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Does Saddam really deserve to be treated like this? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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By that, I mean the humiliation of the ex Iraqi President by the publication of pictures of a semi naked Saddam, defeated in his narrow prison cell.

I refuse to believe that these pictures were leaked or sold for profit by some rogue elements. Surely, they were made public by the US authorities, as it would have been impossible for anyone else but the US military to photograph the ex Iraqi leader or distribute the pictures.

These photographs raise an important question. Why should images of a defeated Saddam be published? The most common suggestion is that these pictures were publicized to anger the Iraqi resistance still loyal to the ex- dictator and to implicitly respond to allegations that the US military is negotiating handing over Saddam to the Iraqi authorities in order to bring de- escalation to the conflict between the resistance and the US forces. The latest pictures of Saddam send a clear message to Iraqis: &#34This is your ex leader, naked and defenseless.&#34

One other suggestion as to why the photos were leaked is that the US wants to remind the leaders of other countries who oppose its policies that they too can be defeated. In support of this thesis, one needs to recall the images of the last three leaders that defied American might: Saddam washing his clothes, ex- President Manuel Noriega of Panama, in his 2sq meters cell in Florida, and Slobodan Milosevic, the deposed Yugoslav leader, in prison awaiting trial.

But the United Sates is severely mistaken if it believes that leaking photographs of Saddam to the world media will weaken the resistance and bring a halt to terrorist attacks in Iraq. The continued resistance of ex- Baahists does not depend on Saddam and they do not even seek his release. Instead, they have are involved in military action because they have lost their rank and privileges in the post Saddam era and have become political outcasts and are, therefore, fighting to regain power. In the new Iraq after

Saddam, Baath members of the regime have perhaps lost the most and feel vulnerable because of their association with the old regime and their past crimes against Iraqi civilians. There is no need for pictures of Saddam to be distributed when public opinion in Iraq is almost united against him.

It is clear that the US authorities are trying to resolve the problems in the Middle East in their own peculiar ways, which are beyond the region”s comprehension. This is made evident in the manner the government in Washington proceeded to deal with the latest crisis involving the desecration of the Quran, and in the way the US authorities incorporated a visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque to First Lady Laura Bush”s itinerary in Israel, in order to placate Muslim sentiment after her stop at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The US Foreign Minister, Condoleeza Rice has called three press conferences to assert that her government is investigating the claims that WE military personnel insulted the Quran. She also blamed the media for inflaming the situation. What”s more, Mrs. Bush”s visit to the Holy sites in Jerusalem was not well received in Arab circles, given that security guards continuously surrounded the First Lady, a reminder of Israeli occupation.

Trying to humiliate Saddam by publicizing pictures of the ex leader in his underpants has also reflected badly on the United States. While he doesn”t deserve to be well treated, Saddam should be held in adequate conditions so the US government can demonstrate to the world that it does not treat prisoners the same way he did. On a related note, Saddam used to photograph his opponents in very humiliating and degrading positions during their torture, imprisonment, rape, and murder. For that, the ex Iraqi dictator will always remain evil, whether he is seen half naked or not.