|The News Line: Feature
Thursday, 4 January 2007
THOUSANDS MARCH TO HONOUR SADDAM HUSSEIN
AMONG the towns and cities where Iraqis have been marching in funeral processions to honour President Saddam Hussein is Al Dujail.
|Crowds of Iraqis show their support for Saddam Hussein during the referendum on his rule in November 2002
This is where the assassination attempt on the president was made in 1982, by the Al Dawa party, which is now the ruling party in the Iraqi puppet government, and which presided over the trial of Saddam over the Al Dujail attack.
Scores of Al-Dujail locals have offered condolences over the death of the late Iraqi president.
In a hall built on the outskirts of the city for this occasion, scores of men came to offer condolences.
In a certain place in the city, there was a sign that read: ‘An obituary by Al-Khazraj tribes mourning the death of the nation’s hero martyr, Saddam Hussein.’
One of those who offered condolences – who asked to be referred to as Abu-Haydar – said that he and the others were asked to cover their faces for fear of revenge by those whom he called Iran’s militias in Baghdad.
Mourning places were also set up in many other Iraqi cities and Arab countries, in which the attendants denounced the process and timing of the execution on the dawn of the first day of the blessed Id al-Adha.
Mourning Iraqis also poured into Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit in their thousands on Tuesday.
Men, women and children arrived in the city throughout the day after the security forces eased a ban on vehicles imposed since Saturday, the day Saddam was executed.
Hundreds of others converged on nearby Awja where Saddam was buried privately on Sunday at a hall built during his regime for organising condolence meetings.
Mourners walked through the streets of Tikrit carrying posters bearing Saddam’s image and chanting ‘Hero and Martyr Saddam Hussein.’
Among the crowds were armed men who sporadically fired off bursts of automatic gunfire as angry mourners demanded that Saddam's execution be avenged.
Tents, meanwhile, were erected across the city in which mourners read verses from the Koran as volunteers served the customary bitter black coffee offered during mourning.
The hanging has triggered widespread anger in Saddam’s traditional support bases and most of those arriving in the city on Tuesday were from the insurgent bastions of Al-Anbar, Diyala and Mosul.
‘The execution of Saddam Hussein saddens me deeply and it harms all Iraqis,’ said one of the mourners, Mohammed Nahif.
‘The Arabs lost a hero with the execution of President Saddam Hussein,’ said another, Abdallah Salah who had come from the northern oil city of Kirkuk.
The Muslim Scholars Association, a powerful Sunni religious body, conducted the mourning ceremony for the third straight day in a mosque in Tikrit.
‘We can’t render to Saddam Hussein what he did for us, even if we did everything in our power,’ said Yahiya al-Attawi, a representative of the association.
In nearby Al-Dawr, where Saddam was captured by US forces in 2003, locals unveiled a huge marble portrait of the executed leader.
‘During the occasion of Eid we are unveiling this portrait of our national hero and martyr Saddam Hussein,’ said Sheikh Ahmed al-Alwan.
in Baghdad, Salah Umar al-Ali, a veteran Iraqi politician and former Ba’ath Party figure and member of the Revolutionary Command Council, who was an associate of Saddam Hussein in the late 1960s spoke about the situation.
He said about the execution of the president: ‘The man is now gone but he was a secretary-general of a big and important political party, and therefore the political influence of this man will not disappear, at least in the foreseeable future.
‘This is because the party has ‘an ideology, policies and a popular base in most Arab countries.’
He commented on puppet Prime Minister Al-Maliki’s call on those ‘with no blood on their hands, as he put it, to enter the political process’, and whether this statement will meet with approval.
He said: ‘On the contrary, this has complicated the issue still further.
‘Before the execution of Saddam, the issue of agreement or reconciliation was almost impossible but now it is absolutely impossible.
‘How can you offer reconciliation to a big party apparatus after executing the party leader?
‘This is impossible. These calls are exposed attempts to deceive the people through meaningless words about reconciliation and accord, given the current conditions in Iraq.’
He added that there can be no reconciliation while ‘foreign occupiers are leading the political establishment in Iraq in every detail.’
He added that, every day, US forces attack not only the opposition and those who oppose the occupation but also those who are participating in the government, citing the ‘1 January attack’ against the headquarters of the ‘National Dialogue Front.’
On the execution of Saddam, Al-Ali said: ‘Voices were heard at the last moment, the most important of which were the shouts that were raised praising Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and then Moqtada al-Sadr.
‘I believe that the hangmen were ordered to utter these words in order to exploit the last moment in the life of Saddam Hussein to create sectarian sedition in Iraq.’
He says: ‘This gives the impression that those who carried out the execution belong to Moqtada al-Sadr.
‘This is a process of incitement against Moqtada al-Sadr and his movement in order to create sectarian trouble between those who back the current that supports Saddam Hussein; that is, the nationalists and the resistance on the one hand, and Al-Sayyid Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement, on the other.’
Asked if he means that the occupation brought these men in order to undermine Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement, he said: ‘indubitably’, because Saddam was in the custody of the US forces until the last moments of his life.
He said: ‘The men who carried out the execution are unknown and you can imagine how terrified the Americans and their collaborators are of Saddam Hussein.’
Al Ali commented on who was responsible for the decision to execute Saddam on Id al-Adha.
He said: ‘I believe that the trial, the death sentence and the execution were planned by the US administration. The tools that implemented these measures might be Iraqi.’
Al-Ali continued to say that ‘In addition to the death and destruction in Iraq, the Iraqi wealth is being looted.
‘One of the members of the political bureau of a political party that is participating in the government has bought a hotel in the heart of London for $50 million.
‘Before the occupation he was a political refugee in London.
‘Go to Amman and look at the number of apartments, villas and houses these people have bought.
‘Most of them were poor and destitute before the invasion.
‘It is absolutely ridiculous for the leader of the greatest state in the world to talk about democracy in Iraq’.
Al-Ali concluded that it would be wrong to believe that a certain group can save Iraq.
He noted that there were many nationalist currents in Iraq ‘and these must participate in efforts to save Iraq’.
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