Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Conflicting Views From the Middle East

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Middle East correspondent Betsy Hiel reports on regional reaction to the start of Saddam Hussein's trial today. Not surprisingly, views from around the Arab world are not exactly in harmony.

It seems that more than just a few folks -- outside of Iraq, of course -- are big time Saddam supporters. To them, the trial is part of American tyranny in the former Baathist state. Like this fellow:

Former Jordanian parliamentarian Leith Shubeilat, now a leader of the Islamist opposition, dismissed the trial as an American machination. "There is a general feeling of humiliation and that the United States ... is interfering in the affairs of the region." He believes Jordanians see it as "justice of the victors, not the Iraqis ... a political show."

"People are very resentful of America, and they are proud of the resistance in Iraq."

Well, then, Sunshine, why don't you and these "people" of whom you speak go over the border into Iraq and join the resistance if you're so damned proud? You'd be a welcome addition -- to the body count of dead terrorist arseholes.

Failing that, you can emigrate to America and run for office as a Democrat. That party would welcome you with open arms.

Of course, Saddam's Iraq was a friendly neighbor to Jordan, so you expect some pro-Saddam bias there. But what about the neighbors on the other side of Iraq'?

One place where Saddam's trial will be closely followed is Kuwait. Saddam invaded and ravaged that nation in 1990, before being ousted in 1991 by a U.S.-led coalition of Arab and European nations. Thousands of Kuwaitis disappeared during Iraq's occupation.

"The trial for us is justice, it is happening to a leader who was suppressing his people and committing international crimes," said Abdullah Sahar Mohammed, a professor of political science at Kuwait University.

"We have been waiting for this trial, and I hope that it will not be politicized, giving Saddam room to maneuver," he said. But he predicts some countries "like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria don't want to see Saddam Hussein face this trial, so they will politicize the issue."

Yep, when you ask someone who has suffered under Saddam's tyranny, you get a whole different reaction, and a more informed one. When the professor says that the Kuwaitis have been waiting for the trial, you know that their wait has lasted a lot longer than the two years since America entered Iraq. Saddam should have been tried and executed fourteen years ago.

The four countries that Professor Mohammed mentions are just like Iraq was before the war (and still is today to some extent): they have a high concentration of Idiots Who Need To Be Eliminated From The Face Of The Earth. Iraq was the worst of the bunch, and their leadership needed to go first. I don't believe that there should be a timetable or an agenda for going into the other countries like we did in Iraq. Iraq is a test case, a chance to show how positive regime change can be for people in the Middle East.

So again, I ask of you other pro-Saddam elements from the neighboring Arab counties: Can you come to Iraq to fight the Americans? Please? So we can kill you? Just stand still and you won't feel a thing. Thank you.

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