The Trial of Saddam Hussein and The Fallout of The War

The Trial of Saddam Hussein


The fallout in the Middle East from the regime change in Iraq

Friday, July 08, 2005

Saddam Hussein's Lawyer Resigns

Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer, Ziad al-Khasawneh, has left Saddam Hussein's legal team.

He cites attempts by the team's American members to try to run the defence, and "soft pedal" on the US occupation of Iraq, as being the reasons for his resignation.

Ziad al-Khasawneh reportedly said that Saddam's eldest daughter, Raghad, prefers to have Americans and non-Arabs on the defence team "because she thinks they will win the case and free her father."

Al-Khasawneh is quoted as saying:

"I was resigning because some American lawyers in the defense team want to take control of it and isolate their Arab counterparts,".

The Americans on the team include former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark.

Al-Khasawneh said Clark and Curtis Doebbler, another American lawyer helping defend Saddam, "have often asked me to refrain from criticizing the American occupation of Iraq and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government."

Al-Khasawneh has also accused Saddam's daughter of removing all files related to Saddam's defense from his office. "I was away in Libya when she did all that without my knowledge,".

Saddam's legal team includes 1,500 volunteers and 22 lead lawyers from several countries including; the United States, France, Jordan, Iraq and Libya.

No date has been set for the trial of Saddam.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Saddam's Security Officer Killed

The body of Assad Abdel Hadi Haidar, a former Iraqi security officer for Saddam Hussein, was found by Egyptian police on Tuesday.

Haidar's body was bound to a chair with his nose and mouth taped; seemingly he died of suffocation.

Police have arrested five Egyptians, including a real estate agent who was helping Haidar to find a house in Cairo, in connection with the crime.

Haidar entered Egypt on June 6 as a businessman, he fled Iraq fearing vengeance from family members of victims of Saddam's regime.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Dodgy Property Deals

The fall of Saddam Hussein has unearthed some dodgy property deals in Iraq.

It was common practice, under the dictatorship of Saddam's Baath party, for the state to strip political opponents and those sentenced to death or prison or deported of their assets.

Now that Saddam has gone, the new regime has allowed people to reclaim their "stolen" property.

The law denies compensation to those who bought contested property at government auctions, and is unclear on what those who have to give back property would get in return.

This has led, not surprisingly to complicated legal disputes as to who owns what.

There have been 77,000 claims, in which about 1,000 final decisions were made with half the applications rejected.

Two favourable rulings from the commission for properties were given to the two cousins of former prime minister, Iyad Allawi.

Commission chief Suhail Saleh was a member of the Baathist party, and is seen by many to be biased in his rulings.

There are other worries as to ownership; the home of former deputy premier Tareq Aziz was taken over by Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, entire blocks in Baghdad's upscale Mansur district occupied by the Iraqi National Congress party of Ahmed Chalabi and several homes and buildings taken over by Allawi's Iraqi National Accord party among others.

Haitham Fadel, the official who compiled the property list, was shot in Baghdad in May 2004 with Chalabi's nephew Salam.

Money and property can be very divisive.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Shootout With Saddam's Bodyguards

There has been a shootout between Syrian security forces and ex members of Saddam Hussein's bodyguard on Mount Qassioun, near Damascus.

A Syrian security officer has reportedly died in the shootout, which happened on Sunday night.

Two members of the group are believed to have been arrested, four policemen were also hurt.

A Syrian security official has been quoted as saying that Monday's clash took place with a "group of people wanted for terrorist crimes... some of whom were former bodyguards of Saddam Hussein".

A Syrian official quoted by Sana identified one captured militant as a Jordanian citizen, Ayed al-Semadi.

Last week, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accused Syria of allowing insurgents to enter Iraq for attacks on US and government targets.

Syria has denied it is aiding the Iraqi insurgents.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Best Seller

Despite languishing in a prison cell, as he awaits trial, Saddam Hussein appears to have a best seller on his hands.

It is reported that in Amman's downtown bazaars, the bestselling book these days is Saddam Hussein's bootlegged novel "Get out of here, curse you!"

The book was banned by Jordan, on the grounds that it would harm relations between Jordan and Iraq.

Saddam's book tells the story of Salem, a noble Arab tribesman representing righteousness and Arab nationalism, who defeats his American and Jewish enemies.

The story tells how Salem unites divided Arab tribes in Iraq to defeat Hisquel, a foreign intruder who represents evil.

However, despite the ban, it seems that the novel has become so popular that booksellers say they can't keep up with demand.

One vendor is quoted as saying:

"We are waiting for the book to be published again. Even if it is banned I will ask for copies outside Jordan..I had it before the government banned it but after the ban more people came to look for it,".

As with any product that is banned, as soon as it is banned, people will clamour all the more for it.

Governments never learn, do they?

Portraits of Saddam smiling like a benevolent father figure are also popular in the shops of Amman.

Some regard Saddam as an Arab nationalist leader.

Joost Hiltermann, of the International Crisis Group, is quoted as saying:

"There is a lot of unhappiness in Jordan about what is going on in Iraq..The images of violence and of Saddam in his underpants have reinforced the notion that the US war is illegal and that Americans are in Iraq to humiliate Arabs."