Thursday, January 4, 2007
The inevitable end of Saddam
by Hasan Abu Nimah
"....Because he will never be tried for his other crimes, we may never know the full extent of Western, particularly American and European, complicity in supplying him with the chemical and other weapons he used, and the extent of the cooperation with his regime. The testament to this deliberately forgotten history is the grainy photograph of former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld firmly clasping Saddam's hand.
Many truths which the world deserved to know have perished forever with that savage execution. Yet, even if Saddam's trial had been impeccably handled, the fundamental principle of justice is equality before the law. Such "justice" has no chance of winning over the masses in this region when they observe that punishment is so swift and brutal when the accused is an Arab, Muslim head of state, while other accused former leaders, like Slobodan Milosevic, receive elaborate trials in The Hague (so long in Milosevic's case that he died of natural causes several years into the proceeding).
The United Kingdom, which had General Augusto Pinochet in its custody, released him, and he, too, died peacefully, never having answered a charge against him.
Even worse, when attempts were made to initiate legal action against Ariel Sharon and other major Israeli war criminals in Belgium and other European capitals, the countries involved were subjected to enormous pressure to even change their legislation to obstruct justice and protect the accused.
In December, a United States district court in Washington, DC, dismissed a lawsuit against former Israeli chief-of- staff, General Moshe Yaalon, by some of his Palestinian victims, on the grounds that he is immune from the action because he wore a uniform at the time of his alleged crimes. This shocking reversal of some of the fundamental principles established at the Nuremberg trials passed almost without notice.
And, of course, there is the war that brought us to this point in the first place. Dozens, if not hundreds, of Iraqis are dying every day. Will those who justified a war through lies and fabrication, who flouted the UN Charter, who tried to use Iraq as a source of wealth and plunder for their corporations and contractors ever answer for their misdeeds? It seems more likely that they will retire as respected "statesmen" whose wise advice will be sought for decades to come.
At the end of an overstretched process which lasted for more than 16 years, including two major wars, separated by 12 violent years of harsh UN sanctions against Iraq and the innocent Iraqi people -- following the fatal invasion of Kuwait in 1990 -- the termination of Saddam and his regime was inevitable. What was not, is the ugly and costly manner in which this has been "accomplished" and, more frightfully, the lows to which superpower politics towards our region have degenerated.
The ugly killing of Saddam will do nothing to restore peace to the region, nor will it help Iraq. It is a mark of the savagery that has come to replace politics and diplomacy in international affairs, and of the reduction and humiliation of the Arab nation. It is no more than another blunder contributing further to the aggravation and the deterioration at a time when correction measures are urgently required.
Which of the rulers between Africa and Afghanistan, whether they now enjoy Western patronage or count the West as their enemy, cannot see themselves at the centre of the same horrifying and tragic drama? Perhaps that was the point all along. "