Workers Vanguard No. 887

2 March 2007


From Death Row, This Is Mumia Abu-Jamal

Saddam on the Gallows

Saddam Hussein is gone.

The President of Iraq, who fell out with his imperial paymasters in Washington, was hanged for his hubris, amidst taunts by hooded supporters of Muqtada Al-Sadr, head of the Shi’a Mahdi Army.

His crime? Surely not the killing of his Shi’a opponents, nor his torture of Iraqis; for in the grim aftermath of these events, US envoys continued to skin and grin with him, shaking his hand (as did the then-Reagan Administration’s Donald Rumsfeld), and sending him more tools of war and weapons of mass destruction.

If he was guilty of crimes against humanity, what of those many Americans who aided and abetted him? What of those many Western businesses which armed him (and greatly profited from such arms deals)?

It is a sign of our cynical times that the nation that egged on and armed Saddam during his long and brutal war with Iran, that looked the other way when he waged his reign of repression against the Shi’a majority, now deigns to punish him for doing their bidding.

Saddam was sentenced to death for human rights violations that happened in 1982, right? Well, why did the US sign diplomatic treaties with Iraq in 1984? In the remarkable book, “Behind the Iraq War”, written by the Indian activist group, Research Unit for Political Economy (New York: Monthly Review, 2003) we learn that diplomatic relations between Iraq and the US were formally restored “well after the United States knew, and a U.N. team confirmed, that Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Iranian troops” [p. 31]. In fact, in 1986, when the U.N. Security Council tried to condemn Iraq for using mustard gas against Iran’s troops, the US blocked the resolution!

As RUPE writes, arming Iraq against Iran was good business:

“Brisk trade was done in supplying Iraq. Britain joined France as a major source of weapons for it. Iraq imported uranium from Portugal, France, and Italy, and began constructing centrifuge enrichment with German assistance. The United States arranged massive loans for Iraq’s burgeoning war expenditure from American client states such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. administration provided ‘crop-spraying’ helicopters (to be used in chemical attacks in 1988), let Dow Chemicals ship its chemicals for use on humans, seconded its air force officers to work with their Iraqi counterparts (from 1986), approved technological ex-ports to Iraq’s missile procurement agency to extend the missiles’ range (1988). In October 1987 and April 1988 U.S. forces themselves attacked Iranian ships and oil platforms.” [p. 31]

If that ain’t aiding and abetting, what is?

But those who aided Iraq have since joined hands to condemn him, and to rip the nation into strips (a Shi’a strip, a Kurd strip, and a Sunni strip). They could care less about the Iraqi people, or even such canards as “democracy”. For the farthest thing from American and Western concerns is the will of the Iraqi people. According to every reputable poll, Iraqis are sick and tired of their occupiers, the Americans.

The U.S. loved Iraq during ‘The War of the Cities’ when almost a million people on both sides were slaughtered. But Saddam got too big for his britches. He thought he could act with impunity in his region of the Middle East.

Saddam didn’t know that this was a pleasure reserved to the US Empire. For only the US could start a war on this scale, cause the death of over a 1/2-million people, use false pretexts to invade a sovereign state, torture its people, ravage cities like Fallujah, almost shatter the nation into threes, wreak untold national and regional havoc—and call it liberation.

The execution of Saddam Hussein was purely an exercise of raw American power.

History will prove this is but a minor blip on the road to oblivion.

©2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

Send urgently needed contributions for Mumia’s legal defense, made payable to “National Lawyers Guild Foundation” and earmarked for “Mumia,” to: Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal, P.O. Box 2012, New York, NY 10159.

If you wish to correspond with Mumia, you can write to: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM8335, SCI Greene, 175 Progress Drive, Waynesburg, PA 15370.

For the ICL’s position on national/religious divisions in Iraq, see, for example, “The U.S. Occupation and the Kurdish Question” (WV No. 871, 26 May 2006) and “Imperialist Occupation: Hell for Iraq” (WV No. 882, 8 December 2006). Both articles are available on the ICL’s Web site,