Sunday, January 07, 2007

Will the execution of Saddam Hussein change anything in Iraq?

The speed with which the Iraqis moved to execute Saddam Hussein was somewhat surprising, but the inevitability of his execution was no surprise at all. Sure, there will be some short-term frenzy related to his execution, but since he has been out of the picture for quite a long time as far as fighting and politics, he has been irrelevant for quite some time. Politicians are politicians, and there is no question that the elimination of Saddam Hussein has opened up a lot of political opportunities for politicians who otherwise would be "riding in the back seat" as long as Saddam Hussein was considered the rightful leaders of the Sunnis and Baathists. His regular appearances in court were a distraction and sideshow that diverted attention from the need for politicians to focus on the hard political work in front of them.

Yes, the abrupt process of dubious legal quality is a real shame, but the Iraqis needed to move forward regardless of whether Saddam Hussein's shadow was still over them. Now the shadow is completely gone.

The situation in Iraq won't become magically better now that Saddam Hussein is gone, but it won't get much worse over the longer term either.

-- Jack Krupansky


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