Iran, Iraqi Shiites Celebrate
Mosul, Baquba, West Baghdad Demonstrate
The US military announced that guerrillas had killed 3 US GIs in Iraq over Saturday and Sunday.
Only 8 percent of Americans are satisfied with ‘stay the course’ in Iraq.
Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that clashes broke out in Baghdad Sunday between joyous anti-Saddam and angry pro-Saddam demonstrators in the districts of Dora, Adhamiyah, al-Fadl and Haifa Street.
Wire services say that Sunni Arab guerrillas also lobbed mortar shells into the Green Zone, where Iraqi government offices and the foreign embassies are located.
In Iraq’s second-largest city, in the north, of Mosul, demonstrations were held Sunday night to criticize the Saddam verdict. The demonstrations were held throughout al-`Amil, Tal al-Ramlah, and New Mosul districts on the right side of the city, and the district of Quds (Jerusalem) on the left.
The Iraqi security forces violently suppressed hundreds of pro-Saddam demonstrators in Baquba, northeast of the capital, killing 2 and wounding 6.
‘In Baquba, a violent city with a mixed population just northeast of Baghdad, police put the final casualty toll at two dead and six wounded among pro-Saddam demonstrators when police and Iraqi troops opened fire on them after Sunday’s ruling. ‘
‘ A police patrol rolled down the main street in Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, 80 miles north of the capital. Instead of enforcing a curfew, it led a mob of thousands of demonstrators waving photos of Hussein and shooting AK-47 rifles into the air.
“This is an unfair verdict, and if Saddam is executed or not … he will remain a symbol and no one can delete it – neither the Iraqi government nor the Americans,” said Muhssin Ali Mohammed.
Within hours of the verdict, unknown assailants attacked an Iraqi military convoy in downtown Tikrit and a gunfight erupted. Huddled in her home nearby, Amira Khalid, 60, pondered life without her former leader.
“We used to have special treatment under Saddam’s regime. Where is the security now? Can any woman walk in the street at night? Of course not,” she cried. “I ask the government, can you restore the security of Saddam?” ‘
‘But in Sunni-dominated areas, the strongholds of Saddam’s Baath Party, the mood was very different. In Tikrit, Saddam’s home town, a thousand-strong crowd carried pictures of the dictator and shouted: “We will revenge you.”
In Ramadi, teacher Qasim al-Dulaimi, 45, said: “The sentence against president Saddam was unjust, it was merely to satisfy the American government.”
And in Mosul one man who would only give his first name, Bahjat, said: “They have sentenced Saddam to death for the killings that happened when he was a president. Who is going to sentence the leaders now for the killings that are happening every day?” ‘
The leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad `Akif, complained that although it was true that Saddam Hussein was all his life a great tyrant, his crimes were less than those committed by “the American occupation in Iraq.”
In Nablus, several thousand Palestinians demonstrated against the verdict, carrying placards with Saddam’s picture on it. Hamas said that Israeli leaders should have been tried before Saddam.
Iraq closed its border with Jordan in the wake of the verdict, as a security measure.
Iran, which fought an 8-year-long war to fend off Saddam Hussein’s armies [Ar.], expressed delight at the death sentence handed down Sunday against him. “Hanging is the least he deserved,” said one Iranian official. The Tehran Times gives more on the jubilant Iran reaction.
Al-Hayat also reports that Sadr Movement spokesman Sahib al-Aameri expressed that hope that Saddam could be hanged in Najaf near the tombs of Ayatollahs Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr [d. 1980] and Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr (d. 1999], both of whom he had killed. (Some say he killed Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr with his own hands.] The first of these ayatollahs was a major theorist of the al-Dawa (Islamic Call) Party, to which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki belongs. The second founded the Sadr movement and was the father of young Shiite clerical nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr.
Iran is considering holding talks with the US about Iraq security.
The Iraqi government closes two television stations.
Elizabeth Dole, who used to be a nice person, accused Democrats of wanting to lose in Iraq on Meet the Press. I’d reply that in the real world that isn’t as bad as actually losing, which the Bush administration has done.