Dr. Osama Al-Ghazali Harb, the editor in chief of the Egyptian quarterly Al-Siyassa Al-Dawliya magazine and board member and advisor to the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, published a column in the most recent issue of Al-Siyassa Al-Dawliya. The article praised the capture of Saddam Hussein and denounced Arabs and Muslims who lament it and propagate conspiracy theories surrounding it. The following are excerpts from the article, as it appeared in the original in English:(1)
'Saddam Surrendered in this Docile Manner Because He Knew His Captors Were Americans'
"The discovery of Saddam Hussein, the arrogant, cruel, and luxury-loving
leader, hiding in an underground hole - bringing to mind the tale of the
Thieves of Baghdad - and his surrender to his captors in a docile and cowardly
fashion, was indeed something of a farce. But, the 'Mother of all Farces,' to
borrow Saddam's famous idiom, is that Arabs and Muslims fail to grasp the true
implications of the rise, and fall, of Saddam Hussein.
'Saddam's Arrest is a Sign of Civility and Respect for the Law'
"Yet the farce of Saddam's surrender is nothing compared to the ridiculous
interpretations of this event circulating among Arabs and Muslims. The first
of these interpretations regards the manner of Saddam's capture as a
deliberate and unprecedented insult to all Arabs and Muslims. This point of
view implies that Saddam is in some form a symbol of Arabs and Muslims, a
'legitimate' leader, whose actions were a true reflection of the aims and
aspirations of Iraq and the Arab world. This cannot be further from the truth.
Saddam never had any real legitimacy - his decisions and policies were in flat
contradiction to Iraqi, Arab, and Islamic interests. Saddam's arrest - the
arrest of any criminal, anywhere - is neither an insult nor a humiliation, but
a sign of civility and respect for the law.
We Should Feel Humiliated that Arab Intellectuals Supported Saddam
"We should feel humiliated that Saddam was able to remain in power until
2003, and to single-handedly initiate a number of catastrophic policies that
transformed Iraq, relatively rich in natural, human, and financial resources,
into the poorest, most debt-ridden country in the Arab world, not to mention
the hundreds of thousands killed and displaced.
The Fall of Saddam Hussein - 'A Catalyst and Inspiration for Speeding Up Democratic Reform'
"More important, we must be clear on the fact that preserving national
sovereignty and integrity in no way contradicts with the serious pursuit of
real political and democratic reform in the countries of the Arab world. If
the fall of Saddam Hussein proves to be a catalyst and inspiration for
speeding up democratic reform in the region, it is not helpful to raise the
specter of U.S. intervention. Reform is not a U.S. or British issue, it is
first and foremost a domestic concern, espoused by the elite and society at
large, not only at present, but also in the past.
First Priority is 'To Rebuild State and Society in Iraq'
"The first priority must be to rebuild state and society in Iraq in a
manner that allows economic reconstruction and democratic reform to proceed.
Since the operations of the U.S. in Iraq resulted in the destruction of the
state and the political system, the U.S. is obliged to repair the damage it
created before leaving - at least to some minimal level. The militant
operations that injure and kill foreign troops and many Iraqi citizens impede
the process of reconstruction, and have the precise result of lengthening the
duration of the U.S.-British occupation in Iraq.