[Marxism] Guardian reports murder by stealth of Saddam Hussein in IRaq

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Dec 29 22:13:28 MST 2006


5am update 
  _____  

Saddam Hussein executed 

Staff and agencies
Saturday December 30, 2006


Guardian Unlimited

The former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging, shortly
before dawn this morning at an unspecified location in Baghdad. 

US-backed Iraqi television station al-Hurra and Saudi-owned satellite
channel al-Arabiya said that the former Iraqi president was executed at 6am
local time (3am GMT), following his conviction by an Iraqi court for crimes
against humanity. 


"Criminal Saddam was hanged to death," state-run Iraqiya television said in
an announcement. The station played patriotic music and showed images of
national monuments and other landmarks. Mariam al-Rayes, a legal expert and
an ally of the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, told Iraqiya television
that the execution "was filmed and God willing it will be shown. There was
one camera present, and a doctor was also present there." 


US president George Bush said Saddam Hussein's execution marks the "end of a
difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops", and cautioned that
his death will not halt the violence in Iraq. 


Yet, Bush said in a statement issued from his ranch in Texas this morning,
"it is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy that
can govern, sustain and defend itself, and be an ally in the war on terror."



Foreign secretary Margaret Beckett said in a statement: "I welcome the fact
that Saddam Hussein has been tried by an Iraqi court for at least some of
the appalling crimes he committed against the Iraqi people. 


"He has now been held to account. The British government does not support
the use of the death penalty, in Iraq or anywhere else. We advocate an end
to the death penalty worldwide, regardless of the individual or the crime. 


"We have made our position very clear to the Iraqi authorities, but we
respect their decision as that of a sovereign nation." 


A Downing Street spokeswoman said the statement from Mrs Beckett "spoke for
the whole government including the Prime Minister". 


Saddam's execution, which became imminent after his appeal was this week
rejected, has brought to an end the life of one of the Middle East's most
brutal dictators. 


Launching the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, campaigns against the Kurds and putting
down the southern Shia revolt that followed the 1991 Gulf war - triggered by
his invasion of Kuwait - put the casualties attributable to his rule into
the hundreds of thousands. 


But his conviction was for a relatively lower figure - the deaths of 148 men
and boys from the Shia Muslim town of Dujail, where members of an opposition
group had made a botched attempt to assassinate him in 1982. 


In Iraq opinion was divided sharply along sectarian lines, with Sunni
Muslims warning of "bloodbaths in the streets". Even among the Shia,
terrorised for decades by Saddam, there was a sense of hopelessness. "They
can kill him 10 times but it won't bring safety to the streets because there
is no state of law," said one Shia taxi driver who gave his name as Shawkat.



In the Kurdish north, jubilation was tempered by the fear of deeper
sectarian tensions and disappointment that Saddam would now not be able to
stand trial for other charges including the Anfal attack on the town of
Halabja that killed 5,000 people in 1988. 


"It would have been much better for the execution to have taken place in
Halabja, not in Baghdad," said Barham Khorsheed, a Kurd. 


Many critics dismissed the trial as a form of victors' justice and Saddam
Hussein's defence had accused the Iraqi government of interfering in the
proceedings. The latter complaint was backed by the US-based Human Rights
Watch. 


Ongoing was a trial for the deaths of thousands in the Anfal campaign
against the Kurds, who were also the victims of one of Saddam's most
notorious abuses - the gassing of 5,000 people in Halabja. If Saddam had not
been executed, he could have faced as many as 12 trials for crimes against
humanity. 

Guardian Unlimited C Guardian News and Media Limited 2006



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