Feature: Saddam's execution fuels fears of more violence

Iraq's ousted president Saddam was executed by hanging at dawn on Saturday, raising fears that the hanging could bring more violence and tear the country apart.

In the western Baghdad Sunni neighborhood of Khadraa, people started their four-day Islamic festival Eid al-Adha, or Greater Bairam, with cautiousness as masked gunmen spread in the streets and the entrances of the district.

"Nobody move out or enter the neighborhood they have just executed Saddam Hussein," one gunmen told people who wanted to move out of the district.

"The scum executed him on our first day of Eid. They insist to insult us," the gunman told Xinhua.

Asked whether he feel sorry for Saddam, he said "after all what happened to us I wouldn't say I feel sorry for him, but those scum (the Iraqi government and the United States) are worse than him."

"He is just like an angel comparing to them, that's what make me feel sorry for him," he added.

A group of angry gunmen in their car said, "It is only part of the sectarian conflict guided by the Americans and their allays," referring to that Saddam was executed by his Shiite and Kurdish rivals.

"As for the Dujail case, I don't see he should be convicted as it was carried out during the war with Iran and the people were punished for their collaboration with the Iranians under the Iraqi law," a masked man said.

Um Muhammad, a Sunni housewife, said that "it is an insult for the Muslims to execute Saddam in this day. I feel it is like a gift for the Iranians and the Americans."

"What about those killed nowadays by those militias and the American soldiers? Who will prosecute them?" the housewife questioned.

In another mixed Sunni and Shiite neighborhood of Baiyaa, people reacted paradoxically.

"We can not express our feelings like before because we are afraid of reprisal assassinations, but I was expecting his execution whether sooner or later," said Hussein Abbas, a Shiite.

But Muhammad Ali Naser, a Shiite, said "it is the happiest moment in my life to hear the death sentence of the tyrant Saddam Hussein this morning."

Ali's friend Kadhim said, "Iraqis are very lucky to get rid of this criminal who tortured them for long years."

However, their friend Zuheir wished that "Iraqis themselves should do the whole thing from liberation to punishing the foes of the Iraqi people and not the Americans."

But Ra'fet Rasheed, a Sunni, was disappointed with the execution, saying "my desire was to reinstate Saddam to his former position to fulfill security to this wounded country."

Salman al-Janabi, a Sunni teacher, said "it is a fact that Saddam was a dictator, but he was really the right man for Iraqis. "

"Iraqis should accept their former situation of Saddam's time in stead of these miserable and bitter life," the teacher added.

Sa'ad, an Iraqi lawyer, said "Saddam execution brings the unity of the Iraqi people to an end as he was representing the symbol of Iraqi's unity," adding "it is the beginning of plunging Iraq into chaos and more sectarian violence."

Meanwhile, Khalaf al-Eliyan, head of the Iraqi Dialogue Front, said the authorities were eager to carry out the ousted leader's execution.

"They were in hurry to execute Saddam before ending the Operation Anfal, because they don't want to disclose those were really involved in the massacred of the Kurds, especially those who are participating in the government," said Eliyan.

Eliyan paid condolences to Iraqis and Saddam's family, saying " this execution whitened Saddam's page in case there was any remarks against him during his regime."

Asked whether there would be any consequences on the Iraqi national reconciliation, Eliyan said "the national reconciliation is nothing but a lie."

"All they did is to gain more time to commit genocide against the Sunni Arab for their historical revenge which goes back to 14 centuries," the Sunni Arab politician said.

As for the security situation expected after Saddam execution, Elliyan said, "I don't think there would be any change. The deteriorated situation maybe worse."

While Mwaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's National Security Advisor, urged Iraqis to "turn the page of Saddam and his crimes and look forward to the future," calling on the Iraqi people "to be calm and unified to build the country."

Source: Xinhua

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