News came down yesterday that Saddam Hussein will be executed in less than 30 days. Time will prove this to be a mistake.
Hussein, who is undoubtedly a wretched excuse for a human being, should instead be thrown into a dark jail cell to live out his remaining years. The alternative, his execution, will only fuel an already highly incendiary situation.
Take his exiled Baath party, for example, who today threatened to retaliate and strike at U.S. targets should Hussein be executed. Baath claims that if the execution takes place, it would be impossible for them to "take part in any prospective negotiations with U.S. and Iraqi officials to reduce the violence in Iraq."
In all fairness, Baath is a radical group who is working to overthrow what they see as a puppet regime. They will work to undermine the current Iraqi government regardless of Hussein's situation. But should he be executed, resentment towards the U.S. and the Iraqi government will be significantly heightened; Hussein will be made into a martyr, quite possibly leading to greater fanatical loyalty and radical action.
There's also the risk of further alienating Sunni Arabs, many of whom are members of the Baath Party and who have made up the minority that has formed the Iraqi insurgency after Hussein was toppled in 2003. Sectarian violence between Shiite and Sunni groups and the escalating threat of civil war will hardly wane after Hussein is executed.
With each passing day, Hussein becomes less and less relevant to the situation in Iraq and the Middle East -- and this despite his high-profile trial and tirades; it has been proven that Hussein's ongoing existence in this world has little bearing on the political situation in Iraq.
What is unknown, however, is what will happen after he is executed.
Geoffrey Robertson suggested exiling Hussein to the Falklands, as Napoleon was exiled to Elba.
Of course, that failed in Napoleon's case.
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