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Predictions On The Trial of Saddam

The effect of Saddam Hussein's trial has been discussed in passing more than once at JW. See, e.g., the fourth paragraph of the following posting from Dec. 15, 2005:

"Not a word here at JW about the Iraqi elections."
--- from a reader

There was a comment, deliberately posted the day before the election [on Dec. 15, 2005], so that whatever predictive value it has would be stronger by being made before, and not after, the event.

That comment was as follows: that the Sunnis who participated in the elections were not doing so as an alternative, but rather as a supplementary way to, express their intention to oppose the transfer of power and wealth to the Shi'a who make up 60% of the population in Iraq.

The comment went on to note that when the returns are in, no matter what they turn out to be, they cannot possibly satisfy the Sunnis who are convinced that they constitute 42% of the population (and that's not counting the Kurds), that if they receive, after their "heroic" efforts at voting, less than that amount of power, if they are forced to permanently surrender their dreams of domination, things will continue exactly as before. The great "achievement" of the election -- where a lot less is there than meets the Administration's eye -- is merely to insure what was already insured by the American invasion which toppled Saddam Hussein's regime: to wit, the end of Sunni Arab rule in Iraq.

And there was another thing noted. And that was that the trial of Saddam Hussein, like the Constitution which the Sunnis wish to have reopened, is not likely to "bring Iraqis together" as the Americans, so naive about Iraq and about Islam, hoped. Rather, that trial, exposing the very different attitudes toward Saddam Hussein (the Americans actually believed that the Sunnis would see him as a monster, whereas many see him, now, as their perhaps-not-entirely-pleasant strongman, protector, and defender of Sunni interests), will exacerbate the Sunni-Shi'a fissures.

That is a good thing. What is not a good thing is that the American administration, getting everything upside-down, thinks that those fissures are a bad thing.

A topsy-turvy analysis, where one mistake engenders another.

And yet, in the end, if the Americans withdraw within the next few months, leaving no important equipment behind, and simply allow things to take their natural course, all the while keeping up a steady patter of rhetoric about how "now it's time for the Iraqis to decide what they want in Iraq for themselves," this will in the end lead to the very "victory" of which Bush prates -- exactly by his failing to do what he wishes to do, and by letting Muslim nature take its course.

[Posted by: Hugh at December 16, 2005 04:21 PM]