Monday :: Jan 1, 2007

A Shiite Hanging With No Western Witnesses

by Steve

As the Democrats hold hearings this month on the Wise Men proposal to escalate in Iraq, the lessons from the Hussein execution should be kept front and center. Why would we commit another 30,000 troops to fight the militia to whom al-Maliki outsourced Hussein's killing, after he went around his own laws to get what amounts to a revenge killing blessed by the Najaf ayatollahs? And why should we make such an additional sacrifice for a government that disregards its laws in favor of Shiite gang justice in the absence of western observers?

As we noted yesterday, and as Glenn Greenwald and others have noted since, Saddam was executed by Shiite thugs from Muqtada al-Sadr's militia acting as official government hangmen. He was executed after the al-Mailiki government couldn't meet the legal requirements in their own laws to have the order signed by President Talibani and the two vice presidents, and instead had to find "legal workarounds" to allegedly satisfy the Bush Administration's desire to do this by the book.

Yet the Bush Administration turned Saddam over to the al-Sadr militia for execution anyway, after getting a letter from Prime Minister al-Maliki that ordered the Justice Minister to go ahead. And what exactly did al-Maliki use as his legal cover for ignoring Iraqi law under Hussein's era? He went to the Shiite ayatollahs for authority to ignore the country's laws so that a religious execution could take place.

One participant described the meeting this way: “The Iraqis seemed quite frustrated, saying, ‘Who is going to execute him, anyway, you or us?’ The Americans replied by saying that obviously, it was the Iraqis who would carry out the hanging. So the Iraqis said, ‘This is our problem and we will handle the consequences. If there is any damage done, it is we who will be damaged, not you.’”
To this, the Iraqis added what has often been their trump card in tricky political situations: they telephoned officials of the marjaiya, the supreme religious body in Iraqi Shiism, composed of ayatollahs in the holy city of Najaf. The ayatollahs approved. Mr. Maliki, at a few minutes before midnight on Friday, then signed a letter to the justice minister, “to carry out the hanging until death.”

We have lost 3000 men and women in Iraq so that the Shiite ayatollahs can run roughshod over Hussein's laws and institute religious revenge justice. And yet Cheney, Lieberman, and McCain now want another 30,000 troops to take on the al-Sadr Mahdi Army, when it is clear they and the ayatollahs are running the government?

One last word on the account in the Marc Santora piece that described the hanging in yesterday's Times:

His executioners wore black ski masks, but Mr. Hussein could still see their deep brown skin and hear their dialects, distinct to the Shiite southern part of the country, where he had so brutally repressed two separate uprisings.

I followed up with Santora by email yesterday, and he has graciously responded to my question about the authenticity of this account, as to whether this was Santora's first-person account of what Saddam could see of his executioners.

I had to rely on what the Iraqi witnesses told me, seeing as how there were no westerners allowed, not even a US military representative.

Therefore, the whole account of Saddam execution was a creation of the al-Maliki government spoon fed to our media and the Bush Administration, an execution carried out under official cover in violation of the law by Muqtada al-Sadr with the religious sanction of the Najaf ayatollahs.

But the Wise Men want another 30,000 more?

Steve :: 2:36 PM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!