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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les raisons de l’exécution précipitée de Saddam Hussein

by Hassane Zerrouky

Iraq: Why the Rush to Execute Saddam Hussein?

Translated Tuesday 9 January 2007, by Patrick Bolland

Iraq. The desire to execute Saddam Hussein with such haste reflects the fear that he would reveal Western involvement in the crimes he committed.

When the Iraqi Superior Court of Appeal confirmed on 26 December the death sentence of Saddam Hussein and ruled that the sentence had to be executed "within thirty days", nobody imagined that it would take place within just three days, almost indecently.

Saddam Hussein will therefore not be judged for the repression against the Kurds in the “Anfal Campaign”, in which 5000 people were gassed in the town of Halabja. The rush to hang Saddam Hussain proves, as if this were needed, that it was urgent to eliminate a man who had become embarrassing and troublesome.

There will be no judgment by any international court

In this travesty of justice, the worst is that Saddam Hussein, who had been imprisoned by an army of invasion and of occupation, after a war against his regime, should not have been judged by a jurisdiction created by this same occupying force, but by an international tribunal.

We have to remember that the Iraqi Special Tribunal had been created by Paul Bremer, a previous American administrator of Iraq, to judge crimes committed by Iraqis in Iraq or elsewhere between 17 July 1968, date of the Ba’ath Party coup d’état and 1 May 2003, as well as crimes committed during the war with Iran (1980-1988) and the invasion of Kuwait (1990-1991).

Any charge of the partiality of a tribunal in a militarily-occupied country and in the throws of a civil war was roundly rejected. Washington wanted to avoid Saddam’s trial being associated with any sense of Western responsibility – while, in reality, Iraq had long been solicited by all the major European powers and the United States. Saddam Hussein had to be isolated from any international court of justice - as in The Hague –as demanded by his lawyers and the Federation internationale des droits de l’homme (1) Now that he is dead, he can no longer be judged for the massacre of 180,000 Kurds in the “Anfal campaign” during the Iraq-Iran war, nor for crushing the 1991 Shi‘ite revolt, during which thousands died, and even less for invading Kuweit.

An ally of the United States until 1989

One must remember that, until l989, Saddam Hussein was an important ally of the United States and of the major Western powers. During the Iraq-Iran war, when Washington and its Western partners saw the Iraq offensive turning into a disaster, they began providing massive support for the Saddam regime, seen as pro-Western, against Khomeiny’s Iran, perceived as the main threat against the “free world”.

In l982, William Casey, CIA head at the time, arrived in Baghdad, followed a year later by Donald Rumsfeld, special envoy of George Bush senior. The goal of these visits was to reassure and support Saddam against Khomeiny. Corporations, especially French ones, were picking up extremely lucrative contracts. Beside traditional armaments like helicopters, airplanes, missiles, heavy arms, a document of the US Senate refers to 61 “biological cultures” sent to Iraq by a US army laboratory.

Combat Gas supplied by Western corporations

Bechtel, a subsidiary of Halliburton, built a special facility to produce war gas. A French-German enterprise, based in Alsace, built a plant in Samara to manufacture combat gas. So it was chemical weapons, manufactured with American and Western support, that were used by Saddam’s army against Iran and the Kurdish civilians of Halabja. It was US-made Bell helicopters that dropped mustard gas on Kurd civilians. It was Mirage jets equipped with Exocet missiles supplied by France that made it possible to bomb and wipe out the Kurd and Shi’ite insurrections. And, while Saddam’s army, awash with Western armaments of all kinds, was bombing and massacring unrestrainedly, Washington was blocking any Security Council resolution condemning Iraqi war crimes, going so far as to accuse Iran of having used chemical weapons first.

Executed, Saddam has carried to his grave Washington’s embarrassing secrets and of all those who were interested in him keeping these quiet.

Translator’s note

(1) The Federation internationale des droits de l’homme is an NGO accredited with the UN. Its purpose is to obtain effective improvements in the protection of victims, the prevention of Human Rights abuse and the prosecution of those responsible.

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