Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam's ignominious end

According to a CNN report the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been executed by hanging.

During Sadam's rule he used to be seen in the public often firing a gun, a symbol of the type of power that he weilded over his subjects.

Once an ally to the United States, he was supported by the US in the seven year war that he waged beginning in 1980 with his neighbour Iran which cost a million lives.

Kuwait had heavily funded the Iraqi war against Iran. By the time the war ended, Iraq was not in a financial position to repay the $14 billion which it had borrowed from Kuwait to finance its war. Frictions began to build up with Kuwait from this point on.

The table was turned against him when he invaded Kuwait in 1990. This time a coalition of military forces led by the United States defeated Sadam Hussein and liberated Kuwait.

Saddam's refusal to subsequently comply with the ceasefire terms of the Kuwait war and his refusal to allow to UN inspectors into his many palaces and his obstructions were provocative to the international community.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the US decided to take pre-emtive action against terror. The US decided to regime change in Iraq as they believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, the central reason for a US- led international force to invade Iraq. This case has not been proven as no WMD was found.

Saddam's brutal arrogance and folly led to his own downfall. The man who was used to palatial extravegance was finally hunted down to a hole in the ground. He gave up without a fight.

Critics of the US foreign policy that deposed Saddam say that the execution of Saddam Hussein serves not justice, but the political purposes of the Bush administration. They argue that Iraq is worse off now than they were under Saddam.

Whatever is the merit of that argument, one thing is certain. More than two decades of distrust and violence under Saddam has left a legacy of bitter sectarian divide and age-old ethnic hatred among an impoversihed community that will experience his bitter legacy for a long time.

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