Life Imprisonment for Saddam?
Are the guerrillas fighting in Iraq demanding that Saddam not be executed as one of their conditions for coming in from the cold? Adrian Blomfield reports from Baghdad that leaders of the Fidayi Saddam and Jaish Muhammad (Sunnis, including some former military officers who adopted political Islam) have been in back-channel communications with the new Iraqi government about the grounds on which they might give up their fight. One stipulation is that Saddam not be executed.
This demand would anyway be easy for Jalal Talabani to grant, since he is a long-time opponent of the death penalty (a lot of Iraqis feel that the country has seen enough executions, anyway).
But my sense of the religious Shiites and most Kurds is that they want to see a hanging.
Personally, I am still afraid that a media trial of Saddam will provoke a lot of communal violence as the crimes of the regime are rehearsed. Although most Sunnis are not implicated in those crimes, they were disproportionately committed by Sunni Arabs, and it is not clear we really want to draw the attention of the people of Kirkuk to them at this juncture.
Meanwhile, the new vice president, Ghazi al-Yawir (a Sunni), held consultations Sunday with Hareth al-Dhari, the leader of the fundamentalist Association of Muslim Scholars. Al-Dhari continued to refuse to have anything to do with the new government, according to al-Zaman.