Execution and agitating a conflict [Archives:2007/1020/Opinion]

January 29 2007

By: Nassr Taha Mustafa
With the execution of the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein one of the longest and most exciting, rather bewildering in the process of its evaluation, chapters of the Arab contemporary history has been folded. The man has gone and with him are buried many secrets, as his contemporaries, aides and men believe and who were the last ones to know about his plans and policies. Many endless questions will remain in the minds about many of real backgrounds on his war with Iran throughout eight years, 1980 to 1988, and the more important the backgrounds of his invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Those matters, or some of them, could have been disclosed had the trial of the man covered all the different issues in which he involved himself and people and led to this dramatic end which is considered the first of its kind for an Arab leader and I think it will not be repeated in the same way.

Three years have passed from when he was arrested to his hanging and they were the severest and most difficult for him in all his life. In December 2003 the former American ruler of Iraq Paul Bremer announced in Hollywood acting style the news of arresting the ousted Iraqi President Hussein in an underground hideout. That made media instruments, particularly those hostile to Saddam, concentrate on the hideout more than the man himself. They considered his hiding in a place under the ground as something shameful for him, although it is a normal thing for where they would have wanted him to hide, in a big mansion or to flee outside Iraq? Surely, for Saddam the operation of catching him was no more than a question of time as long as he decided to stay inside Iraq.

This Hollywood-style of capture was three years ago, which is a period long enough for a trial in an issue deemed to be marginal compared to other more dangerous ones. I think this is an intentional matter without any doubt. This trial was intended mainly for agitating sectarian sentiments against the entire era of Saddam. The strange thing is that the Iraqi government, understanding with the American occupation, was keen to bring Kurdish judges to decide this case so that their verdicts appear as revenge for the massacre of Halabja besides the Dujail. This behavior would in fact not remove from it the sectarian description, but rather enhance and flare it.

Imagine that after all that lifetime, he was to be 70 in four months, and after all his political life that was full of assassinations and physical liquidations even of his sons in law and different wars, he is tried and hanged for a case, jurists and politicians see filled with thousands of legal ambiguities, considering what happened in Dujail was originally an attempted assassination against him followed by reaction by his government towards persons who tried to kill him. Is not the insistence of occupation and the Iraqi government on trying him for this case an attempt specifically aimed at instigating sectarian fanatical instincts as part of what is planned fir Iraq?

In fact it is very difficult to accept the idea of accusing Saddam with sectarianism for one simple reason. The man was originally a nationalist and secular and he had suppressed Islamic trends, both Sunni and Shiite. How then can he be a sectarian? Undoubtedly, Saddam was a Ba'athist and it is known that the Ba'ath party included in its ranks members and leaders from the Sunnis and the Shiites as well as Kurds until the moment of his fall. His victims included all sects without exception, so why was first day of Al-Adha Eid was chosen as a date for implementing the death sentence? Observers and analysts could not find an objective excuse for speeding up his execution but for arousing the sectarian conflict.

There is much suspicion on why Al-Maliki and his government have been hasty in carrying out the hanging of Hussein as aimed at calming down the wave of the resistance that is prevalent in the Iraqi street. Saddam has maybe remained throughout the past three years of his captivity as a symbol for one or some parties of resistance but he was certainly not able to administer it or direct it from his prison. Therefore his absence will not have any effect on its progress, especially that the major part of and most effective portion of resistance is Islamic, which is outside the Bath ranks. That branch of resistance considers the Ba'ath party as responsible for the present developments in Iraq, let alone that the Ba'ath is viewed by the resistance groups as a secular party. Upon all that how would the execution of Hussein lead to alleviate severity of violence in the country where resistance is not associated with him and does Al-Maliki not know that too?

Source al-Khaleej newspaper