Saddam Trial: The Humiliation of the Arab World- By Yushau A. Shuaib
At last the former Iraqi leader, Saddam Al-Majid Hussein is charged to court on the allegation of crimes against humanity. The tribunal is likely to concentrate its trial on the last regime’s military campaigns and the suppression of revolts by Kurds and Shias after the Gulf war. The jury may also interrogate him on crimes committed during the war with Islamic Republic of Iran and the invasion of Kuwait.
The trial may be predetermined by the way and manner American government has staged managed some of the unfolding events with the imposition of surrogate rulers and judges. The legitimacy of the interim government of Iraq just like the established court is questionable as there is no clear-cut basis on which constitution is to be used for the trial. The illegitimacy of the court is similar to the invasion and occupation of Iraq without any sanction by any rational international law. If justice must be done the American claim of Weapon of Mass Destruction as the genesis of the invasion must also be proved.
Before it handed over power to Iraqis, the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority had suspended the death penalty, which was immediately reinstated by the new regime. It shouldn’t be forgetting that President George Bush immediately after the capture of Saddam publicly declared that “He (Saddam) is a torturer, a murderer, they raped rooms. This is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ULTIMATE JUSTICE.” It is easy to conclude on the fate of their victim since technically Saddam is in the custody of the Coalition troop, while legally (I wonder what it means) he is within the jurisdiction of Iraqi government.
On his first appearance in court, where he described the arraignment as confused theatrical performance and charged that President Bush is the real Criminal, there is strong indication that Saddam was neither granted access to his lawyers nor to his family and witnesses. The denial of some of those rights is viewed as gimmicks to prevent Saddam from indicting prominent figures within American government, Arab leaders and some European nations who supported him financially and equipped him militarily.
If anything, fairness dictates that all parties in the latest atrocities in Iraq before the capture of its former leader must be arraigned. How many innocent Iraqis were killed through the Coalition Force aerial and ground bombardment; how many innocent souls were mauled after the invasion in the name of house-to-house search, how many children have broken and amputated limps; how many Iraqi prisoners in the detention camp of the Coalition forces were humiliated and shamed nakedly; how many resistant fighters and followers of Shiite Cleric Muqtada Sadr, were mercilessly bombarded even in the mosque? In fact how many atrocities committed against defenceless Iraqis can be listed against the superpower after the successful invasion and neocolonialism in the new millennium? Already the humiliation of Saddam is raging day by day through the edited remorseful pictures, the western media have started categorizing his sins and using wicked nomenclatures such as dictator, tyrant to describe him even when competent a court of law is yet to prove him guilty in a fair trial.
While one can list the ills also perpetrated by the so-called liberators, the Arab leaders should be blame for the indignity, humiliation and shame Iraq has gone through in the hand of their colonizers. It should be recalled that Arab leaders collaborated with some developed countries in encouraging the then Saddam Hussein to provoke, harass and attack non-Arab Muslim neighbors in the region. The Arab world supported Iraq against Iran, a non-Arab nation (Persian) in eight-year senseless war just to tame further Islamic revolution by Ayatollah Khomeini into monarchical kingdoms. The Arabs also ignored Iraq attacks in the 1980s on Kurds (non-Arab) who have strong base in Turkey.
It is incredible that Arabs with their ancestral creativity, celebrated bravery and legendary empires, are presently playing second fiddle in the global arena. While other nations were busy inventing new technologies and equipping themselves militarily and politically, Arab countries allowed their oil discovery to becloud their sense of reasoning as they engaged in importing flimsy items such as caned food and clothes. Just imagine that Israel that annexed their cities in Palestine and the Golan Height in Syria is undisputable power to reckon with within the Middle East with latest technology in armaments and weaponry, while their population is as small as one of Arab capitals. That is why the Arab leaders are cowards to challenge Israel on the need for the liberation of the Palestinians.
The Arab world may unconsciously start to dig their own grave by giving tacit support for the invasion of their region, where foreign troops are fully armed and stationed. It is now easier for their nations to be forced and fall into the so-called western liberalization and democratization, probably like that of Iraqis. Afterall, apart from Egypt, most Arab nations in the region are ruled by kings who own the assets and properties in their kingdoms.
The most unfortunate incident by Arab leaders in the face of near defeat is to wipe up religious sentiment to win sympathy of the large followers of Islamic faith when most of their leaders have hobnobbed with the so-called infidels. The word Arab-Sheik, which means a scholar or elderly person, has in recent times become synonymous with a wealthy Arab who spends extravagantly on women, expensive alcoholic wine, automobile and can delightedly waste huge fortunes on idle pastime and gambling.
Where are the Arabian nobility and bravery we read in the holy books and literature? The present generation has sold out their birthright. Even when others including non-Muslim nations were staging peaceful rallies and protests against the attack on Iraq sovereignty, most Arab countries kept mute, with some arresting potential demonstrators. When some of the Saddam’s family and aides sought asylum, their brotherly Arab nations, we were told, refused to grant them the offer. In fact it was Arabian elite within the Iraqis that exposed the location and hideout of Saddam and his children just for pecuniary inducement that is sourced from their lands by their colonizers. What a life of utter disgrace and moral turpitude will betrayers and traitors live even in the midst of opulence and artificial security?
Any Muslim who thinks supporting an Arab is protecting Islam must have a rethink. Islam is not a religion based on ethnicity, tribal marks, geographical location and colour of skin but a faith that promotes compassion, good conduct, faithfulness to the truth, shared love, and mutual coexistence with others. If Republic of Germany, France and even the Vatican could condemn the attack on a Muslim nation, while other Arab nations are cautious not to annoy the Super Liberators, one wonders who is more Islamic.
First published in Daily Trust July23, 2004, Nigerian Tribune July12, 2004 and New Nigeria July14, 2004