Secrets buried with the dictator

January 1, 2007 - 0:0
Saddam Hussein, who was hanged on Saturday, was one of the most wicked dictators of recent times.

Who can count Saddam's crimes? His violent, deceitful, and insane personality was perfectly reflected throughout his rule.

Saddam's rule was characterized by a mixture of megalomania and paranoia. One day he portrayed himself as an Arab nationalist and a champion of Arabs and attacked non-Arab Iran. Then he changed his whim and invaded Kuwait, an Arab country. Once he could not tolerate religious Muslims, but he carried the Holy Quran into court during the trials arranged to investigate his war crimes.

His megalomania knew no bounds. When he invaded Iran he called the Iranian province of Khuzestan ‘Arabestan’ (the land of the Arabs) and selected Arabic names for each city in the province. He dreamt of capturing all the tiny Arab states and finally Saudi Arabia after his army captured Kuwait and renamed it Iraq’s 19th province in 1991.

Saddam's government only brought misery to Iraq and the region. Yet, years passed before the world acknowledged that he had committed genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

It suffices to say that 360 mass graves have been discovered in Iraq so far. He used chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians, terrorized the Shias, made millions refugees, harshly repressed opponents, starved his own citizens, and caused the destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure through his adventurism.

He squandered the region’s potential and caused ecological catastrophes. His reckless militarism benefited the neocolonial powers, to which he funneled petrodollars to buy missiles, jet fighters, and other high-tech arms as well as material and components for producing weapons of mass destruction that he used against Iran and the Iraqi Kurds. His history of using WMDs provided the pretext for the U.S.-led military forces’ 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The behavior of Saddam, his family, and his closest allies was truly medieval. He created a cult of personality which enthralled supporters to the end, some of whom are responsible for the terrorism plaguing Iraq.

It is regretful that some Arab rulers provided this madman financial and military assistance and some global powers armed him with sophisticated weapons for his war against Iran, and even more regretful that, even today, some Arabs, both officials and ordinary people, feel sad about his death. This sympathy for such a person shows that blind nationalistic and racial prejudices sometimes overshadow our basic humanity.

Although the families of Saddam’s victims are happy that the old dictator is dead, there is still a bad feeling over questions that were left unanswered during his trial since he never revealed the nature of his involvement with the CIA during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war or the names of the Western corporations that sold him chemicals and equipment that he used to produce chemical weapons.

It is very likely that he was executed so hastily so that these facts could never be known.

Saddam has gone to meet his Maker, but unfortunately, some secrets will be buried with him.