Execution Begins to Deepen Divisions:
By Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily
"The execution appears already to be generating more sectarianism, which has already claimed tens of thousands of lives in the war-torn country. Sectarian divisions have opened up primarily between Shias and Sunnis, who follow different belief systems within Islam.
Several Shia leaders, particularly those of Iranian origin, say the execution would be a blow to resistance against the Iraqi government by Saddam loyalists. In Baghdad's sprawling Shia slum, the Sadr City, where most of the three million inhabitants are loyal to the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, people danced in the streets while others fired in the air to celebrate the execution.
National security advisor Mouaffaq al-Rubaii, a Shia, declared that "we wanted him to be executed on a special day."
Celebrations in Kurdish areas were no expression of unmixed joy, even though Kurds were persecuted more than any other group under Saddam's regime.
"The world ignored Saddam's crimes when he committed them," Azad Bakir, a 35-year-old engineer in the northern Kurdish city Arbil told IPS on phone. "But we are committing the same crime again by executing him like this."
The resistance to occupation is expected to continue. A spokesman for the Al-Mujahideen Army resistance group in Ramadi told IPS that his group saw Saddam Hussein simply as the leader of the Ba'ath Party who was "a helpless man in jail when we conducted our heroic operations against invaders."
The spokesman, who refused to give his name, added: "We praise his bravery in facing death, but his death will not increase or decrease our carefully planned actions until the U.S. invaders and their allies leave our country."
A friend of Saddam's oldest daughter Raghad told IPS: "The family's only concern now is to receive the body for burial in a dignified way suitable for a martyr and a national hero."
Worse days are likely ahead in Iraq. It doesn't matter how many US troops are there. They will never be able to stop the bloodshed with an American army. It will only be solved by the Iraqis themselves.
We need to start bringing our soldiers home NOW!