In 1988, the Iraqi regime executed the Anfal Genocide against its Kurdish population, killing a conservative estimate of approximately 50,000 to 100,000 Kurds (Human Rights Watch, 1993). This genocide involved the widespread usage of chemical weapons and marked a highly traumatic moment in modern Kurdish history. As of today, little academic research has been completed on the long-term medical and political consequences of exposure to chemical weapons in the Kurdistan region.

This exploratory research aims to contribute to the body of literature on this topic through interviews with medical professionals, Kurdish politicians, and non-governmental organization employees that have expertise on the Anfal attacks and their aftermath. By following a semi-structured interview format with the help of a native Kurdish translator when necessary, this research project was able to collect novel information on the lasting legacy of chemical weapons in Iraqi Kurdistan. The commentary included topics like how to medically and politically address the aftermath of chemical weapons, and how chemical weapons changed Iraqi Kurdistan’s healthcare system, societal relationships, and economy.

Data collected for the medical findings proposes that improvements to Iraqi Kurdistan’s general medical infrastructure and emergency healthcare capacity are necessary to aid Anfal survivors and the future safety of the nation. Evidence within the political findings suggests that chemical weapons are not only detrimental to health, but also to the social, economic, and international components of Iraqi Kurdistan’s politics. Overall, this project adds to the growing body of literature that focuses on contemporary Kurdish affairs within the context of historical violence.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Tezcur, Gunes Murat


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Degree Program

Political Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date