In the end, Saddam received some good old-fashioned colonial justice. Brutal, unnecessary and ultimately futile. The country will continue to descend into chaos (despite Bush praising the execution as a positive development for the country. In his dreams.)
The majority of the Iraqis want the Americans to withdraw forces within a year, but this will clearly be ignored by the powers in Washington, Canberra and London. After all, the Iraqis have become almost irrelevant in the equation; it’s now simply about “restoring American prestige.”
There still remains the question of the symbolism in Saddam’s execution. The Middle East has countless examples of regimes overthrown on the promise of a better life. In most cases, the new regimes consisted of locals who presented themselves as patriots, rising up to do away with corrupt regimes linked to the West. That is how Saddam presented himself.
The new Iraqi government, on the other hand, is viewed as an American pawn. As such, Saddam may come to be remembered as an authentic Iraqi leader – and thus his account with Bush would be posthumously settled in his favor.
Let’s hope for a 2007 that sees concrete signs of American withdrawal and full acceptance of military, political and social defeat. This won’t happen, of course (just like Vietnam, US Presidents are immune from reason) and further bloodshed is guaranteed.
More importantly, however, is this year’s development that US power in the Middle East has decreased considerably. The country is openly despised in much of the Arab world, and its ability to influence events – still greater than any other nation on earth, mind you – is lessened. This can only be a good thing for a timely re-ordering of the world. Such moves don’t happen overnight, but Iraq will undoubtedly be recognised as a turning point in American power.