The execution of the President of Iraq, Mr. Saddam Hussein on December 30, 2006 represents a watershed in the developments on the world scale. Everyone interested in saving the world from descent into barbarity and
medievalism on the world scale should pause to consider both the circumstances under which this event has taken place, and what the future holds provided there is no conscious attempt to intervene in the situation, based on a sound, educated and political basis. In order for such a consciousness to arise, a discussion has to take place around the event itself and those that led to it. Also of interest is the response of Governments of the significant players in the drama, such as the United Nations Organization. An analysis of these responses we consider imperative. A discussion on some steps that peace and justice loving Indian people need to take in this situation is also presented.
According to the well-known web-site www.whywehatebush.com the event is best described as “… the political lynching of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein after a mock trial in a kangaroo court went off without a hitch in the Green Zone — Iraq’s equivalent of Guatanamo Bay. The Americans wanted the hanging to take place on their soil and under their control, for fear that he might escape if his killing was left up to the Iraqis.”
The execution was a foregone conclusion considering that Mr. Hussein’s sons who could have been captured alive in 2003, were killed in cold-blood in a campaign including helicopter gunships, tanks, armoured vehicles, and firepower of an unimaginable scale, when they were known to be in a house with no more than half a dozen occupants that included at least a child and a handicapped person, all of whom perished in that campaign. The depravity of the occupying so-called multinational ‘coalition of the willing’ was presented in sharp relief at that time. The present puppet Government headed by Mr. al-Maliki showed great enthusiasm in participating in the outcome of the mock trial with statements saying that it would be desirable to carry out the execution before the New Year, for all practical purposes before the appeals court disposed of the appeal against the sentence handed down earlier by the said kangaroo court.
The world over the opinion is held that Mr. Hussein was executed by a vengeful USA due to his opposition to its aims of complete and top down domination of the region. It is well known that the USA deceitfully drew him into the occupation of Kuwait in 1990 that led to the first Gulf war, and then dictated punishing UN sanctions At the Azores summit just before the launch of the second Gulf war in 2003, Mr. Bush declared that Mr. Hussein and his sons should leave Iraq within a couple of days, which of course they refused to. The manner and conduct of the execution of Mr. Hussein on a religious holiday has also been condemned by all the peoples of the world. The manner and conduct of the execution is also a signal of the extent to which the USA is willing to go to set an example of what it can do to its enemies. The barbarity and medievalism inherent in the event is a sign of things to come and does not bode well for the world. Also, it may also be apt to note here the following excerpt from an article by Jerry White dated January 11, 2007 on the World Socialist Website dated January 12, 2007:“… the US-installed regime in Baghdad is set to approve a new hydrocarbon law that will hand unprecedented control of the country’s vast oil reserves to US and British energy conglomerates. The new law, the terms of which were detailed by the British newspaper the Independent on January 7, makes a mockery of any claims of Iraqi sovereignty and underscores that the real aim of the bloody enterprise by US imperialism has been to colonize the country and seize some of the largest untapped oil resources left on the globe.” In light of the above, there should be no doubt in any one’s mind as to what the real reason for Mr. Hussein’s execution really is. It is not beyond the realm of possibility, that the entire staging of the execution, the insults supposedly to inflame sectarian passions, all captured allegedly in a clandestine manner was deliberate. This was possibly to set the stage for the escalation of US military activity to counter the reaction to the new hydrocarbon laws that are to be enacted.
In his defence, Mr. Hussein had claimed immunity from prosection as head of state at the time of the Dujail events when 148 alleged conspirators were sentenced to death and executed at the order of Mr. Hussein, and at a time when the country was at war. In such circumstances, conspiracy to assassinate the head of state of a country at war would have been considered high treason which through history has been punishable by death. Thus, Mr. Hussein would plead innocent to the charge of murder, which was not accepted by the kangaroo court. The issue of immunity has repeatedly made an appearance in the juridical sphere world over as has been seen in the cases against the recently departed General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Mr. Slobodan Milosevic of the former Yugoslavia, and in the case of Mrs. Eva Peron of Argentina. However, the victor’s justice in the case of occupied Iraq did not admit this plea as a bona fide defence. In other words, the law does not apply uniformly but is something that can be twisted at will to suit the powers that be.
Editorial after editorial of leading newspapers in India have soundly condemned the execution, reflecting the view that the trial was unfair, and also pointing out that the Indian Government showed no spine in expressing no more than ‘disappointment’ at the carrying out of the sentence. Newspaper editorials in the USA of main stream newspapers on the other hand, expressed shock at how someone could have smuggled a mobile phone into the execution chamber and could have taken pictures of Mr. Hussein at the gallows, while others expressed shock at the abuse of Mr. Hussein by the executioners. There was little to suggest that the mainstream media in the US opposed the execution itself, as being bad in law.
Mr. George W. Bush, the commander-in-chief of the US armed forces, the main occupying force expressed satisfaction at the ‘dictator’ getting what he deserved, while high ranking officials in the UK said that they felt that Mr. Hussein had received a fair trial and had received due punishment for his actions, while adding a caveat that they were in principle opposed to capital punishment, but that it was up to Iraq or any other country to decide what kind of system of law and justice they should have. Mr. Blair is supposed to have, at a later stage, expressed his unhappiness at the manner in which the execution was carried out. These statements cannot be considered novel or unexpected. Statements emanating from other lackeys of the USA such as occupied Afghanistan, Australia and others provide no surprise and do not merit any special attention here. The incoming United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon backpedalled on the traditional UNO position of opposition to capital punishment by saying that the matter was up to individual countries, thereby signalling his ever willingness and that of the ruling elites of South Korea, the constituency he represents, to be a willing servant to US dictate.
What is of note, however, is the statement from France, which includes the following: "France, which like the rest of its European partners advocates the universal abolition of capital punishment, notes the execution of Saddam Hussein on Saturday. That decision was made by the people and the sovereign authorities of Iraq." This statement is unique in its double speak and pragmatism so typical of Eurocentric statecraft. This statement serves to pave the way for the participation of France and French interests into the new Iraq and towards an eventual reconciliation with estranged USA. This is France’s way of saying that it accepts as bona fide the political process in Iraq after the end of the second Gulf war, viz., of the process of constitution writing in Iraq under US dictate with its inspiration coming from ultra-right wing think-tanks in Washington and elsewhere in the USA, and of the process of election to Parliament under occupation.
Also noteworthy is the statement from Iran which notes: "With the execution of Saddam, the dossier of one of the world’s most criminal dictators was closed," reflecting its own eagerness to start participating in the new arrangements that will be arising in the emerging post-Hussein era.
Note, however the article in whywehatebush.com states: “The New York-based International Action Center said in a statement faxed to the Associated Press that Hussein’s hanging was part of a plan by President Bush to escalate the war. "The execution of Saddam Hussein is a clear sign that the Bush administration is looking not to negotiate a way for the U.S. to leave Iraq, but is instead sending a signal that it will continue the war and escalate it despite the impending disaster," the Center said in a written statement.” This prediction above which carries the dateline of December 31, 2006 has been borne out with the subsequent announcement of Mr. Bush to increase troop deployments by 20,000 troops, a clear signal of his intention, among others, to threaten Iran, and also Syria. In other words, the USA is sending out a clear signal that it very much intends to be in the driver’s seat in the region no matter what any other power has in its mind. It will not accede to any demand except to those that will suit its long term strategy of dominating the region thoroughly, militarily as well as through the installation of Governments that will be completely under its thumb.
We now turn to the issue of what justice and peace loving Indian people are to do in the wake of the grim scenario described above. The first, of course, it to demand of the Government that it must condemn in no uncertain terms the barbaric execution of Mr. Hussein. The next is to examine the juridical import of the entire kangaroo court process. They should not succumb to the immense pressure that is exerted on them to adopt pragmatism in the place of principle. For instance, peace loving Indian people must oppose the line of the type exemplified in this excerpt from an article by the well-known writer Mr. Inder Malhotra who says, “All things considered, there is no point blaming South Bloc. Governments have to take some account of public emotion. Domestic politics does influence foreign policy. But, in the end, international realities are more decisive…”, in an article that begins with the well-worn and well-known and overworked lines demonizing Mr. Hussein. Notable among the lines used over the last decade and a half in demonizing Mr. Hussein are that he `…gassed thousands of his own people to death…’ (emphasis added). This is somehow to be contrasted with the collateral damage due to which hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed by the actions of the enemy, including those of ‘shock and awe’ of the US led ‘coalition of the willing’, as though killing those who are not one’s own is somehow less of an atrocity. Indian people must awake to a world where they sharpen their theoretical, political, juridical and other tools to confront the emerging realities. They must realize that in the world order that is shaping under US dictate all the peoples of the world are under threat and that the wolf is knocking at the door. Great vigilance and struggle is needed to turn the tide in the favour of the people. An alliance of working people in whose interest it is to oppose this new order must emerge. It is an order in which India plans to emerge as a junior partner to the US as a regional superpower. An alliance which is armed with the most advanced theory, which in turn is a guide to practice, is the order of the day.
by B. Ananthanarayan