Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Lest we forget

Whatever you think about the execution of Saddam Hussein, don't forget that his "stability" in Iraq was bought at a heavy price.

From Violence marked his rise, rule and fall
By Borzou Daragahi and David Lamb

Special to The Times

For his country, now convulsed in civil war, Hussein's most lasting and damaging legacy was the way his selective patronage and brutal violence divided Iraqis along lines that continue to split them.

Hussein moved rivers to reward Sunni Arab villagers loyal to his government and drained swamps to punish Shiite Muslims who rose up against him. He moved rebellious Kurds from the northern city of Kirkuk while selling cheap land in the city to Arabs to reward loyalists and upend the ethnic balance of the country's oil-rich north.

He imprisoned tens of thousands, ordered the killings of political enemies, real and imagined, including two of his sons-in-law, and used poison gas to wipe out whole villages in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. He granted construction contracts to favored Arab tribes, while depriving whole categories of people — such as Shiite Kurds — of their citizenship rights.

Such violence and manipulations may have established a semblance of stability. But they also built up a sense of entitlement by Sunnis and resentment on the part of Shiites and Kurds that fueled violence by death squads, militias and insurgents once the U.S. invasion of 2003 toppled his regime.


Anonymous said...

Yes, but Hussain could not stay in power for as long as he did unless he had the support of other international political interests. The one point I credit George W. Bush is trying to remove the charade of the sanctity of state supported violence. He has set a precident for the international community acting on a nation state that is still in operation, and not failed like Somolia, Afganistan, etc.

Edo River rising

Anonymous said...

Apparently, judging from the amount of violence directed against other Iraqi civilians, Saddam covered up a multitude of sins that existed before he came along. He was just clever and lucky in using the situation for his own benefit. The International community, unfortunately represented by GW Bush, did not think carefully about this condition within the tyrant-ruled state, what to do to seek justice and reconcillation among the members as soon as possible. Of course every state will be different.

But we know there will be a future situationj where the international community will be compelled for one reason or another, just or unjust to intervene in a working state. The rationale that I could see creating an immediate rush to war in Iraq, the longer the delay, and the more advanced warning that is given, the more preparations for the defense that the tyrant can take and the more lives that will be lost.

I can see this is still an unresolved issue. for the next situation. Future tyrants will know that a precident in Iraq for intervention has been set. That the US is willing to go almost alone. But this doesn't complete the task, by no means. At this point a future tyrant might hope that the International community would be discouraged from entering another country to rectify a situation that deserves changing. So this is what I have mentioned about a truth and reconcilation commission that is reinforced and internationalized and all parties are represented.

Edo River