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The ramifications of the current situation in Iraq and that of the execution of Saddam Hussein in particular continue to affect the mental state of the Arab world.

The scene of revelry and confusion that prevailed in the execution chamber continues to dominate the memory of many. It was a scene that was filled with sectarian and denominational significances and chants of gloating. It is hard to imagine hearing such gloating in a room designated for the legal implementation of a judicial punishment in a sovereign state. But this chamber seemed more like a jungle where scores are settled and revenge is taken between two parties in conflict one of which triumphed over the other.

The fact is that all this shows that the government of Nuri al-Maliki was unable to control 20 persons inside a basement in one building. This government was unable to control their curses, insults, and lack of respect for the situation that led to the behavior of a mob that swore, cursed, kicked, and spat and even danced around the corpse, which Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, the well known Iraqi official, justified as an ordinary Iraqi custom and ritual. The execution in such a comical manner is the product of the strange trial in the Al-Dujayl case whose victims were Shiaa and entrusting that trial to a combination of Kurdish and Shiite prosecutors and judges without one single Sunni clearly demonstrates the sectarian approach adopted by the Iraqi government and its allies that led to the miserable scene of the execution and its timing. This trial that should have taken an international character distant from the anger and division and that should have been an opportunity to educate the sons of Iraq and others about the concepts of injustice and human rights turned into a farce. It was normal for the United States – that refused to have an international cover for its invasion and occupation of Iraq – to reject an international authority over the same trial. By the way, this makes us bring up the importance of insisting on holding the international tribunal in Lebanon because the demands that apply on Iraq also apply on Lebanon. Both states do not have the conditions and terms for holding local trials. That is why Saddam Hussein’s trial is being condemned and for the same reason the attempts to prevent the formation of a special court pertaining to Rafik al-Hariri’s assassination should also be condemned and denounced.

Thus Saddam Hussein – that has perplexed the people alive and as a prisoner – is perplexing them as a dead man. The rashness of his execution turned him into a religious symbol for the Sunni sect. The scenes of his execution showed him to be a composed elderly man intoning religious utterances that are appropriate to the solemn scene of death amidst shouts of derision and taunts from the gathering. Thus even in the discourse of the jihadist current after the “execution scene”, Saddam turned from “the tyrant leader” to “the martyr commander”. In fact, the sympathy for him reached the level of describing him as “the steadfast and courageous believer and the unjustly treated and aggrieved victim”. With this stupidity, they succeeded in distancing the Baath and its members as well as a large number of Sunnis from the political process, and this shall be reflected in the armed operations. All this flows into the Iranian plan. It will alienate a broad sector of Sunnis from the national reconciliation discussions after some have become certain of the sectarian character of the government. It also allows a bigger and direct penetration by the Iranian government in Iraq’s affairs that will also increase in the same crescent.

Hezbollah’s disgraceful silence on the farcical execution of Saddam Hussein will also impact on the sectarian fires that it is fanning in the Lebanese arena. It will increase Hezbollah’s isolation on the Arab level and will contribute to diminishing its popularity among the sons of the Sunni Arabs. The recent wearing of the Iranian president of an Arab dress before the oppressed Sunni Arabs in his country (or whose oppression is condoned) was similar to one that goes to a masquerade party. He did not succeed in reassuring the Arabs in their countries or outside their countries. Rancor breeds rancor and what is happening on the Iraqi arena has nothing to do with any divine or earthly religion. It is the product of an ancient human sickness that is old as the devil himself.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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