January 01, 2007

Deluded to the Last

From Deluded to the Last:

  • Saddam Hussein was once, in the 1980s, an enforcer of the Sunni Arab order of power, its gendarme against the hurricane of the Iranian revolution from the east. He took up his sword against the "fire-worshipping" Persians, and gave himself the task of quarantining the revolutionary brigades of Ruhollah Khomeini.
  • Egypt had walked away from its pan-Arab burdens, and the perennial hunger of a thwarted culture for a would-be redeemer gave Saddam his moment in the sun. The role that had been Nasser's in the 1950s and 1960s was there for Saddam to claim.
  • He presented his dominion, and the terror at its heart, as a pan-Arab secular enterprise. But Arab nationalism had been, for decades, covert Sunni hegemony. In the most cruel of historical swindles, Saddam "Persianized" his Shi'ite countrymen, even though Shi'ism in Iraq was Arab through and through.
  • In those shameless protests in the Palestinian territories and in Jordan that have erupted in support of this terrible man, Saddam Hussein has held up a mirror for the Arabs. And the image in the mirror has never been pretty.
  • If it took a foreign war to bring about this justice, and to introduce into Arab politics the principle of political accountability, so be it.