Saddam Hussein’s Execution: Snuffing out the Insurgency? or Igniting Full Fledged Civil War?

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Iraq’s government institutions — particularly its courts — have not hardened in the short time they have been functioning during the slap-shod democracy that the U.S. has helped prop up. While Iraq had widespread participation of its citizenry in recent elections, Iraqis do not have faith in their current government which has failed to stop escalating violence in Baghdad and throughout much of the country.
The people just don’t believe that this government will survive much longer and think that the institutions that have been created and reformed since Saddam’s fall are incredibly wobbly.
In particular, the courts just don’t have legitimacy in the eyes of too many Iraqis who are going to see the execution of Saddam Hussein as further consolidation of Shiite power against Sunnis.
In my view, Hussein has committed outrageous crimes for which he should be held to account. However, I can just as well think of many others who have evaded responsibility on our side of the equation for errors in judgment combined with duplicity that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis.
But Hussein was a monster — no doubt. But he was at times “our monster.” He was also a “controllable monster,” and a classic kind of thug whom we could have dealt with in ways far smarter and less crippling to this nation and its military.
But we need to be clear-eyed about the possibility that Saddam Hussein’s execution at the instruction of Iraq’s highest courts and judges — which many Iraqis see as puppets under American control — may actually have an enormous negative impact on the survivability of the current government and could ignite a much higher octane of nasty civil war inside Iraq.
The track has been laid. I don’t see any way that Hussein can escape execution — but everyone involved needs to realize that Hussein is no longer just a criminal, thuggish, murderous tyrant in the eyes of most Iraqi citizens.
To many, he has become a defiant leader fighting American oppression and someone who portrays himself as a proud and ferocious Sunni force. Many Sunnis want him back — and we need to prepare for something big, very big, when he dies.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

19 comments on “Saddam Hussein’s Execution: Snuffing out the Insurgency? or Igniting Full Fledged Civil War?

  1. Caden_L says:

    The incident when Bush was treated with an informal protest occurred as he was appearing Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Did you see how well President Bush was received during his last surprise visit to Iraq? An Iraqi journalist who was none too pleased with the lame duck president’s treatment of his country made an informal protest by throwing his shoes at W. The man’s name is Muntadhar al-Zeidi, and in Muslim culture, his footwear fling is an insult of the highest magnitude. Good Muslims remove their shoes before taking sanctuary in a mosque. Beleaguered Iraqi citizens threw shoes at the toppling statue of Saddam Hussein during liberation, so that should tell you more about what an insult it is. “This is your farewell kiss, you dog!” screamed al-Zeidi. Bush laughed this off and referred to it as a “sign of a free society,” much like payday loans are. The journalist was then promptly jailed. Protestors burned American flags and threw shoes at a tank in Najaf, apparently because they feel that al-Zeidi’s insult of the American president were more than justified. As for the infamous footwear, they are currently sitting in evidence, as Iraqi police wish to determine if the man was paid to throw at Bush in order to humiliate him. Click to read more on Payday Loans.

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  2. Frank BELLET says:

    My name appeared in a blog above but no letter. I’m not connected with any of those anti American blogs.Frank BELLET Petrie Q 4502

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  3. Ruth says:

    I would like to see pictures of his exection

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  4. Ruth says:

    I would like to see pictures of his exection

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  5. steambomb says:

    The only thing that will suffer during Saddams’ execution will be the truth.

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  6. Sam Solomon says:

    1. The wrong decisions continue to proliferate.
    AND
    2. The love of garbage is worse than ever.
    Species come and go. Those with serious defects
    that cannot be corrected by evolution become extinct rather quickly.

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  7. Matthew says:

    Nothing like the death penalty to show how much you believe in the Rule of Law. Who said we don’t export like we used to?
    Bushworld: more executions
    Real World: Toyota just overtook GM.

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  8. pauline says:

    from Wayne Madsen —
    Dec. 26-27, 2006 — Why the Bush crime family wants Saddam to die. Iraq’s former dictator managed to avoid one of the world’s most high-tech assassination efforts during the Iraq War campaign only to be allegedly discovered by U.S. forces hiding in a hole in the ground near Tikrit. There is little doubt that the trial of Saddam Hussein by a U.S. puppet government in the Green Zone of Baghdad has been a charade and a miscarriage of justice. Saddam’s death sentence decided by an Iraqi government-appointed and U.S.-approved judge on Dec. 26 was never in doubt, considering the knowledge the former Iraqi leader possesses of past crimes of the Bush family and their coterie of friends and partners in providing Iraq with much of the biological and chemical weaponry used against the Kurds, Shi’as, and Iranians.
    Saddam Hussein’s willingness to provide the Western media with documents and other evidence of the connivance of George H. W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Frank Carlucci, and other Reagan-Bush administration principals was made apparent to this editor in the months preceding the March 2003 American attack on Iraq. A senior Iraqi official contacted a British colleague of this editor and passed on a personal offer from Saddam Hussein to provide an “enterprising” Western journalist with the proof of America’s sanctioning of Saddam’s use of U.S.-supplied chem-bio weapons during the Iran-Iraq War, including Iraq’s attack on the Kurdish village of Halabja. Also included in Saddam’s “package” would be top secret information regarding his role as a longtime asset for the CIA, dating from his student days in Cairo.
    The Bushes want Saddam very dead: the Iraqi ex-dictator knows too much about the chem-bio weapons supplied to Iraq by Reagan and Bush.
    The essence of the offer passed to this editor via the British interlocutor was that Saddam, aware that George W. Bush was going to attack Iraq, ordered his intelligence service to gather up all incriminating evidence that would show the world that Iraq’s past “weapons of mass destruction” were provided by the Reagan and Bush I administrations. This proof undoubtedly included tape recorded conversations between Saddam and his advisers and Ronald Reagan’s personal envoy to Iraq, Rumsfeld. Saddam hoped that the exposure of the Reagan-Bush administrations would embarrass Washington and derail its attack plans.
    The offer from Baghdad was straightforward — arrive in Baghdad overland from Jordan and the proof would be handed over. There was one slight hitch. Having such incriminating evidence — documents and proof that the Reagan administration and that of George W. Bush’s father aided and abetted in Saddam’s military’s use of chem-bio weaponry against Iranians and his own people — would have likely made any “enterprising” Western journalist an inviting target for a number of bad actors the moment that journalist crossed into Jordanian territory from Iraq.
    Ironically, Saddam Hussein was more willing to provide the media with classified and sensitive information to expose the machinations of the United States than anyone in the George W. Bush administration or that of his father. It is very clear why the Bush administration wants Saddam dead and it has nothing to do with Saddam’s alleged “crimes against humanity.”

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  9. bob h says:

    Mubarak of Egypt warned us that invading Iraq would “open the gates of hell”. Now he is similarly warning us against executing Saddam. But what does he know?

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  10. liz says:

    My biggest question is what will they do if Saddem does not die?

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  11. Carroll says:

    And it won’t go away until they capture or kill those 2 creeps, contain and destroy the virus that is al Qaeda(not good enough to damage them-like any virus they’ll replicate and spread.) This country seriously needs to refocus our energy and resources on those who have proven they can do us harm–preferrably before they do it again.
    Posted by karenk at December 26, 2006 08:04 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    Forget OBL, he won, we lost.
    And al Qaeda is the least of your worries. According to the CIA report ALQ had only 200 active members at the time of 911.
    Now you have 1 billion arabs who hate your guts because they consider the US and Israel the same …and the rest of the world…about 90% of all other countries also hate our guts.
    And guess what?…we deserve whatever we get…since none of us has the balls to BURN WASHINGTON AND THIS CONGRESS TO THE GROUND.

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  12. Pissed Off American says:

    They oughta just hang one of his doubles, give the real Saddam plastic surgery, then hand Iraq back to him. As long as Cheney and Rummie remember not to sell him chemical weapons this time around, we might not have to hang him again.

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  13. Pissed Off American says:

    “This country seriously needs to refocus our energy and resources on those who have proven they can do us harm–preferrably before they do it again.”
    Posted by karenk
    Sorry, but impeachment is “off the table”.

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  14. the australian says:

    Marilyn (27 December at 01:47 AM)
    This hysteria over Iran has reached a point of utter lunacy. Nothing is happening. They aren’t doing anything at all to anyone and to equate the president to Hitler is deranged.
    We blew up all of Iraq for god’s sake, what on earth could Iran possibly do that is worse than that?
    Mulga Mumblebrain of Adelaide (27 December at 05:01 AM)
    It has been abundantly apparent for some time that Israel, its puppet superpower, the usual flunkies and the international Zionist cheer squad, have decided that the shock and awe treatment, having succeeded so admirably in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon, must now be inflicted on Iran. The transparency of the lies being peddled against Iran is even greater than those told about Iraq, but the same Israel-First disinformationists are active yet again, shamelessly and ruthlessly. Rozental seems to feel the atrocities in New York, Madrid, London and Bali signal some sort of unprovoked crime. Typically, utilising the racist calculus so beloved of Likudnicks everywhere, the vastly greater atrocities inflicted on the innocents of Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon concern him not one whit. The real Axis of Evil, in Israel, its puppet the US and the kingdom of the pipsqueak bombardier, the UK, enjoy his full support. As for his insulting observation that we are in this together, I and millions of others are in nothing together with Rozental and his ilk.The price of admission to his club, the racist belief in the superiority of ruthless colonialists, and the subhumanity of their victims, is too high a price to pay. As for Sage’s (what a misnomer!) preposterous, hysterical ravings, once again we are presented with a ‘new Hitler’. Anyone who gets in the way of Israel’s Messianic destiny gets this canard thrust upon them a some stage, but the tactic is wearing as thin as the constant cries of ‘anti-Semite’ whenever Israel’s Divine Right to kill with impunity is questioned.
    Patricia of Sydney (27 December at 05:42 AM)
    The above letter writers need to get a reality check. Israel has occupied, stolen land and precious water and murdered the indigenous people with impunity for decades. Iran has invaded and occupied no other country, nor is it, like Israel building towns and stealing water from the indigenous people, nor is it committing daily murders and calling them “targetted killings”. It is obvious which country is the most pathological and needs to be called to account. …and it’s not Iran.
    Dave Davis of Collingwood (27 December at 07:19 AM)
    Hilary Sage, if you looked over your fence and saw that the neighbour’s house was a raging, war-torn, bloody wreck of a house, would you not also point an accusing finger at the people you perceived to have caused the house to be in such a state? Ask yourself, who invaded Iraq?
    Alfred C Morley of Thornlie, WA (27 December at 08:40 AM)
    Paul Rozenthal’s comments sound like typical Jewish sabre rattling to me. What the whole world needs, Paul, is to step back from the barbarism that is evident on all sides and which has been going on for centuries. Man has become so addicted to war that the sight of a child, dead in it’s Mother’s arms, means absolutely nothing. It seems that we would all rather hate than love. The human race is bound for extinction and, judging by events of the last few years, it will be a lot sooner than we think.
    Brett of Sydney (27 December at 09:23 AM)
    Obviously some people aren’t satisfied with being involved in just two wars in the Middle East. At least the army has another two potential recruits.
    Frank Bellet of Petrie Q 4502 (27 December at 09:29 AM)
    Victoria Collins (27 December at 10:02 AM)
    Great, as is so typical of the Jewish lobby, as represented here by Ms Sage of Elsternwick and Paul Rozental, they want to fight fire with fire. They want to blast anyone who doesn’t agree with them off the face of the Earth. “It’s fight or flight’ says Mr Rozental, and ‘We are all in this together’. Well, let me just say this, that until they drag me away out the door5, feet first, I will not join in Israel’s hypermanic war of attrition against all those who wish to question it’s own ‘God-given right’ to rule over the Middle East, by fair means or foul. Why do they have to think that it is imperative to bend the world to their will ? Why can’t they just agree to exist behind the 1967 determined boorders, which is what the majority in the West, if my readings from a variety of sources (no, not merely ‘leftie’ publications) is anything to go by. Hilary and Paul, and all the rest of the worldwide Jewish lobby (and don’t be so disingenuous as to say you and your Think Tanks don’t exist), get a grip on reality guys ! The alternatives are not ‘fight or flight’, there is a thing such as co-operation you know, and reasonableness. Now, I will admit that Old Man Dinner Jacket in Iran is jst as crazy for outright victory for his cause as the most extreme of your Zionists, but hey, stop and smell the coffeee, can’t you just see that the people of his own country, via the democratic process, have just delivered a stinging rebuke to him in their most recent elections. The Moderates won, not the hardliners.
    Merv. of Brisbane (27 December at 10:07 AM)
    As a foundation subscriber I find it appalling that the people, the faceless people who determine what to print (and what not to print) in the “letters” section of The Australian, regularly, and one could say, religiously, push the likes of Sage and Rozental’s hateful crap about Iran and its peoples.
    Invariably, the theme of such emotive rot is a regurgitation of the European wartime madness as if Iran was/is, bizarrely, involved with what went on half a continent away, over sixty years ago.
    So the readership is pounded with the contrived slur of being “anti-Semitic” as if hating what the 1948 created state of Israel is so brutally doing is a crime in itself, when, it seems to me, such distaste and disgust is eminently warranted.
    Western mankind is being led by the nose by such rabid Jewish religious zealots as they play deceitful games with truth and reason, inspire misplaced angst toward the creed of Islam (and even Christianity) and push humanity’s buttons about our turbulent and bloody twentieth-century history.
    Australia, the reading public, dedicated subscribers, deserve better….
    Nomadd of Windsor Qld (27 December at 11:13 AM)
    When you are engaging in debate like this, you shouldn’t criticize what others write.They have their right to express their opinions too, and why not?
    Frankly, I think the whole terrorist propaganda news, and beat up, is nothing more than a storm in a teacup! How many people have been killed by so-called terrorist’s? Approximately three thousand in New York, 500 hundred in London, 300 hundred in Spain, and a few hundred in Bali. On the world scale of warfare, this is nothing to get upset about. During World War II 100,000 civilians were killed in one bombing raid.
    Nevertheless, the media constantly push and expose non-existent news about terrorist’s, most of the comments are pure supposition, with no truth whatsoever.
    Anyone remember the excellent book called ‘Brave New World’ by the philosopher Aldous Huxley? This was a story of a world completely brainwashed by a select few leaders ( read Bush, Blair, Howard and others). Every home in the world had a television set, which was permanently tuned to endless wars between various nations. Depending on where you lived you barracked for your military forces to annihilate the enemy. In reality, there were no wars at all, it was all sheer propaganda devised by the world’s leaders to keep all the submissive world population in check, and also to take their minds off the shortcomings of their lifestyle, and to keep them in a permanent state of stupidity and ignorance.
    Doesn’t the current world propaganda sound familiar? The constant advise of a terrorist threat is all utter crap, and a load of codswallop. I do not believe any of it.
    When a terrorist drops an atom bomb on Chicago I will consider terrorist’s exist!
    mz of sydney (27 December at 11:34 AM)
    RE: Samantha;
    err samantha can you comment on the 1000 pluss palestinian children who have been murdered by israelis this year please??
    or how about the illegal use of cluster bombs in populated areas ON THE LAST DAY OF THE LEBANESE WAR…which also resulted in high civilain death?
    Samantha please comment , it cant be easy being a zionist these days.
    As an iranian let me tell you the israelis will need the anglo-saxon cannon fodder to go into Iran…think about it??
    Why wont they fight their own battles?? ever heard of a goyum?
    look it up servants of zion.
    have a very merry christmas!

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  15. karenk says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it would be far more satisfying to see Osama bin Laden on trial-or even Ayman al Zawahiri. Saddam is a cheap substitute. Once again, everyone seems to be underestimating OBL – a running theme in his life-and he consistently proves everyone wrong. From what I’ve been reading, al Qaeda is regrouping in the FATA’s of Pakistan along the border of Afghanistan and have recently trained 12 British citizens in the fine art of terrorism against civilians who are now back in Britain. From there it’s a simple plane ride to the US(12 wouldn’t be so bad but when you think of what 19 did, it’s not comforting) They’re working the internet for recruits, have support pledged from an Algerian Salfist group(expect something to blow up in Paris) and are basically getting back to business. Meanwhile, we’re diddling around in Iraq, threatening to attack Iran,yet another Muslim country who didn’t attack us, while those who did are basically being left to their own devices-or at least they certainly don’t seem to feel the heat. I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. Terrible feeling. And it won’t go away until they capture or kill those 2 creeps, contain and destroy the virus that is al Qaeda(not good enough to damage them-like any virus they’ll replicate and spread.) This country seriously needs to refocus our energy and resources on those who have proven they can do us harm–preferrably before they do it again.

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  16. Earl says:

    Yes Steve, it will be something very big and ugly if they execute Saddam. I think they would keep him around except for being scared witless that he might escape. That would make for big and ugly of another type, so Dick wants to pull the trigger. I think he would be a great lever in negotiations with the Sunni, so in that respect he is more valuable alive than dead. Maybe export him to Ft Bragg for safe keeping?????

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  17. ET says:

    I find Juan’s Cole’s “Top Top Ten Myths about Iraq 2006” to be today’s compelling must-read:
    http://www.juancole.com/

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  18. Kathleen says:

    Retired General Janice Karpinski said the insurgency started up right after the photos of Saddams’ dead sons were flashed around and the insurgency has only grown in intensity since then. I think Dopey and Darth know it will incite further violence and they love it. They are NEVER going to leave, remember? This will give them their continuing excuse to “Stay the Course” with other’s lives and limbs, but not their own childrens’.
    Saddistic cowards.
    W stands for Wall to Wall War.

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  19. rich says:

    Woooo! Callin’ it like it is! 🙂
    I too have been wondering if the U.S. can afford to risk creating a martyr. And whether even a measure of mercy to leaven the justice can counterbalance our position. It models a more moderate path, but beyond Hussein being our guy at times, there’s more to be repaired.
    Either way, Saddam Hussein’s fate is but a poor substitute for Osama bin Laden’s fate. Imagine if Jimmy Carter or ole Slick Willy had gone 5+ years without bringing in bin Laden–and then attempted to substitute one for the other?
    But then, Hussein’s fate is a poor substitute for identifying and resolving the U.S. mission in Iraq at all. My guess is Bush believes Hussein’s execution will somehow put the matter to rest. Meaning resolve the WHOLE problem. Human dynamics are rarely so simple.
    Even brutal nationalists tend to win out over occupiers.

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