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Saddam’s Execution Provokes Political Debate

The execution of Saddam Hussein over the weekend provoked a strong reaction from both his supporters and detractors. Two regional experts assess where the hanging of the former dictator leaves Iraqi politics and society.

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    Iraq after the execution of Saddam Hussein. We begin with a look at the former dictator's final hours.

    In the middle of the night on Sunday, in the back of a pickup truck, Saddam Hussein's body was returned to the people of his tribe for burial. An Iraqi flag draped the coffin and mourners prayed for him.

    Before he was buried in his hometown of al-Awja, the circumstances surrounding his execution had become an internationally televised drama. This silent video of the hanging, released Saturday, shows a outwardly calm Saddam Hussein, resigned and ready to accept his fate.

    But yesterday, another video surfaced via the Internet, apparently captured on the camera cell phone of a witness. These images are blurred and shaky. The pictures and sounds reveal the chaos of Saddam's final moments.

    As he's moved into position, the Shiite guards taunt Saddam, a Sunni, with sectarian slogans. Someone calls out, "Go to hell!" At one point, the Shiites can be heard cheering the name of Muqtada al-Sadr, the powerful Shia cleric.

  • IRAQI:

    Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!


    Saddam defiantly replies, "Is that what you call manhood?" A judge tries to quiet the room, and the condemned man begins to pray as the floor falls away under his feet.

    For more, we turn to Adeed Dawisha, professor of political science at Miami University of Ohio. Born in Iraq, he's now a U.S. citizen and has written extensively on the Middle East.

    And Thabit Abdullah, a Baghdad native who's an associate professor of history at York University in Toronto.

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