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Saddam's Execution- More Propaganda?
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JLK



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 9:52 pm    Post subject: Saddam's Execution- More Propaganda? Reply with quote

Sectarian Saddam Insults Rile Middle East

Quote:
The guards shout "Moqtada, Moqtada," as Saddam is reciting a prayer with the noose around his neck: They are referring to Moqtada al Sadr, the extremist Shiite cleric whose Mahdi Army is the most feared militia in Iraq, widely thought to operate death squads targeting Sunnis.

When Saddam responds angrily to them, saying that such behavior "has torn Iraq apart," he is voicing an opinion that most Sunnis — but also many moderate Shiites — would agree with.


The US has been urging Maliki to purge the government of Sadrists in favor of Shi'ites who belong to more pro-American militias such as the Badr Brigade. So how does a crew of open Sadrists get into Saddam's presumably elite hand-picked execution squad? And how do they get away with such rude misbehavior? And how does an unofficial video get made and released?

If I didn't know better, I might suspect that the whole thing was staged to make the Sadrists look bad and to deepen sectarian divisions in Iraq. Especially since they did it on the first day of Eid al-Adha.

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parvati_roma



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More detailed account here... even worse than the one you posted.... plus reactions:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1980902,00.html

I don't think the Sadrist taunts could have been staged to "make them look bad" - Maliki has a reputation for being sadrist-friendly. The execution-shambles taunts simply provide extra proof that all the so-called "iraqi government" security forces are made up of sectarian militiamen, either sadrists or badr brigades - so what else is new?

Main "message" to my ear is that if sadrist militiamen are present and free to do as they please even on such a "solemn" occasion and in such a presumably-elite unit they're present everywhere in Baghdad and the south- police, army, streets... - so are even more all-pervasive, numerous and powerful than the US and/or Badr corps had been thinking - faint hope indeed of "eradicating" them!

But the execution was indeed a total shambles and the phone-film is creating an even greater surge of sectarian anger than the perfectly predictable Sunni fury-wave the execution was going to cause in any case.

I'd say the - incredibly inept - propaganda staging lay in the decision to hold the execution at all, especially now!

The timing-decision cut off all Kurdish hope of getting the facts of the gassings "officialized" and having Saddam condemned for them too, as it interrupted his trial for those events. Could be convenient ... hmmm?

And maybe the US govt. was afraid - for its own domestic PR reasons - of the likelihood the looming "3000 US fatalities" landmark would be hit around new year, and wanted to mask its sinister pall with a rahrah distraction-event for US TV viewers - even at the cost of adding another truckload of additional venom to the already ultra-venomous civil war in Iraq it keeps saying it wants to resolve?


Just another mess-up in the Great Iraq-War Mess... Rolling Eyes

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Last edited by parvati_roma on Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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parvati_roma



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Latest from La Repubblica is that Prodi along with other EU dignitaries had made some anti-deathpenalty disapproval statements about Saddam's execution and got slapped straight back by Maliki - gist being: "Yeah you can talk - what about Mussolini?"

... OUCH...!!

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ferdinand



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About propaganda, it seems to me that the "movie" may be doctored.

The begining of it is the same story than the offical one : one guy (SH) is climbing the stairs with masked murderers who speak kindly to him. One of the killers explain him how he's going to die and why he has to put a cloth around the neck (for to protect the skin, I guess), then the victim walks on the trap and the rope is secured to his neck...

The official one from CNN stops here.

On the "phone-camera" movie, then, everything becomes black for a long time.

Then, there is a few pixes of SH face, what could have been out of context.

All the insults are during the "black".

I think I ought to look again to the tapes to make more comparison, but, honestly, I'm not that much in snuff and looking "live" to an assassination don't give me good mood and feelings...

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JLK



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed the same thing and it added to my suspicions.

From the beginning, Sadr tried to prevent Sunni-Shi'ite fighting and made common cause with the Sunni insurgents that the real enemies were the foreign invaders. In response, coalition black ops attacked Sunnis making it appear as if Sadr's forces did it. The US desperately wants to avoid fighting a Sadr-Sunni resistance alliance. The effect of this video is to make Sunnis angry with Sadr and his supporters.

Now all we need is a terrorist act in the US blamed on the "angry Ba'athists" and Bush will have his public support for the troop surge. Maybe.

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ferdinand



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again short term interests of the Bushies are long term ones of the Shia...
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JLK



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Others are starting to ask the same questions...

Saddam's execution: Questions

Quote:
According to the official reports, the execution was witnessed by 14 members of Iraqi government. This means that the voices, we hear in the video, belong either to the three executioners, or to Saddam Hussein, or to the members of the Iraqi government. If this is true, then:

1. Who and why shouted, "Long live Muqtada Al-Sadr", and then, "Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada"? Why would members of Iraqi government want to do this? This does not make any sense. If they didn't, who did? Was the execution contracted out to the Mahdi Army? Who contracted it out, Americans or the Iraqi government? Why?
2. Why the chanting, we hear in the video, sounds like a bunch of young guys from the street, rather than "distinguished" members of the government? One would expect members of the government to behave in a more professional way.
3. Why the three executioners look, dress, and act like civilian guerrilla fighters rather than professional officers that would be expected to carry out a sentence of such historical and political importance in front of the members of the government?
4. Who recorded the cell phone video and published it on the internet fully knowing that this would provoke a long lasting violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq. The video seems to clearly "prove" that the Shia government and Mahdi Army executed Saddam. Who wants and needs a bloody, full scale civil war in Iraq? The timing of the execution, that was carried out on the morning of the Eid al-Adha, can only be explained by a desire to upset both radical and moderate Muslims and therefore to increase the size and scope of the expected conflict.

It is highly unlikely that "the organizers" of Saddam's execution did not and would not think about the above questions and consequences. What is really going on here?


Bottom line...the video fits squarely with US goals in Iraq. Would the Pentagon have missed an opportunity to spin this the way they wanted to? I don't think so. If they did, it shows just how tight a grip they have on the Maliki government. No surprise there.

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Cheryl



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marc Lynch (Abu Aardvark) has been chewing this over, too. No hard conclusions, but some overlap with what's been said here.
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parvati_roma



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More from Riverbend on the video's arabic content and its ... "significance"?

P.S. Riverbend - whom I greatly respect - is of Sunni origin, but had always been strongly secularist and anti-sectarian. She'd been anti-invasion right from the start, but used to be fiercely anti-Saddam too. Now even she is furious - with al-Maliki first, the Americans second - and complaining of blasphemy.

........

UK Telegraph's take:

Quote:
Execution gives Saddam a martyr's crown

In Washington the air is heavy with recrimination as the implications of Saddam Hussein's grotesquely botched execution sink in. What should have been an act of justice following due process had the baying ugliness of a lynching. A judicial execution designed to show finally that the era of Saddam is over threatens to have the opposite effect. When a dictator of exceptional brutality is shown dying with dignity and no little courage at the hands of hooded thugs, the martyr's crown surely beckons. No wonder American officials are washing their hands of the whole gruesome affair, and Tony Blair is refusing to make any comment from his Miami poolside.

There is some justice in American claims that it is the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki who must shoulder the burden of blame for this debacle. He trampled over religious and legal sensibilities to expedite the execution. The Iraqi constitution (by which the American-led coalition sets such store) requires President Jalal Talabani and his two vice-presidents to sign a decree of authorisation for any execution. Mr Maliki effectively ignored this requirement. Even more inflammatory as far as Iraq's Sunni minority is concerned was his flouting of the Iraqi law that executions should not take place during the Id al-Adha holiday. For Sunnis, that began on Saturday, the day of Saddam's execution.

If this had been some careless piece of provocation by an inept government, it would be one thing. But the anti-Sunni chanting of the masked executioners as Saddam died and the way the whole repellent scene was swiftly put into the public domain suggests something more menacing. The Maliki government appears to have used the execution to send a calculated message to Iraqi Sunnis that the Shias are the masters now. An administration whose overriding purpose should be to unify Iraq begins to look like a factional regime intent on repaying the Sunni minority for Saddam's decades of oppression of the Shias.

American sources have insisted there was little they could do to avert this latest calamity. They may be dismayed at Baghdad's dismal incompetence yet are constrained from intervening on the grounds that it would simply undermine the fledgling regime. Yet as President Bush completes his plans for a significant reinforcement of US forces in a final attempt to quell sectarian unrest in Baghdad, Saddam's execution looks likely only to inflame the situation and make the prospects of an orderly withdrawal by the coalition more remote than ever. Mr Bush could be forgiven for thinking that everything he touches in this ill-starred country turns to dross.


US officials are now saying they had wanted to postpone the hanging till after Eid but Maliki insisted. There is also talk of a coming US push against the Sadrists - but small, limited, highly "selective" ??

Quote:
There will be limited and targeted operations against members of the Mehdi Army," a senior Shi'ite official told Reuters. "The ground is full of surprises but we think around Jan. 5 there will be some operations. I can say no more."


There also seems to be some Shi'ite govt. infighting in play - the lynching plus taunts seems to have allowed Maliki to patch up his previous spat with Sadr, also seems to have strengthened his popularity - and consequent hold on authority - amongst the Shi'ites in general:

Quote:
A handful of Sadr's ministers suspended their participation in Maliki's government and his 30 members of parliament have also been staying away since Maliki approved a renewal of the U.S. forces' U.N. mandate a month ago.

But Maliki's fragile authority among his fellow Shi'ite's has been bolstered by Saturday's hanging of Saddam Hussein, whose Sunni-led administration oppressed the Shi'ite majority. While he negotiates to end a boycott of the cabinet by moderates in Sadr's movement, other Shi'ite leaders are pushing for a crackdown on Sadr militants.
(...)
(Reuters)


One thing that is certain is that reactions to the execution - especially the way it was carried out - have turned out to be extremely sectarian-divisive, not only in Iraq: I have noticed that even 2 previously very "detached", highly intellectual shi'ite posters on Pat Lang's blog - Iranian and Lebanese - are defending the hanging in quite passionate terms, not a word of criticism about it; while even some non-Iraqi secular-Sunni bloggers are reacting as furiously as Riverbend.

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ferdinand



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about the real target of all that closer to the Mediterrannean Sea than to the Gulf ?

Shia against Sunni... Hmmmmmm...

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parvati_roma



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah but I don't think their reach could have extended right past Maliki, let them insert ...Iraqi-arabic-speaking Israeli agents dressed as fake Mahdi fighters directly into the execution chamber under both US and Dawa/Sadrist party noses??? The Iraqi bigwigs choose their guards carefully, on past deeds and family-loyalties basis. Plus US ambassador Khalilzad is Sunni, doesn't particularly want to see his co-religionists remassacred wholesale by the US as a result of an even more violent uprising... nor does the local US military want to see even higher peaks in US casualty numbers?

So I think I'll take this one on face value - as signifying that post-invasion Iraq is an out-of-control sectarianist/factionalist madhouse blowing up in the US's face.

Only US consideration I think could have come into it, as I've already said, is that they let Maliki get away with a speeded-up execution with inadequate "formal signatures" paperwork - despite a few doubts about holding the execution in Eid - due to queasiness about US-domestic impact of the "3000 US dead" figure and need for a bit of rah-rah "patriotic" distraction, had no idea how Maliki would run the show, gave him his head on organising the execution to make him look/feel "sovereign" for once, also because both he and other shi'ites had been bitching so much about US raids and arrests... so the US guys were glad to chuck the "Iraqi govt." a free hand with the execution ... as a tranquillizer! Rolling Eyes

In return, Maliki gave the US a doctored "official" video for US use... then let the Sadrists leak the cellphone one locally.. to rev up both his own and their support amongst the Shi'ite masses??

....
P.S. Nir Rosen says the Shi'ites even "hijacked" the religious calendar in the most sectarian-spiteful way to carry out the execution:

Quote:
The important Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha was due to begin over the weekend. For Sunnis it began on Saturday the 30th of December. For Shias it begins on Sunday the 31st. According to tradition in Mecca, battles are suspended during the Hajj period so that pilgrims can safely march to Mecca. This practice even predated Islam and Muslims preserved this tradition, calling this period 'Al Ashur al Hurm,' or the months of truce. By hanging Saddam on the Sunni Eid the Americans and the Iraqi government were in effect saying that only the Shia Eid had legitimacy. Sunnis were irate that Shia traditions were given primacy (as they are more and more in Iraq these days) and that Shias disrespected the tradition and killed Saddam on this day. Because the Iraqi constitution itself prohibits executions from being carried out on Eid, the Iraqi government had to officially declare that Eid did not begin until Sunday the 31st. It was a striking decision, virtually declaring that Iraq is now a Shia state. Eid al Adha is the festival of the sacrifice of the sheep. Some may perceive it as the day Saddam was sacrificed.


On the US aspect:
Quote:
For many Sunnis and Arabs in the region, this appears to be one president ordering the death of another president. It was possibly a message to Sunnis, a warning. The Americans often equated Saddam with the Sunni resistance to the occupation. By killing Saddam they were killing what they believed was the symbol of the Sunni resistance, expecting them to realize their cause was hopeless. Sunnis could perceive the execution, and its timing, as a message to them: "We are killing you." But Saddam's death might now liberate the Sunni resistance from association with Saddam and the Baathists. They can now more plausibly claim that they are fighting for national liberation and not out of support for the former regime as their American and Iraqi government opponents have so often claimed. A lack of a hood (victims normally do not have a choice to wear a hood) a scarf to prevent rope burn for the soon to be distributed photo, a hallmark of US "We Got Him" psyops tactics. Even the US plane that flew him to his final resting spot seems to indicate US management.


(Followed by fullest-yet account of the Sadrist taunts, plus assorted local reactions)

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ferdinand



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The US seem to choose with some resilience their logical long term allies for making foes with...

My point is about the US, not some fantasmatic Israeli Ninja... Pushing a log between Hamas and Hezbollah may sound usefull. This kind of operation is a slow motion one... let's wait and see for possible next small signals...

About the outcome of the war in Iraq itself, I've said for ages that anything but civil war is very unlikely. Any major player may blow it sooner or later and no major player may realistically hope a better outcome for it. So...

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My point is about the US, not some fantasmatic Israeli Ninja... Pushing a log between Hamas and Hezbollah may sound usefull.


OK agreed - as one of the background-thingies contributing towards the US "execution now" decision. I very much doubt it will have much long-term effect on Hamas/Hezb relations though, too many far more local and immediate common-cause/common-interest bonds to outweigh it. So my guess is that its sectarian-rift-promoting effect will be shortlived in the Med-coast zone... amongst other things, Iran has become a major source of cash donations to Hamas.. so only right-and-fitting Palestinians should symbolically attest their gratitude for Saddam's past assistance. But ..."that was then, this is now".

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JLK



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't assume that the people chanting "Moqtadr" were really Sadrists. In fact don't assume that the cellphone audio with the taunts is genuine.

Hezbollah and Hamas don't have anything to do with this. It all relates to the US goal of building up SCIRI, marginalizing the Sadrists and preventing them from making common cause with the Sunni resistance.

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Dummkopf



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

parvati_roma wrote:
I don't think the Sadrist taunts could have been staged to "make them look bad"


Right, only Israel is clever enough to stage assassinations to make someone else look bad.

Using marc anizen's overarching principle of qui bono, the only person who came off with a shred of dignity in this whole proceeding was Saddam Hussein himself, so clearly the hanging was staged by Sunnis designed to make the Sadrists look bad. Why would the Maliki government do something like this just when the tide of world opinion is starting to flow their way? It doesn't make any sense. Possibly it was orchestrated by Osama bin Laden and France to make the United States look bad. It could even have been a plot by the pope to make capital punishment advocates look bad.

However, the real specialists in "false flag" operations are the Israelis, and the blurry photo/camcorder/video psyops disorientation technique is a signature method of the Mossad, making it almost a foregone conclusion that this hanging was staged by Israel to make the Russians look bad (while having the added benefit of propping up the sagging poll numbers of the Olmert government). A secretive Russian Jewish billionaire living in Switzerland with ties to Khodorkovsky and links to reclusive Jewish arms dealers owns the shock "reality" websites that captured and then distributed the cellphone video of the hanging, thus garnering him vast sums in free advertising and juicing site traffic before the company's scheduled IPO, a subsidiary that is being spun off from his vast but debt-burdened media empire to raise cash and reliquefy his holdings. With this additional capital he'll be in prime position to seize power when Putin leaves office, after offing his competitors among the other Russian Jewish mafia kingpins with a sprinkling of polonium-210 pixie dust and fiery car crashes made to look like accidents.

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