Written in January 2003
By Talib Murad
The El Hayat newspaper has published a series of interviews with General Nazar Al Khazraji, the former chief of staff of the Iraqi army who worked directly with Saddam Hussein until 1991. Throughout the series, Al Khazraji repeats that Saddam is haunted by history, and that he has become more obsessed with this since the end of the war with Iran. According to him, Saddam is fascinated by the personality of Joseph Stalin, and imitates him whenever possible. This he does not only in the savage way he treats the Iraqi people and their neighbors, but even inside the closed circle meetings he has with his top brass. The difference between these two brutes is that the first has been relegated to the rubbish bin of history (although even today, there are some in Russia and Third World who still do not curse him, while never praising him). Saddam, on the other hand, when he is finally deposited in that famous bin, will be accompanied by an eternal curse. Even those who still support the Iraqi regime today, mainly writers and leaders from the Arab world (who had in the past, or still have, access to Saddam Hussein's purse) will be the first to curse and denounce him -- once they are sure that he has been removed from the scene.
The General told the interviewers that he has heard Saddam say more than once that he reserves the last bullet in his revolver for his own head, and that whoever takes over after him will receive Iraq as dust and rubble. This is a major difference between Stalin and Saddam: the first left a great superpower after his demise, while the latter threatens to reduce Mesopotamia to dust if he is ever removed from power.
Others go even further and liken Saddam to Al Hagaag Ibn Yousuf Al Thakafi who lived from 660 to 714 A.D. Al Hagaag was a teacher of the Arabic language in the Arabian desert who later joined the military and became a powerful governor, infamous for the staggering number of Mesopotamians that he executed during his rule. Al Hagaag was a brutal monster and symbolized the Arabian sea of sand drowning the green shores of Mesopotamia.
The father of all the idols of Saddam, who is the father idolater, is Hamourabi, the 'lord of heaven and earth' who lived some 3,780 years ago. Hamourabi codified his laws in ancient Babylon but did not make up the laws himself as they were based upon older, Sumerian law. All the citizens of Babylonian society were protected under this legal system, even the slaves. Hamourabi's code was the first written law in the world and it was based upon equal retaliation according to the "eye-for-an-eye" principle.
3,780 years later, a petty dictator, not satisfied with the convoluted modern laws, (which he distorted as the mood struck him), to rule the nation, turned to this antiquated code to rule his unfortunate people. Hamourabi's code of laws was made up of 282 case laws, written in the Akkadian language using cuneiform writing. The imprint of Hamourabi's code of laws is to be seen all over the ad hoc laws of Saddam Hussein, which he produces regularly for whatever occasion. The sentences handed over to the Babylonians, according to the Hamourabi code include the following:
o Death was the sentence in 22 cases
o Hewn off hands in 5 cases
o Teeth knocked out in 1 case
o Whipping in 1 case
o Breaking of bones in 1case
o Removing of breasts in 1 case
o Burning alive in 1 case
o Skinning alive in 1 case
o Cutting off hair in 1 case
o Taking possession of houses in 1 case
o Drowning in the river in 3 cases
o Exiling in 1 case
o Cutting off tongues in 1 case
o Gouge eyes in 1 case
Nevertheless, despite the apparent barbarity of these edicts, Hamourabi brought prosperity to the land, while Saddam has brought nothing but death and destruction. Hamourabi's law was a unique invention 3,780 years ago; a tool that helped establish the roots of civilization. Saddam's ad hoc laws, on the other hand, have been used to destroy civilization and terminate humanity. Hamourabi never castrated the people of Babylon; Saddam's regime is not only doing it regularly, he is even proud of it. Hamourabi never gassed or poisoned people; Saddam has done it repeatedly. There were no blood feuds or private retributions permissible under Hamourabi's law; Saddam's regime, power and behavior are all based on feuds and private retribution.
If Saddam had his way, he would have the names of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who were made to disappear or were killed by his security apparatus, inscribed on pillars similar to Hamourabi's blocks and have them erected all over the country. He could even have the castrated testicles, cut tongues, gouged eyes and chopped ears of his victims pickled and displayed in large jars in public parks and museums or perhaps arrange the curingof the amputated hands of Iraqis and make ashtrays out of them for the Ba'ath party members to use.
Who knows what the current lord of heaven and earth can achieve? I offer my apologies to the lawyers and historians for infringing on their domains.