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December 31, 2006



There was an Elaph piece yesterday reflecting a view to the effect this whole affair is a sign of scary Iranian hegemony in Iraq, and indicating Saudi Arabia leads the way in opposing this. The journalist didn't quote anyone by name, but the "Saudi leads the way" part seemed to indicate this whole approach has official blessing.

The next question would be who set it up this way, if not Khalilzad?


Zeyad over at Healing Iraq puts forward a reasonable sounding theorty that the Sadrists demanded a rapid execution as part of the price for their return to parliament (see http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/archives/2006_12_01_healingiraq_archive.html ) Zeyad has also kindly translated the dialogue on the cell-phone-video of the execution, which does indeed incude pro-Sadr chants from the crowd (with a scoffing Saddam reply).

Gregory Gause

How to square the idea that the US had a hand in the timing with the New York Times account of US officials trying to get Maliki to put the execution off? I think that the US actually has less power in Iraq right now than most people think. Sure, Washington still has lots of say, but I don't think that they have a veto over Iraqi government decisions. Washington has certainly lost the ability to impose big plans on Iraq (which is why the Biden plan and others like it are just not relevant these days). It seems to me that the simplest answer here might be the correct one: Maliki desperately wanted to be the PM who presided over the execution of Saddam, and who knows how long he has in power. So why not do it right away. And it pleases his core constituency.


Marc- I am interested in your (or anyother regional experts) opinion of the footage of the hanging that shows Saddam being tanuted and references to Al Sadir being shouted while he hung? How will this play in Arab Culture?
I do not think it plays well here in the USA, that is for sure. It is sure to get a lot more press in the coming days.
Thanks for your time.

Abu Dolma

PTC, I guess it plays out pretty much the same in "arab culture" as it does elsewhere. I think I would go so far as to say taunting a man before hanging is a bit of a universal no-no, regardless of who he/she is. Once you take into account who he is (was) it only gets worse really.

Abu Sinan

I wonder if Tariq would be as "delighted" if the Prince who appointed him to his position, member of the murderous al-Saudi family, got the same just dessert?

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