The Ghost of Saddam Hussain

Saddam's Ghost
Brazillian cartoonist Latuff's take on the repercussions of the execution.

Everyone .. and .. their .. auntie seems to have produced their own Iraqi blogger reviews rounding up reactions to the execution of Saddam Hussein.

However, what is needed now is some analysis. So here is my humble attempt to make some sense from the stream of opinions flowing out of the Iraqi blogodrome. To be completely out of character this is going to be opinionated and I encourage the readers contribute their thoughts in the comments section below. But first…

If you read no other posts read these

Baghdad Connect makes an excellent analysis of the execution and the death penalty.

If you want to understand what was said in that video of the hanging of Saddam don't go to CNN go to Riverbend who puts the record straight. She gives her own translation of the insults that were traded between Saddam and the witnesses, and her own opinion:

One of the most advanced countries in the world did not help to reconstruct Iraq, they didn't even help produce a decent constitution. They did, however, contribute nicely to a kangaroo court and a lynching. A lynching shall go down in history as America's biggest accomplishment in Iraq. So who's next? Who hangs for the hundreds of thousands who've died as a direct result of this war and occupation?

And Konfused Kid describes like no other the mechanics of civil war in Iraq. He recounts the story of a friend who was swept up into the world of the Sectarian killers but survived to tell the tale. Essential reading.

On with the Show

If one looks back at how bloggers reported Zarqawi's killing with the execution of Saddam; the contrast is striking. Then there was almost a united joy at the event. This time there is a distinctive split, with only political bloggers on one side and everyone else on the other. Contrast hardened political blogger Mohammed of Iraq the Model and British-based Eye-Raki with non-political teenager HNK:

Outside Iraq people will divide over his hanging, just like they divided over his life and rule but here in Iraq most of us feel that today justice has been served. Those who mourn him are a few and are still living in the past that has no future in Iraq.

and Eye Raki:
People's reaction to this execution is, i think, a true measure of what they are made of. The ones that are outraged at his death, are the probably the ones who support terrorism, fund terrorism or are terrorists themselves. The fools that are saying this was an unlawful execution and that Saddam was a legitimate ruler seem to have a very short memory

versus HNK:
I think I was wrong.. … My opinions changed from the first year I wrote in this blog. I thought in that time that everything is going to be good and acceptable for all of us but I was wrong my friend, I was so wrong. I was wrong when I said that Saddam don't mean to me anything. I was wrong when I said that I think he is a bad guy … from now, I won't say anything bad about Saddam because I don't know whether he was right or wrong . But I know that the people who came after Saddam is Evil and worse than devil and Saddam was better than them……

Well, HNK is not from outside Iraq, but Eye Raki is. She cannot be accused of living in the past or having a short memory. She is a teenager who grew up in Saddam's Iraq and has her whole life ahead of her. Any quick scan of her blog shows no support for terrorists who blow up cars and lob mortars near her relatives homes or threaten her teachers. And she certainly is not on her own. The same thoughts were repeated again and again.

Neurotic Wife quoting a Shia work colleague:

You know, I think I will be the first person to cheer Saddam's comeback… nothing compares to our fear now. NOTHING. Saddam is the only person who can get rid of those rogues. He is the only one who knows how to deal with them.


to say the truth I'm Sad, because I think that Iraq will never ever have a president that knows how to deal with the bad groups of the iraqi people like Saddam.

Aunt Najma:

Saddam's death won't lead to anything good, as did his arrest, and trial.. As I've said before, he was a dectator, but now, to me, he was not but a leader who made things work!

It is not that Saddam was popular, he was hated by every section of Iraqi society, but as Raed wrote it takes some extreme stupidity to turn to turn Saddam from a hated dictator to a symbol of resistance and pride. Maybe extreme stupidity is what has defined this whole war from the start. Konfused Kid does, I think the best job of reconciling the mixed emotions.

My opinion is that there is a split between die-hard political commentators and ordinary Iraqis. Perhaps also politicians have become so cut off from the Iraqi street that they may as well be on another planet.

I remember a cousin telling me if Saddam ever stood against the current government in an election he would win 99% of the vote. This opinion is repeated again and again in blogs that I read and from people that I speak to. It is far from typical but it is there.

It is not the entrenching of opposition from the Sunni population that should concern the Iraq Govt and America. But, as I can conclude from my readings of the blogodrome, they have now gained the widespread hatred of the Iraqi middle classes and more importantly the youth.

Perhaps Saddam's execution has had some positive effect. The timing and its haste has brought people together in unity against the status quo. What do you think?


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.