Would Saddam’s Execution Reduce the Insurgency?

by Kevin Jon Heller

In other Saddam news, statements by the Iraqi government earlier today support my suspicion that it believes quickly executing Saddam will help quell the insurgency:

If the final verdict confirms Saddam’s guilt, he will be executed within 30 days, and some powerful Iraqi voices are calling for the judges not to dawdle.

‘We strongly feel that every day he lives is not good for the Iraqi people. We need to put an end to him, to this dictator,’ Bassam Ridha, a senior aide to Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, told AFP.

‘I hope this issue comes to an end quickly. Hopefully, in the next few months — before next summer — he will be dead,’ he said, adding that he was giving his personal view and not seeking to influence the verdict.

As I noted yesterday, I believe that executing Saddam is likely to make the violence in Iraq worse, not better, at least in the short term. For a far better explanation than I can muster of why that might be the case, I highly recommend Philip Carter’s recent essay in Slate, available here.


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