Why did Saddam Hussein execute Marxists?

The execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein does not serve justice, but the political interests of the Bush administration and its Iraqi puppets. The manner of execution - hastily, clandestinely, in the dark of night, without even the appearance of a fair trial - underscores the lawless and reactionary character inherent in the entire American endeavor in Iraq.

There were conflicting reports on Friday as to the timing and circumstances under which Hussein's death sentence, which was upheld on December 26 by an Iraqi appeals court, would be carried out. The government of Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki was officially responsible for the proceedings. However, he was in constant consultation with the American military authorities, who had the prisoner in their power and transferred them to the execution site in the so-called Green Zone, the maximum security area in Baghdad.

The decision to hang Hussein was not a legal decision, but a political one. This was confirmed by al Maliki himself after the special tribunal announced the death sentence on November 5. The Iraqi prime minister said at the time that Hussein would be executed before the end of the year. In order to meet this timeframe, the Iraqi judiciary and government officials ignored elementary principles of legal fairness. They even disregarded their own constitution, which requires that a death sentence be confirmed by the president.

Richard Dicker, who is responsible for international legal issues at the human rights organization Human Rights Watch, explained on Friday in the UK GuardianWhy the judicial process is a mockery of justice:

"With the pronouncement of the guilty verdict and the sentence on November 5, the verdict was not yet final. The defense did not receive the grounds for the verdict until November 22. According to the statutes of the court, the defense lawyers had to submit the appeal by December 5 they had less than two weeks to respond to the 300-page verdict. The Appeals Chamber did not hold a single hearing to examine the legal arguments presented, as required by Iraqi law. It is inconceivable that the Appeals Chamber in the It was able to fairly examine the 300-page verdict including the written submissions of the defense and to reconsider all essential questions in less than three weeks. "

The trial in Baghdad was less like the Nuremberg trials - in which the surviving Nazi leaders enjoyed far greater rights than had been granted to Hussein - than a Stalinist or National Socialist show trial in which a judge's puppet announced a previously established verdict, which was then issued in the Dark of the night was running.

The political motives

What were the political motives of the Bush administration in killing a major political opponent in front of the world? Above all, she wanted to prove that she was both able and willing to do something like this. According to the White House, the death of Saddam is a warning to any future opponent of American imperialism: resist Washington and you will suffer the same bloody fate as Hussein!

In addition, the Bush administration can sell the execution as evidence of America's "success" in Iraq, thereby distracting from the horrific blood toll that is being demanded of Iraqi and Americans every day. The execution has pushed the numbers of American war casualties off the headlines in the media. A hundred US soldiers died in December alone, and by the end of the month the total American death toll in the Iraq war will exceed three thousand.

The state-sanctioned murder is intended to give the Maliki government, which is under pressure and is becoming increasingly unpopular and unstable, at least a short-term political respite. The Bush administration is calling on Maliki to break with the radical Shiite cleric Muktada al Sadr and agree to a military attack by the US army on al Sadr's Mahdi army. Al Sadr is one of Maliki's most important political allies.

Hussein's execution gives Maliki the opportunity to polish up his reputation with the Shiite majority, who suffered most under Hussein's rule. At the same time, he is pursuing plans to step up action against the working-class neighborhoods of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, which are a center of Shiite opposition to the US occupation.

In addition, it is fitting for Washington that the execution of Hussein brings the trials of the former Iraqi leader to a swift conclusion before the crimes in which various US governments have played a role are examined. The 1982 execution of 148 Shiite men in Jaiail was the first case brought to trial because the victims belonged to Maliki's Dawa party, which was also the party of the last Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jafari, and because the United States was not directly involved.

This does not apply to the other, much bloodier episodes in Saddam Hussein's career. The second trial, which dealt with the mass killing of Kurds in 1987/88 as part of the so-called Anfal campaign towards the end of the Iran-Iraq war, was due to begin on January 8th. A serious investigation into these atrocities, which culminated in the gassing of thousands of Kurds in Halabja, should inevitably have shed light on the role of various American governments.

Hussein began a war against Iran in September 1980 with the tacit approval of the Carter administration, which at the time crossed Iran, after students occupied the US embassy in Tehran and took the embassy staff hostage. The Reagan administration provided Hussein with significant assistance throughout the eight years of the war. It supplied him with tactical military intelligence that was used to attack Iranian troops with chemical weapons. It also supported arms deliveries from Great Britain, France and Germany to Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld was sent to Iraq twice, in 1983 and 1984, as the American special envoy. Rumsfeld assured Hussein that the US would continue to support Baghdad's warfare, even if it was sometimes critical of the human rights violations.

Another major trial against Hussein for the bloody repression of Kurds and Shiites in 1991, after the first Gulf War, could have been even more problematic for the Bush administration. Bush's father, the first President Bush, was the first to encourage the uprisings at the end of the Gulf War. He later came to the cold-blooded assessment that maintaining the Hussein dictatorship was preferable to the collapse of the Iraqi state. The latter would probably have benefited Iran most, which the American war planners wanted to prevent.

To reject the show trial of Saddam Hussein and to condemn his execution is by no means synonymous with political support for the ex-ruler or his policies. Hussein was a typical representative of the national bourgeoisie in a backward and oppressed country. He occasionally came into conflict with imperialism, but relentlessly defended the privileges and property of the Iraqi bourgeoisie against the Iraqi working class.

Sign now for the SGP's admission to the federal elections!

Hussein organized his first major repression against the population when he had reached the height of his power in the late 1970s. At that time, his Ba'ath Party massacred the leadership of the Communist Party in Iraq and defeated the large and militant Iraqi working class, which was particularly strong in Baghdad and in the oil fields. The current disintegration of Iraq along ethno-religious lines is a late consequence of the brutal oppression of the working class that the United States liked at the time.

The Iraqi leader was not convicted by an Iraqi workers' tribunal. He was the victim of a vocal court set up by the occupation regime and owed its existence to the invasion and conquest of Iraq by the United States. This means that people have been judging Hussein who have committed much larger crimes themselves.

An editorial of the Washington Post von Friday perfectly expresses all the hypocrisy of the Bush administration, Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and the American media on this issue. Explains in a moral tone Washington Postthat it was generally against the death penalty, only to add: If anyone deserved it, it would be "Saddam Hussein - a man who has more blood on his hands than anyone, except maybe Kim Jon Il".

We take the right to disagree. George W. Bush is already responsible for the fact that more Iraqis had to die than under Saddam Hussein - according to a study by the US American John Hopkins University, around 665,000 more people have died than normal in Iraq since the US invasion in 2003 - and Bush's tenure will take another two years. Not to mention the American criminals still alive today from the time of the Iran-Iraq war and the US presidents (Bush's father, Clinton and Bush himself), who were responsible for the embargo against Iraq, which was estimated from 1991 to 2003 1.5 million Iraqis have fallen victim.

There will only be real justice for the battered and oppressed Iraqi people and for the American, British and other victims of the war when those responsible for the invasion and occupation - Bush, Cheney and their captors - are on trial for waging a war of aggression that is contrary to international law .

See also:
A legal farce: Iraqi court upholds Saddam Hussein's death sentence
(December 29, 2006)
Death sentence against Saddam Hussein: a mockery of justice
(November 7, 2006)
A legal farce: bringing charges against Saddam Hussein
(July 26, 2005)
Saddam Hussein turns the tables in the show trial
(March 21, 2006)