Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  

Saddam's hanging
Justice by occupiers is hardly convincing
SADDAM'S hanging on the day of Eid-ul-Azha, a day of religious festivity for the Muslims all over the world will be received more with trepidation than perhaps any sense of relief.

He has lived by the sword and died by it. It is true that he was one of the most ruthless dictators of recent times. He has been equally repressive to the Shia, Sunnis and the Kurds. But those that have sent him to the gallows are the ones whose interest in the Middle East he had once served. It is the West, particularly the United States, whose proxy Saddam was, standing against Iran's potential rise and influence in the region in the 80s. Saddam was toppled not by the Iraqis but by an occupying force and he was tried not by the Iraqis but by a court formed under and dictated to by the occupying power.

His execution will be seen differently in different quarters of the globe. However, any objective analysis of the event cannot overlook the fact that it was a victor's justice perpetrated upon the vanquished, for a crime that pales into comparison to the ones he is equally guilty of committing. These were crimes against humanity in which the West had been his partners and abettors in many ways. Alas! He will not be there to answer charges in the killings of several hundred thousand in the Kurdish region of Iraq in 1987-88 because he is history now, hanged on charges of killing 148 persons in Dujail in 1982. Thus, it will not be wrong to impute motives to the hurried hanging of Saddam.

With Saddam history now the question is, will it allow the Iraqis to start a new chapter in the country's troubled history? What is next for Iraq - is the question that we ask. And we are concerned at the prospect of the sectarian chasm being further widened that might be the cause of Iraq's eventual disintegration along sectarian lines. Can the occupying powers control the event that is likely to get worse?

It would be our earnest hope that our Iraqi brethren will temper their reactions. Precipitate actions that might lead to further fratricidal conflict will only help the enemies of Iraq. It will not only endanger peace in the Middle East it has also the potential for engulfing greater part of the globe in a bloody conflagration.