Muslim in Suffer

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Obituary: Saddam Hussein

Posted by musliminsuffer on January 5, 2007

In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Obituary: Saddam Hussein

By Curtis F.J. Doebbler

Al-Jazeerah, January 4, 2007

Rarely has a single killing epitomized more clearly the America’s aggression towards Arabs and Muslims around the world. The Iraqi President understood this and in his final days he made it clear to those around him that he was willing to be sacrificed to make clear the United States’ ill intentions towards Arabs and Muslims around the world.

The western press has also understood this message and even before the body of the former Iraqi President was buried they had begun to desecrate his memory with barges of unproven allegations to which he could no longer react.

Every one of the dozens of obituaries I have seen from the western press focuses on the President’s alleged brutality and the unproven cases of his violation of human rights. None­absolutely none­focused on the man who had held Iraqi together better than the US and its billions of dollars and Iraqis they could buy. None­absolutely none­focused on the man who against all odds had stood for the justice of the Arab and Muslim cause around the world, especially in Palestine, and even against the world’s most expensive, most powerful, and most deadly army. And none­absolutely none­focused on the fact that the capture, the trial, and the execution of the Iraqi President were illegal and unfair, according to the almost unanimous opinion of the international community and international legal experts.

As one of the President’s lawyers and counselors in his final days I came to know a very different Saddam Hussein than that which the western press portrayed. The image I saw is one the west is scared to confront.

This western timidity was made clear in its media. Not only in the defamatory obituaries that were written about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but even in the media’s policy for covering the matter.

CNN’s Larry King, for example, refused to allow defense lawyers on the show to speak about the illegality and unfairness of the ongoing trial, but instead conditioned an invitation to appear on the Larry King show on the President having been executed.

Canadian CTV objected when a defense lawyer told their audience how unfair the trial had been, saying that they only wanted details of how the President was being buried as they interviewed the lawyer who had led the fight to expose the illegality and unfairness of the President’s trial.

And when the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, a group of international experts empowered by the all the states members of the United Nations and including an Iranian expert, after having considered representations by US and Iraqi authorities decided that the trial of the Iraqi President seriously violated international human rights law in September 2006, the western media completely ignored this opinion.

If we are to believe the western media, there was only one side to this story. If we are to believe the propaganda circulated by the US government and its allies the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was not a man, but a myth the proportions of Peer Gynt. While the west’s fabulous villainization of the Iraqi President may serve to strengthen the internal resolve of people too ignorant to test fiction against observed reality, it will not fool most people.

What we really know about Saddam Hussein’s life

Saddam Hussein was born in a working class family in small village named al-Auja near Takrit in Iraq. His father was lost to his family at an early age and he was reared by his mother and her husband who was a shepherd. As the son of a shepherd the young Saddam Hussein learned to care for his flock and inevitably had to defend his flock against predators.

To find work and education, at 10 years-of-age the young Saddam Hussein was sent with his uncle to Baghdad. His uncle despised the colonialization of Iraq by the British and undoubtedly instilled in the young Saddam Hussein the spirit of opposition to foreign oppression and occupation, a spirit which was to grow throughout his life.

By the time he turned 18 years-of-age Saddam Hussein was involved in politics and challenging the legitimacy of the foreign-backed monarchy. He had become an active member of the Arab nationalist Baath Party.

Shortly after the monarchy was overthrown by a military coup in 1958, Saddam Hussein participated in bold daylight attack on the military dictator that had been installed. The attack failed, but Saddam Hussein’s escape to Syria, and then to Egypt, became legendary as he had fled wounded with the military in hot pursuit.

Saddam Hussein continued both his education and political activities in Cairo where he gained attention for his uncompromising defense of Arab independence and nationalism. In 1961 he entered law school at Cairo University, but only two years later in 1963 the military dictatorship was overthrown in Iraq and Saddam Hussein saw a chance to remove the foreign domination of his country forever. He immediately returned to Iraq.

He quickly be came a prominent member of the Baath Party. His unrelenting commitment to the cause of Arab nationalism and independence of the Arab people catapulted him through the Party ranks. He became Deputy Secretary-General of the Baath Party in 1966 and when the Baath Party came to power through another coup directed by his older cousin General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr two years later, Saddam Hussein was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council in charge of internal security. This position gave him the opportunity to consolidate his power. It led to many actions for which he was later criticized. He never, however, compromised his commitment to Arab nationalism and independence.

When he believed President al-Bakr might compromise Iraq’s commitment to Arab nationalism and independence, Saddam Hussein urged him to resign. In July 1979 President al-Bakr resigned and the overwhelming majority of the Baath Party agreed he should become the Iraqi’s new President.

Like his predecessors­including the British occupiers of Iraq and the subsequent monarchy supported by international powers­President Saddam Hussein consolidated his power using means described by his critics as ruthless. It is likely that these means were motivated by the fear that Iraq would spiral into an endless cycles of coups, or even worse, a civil war. President Saddam Hussein pre-empted these tragedies by identifying persons who he believed would or were inciting such violence.

When he became the President of Iraq he took over a developing country with a growing number of poor and climbing child mortality figures. As President he pledged to change this and within just a few years Iraq was on track to becoming a developed country where child mortality was under control and poverty was on the decrease. This development was driven by a highly-coordinated and committed state apparatus that poured money into public works.

In the mist of Iraq’s fast-track development its larger northern neighbour Iran began to express unease. This unease may also have been motivated by the fact that most of the individuals identified by the Iraqi President as threats had been Shiite’s with close contacts with Iran and often members of the Dawa Party, which had pledged its allegiance to Iran’s Shiite government.

The dispute between Iran and Iraq spiraled into a deadly war in which it is estimated that more than a million Iraqis and Iranians were killed using western weapons supplied to both sides. Although President Saddam Hussein viewed this war a necessary he regretted the death and destruction that had been brought upon Muslims through the support of foreign powers.

Ironically Iraq’s main arms supplier of both conventional and chemical weapons was the US. It is during this war that later-to-become US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraqi to assure Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of America’s unwavering support for a war against Iran.

The war with Iran changed Iraq and handicapped its development. President Saddam Hussein, however, had further consolidated his rule and he now ruled without challenge over his country. He did so with the same commitment to his people that had characterized his commitment to Arab nationalism and independence. Having realized the importance of his country’s resources, particularly its oil, he used these resources to protect the standard of living of his people employing nearly 50% of the Iraqi people in government service by the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988.

Immediately after the war, President Saddam Hussein heightened his country’s vigilance over its resources issuing immediate notices of dispute to any country that exploited the resources of Iraq for anything but the benefit of the Iraqi people. It was one of these notices that led to a mounting dispute with its small oil-rich and western-friendly neighbour Kuwait.

When Kuwait ignored claims that it was expropriating Iraqi oil by drilling into border reserves, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein repeatedly warned them before finally invading and quickly crushing his small neighbor in the summer of 1990. Perhaps, however, he had not calculated the way this action would meet with the dissatisfaction of the American government whose friendship with Kuwait ensured the US of a supply of Kuwaiti oil.

Famously, the visit and representations of the then American envoy to Iraq, April Gillespie, left even the most removed observers of her comments querying whether the US had not given its implicit consent to Iraqi’s invasion of Kuwait. Whatever the answer, Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Iraq did bring about a freeze in US-Iraqi relations.

In January 1991, this freeze in relations with the US cumulated in a US-led invasion of the country that was supported by the United Nations. However, even in 1991 the US did not, or was not able to, consolidate control over the whole country. Instead the US forces withdrew unilaterally imposing a no-fly zone in the north and the south and cooperating with the UN to impose deadly sanctions on the people of Iraq.

The combinations of these two measures was to subject Iraqi to regular attacks whenever its defense forces challenged American and allied planes in the no-fly zone or even outside it. In fact, the 1991 war, despite the agreement of Iraq to a ceasefire ending the war, never stopped as the American-led allies continued to carry out bombing raids in Iraq throughout the 1990s and continue to do so right up to present day, now with the consent of the present ‘Iraqi’ authorities.

Even more deadly was the decade of sanctions imposed upon the Iraqi people, which according to the International Study Team’s report on the “Human Effects of the Gulf War” in 1991, had almost instantly increased child mortality three times. By the time they ended, the sanctions are reliably estimated to have accounted for more than a half million additional child deaths and the loss of tens of millions productive life-years for Iraqis. Perhaps no other society in modern history had suffered so much at the hands of the international community.

Throughout this time, and despite disinformation campaigns undertaken by the western-led allies, once again Iraqi President Saddam Hussein managed to consolidate and strengthen his grip on power. He did so by sparing no effort to circumvent the internationally imposed sanctions, once again pumping the acquired resources into public works. The US “shock an awe” campaign during the 1991 war, which included the carpet bombing of urban areas and the use of depleted uranium weapons, left much of Iraq in rubble. The Iraqi President responded by ensuring that the public coffers were utilized to put his country back to work. He even created grander than life public works, such as a project to build one of the world’s largest mosques in central Baghdad.

He also kept his predatory neighbors at bay despite their close alliance with the US by allowing them to speculate about his military capabilities. It was this speculation that fueled suspicions that Iraq had nuclear weapons. Despite the fact that President Saddam Hussein had once pursued such weapons understanding, correctly in aftermath, that they might be the only deterrent against an American invasion of his county, he was convinced by the UN to stop this pursuit.

Instead Iraqi President Saddam Hussein concentrated his efforts on showing the inhumanity of the sanctions that were being imposed on his country and the injustice of the Palestine question. His envoys relentlessly protested the sanctions against Iraq in every forum to which they were privy. And his commitment to Palestine was illustrated by his doing more than any other Arab leader to support the Palestinian struggle for national liberation and self-determination.

When George W. Bush became president of the US in 2000, the Iraqi President congratulated him and sought to establish a cooperative relationship with the US. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, however, demanded that this relationship be based on respect for the Iraqi people and the American fairness in relations with the Arab people, especially the Palestinians. Such terms where unacceptable to the US.

Some talks were held between Iraqi and American officials, but the events of September 2001 changed the American perspective significantly. Across America there arose an emotional hatred against Arab and Muslim people everywhere in the world. For American President Bush, however, this hatred was particularly fixated on Iraq, and even more particularly on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The reasons for this were largely personal.

After the 1991 war against Iraq and in light of the continuing armed attacks against his county by the US, the Iraqi President had allegedly ordered the elder Bush who was the US President during the first Gulf war in 1991 to be assassinated. Although clear evidence of this order never emerged and despite the fact that killing the commander-in-chief of another country at which your country is at war is allowed by the laws of war and was indeed attempted by the US targeting of the Iraqi President several times, the American President swore to avenge this attempt on his father’s life.

To do so he enlisted Iraqi Shia who had also lost loved ones in the war with Iran or because of the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s effort to preserve order in the country. Among those he turned to were people like Ahmed Chalabi, who had lived for years outside of Iraq, but who had sworn to kill the Iraqi leader. He turned to Kurdish leaders Talabani and Barzani, who had sometimes allied with the Iraqi President, but now saw getting rid of him in their favour. In other words, he turned to people who would lie and cheat to gain power in Iraq. And this strategy worked because these people did just that to convince the international community that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

After Congress gave the American President largely unlimited authority to wage a war against the ambiguous enemy of terrorism, the American President set about defining this term broad. He declare that his war extended to anyone who was not with the US on it violent campaigns of aggression around the world. As these campaigns were exclusively aimed at Muslim or Arab countries, the Iraqi President had not supported them, but neither had Iraq become involved in them.

Nevertheless, by the end of 2002, after having invaded and occupied Afghanistan and still riding the wave of Arab and Muslim hatred, the US turned its attentions towards other Arab and Muslim nations. Using false and often manufactured evidence showing that Iraq supported terrorism or possessed weapons of mass destruction the US acquire a small but sufficient coalition of states that would support their aggression. That these claims were untrue and even proven by US and international investigators to be untrue was irrelevant. America was speaking power over truth, and the later was being completely drowned out.

Nevertheless, as late as early 2003 the Iraqi President had substantially agreed to the conditions imposed by the United Nations and the US. This agreement was conveyed by intermediaries to the US. But the agreement was too late. The US had made up its mind. Before a group investigating the probably consequences for children of renewed fighting in Iraq traveled to Iraq in January 2003, they were told by the office of a US Senator that a war with Iraq as inevitable. Indeed, it later emerged that the US Congress had both given its implicit and explicit consent based on the misinformation provided by the Bush administration.

In March 2003 a US-led coalition attacked the Iraqi people. The bombardment devastated the country, threatening the right of every person living in Iraq. Within days of the first bombs falling, a deadly ground offensive began that destroyed everything in its path. Even as they began ravishing Iraq, the US administration believed that the Iraqi people would sadistically welcome this wave of death and destruction. There own disinformation campaign had apparent come home to roost.

In part this was due to the fact that the ‘Iraqis’ advising the US were not even in Iraq, but were those who would profit from the war. These expatriate Iraqis were willing to put their profit over the welfare of the Iraqi people. Unsurprisingly they continue to do so as they now run the country allowing the US to buy Iraq’s resources cheaply and using the firepower of the US to cower the people who can’t be bought.

Moreover, except for the participants in the US-led aggression, the international community, almost unanimously, condemned the attack as illegal. International jurists were even more confirmed in their opinions. Nevertheless, as they had with the facts on the ground the US and its allies ignored the international condemnation of their deeds and put their trust in their destructive power.

The Iraqi President, however, remained a problem. First, he could not be found for months as he commanded the national resistance for liberation of his country from ever changing headquarters. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, however, never left Iraq. He refused to do so. He was Iraqi and repeatedly stated that he would not be forced to run from his own country by a foreign power.

In December 2003, he was finally captured after a nationwide manhunt costing billions of dollars and hundreds of lives. As the American President had stated before the war began he again confirmed that the captured Iraqi President would be put on trial.

The law, however, stood in the way of this plan. A fair trial or a trial before an independent international tribunal would allow the Iraqi President a forum in which to condemn the American invasion. This would be counterproductive to everything that the American propaganda had achieved and more seriously might strengthen the national liberation movement fighting to rid Iraq of the illegal American occupation.

Instead, with the support of a corps of junior American lawyers, the US planned, financed, and orchestrated an Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST). Every independent expert from NGOs to governmental actors who have reviewed the IST declared it to be illegal and/or unfair.

Instead of choosing one of the allegedly most serious cases for which to try the Iraqi President, the US choose an insignificant case where by the US itself could not be implicated in the crimes allegedly committed.

And if that was not enough the US led the Iraqi authorities that they had installed through the unfair trial process. Without embarrassment they replaced judges whose politics or demeanor they did not like, hide exculpating evidence, manufactured witness testimony, threatened defense witnesses and defense lawyers and when that did not work assaulted defense lawyers and killed four of them, stole defendants’ money, and even prohibited the defense from preparing a defence by giving them the charges after the Prosecution had rested and forcing them to start their preparations of a defense within hours after having received the charges. The litany of violations of the right to fair trial reads like a course book on how to achieve a mistrial and would have invalidated the trial anywhere else in the world, except in the American controlled Green Zone in Iraq.

>From its inception the IST was flawed, but as the violence increased in Iraq and the US controlled propaganda machine touted the trial as necessary to stop violence while the international community turned a blind eye. Even the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Louise Arbour, arrogantly commented that the unfairness of the trial was not such a big problem. Ms Arbour also famously commented just days before the extrajudicial execution of the Iraqi President that she could not tell if the trial was unfair because she had to study the court’s opinion. While Ms Arbour was doing the extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary execution of the President took place and not even the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions did much to stop it.

American President George W. Bush, British Prime Minster Tony Blair, and Australian Prime Minister Michael Howard, went even further declaring that the trial was fair despite the fact that the body that they had unequivocally mandated to make such determinations, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, had determined the trial was illegal and unfair. Again the UN had failed in its most prominent mission: the protection of human rights.

Throughout the US orchestrated trial the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein maintained his dignity and repeatedly urged his people to resist the US occupiers of his country and to strive for Arab and Muslim unity against America. It was undoubtedly his unbreakable spirit of resistance that finally caused the US to concede that allowing him to live was more dangerous than sacrificing him as a martyr to the cause of Muslim and Arab nationalism and independence.

But even in his death Iraqi President Saddam Hussein maintained his calm and determined demeanor. While the American President had clumsily dozed off on Saturday night, the Iraqi President was challenging his executioners to be brave and to fight the American occupiers.

In some of his last words, the Iraqi President reminded the world that there is something more than preserving one’s own life and that this can only be found in the integrity of one’s faith. He declared his faith to the cause he had championed so valiantly in life as he declared loudly “God is great and Palestine is an Arab land.”

Like this final rallying call the death of the Iraqi President, who had held the steady sword of Arab and Muslim pride against western aggression could be a turning point. It has laid bare the challenge of hatred, of exploitation, of lawlessness, and of total disdain with which the west under US hegemony deals with the Middle East. It is a symbol of how the US would like to treat every Arab and every Muslim who opposes its will. With this truth laid bare the gauntlet has now been thrown down at the foot of every proud and courageous Arab and Muslim and all who support tem in their struggle.

Will Arabs and Muslims around the world cowardly surrender to the blood money offered by America and its allies or will they bravely confront the challenge as the Iraqi President and martyr Saddam Hussein has done and fight for the freedom of their people until the very end? Every Arab and Muslim and all their supporters must ask him or her self this question.

Dr. Curtis Doebbler is an international human rights lawyers and a lawyer to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.



-muslim voice-

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