September 12, 2004


Saddam’s ally switches sides (Robert Winnett, September 12, 2004, The Sunday Times)

PROSECUTORS seeking to convict Saddam Hussein for war crimes believe they have made a significant breakthrough after Tariq Aziz, the former dictator’s right-hand man, agreed to give evidence against him.

Aziz, now the star witness, is understood to have agreed to “co-operate fully” with American interrogators in return for leniency. Until he made the deal Aziz, the former deputy prime minister and the only senior Christian member of the regime, was facing the death penalty.

Aziz is now expected to testify that Saddam was personally responsible for war crimes, including the slaughter of thousands of innocent Kurds and Shi’ites. In 1988 5,000 people died in a single day in the Kurdish town of Halabja after a gas attack which Saddam claims to have been an accident.

Before Aziz agreed to co-operate, prosecutors were struggling to find evidence such as signed orders or minutes of meetings that would prove the despot instigated such atrocities.

Two other senior members of the regime — Sultan Hashim Ahmad, a former defence minister, and Kamal Mustafa Abdullah, secretary of the Republican Guard — have also agreed to testify.

Prosecutors are now confident of mounting a successful case against the dictator. The US authorities are said to be delighted that Aziz seems to have turned against the former regime.

Of course, it would only be surprising to folks on the Left, who've convinced themselves that Saddam was an innocent victim of U.S. aggression.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 12, 2004 12:00 AM

Aziz has no place to go and no choice but to squeal. He is a dedicated Ba'athist, i.e. pan-Arab Nazi, which was an 'intellectual' movement designed to create a common Arab identity which would include Christians like Aziz, and create a rallying point against 'race enemies' like the Turks, Iranians, colonial powers and Jews. Its founder was a Lebanese French-educated Orthodox Christian named Michel Aflaq, no surprise on all counts.

If he returns to Basra or Mosul, Aziz would be lynched and he isn't popular with either Saddam's victims or allies in Baghdad. It is a simple matter for a former Saddam stooge wishing to run Iraq to put all the blame for the cruelties of Saddam on the Christian Aziz, not unlike the KKK types who blamed the fall of the Confederacy on Jefferson Davis listening to Judah Benjamin.

Posted by: Bart at September 12, 2004 7:43 AM

How did Karl Rove get to Aziz? The man's a genius!

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 12, 2004 8:20 AM

So much for omerta among Baathists.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 12, 2004 11:27 AM

Do you think we could get him to rat out Jacques Chirac too?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at September 12, 2004 10:53 PM

This is a striking contrast to the Bosnia/Kosovo
case againsrt Milosevic; How has the prosecution
failed to enter the relevant portion of the 1987
version of the Serbian Academy of Arts & Science;
which was a paen to ethnic cleansing

Posted by: narciso at September 12, 2004 10:58 PM