Monday, April 11, 2005

Not Saddam's Iraq Anymore

Jim Hoagland, via the Washington Post, very thoughtfully writes Iraq's deposed dictator a letter discussing recent events. Mr. Hoagland gingerly breaks the news to Saddam Hussein that this is "no longer your Iraq":

Your claim to defend "Arabism" by persecuting the Kurds (and going to war against the Persians in Iran) was always a cover for the fact that you and your Baathist sidekicks also represent a minority in Iraq. Like the Kurds, Sunni Arabs make up about one-fifth of the population.

Here's my point: The Middle East is a giant mosaic of religious and ethnic minorities that have until now known only how to persecute or be persecuted. Frequently the claim of cultural, political and religious cohesiveness contained in pan-Arabist ideology such as yours is put forward to mask the true diversity and conflicts of the people known as Arabs.

Suppressing diversity is what you were all about. The same is true for your ideological brothers yet personal enemies, the ruling Baathists in Syria, who represent a minority Alawite sect that can rule only by force. No wonder they see themselves as imperiled by democracy arriving next door. Let's hope for once they are right.

Your neighbors tolerated or actively supported your brutality and corruption simply because you were a Sunni Arab. For them, that gave you a license to kill, rob, rape or imprison not only the Kurds (though they are Sunnis) but also the majority Shiites (though they are Arab).

Hoagland notes that the new Iraq is helping to forever change the dismal reality of Saddam's Middle East. This one is a must-read, I only hope Saddam gets to see it. If he does, I fear he'll refrain from writing Mr. Hoagland back, however:

No Longer Your Iraq


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