[News] Saddam video shows Iraq divisions

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 1 12:40:50 EST 2007


7:30 MECCA TIME, 4:30 GMT
Saddam video shows Iraq divisions

A video, caught on a mobile phone, of the killing of Saddam Hussein, 
the former Iraqi president, has shown the sectarian rift in Iraq.

In the clip, witnesses to the execution can be heard taunting Saddam 
before the gallows floor drops away and he is hanged.

The video, first broadcast by Al Jazeera on Sunday, recorded someone 
praising Muhammad Bakr al-Sadr, the founder of the Shia Dawa party 
and an uncle of Muqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Sadr was executed in 1980 by Saddam.

Hoda Abd al-Hamid, Al Jazeera's Iraq correspondent, said from 
Baghdad: "There is a mixed reaction here in Iraq.

"We have heard from the Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni 
association, that issued a statement condemning the execution, saying 
it's an execution carried out by the [Nuri] al-Maliki government for 
the Americans.

"We also heard from a group of Baathists. They've posted a statement 
on the internet pledging their support again to Saddam Hussein and 
nominating his vice-president, Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, who is still on 
the run since the fall in 2003, as the new president of Iraq.

"This video is likely to widen the gap.

"Sunnis are going to say this is proof that the security services 
have been infiltrated by Shia militias, namely the al-Mahdi Army 
which is loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr. The Sunnis have been saying that all along.

"The Shia will say he was not much ill-treated and that Saddam 
inflicted far worse.

"But there is a clear message coming out of that video - that the 
al-Mahdi Army is there and in charge of anything that's happening in Iraq now."

Caught on camera

On the video, a guard is also heard saying: "God damn you."

"God damn you," replies Saddam.

Saddam appeared to smile at those taunting him from below the 
gallows. He said they were not showing manhood.

Then Saddam began reciting the Shahada, a Muslim prayer that says 
there is no God but God and Muhammad is his messenger, according to 
an unabridged copy of the video clip, which was posted on a website.

Saddam made it to midway through his second recitation of the verse. 
His last word was Muhammad. Then the floor dropped out of the gallows.

'Act of revenge'

Najib al-Nuaimi, a member of the defence team, told Al Jazeera on 
Sunday that no Sunni lawyer was allowed to be among the execution 
witnesses and that the conduct of those present showed it was an act 
of revenge and for political purposes.

"This is not in the normal procedures to execute a normal person," he said.

"It's full of hatred and it's very ugly. It's nothing to do with the 
Dujail case."

By several accounts, Saddam was calm but scornful of his captors, 
engaging in a give-and-take with the crowd gathered to watch him die 
and insisting he was>Iraq's saviour, not its tyrant and scourge.

Munir Haddad, an appeals court judge who witnessed the hanging, told 
the BBC: "He said we are going to heaven and our enemies will rot in 
hell and he also called for forgiveness and love among Iraqis but 
also stressed that the Iraqis should fight the Americans and the Persians."

Witness account

Another witness, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the Iraqi national security 
adviser, told The New York Times that one of the guards shouted at 
Saddam: "You have destroyed us. You have killed us. You have made us 
live in destitution."

Al-Rubaie told the newspaper that Saddam responded: "I have saved you 
from destitution and misery and destroyed your enemies, the Persians 
and Americans."

Saddam has been buried in Awja village, close to Tikrit.

Ali al-Nida, head of the Albu Nasir tribe, said that the burial had 
taken place at 4am in a family plot in the village of Saddam's birth.

It is Muslim practice to bury the dead within a day. Saddam's sons, 
Uday and Qusay, are buried in Awja.

Abd al-Hamid said he was buried in a remote corner, his grave covered 
with the Iraqi flag.

Saddam's family had hoped to bury him in Ramadi, a symbolic site, but 
they were prevented from doing so due to security reasons.
Source: Agencies

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