Friday, October 19, 2007

"Chemical Ali," Slaughter, Sunni Sensitivities
and Iraq

"Chemical Ali" was tried and convicted of genocide and war crimes: along with two other Hussein-era bosses. U.S. forces are holding on to him, until the Iraqi government sorts out what they want done with this mass-murderer.

"Chemical Ali" and two other Saddam helpers are facing a death sentence: Hussein's Defense Minister, Sultan Hashim al-Tai; and Saddam's Iraqi armed forces deputy operations director, Rashid Mohammed.

As usual, it's a complicated situation. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani opposes the death penalty, and says he won't sign off on the execution of "Chemical Ali," at least. (The Associated Press (AP) story I'm getting this information from focused almost exclusively on al-Majid.)

Kurds, as a group, would like to see "Chemical Ali" dead. I can't say that I blame them. On the other hand, President Jalal Talabani is a Kurd.

Here's where it gets howling-at-the-moon crazy.

President Talabani is also a Sunni Muslim, but not, I trust, one of the "Sunni leaders" the AP was talking about: "Sunni leaders pressed to delay the hangings, saying they could incite violence and cripple already fragile bids to improve ties between Iraq's rival groups."

You see, the Sunnis in central Iraq (obviously not the Kurdish Sunnis in the north) apparently just loved Saddam Hussein. He was their good buddy, and sent lots of money and favors their way. Great guy, from a Sunni point of view.

At least, that's what we seem to be expected to believe.

Maybe it's true. Maybe the Sunni Muslims - at least the ones in central Iraq - are so greedy, so ignorant, and so short-sighted that they don't realize that
  • Uncle Saddam is no longer around
  • Their ride on the gravy train is over
  • That they've got a chance at having a piece of the action in post-Saddam Iraq -
    IF they don't act like a bunch of fools
I sincerely hope that "Sunni leaders" who are trying implicitly threatening violence to save a man guilty of genocide are a minority of dolts, and that they are shortly going to get an intense exposure to reality.

I also hope that most of the hold-up in the disposition of "Chemical Ali" and the other detritus left over from Hussein's rule is more a matter of thrashing out correct procedures by a very new government that's under intense pressure.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.