Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fear and Loathing in Baghdad

The Iraqis exectued the infamous "Chemical Ali":

Dozens of Iraqis gathered at the grave of "Chemical Ali" in northern Iraq on Wednesday to praise the cousin and notorious henchman of Saddam Hussein who was executed for gassing thousands of Kurds in 1988.

"He was one of Ouja's most remarkable men," said Abu Shehab, a 45-year-old man who insisted that Ali Hassan al-Majid, better known by his macabre nickname, had been hanged to appease Iran and the United States.

"The execution of Majid was done to satisfy the American and Iranian governments, but he will always be one of the icons of Iraq," Shehab told AFP.

Majid was buried at 10:45 pm (1945 GMT) on Tuesday in the town of Ouja near Tikrit beside six other graves, including those of Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay, and near the marble tomb of Saddam himself.

He was hanged on Monday for crimes committed during Saddam's reign, serving as one of the dictator's brutal enforcers.

Despite his crimes and the sea of blood that he washed his hands in during his time of sick service to the butcher Saddam, Chemical Ali still has his fans in the Sunni Arab community.
Remember this sickening episode of love and respect when you think of criticizing the Iraqi government's de-Baathifcation policies. Shia and Kurdish Iraqis have plenty of reasons buried around the country in individual and mass graves for wondering what the Sunni Arabs might do (again) if given the chance. Rehabilitation of the Sunni Arabs will take a long time and will require the Sunni Arabs to accept the burden they have of earning rehabilitation with the great weight of history that has caused the mistrust and hatred directed against them.
The degree of Baathist purging is surely a proper question, but the basic policy should not be questioned.