BAGHDAD – Iraq has agreed to pay $400 million to Americans who say they were abused by Saddam Hussein’s regime, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Friday.
The agreement, recently signed by U.S. and Iraqi officials, represents a significant step forward for Iraq and could bring an end to years of legal battles by Americans who claim to have been tortured or traumatized under Saddam’s regime.
But the deal is likely to anger Iraqis who consider themselves the victims of both Saddam and the 2003 U.S. invasion, and wonder why they should pay money for wrongs committed by the ousted dictator.
The American Embassy spokesman in Iraq, David Ranz, said the agreement “to settle claims of American victims of the Saddam Hussein regime,” was signed Sept. 2. He gave no details of the agreement.
A senior Iraqi government official confirmed the deal has been signed and said Iraq agreed to pay about $400 million. He said the money would be given to Americans who were affected by the Iraqi invasion of neighboring Kuwait in 1990.
Saddam’s government held hundreds of Americans hostage during the run-up to the Gulf War, using them as human shields in hopes of staving off an attack by the U.S. and its allies.