Iraq: Saddam Hussein's vengeful execution exposes barbarism of Bush Jnr's "justice" Print E-mail
 Pakistan -- Sunday, December 31, 2006, Zill-Haj 9, 1427 A.H.

Greatest folly after the invasion

The way Saddam Hussein's vengeful execution took place yesterday, in less than a week after the handing down of his death sentence, was as unbecoming as his hurry-hurry trial. "We wanted him to be executed on a special day," the dawn of Eid-ul-Adha in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's national security adviser Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie told state-run television. He added that "Saddam was treated with respect when he was alive and after his death." Last year video footage about the Americans' maltreatment of Saddam Hussein in prison -- in one clip the shirtless former president is washing his clothes -- had caused worldwide condemnation. Saddam Hussein even claimed during his trial that he had received a beating by Americans soldiers. As for respect for his body, a government colleague of Mr al-Rubaie exulted in a telephone interview with NBC: "This…is lying at my feet" -- using the s-o-b abuse for the corpse.

Mr al-Rubaie made another contestable statement: "Saddam's execution was one hundred per cent Iraqi and the American side did not interfere." However, it is an American judge who late Friday rejected a last-minute appeal by the lawyers of Saddam Hussein, who had been in US custody almost to the end. "Petitioner Hussein's application for immediate, temporary stay of execution is denied," the district judge said in Washington, after a hearing conducted over telephone from Baghdad. Television footage of the moments before a composed Saddam Hussein was led to the gallows shows prison staff in masks. The masks would leave room for argument that at least some of them were American. There is also the question of whether it should have been a public hanging.

But now that it's all over, the question arises whether the execution will have a positive effect on the Iraqi situation. Even President Bush, who insisted in reaction to the hanging that the former dictator "was executed after receiving a fair trial," admitted that "bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq." The rushing of more American soldiers to Kuwait, not to mention the high alert on which US troops have been put in Iraq, proves there is shrinking room for hope on this score. Mr Bush's understatement notwithstanding, Iraq appears to face a frightening prospect after the execution: the widening of the sectarian and ethnic divide in a country where ethnic-cleansing is so intense in many parts that the mayhem that took place in Yugoslavia pales in brutality. The Gulf region and Iraq's other neighbours like Syria would be fortunate if the sectarian strife did not spread there following the probable worsening of the Iraqi chaos. To return to the subject of the trial and execution being entirely an Iraqi affair, two coincidences are difficult to accept. The death sentence against Saddam Hussein had originally been handed down on Nov 5, two days before the US mid-term elections. That was put down to the Bush administration's effort to influence the elections. And he was sent to the gallows days before the convening of Congress on Jan 4.