By CSMS Magazine Staff WritersThe world woke up this morning to the shocking pictures of Saddam Hussein being led by his executioners to his death site, wearing a dark suit, appearing docile and resigned to his fate as he faced the gallows. Television footages showed a sober Hussein, trying to reject to be hooded. He was then led to face the hanging rope as he calmly waited for the noose to be tight around his neck. His body was later shown wrapped in what looked like a plastic body bag. The humiliating death of Hussein, the man who ruled with an iron fist for more than 2 decades, was the latest act confirming the political backwardness of a region and the reactionary nature of those who pretend to be messengers of peace and messiahs of democracy. As expected, reactions are almost the same among oppressed people everywhere: a total repudiation to this expeditious execution. Australian conservative Prime Minister John Howard, historical allied to Washington’s agenda, praised the execution even as thousands of his fellow countrymen took to the streets to denounce foreign intervention in Iraq. Frederico Lombardi, Vatican spokesperson, disapproved of the execution, not according to the principles set by the Geneva Convention, but because “it looks to heartbreaking.” Spain and France share similar positions. However, across the Arab and developing world, the manner of which the execution was carried out underscores and reinforces people sentiments toward the United States and its allies: A group of western nations plotting with local lackeys to pillage at will local resources and ready to use whatever means at their disposal to eliminate anything or anyone deemed an obstacle to their golden mean. Libya enters an official 3 days of mourning. In Arab countries, reaction is the same as people wrestle to digest yet another chapter of Arab humiliation. Was justice served?Saddam Hussein is by no means a man worth to be defended. His reign brought nothing but sufferings, death and an infinite uncertainty to the lives of millions, both in Iraq and in the surrounding countries. His death may be just another shocker, but it is unlikely to take the level of violence in Iraq to the predictable new level, for the chaos has already reached its highest echelon; and since Saddam’s capture, nearly 3 years ago, the resistance in Iraq (the former Hussein followers in particular) had already factored in the prospect of an execution of Hussein, some day.Who or what the death of Hussein serves? By all account, the execution of Hussein serves no justice, but the political purposes of the Bush administration and its Iraqi stooges. The secretive manner and the rush to send Saddam to the gallows, before New Year and at predawn, symbolize the mockery of any semblance of legal process—only underscores “the lawless and reactionary character of the entire American enterprise in Iraq.”Throughout Friday, there were conflicting reports about how and under what circumstances the death sentence against Hussein, confirmed by an Iraqi government tribunal on December 26, would be carried out. There were close consultations between the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which nominally controlled the judicial proceedings, and the American military authorities who had physical control of Hussein. The latter then turned him over to the execution site, just few feet outside the US-controlled Green Zone.Experts agree that the decision to send Hussein to the gallows was anything but a due judicial process. “It was a political one,” said Gerard Chenier, a legal scholar from Paris Sorbonne University. Al-Maliki himself signaled the execution shortly after the death sentence was pronounced by a special tribunal on November 5, when he made it clear that Hussein would be executed before the New Year. In the rush to impose the penalty on that timeline, Iraqi officials ignored both elementary principles of judicial fairness and even their own constitution, which requires confirmation of a death sentence by the current Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani. “The trial judgment was not finished when the verdict and sentence were announced on November 5. The record only became available to defense lawyers on November 22. According to the tribunal’s statute, the defense attorneys had to file their appeals on December 5, which gave them less than two weeks to respond to the 300-page trial decision. The appeals chamber never held a hearing to consider the legal arguments presented as allowed by Iraqi law. It defies belief that the appeals chamber could fairly review a 300-page decision together with written submissions by the defense and consider all the relevant issues in less than three weeks,” said Richard Dicker, international justice director of Human Rights Watch. The legal procedure was a travesty.“Rather than a tribunal modeled on Nuremberg, where the surviving Nazi leaders received far more extensive due process rights than were accorded Hussein, the proceedings in Baghdad resembled a Stalinist or Nazi show trial, with a puppet judge, a predetermined verdict and a sentence carried out in the dead of night,” Richard concluded.
The true behind the execution
The execution of Hussein is in sync with U.S. foreign policies. It confirmed once again that America’s quest for global dominance is a deadly affair and its opponents face certain death if they try to stand in the way. In Washington eyes, the death of Saddam is a mere lesson to any future opponent of American imperialism: defy the will of Washington, and his bloody fate could be yours.
Hussein death also provides the Bush administration with an event it can claim as proof of progress being made in Iraq. It is a diversion from the grisly reality, the daily death toll of Iraqi and American deaths. The media frenzy that has been generating since Friday around the execution, the heartbreaking images of Hussein advancing to his execution site, have largely overshadowed reports on the death toll among US soldiers and countless of Iraqis. American death toll tops more than 100 in December and will likely top the 3,000 mark for the war as a whole before the New Year.
Widening the sectarian divide
The state killing is intended to give at least a short-term political boost to the puppet, beleaguered but increasingly unpopular and unstable regime of al-Maliki. As Hussein death is now has been realized, the next flashpoint will be the inevitable showdown with radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. For some time, the Bush administration has been pressing al-Maliki to break with Moqtada al-Sadr, a move that would most likely put al-Maliki in an awkward position. Al-Sadr is one of his principal political allies, and endorsing a US-led military crackdown on the Mahdi Army, the al-Sadr’s militia, could provoke a violent reaction that no one in Baghdad is prepared to confront, especially at a moment when the Iraqi government is trying to rally its Shiite base. The execution of Hussein serves as a fabricated tool for al Maliki. It allows him to burnish his credentials with the Shiite majority, who suffered most under Hussein “while going ahead with plans for intensified violence against the predominantly working class in the eastern suburbs of Baghdad (Sadr City), a center of Shiite opposition to the US occupation.”It is hard to ignore that the fact that the execution of Hussein brings the legal proceedings against the former Iraqi leader to a virtual close before any detailed examination of those crimes in which successive US governments played a major role. The case of the execution of 148 Shiite men at Dujail in 1982 was selected to be tried first because the victims were linked to Dawa, the party of Maliki and the preceding US-backed prime minister, Ibrahim Jafari, and because there was no direct US involvement.Far bloodier episodes in the career of Saddam Hussein were willfully ignored. “The second case, the so-called Anfal campaign of mass killing of Kurds in 1987-88, towards the end of the Iran-Iraq war, was scheduled to resume January 8. Any serious investigation of those atrocities, culminating in the gassing of Kurds at Halabja, would shed light on the role of successive US administrations,” confirmed Gerard Chenier.Saddam went to war with Iran in September of 1980 with the blatant backing of the Carter administration, which was then locked in a confrontation with Iran over the student seizure of the US embassy in Tehran and the taking of US officials as hostages. The Reagan administration subsequently provided significant aid to Hussein throughout the eight years of war, supplying tactical military intelligence used to target Iranian forces for chemical weapons attacks, and backing arms sales to Iraq by European allies of the United States such as Britain, France and Germany. On two occasions, in 1983 and 1984, Donald Rumsfeld was sent to Iraq as a special US envoy to reassure Hussein that despite occasional noises about human rights violations, the US would maintain its allegiance to Baghdad in the war.The bloody suppression of revolts by Kurds and Shiites in 1991 was the other major case against Hussein. That too proved to be even more problematic for the Bush administration, since Bush’s own father, the first president Bush, first encouraged the uprisings at the end of the Persian Gulf War, then came to the cold-blooded decision that the continuance of Hussein’s dictatorship was preferable to a collapse of the Iraqi state, which might benefit Iran, the principal concern of US war planners and the Washington ideologues.CSMS Magazine repudiation of the Hussein’s show trial and condemnation of his execution confirm in any way political support for the former ruler. We firmly believe that Hussein came from the same mold, the same school of traditional, conformist, bourgeois politicians from oppressed countries—occasionally coming into conflict with imperialism, but implacably committed to the defense of the privileges and property of the national bourgeoisie against the interest of their own people.To some extent, Hussein’s fate is no different from that of Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti and Manual Noriega of Panama. The only difference is that Hussein has already been hung while the others’ fate still hangs in the balance. It is hard to forget that Hussein, as leader of the Baath Part in 1979, massacred the leadership of the Iraqi Communist Party and went on a killing spree over the militant working class movement concentrated in Baghdad and in the Iraqi oil fields. These scars have a ripple effect on the present disintegration of Iraq along religious/sectarian lines. It is one of the long-term consequences of this savage repression of the working class, applauded at the time by the United States.As the editors of the WSWS put it, “The Iraqi leader was not, however, tried and sentenced under the auspices of a working class tribunal. He was the subject of a kangaroo court established by an occupation regime after the invasion and conquest of Iraq by the United States. In other words, his crimes were judged and the penalty imposed by those guilty of even greater crimes than his own.” Finally, we believe in CSMS Magazine that Hussein, as the evidences would point, is far from being the ultimate bloodthirsty ruler. Who is going to send to the gallows the accomplices of Hussein, his backers during the 8-year bloody war against Iran, those who are responsible for more than 665,000 death since the occupation begins (more than what Saddam has committed according to a study by the Johns Hopkins school of public health) and the successive US presidents—Bush’s father, Clinton, Bush himself—who backed the US-led embargo on Iraq that caused the death of an estimated 1.5 million Iraqis from 1991 to 2003?Who is going to send to the gallows Ariel Sharon of Israel for the death of thousands of innocent Palestinians, the Saudi royal family, and the emerging mad-rulers of Central Asia? It takes pain to say that we are navigating in a world that is increasingly becoming impossible to live. But true justice for the killing of millions around the world in the name of democracy and the torture of the oppressed people of Iraq, as well as the American, British and other victims of the US-led war, will come only when those responsible—Bush, Cheney and their acolytes—face their own trials for war crimes. However, since the law of the jungle rules, the victims will always be the ones to be trailed and executed.Also see Moqtada al-Sadr: The terrible headache to US plan in Iraqand Iraq: The beat goes on and on