By Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar
On Saturday 30th Dec 2006
at approximately 5:45 AM, former dictator of
The trial and execution of Saddam raise important questions: why was he tried and executed for only one incident: ordering the 1982 killings of 148 Shiite Muslims in Dujail, (“small” as compared to other horrific atrocities committed during his reign of terror); why was he executed at such a (religiously) sensitive time; why the films were released; and finally why did the authorities allow his body to be buried in Tikrit, his hometown?
Why was he tried and executed for one incident
The list of crimes attributed to Saddam Hussein and his regime is indeed a lengthily one, but to show that there were much more serious crimes than the massacre of Shi’ites in Dujail, I shall just list a few of them here.
Saddam’s use of chemical weapons
against both military (
In his book , “Eastern Gate Ruins”,
General Wafiq Al Samarae the former director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service
admits that Saddam’s government used chemical weapons against Iraqi people in
the holy cities of Najaf and
Among thousands of executions and assassinations, he was also responsible for the killing of Sunni Religious leaders such as Abdul Aziz Al Badri the Imam of Dragh district mosque in Baghdad, Al Shaikh Nadhum Al Asi from Ubaid tribe in Northern Iraq, Al Shiakh Al Shahrazori, Al Shaikh Umar Shaqlawa, Al Shiakh Rami Al Kirkukly, Al Shiakh Mohamad Shafeeq Al Badri, Abdul Ghani Shindala, etc etc.
Keeping the accomplices hidden
The problem with trying Saddam Hussein for really big atrocities, such as use of Chemical weapons on civilians was that many enablers of Saddam’s regime including Western companies and both Western and Middle Eastern governments would have been implicated. During 1980s, 29 countries supplied him with weapons while nine others fronted for him whenever a cover was needed. Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, China and Russia (just to name a few) had to be named and their complicity explained.
For example it is a well known fact
that it was Saudi Arabian money that helped underwrite
“In 1989 the
Furthermore, the pro-Iraq activities of the US-Iraq business Forum, led as it was by former diplomats with solid connections with the State Department, were augmented by the work of Kissinger Associates, the consulting firm headed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Representing companies such as Volvo, Fiat and Hunt Oil, this firm was staffed by other insiders who took their signal from the government. Two of the insiders, Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, were to join the Bush administration in the spring of 1989, the former as National Security Adviser.” []
Execution: the date, the films and the burial place
Muslims celebrate two Eids (Arabic: festival): One is called Eid ul-Fitr that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and the other is Eid ul-Adha or in Persian Eid-e Qurban which is celebrated to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God.
Eid Al Adhais celebrated on the 10th
day of the month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar, after the annual
The timing indicates that the Iraqi
government was under pressure to remove Saddam from the scene before the
Christian New Year. But why? Does this have something to do with the Bush’s new
Filming of the execution and releasing it to the public was also a propaganda victory for Saddam Hussein. He went to his death with dignity and courage. The Sunnis, especially the Baath members will remember him for his defiance to the very end. So, why release the film in the first place? And why release the second film? This film with sound track was shot by a mobile phone. It was clear that everyone in the gallows were aware that this person was filming them. We know that everyone was there by invitation and everyone was thoroughly searched. So it was not an accident, nor the work of a freelance journalist to film and release it to the public. Both the central government and the Americans would have had to OK the release. So why was it released?
If you watch the second film you
hear one of the executioners (guards) shouts the name of Muqtada Al Sadr. This
film connects the execution directly to Al Sadr. It is no secret that Muqtada Al
Sadr is an Arab nationalist and the one that could pose the greatest threat to
the Americans. He has considerable influence in the Shi’ia community and has
several people in the parliament. He also has a large militia in
Then we have the Burial place:
Tikrit. Why did the government not send the body to
By sending Saddam’s body to Tikrit the government and the Americans are ensuring that the Sunnis will have a nationalist shrine right at the heart of the Sunni triangle. The Baathists and the Sunni nationalist will have a shrine dedicated to what they believe was a national Hero, killed at the hand of Shi’ites and the Americans.
Stupidity or design
By all legal standards, the trial of Saddam Hussein was unfair and farcical to say the least. It was a show trial for the public. His hasty execution was also a disgrace. Those who had suffered most at his hands did not get justice, for their voices were never heard or their sufferings acknowledged; while those who supported him did not see a proper legal trial for their leader.
The farcical trial and hasty execution only achieved one thing: silencing the man that could expose the hypocrisy and complicity of both the so called moderate Arab governments and the major Western powers.
Some may think that by executing him
the Sunni insurgents will be disheartened and become more amiable in dealing
This is the most likely reason
behind the release of the second film. If US attacks Al-Sadr, it is hoped, it
will show Sunnis that US is attacking a hated Shi’ia that was taunting Saddam at
the gallows. So far US has had an uneasy truce with Al-sadr, something that US
is no longer interested in. It is
All this of course is based on the
assumption that Mahdi army of the Muqtada al-Sadr is swiftly defeated and that
it does not spread to other parts of
In its campaign in Iraq United States have made many mistakes, but attacking Al-Sadr will be one move that will either make or break the US in Iraq.
About the author: Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar lives in
 Dilip Hiro, “The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict”, Paladin, 1990. pp.76
 Abdel Darwish and Gregory Alexander, “Unholy Babylon: The Secret History of Saddam’s War”, Gollancz, 1991, pp. 104
 Said K. Aburish, “Saddam Hussein: The Politics of
 The Age, “Saddam’s daughter wants
... Payvand News - 1/3/07 ... --