He had the WMDs before he didn't have them.NOTE: also see: Images, Video: Saddam Meets EternityS
aturday morning, the Reuters headline blared: Saddam hanged at dawn as bombs kill more than 60
. After linking the violence to the execution, Reuters reporter Mariam Karouny writes:
Betraying no hint of regret, a composed-looking Saddam refused a black hood over his head before masked hangman placed the noose around his neck, a Shi'ite Muslim politician who witnesses the execution said.
Police in Kufa, near the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, said 36 people were killed and 58 wounded by the car bomb at a market packed with shoppers ahead of the week-long Eid al-Adha holiday. They said a mob killed a man they accused of planting the bomb.
A triple car bombing killed 25 in a Shi'ite district of the capital -- the sort of attacks that have pitched Iraq toward sectarian war since U.S. troops broke Saddam's iron rule.Reuters
The attacks came the same day as Saddam was hanged for crimes against humanity, prompting fears of a violent backlash by his supporters among his fellow Sunni Arabs.
Writing for AP
, of the attacks, Lauren Frayer states something totally different:
Despite concerns about a spike in unrest, Saturday's violence was not unusually high and there was no indication it was related to the execution.
Of the moments leading up to the execution, AP
In a final moment of defiance, [Saddam] refused a hood to cover his eyes.
reports the man hired to videotape Saddam Hussein’s execution recalls the brutal dictator’s humble final moments:
Ali Al Massedy was 3 feet away from Saddam Hussein when he died. The 38 year old, normally Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's official videographer, was the man responsible for filming the late dictator's execution at dawn on Saturday. "I saw fear, he was afraid."
"He died absolutely, he died instantly." Ali said Saddam's body twitched, "shaking, very shaking," but "no blood," he said, and "no spit."AFP
reports the execution, leading with their decidedly French viewpoint:
The United States has joined its arch-foe Iran in hailing the justice of Saddam Hussein's execution, but European powers opposed the use of capital punishment even though they condemned the former dictator's crimes in Iraq.
Some key US allies expressed discomfort at the execution. And Russia, which opposed the March 20, 2003 invasion to oust the dictator, and the Vatican expressed regret at the hanging which some Muslim leaders said would exacerbate the violence in Iraq.
It is interesting to note AFP's deference to Russian opinions, given the fact that Russia is typically brutal in dealing with its enemies both domestic and foreign.
Out of 14 comments about the execution AP published
, nine quotes were decidedly against the death penalty and some were anti-U.S.CNN
details an even different view of Saddam's last moments:
As a noose was tightened around Hussein's neck, one of the executioners yelled "long live Muqtada al-Sadr," Haddad said, referring to the powerful anti-American Shiite religious leader.
Hussein, a Sunni, uttered one last phrase before he died, saying "Muqtada al-Sadr" in a mocking tone, according to Haddad's account.
The judge said Hussein appeared "totally oblivious to what was going on around him. I was very surprised. He was not afraid of death."
The judge's statements appear in stark contrast to those of Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie:
"He was a broken man," al-Rubaie said. "He was afraid. You could see fear in his face."The New York Times
sees Saddam as a martyr in a misbegotten war and romanticizes:
When Mr. Hussein came to power three years before the Dujail killings, he ruled over an oil-rich country that was an economic and technical powerhouse in the Middle East with rising cultural and political influence. When he hurtled through the trap door of the gallows Saturday morning, the nation he left behind was a smashed and traumatized remnant, desperately trying to restore its own identity and its place in the world.
In the Reuters story, Saddam's death angers many Arabs, foes rejoice
, Alistair Lyon highlights the feelings of those "who felt the former Iraqi leader deserved to die voiced a sense of justice denied."
"Arab public opinion wonders who deserves to be tried and executed: Saddam Hussein who preserved the unity of Iraq, its Arab and Islamic identity and the coexistence of its different communities such as Shi'ites and Sunnis ... or those who engulfed the country in this bloody civil war?"Tags: War, Middle East, Operation Iraqi Freedom, United States, coalition, Saddam, Hussein, Execution
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