The execution of Saddam Hussein of Iraq is history's retribution for a dictator who cared not for law and justice and human rights. His vengeful genocide of Kurds and harassment of Shias will remain a blot on Iraq's history. Had it not been for the invasion of Iraq, for dubious reasons ofcourse, Saddam could still have been in power and the colossus of fear would have loomed still. Justice is for all and Saddam's track record on human rights front is just as notorious as Kampuchea's Pol Pot. All the outcry about the fairness of the trial or its legality cannot obfuscate the issue. Saddam's rise to power was largely due to tribal conflicts and he stabilised his power through packing the government with his clansmen from Tikrit, his home town. His loyalits did his dirty work through espionage inside the country and nipping all forms of resistance in the bud. His Baathis Socialist Party was, in effect, entirely his fief and the only redeeming factor was its neutral, disengaging stand on religion and sectarianism. Tariq Aziz, the former foreign minister, was a Chaldean Christian and yet won Saddam's patronage because of his slavish loyalty. That's all Saddam wanted, - do what I tell you and you are safe. His personality cult was shameful and repulsive and he thought of himself as the new Nebuchadnazerof Babylon. The way he lured back his son-in-law, who had escaped to Jordan, and then shoot him was despicable. His son-in-law incidentally handled the weapons front and knew too much to be left alive and spilling the beans. Iraq is the fourth largest producer of oil and any signs of prosperity under Saddam was mainly due to it. It is a moot point whether Shias or Kurds had their reasonable share in it. The two communities were native, especially Kurds who had more political affinity to Turkey. Saddam'sparty looked upon Kurds as secessionist force and denied them economic and political rights. Saddam's priorities always had been the emergence of Iraq as supreme in West Asia under a pan-Arabic camouflage and Palestinian issue came quite handy. This enabled him to try to isolate a pro-U.S. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and rally the neighbours around himself.
But Jordan, Turkey, Iran never fell for the bait for their own reasons, leaving Saddam squirming. The Shia-Sunni divide has exacerbated tensions in West Asia since the emergence of Khomeini in Iran. With U.S.backing Saddam was emboldened to go on a seven year war with Iran with which Iraq has a long border. It cost both thousands of lives and a huge burden on the economy. But U.S. was subsidising Iraq's losses and tried to prop up the oil-rich nation as a platform against Soviet Union. Saddam's secular pretensions were exposed when he used chemical weapons on Kurds, jailed and killed Shiates for their resistance to Sunni domination. Numerically Shiites are the largest group on Iraq. Having made him a strong man in West Asia U.S. could not fathom Saddam's priorities. Iraq had been bidding for a larger quota under OPEC for exporting oil and met with expected resistance from Kuwait and Riyadh. All the talk about Kuwait snitching Iraq's oil was only cannon fodder for Saddam. He was not simply reconciled to the fact that Kuwait was an independent nation. He called it a "British fraud" but his territorial ambitions were evident. Then followed Kuwait invasion and the beginning of his end. It took 16 years since the invasion for Saddam to be accounted for his crimes. West Asia is yet to evolve into a democratic fold with monarchy ruling the roost on the one hand dictators like Saddam on the other. And it is a tall order too with Israel nudging them in the flanks. Saddam's execution will not cement the divide inside Iraq between communities and possibly lead to a civil war. It is a tragedy that iraqis who suffered horribly under Saddam continue to do so under a propped up regime with U.S. mulling over a policy that has backfired.