Saddam Hussein did not have to die.

 Saddam Hussein: Before being deposed by the U.S coalition in 2003, Saddam had ruled Iraq since 1979.

Saddam Hussein: Before being deposed by the U.S coalition in 2003, Saddam had ruled Iraq since 1979.


In an interview, Nouri Al-Maliki describes the days prior to the execution of Saddam Hussein as being characterised by “indecision” and “fear” on the part of the new government.


Saddam Hussein did not have to die. At-least not for the Americans who had requested an extension of fifteen days from the scheduled date for Saddam’s execution and refused, until the end, to deliver control into Iraqi hands.  Qatar and the United Nation's Security Council - with Washington’s support - were negotiating the price for the dictator so he could be expatriated the same day of his execution.

The person to reveal these new details is former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki who described the days prior to the execution as characterised by “indecision” and “fear” by the new government about what could happen after the dictator's death. Many within Iraq were against the death of Saddam . Among them was the former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and the then Minister of Justice, who refused to sign the order.

Why were they eager to kill Saddam then? According to some, the answer should be sought in the rules of international law. International law prohibits the death penalty for defendants above the age of seventy. Saddam approaching his birthday at the age of sixty-nine and any delays in the trial could have saved former president from the gallows. For others, the truth lies in Tehran and the Iranians, who wields considerable influence in  post-Saddam Iraq. The death of Saddam has given their government ample room for manoeuvre to increase its influence in the country and, at the same time, has eliminated a possible icon for the Sunni resistance. In retrospect, it was an unwise decision. The ghost of Saddam Hussein continues to inspire terror across Iraq, and the wider Middle East. 


Nino Orto