V de Vingança

Enquanto em Portugal Rui Ramos se ridiculariza a si mesmo com a desfaçatez do ano –

«Teria preferido ver Saddam na Haia, como Milosevic, embrulhado num processo interminável. Mas isso é uma questão de sensibilidade cultural.»

– o Financial Times de 2 de Janeiro traz o editorial que transcrevo a seguir. Está lá tudo para quem quiser ler: a execução foi um puro e simples «linchamento público», um acto «deliberadamente concebido» para afirmar a hegemonia xiita, o maior insulto concebível, no feriado mais sagrado do calendário muçulmano, a todo o mundo sunita, o abandono final, da parte do actual governo iraquiano, de qualquer pretensão de governar em nome de todos os iraquianos. [It] will have profound consequences for Iraq, and for the Middle East and those powers that so recklessly meddle in its politics.

An indecent end to a reign of infamy

Financial Times, 02.01.2007

The execution on Saturday of Saddam Hussein may have marked the passing of one of the vilest tyrants of the late 20th century. But the way in which the Baghdad hangmen turned it into a public lynching – disseminated around the world courtesy of a mobile phone camera and the internet – will have profound consequences for Iraq, and for the Middle East and those powers that so recklessly meddle in its politics.

While President George W. Bush may hail the dictator’s demise as another “milestone” on Iraq’s path to democracy, it looks just as likely it will turn out to be another paving stone on the road to the sectarian hell into which Iraq is descending.

With this squalid act, the Shia-dominated government led by Nuri al-Maliki, has for all practical purposes abandoned any pretence that it aims to govern on behalf of all Iraqis.

At one level, the new, ostensibly democratic administration showed it was no different from its predecessors – including the bloodthirsty Ba’ath party – in needing to dramatise regime change with violent or gory images of dead and defeated leaders. At another, this was deliberately conceived as an act of vengeance and designed to exemplify Shia hegemony.

Among the jeers and taunts hurled at Saddam as he waited for the trapdoor to open was the name of Moqtada al-Sadr, the young radical who heads the Mahdi army, the largest Shia militia and the biggest single winner of the 2005 elections. His bloc had demanded the dictator’s head as its price for rejoining the Maliki coalition.

Mr Maliki gave it to him on the Eid al-Adha, or feast of the sacrifice, the holiest Muslim feast day, in the most virulent insult to Sunnis in Iraq and throughout the Islamic world.

Saddam was also reminded by his executioners of Moqtada al-Sadr’s uncle, Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr, the leading cleric whom the Ba’ath hanged at the beginning of the 1980-88 war Saddam launched against Iran, and the founder of the Da’wa (Call) party. This shadowy Islamist movement, to which Mr Maliki and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, his predecessor as prime minister, belong, made seven attempts to assassinate Saddam. That the government tried the dictator for his reprisals after one of these attempts in 1982 – rather than genocide against the Kurds and massacres of the Shia – made the legal process look like a vendetta rather than the holding to account of serial infamy.

Indeed the trial of Saddam and his henchmen has been a catalogue of missed opportunities to establish for all Iraqis – including his Sunni minority which had so cruelly lorded it over the Shia majority – that the new order was founded on the rule of law. As it lurched between chaos and manipulation towards the weekend’s indecent conclusion, it always looked like victors’ justice, carried out under the umbrella of the US occupation.

Politically, it looks as if the Maliki government no longer intends seriously to pursue the two paths that offered a glimmer of eventual stability: internal reconciliation, above all between Shia and Sunni, and external co-operation, above all with Sunni neighbours such as Saudi Arabia.

The manner of Saddam’s execution was a clear message to Sunnis in and outside Iraq: that the ruling bloc’s primordial goal is to consolidate the empowerment of the Shia triggered so carelessly by the Anglo-American invasion in 2003, tilting the balance of power in the region towards Shia Iran.

The situation in Iraq is now so out of control that it is impossible to discern any plot or overall narrative in its affairs, only fathomless sub-plot, as militias and bandits — some rebadged as police and Iraqi army – and insurgents and jihadis vie lethally for control of their fragments of the country.

As Mr Bush ponders Iraq at his Texas ranch, he is reported to be considering a “surge” of reinforcements. Questions about whether the US army has the resources to do this aside, it is hard to see what it would achieve, given the now near uniform hostility of Iraqi Arabs to American troops, whom they regard as a sort of hyper-militia.

With no good options left, his best bet would be to act on the Baker-Hamilton report, recommending: a structured troop pull-back; a regional diplomatic offensive; and engagement with all Iraq’s neighbours, including Iran.

Sobre Ivan Nunes

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