein and was granted concessions, including a monthly stipend.  He married and established himself in Baghdad by 1991.  He began to suspect his wife, Hanan Muhamed Mahmood, a Jordanian of Palestinian descent, was an agent for the US Central Intelligence Agency.  It was the CIA that discovered his chemical sales to Iraq.

For more information on chemical weapons sales to Iraq, review sources here and here.

The US investigation of van Anraat is derived from this. 



Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors