Reaction in the Arab world to Saddam’s execution has been mixed. Shi’ites in Iraq’s Sadr City openly celebrated the end of a dictator who frequently inflicted terrror on their community and there was satisfaction too in Kuwait, where Saddam is reviled for the invasion of 1990.
“Execution is the least he should have got,” said one woman. “What he did in Kuwait was unbelievable. They should have handed him over to those he hurt so they could do whatever they want with him.” But as a symbol of resistance to US domination, Saddam had supporters accross the world, while the decision to execute him on a Muslim holy day also provoked angry demonstrations. “We condemn the execution of Saddam Hussein on Eid Day,” said one protester in Karachi, Pakistan. “He should have been brought to an independent tribunal and given the chance of defence. It was America who installed Saddam Hussein in the Middle East and finally got rid of him when he had served US purposes.”
Libya is the only country where Saddam is being officially mourned, but on the streets of Syria, too, concern was expressed over the political implications of the execution: “It’s a big humiliation to Arab leaders because the USA wants to send them a message,” said one man. “If they don’t obey the USA they will have the same ending. This is the decision of the occupying forces and the illegal government. Unfortunately it was a sectarian judgement .”