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The body of Saddam Hussein was handed over Saturday to a delegation representing the tribe of the former Iraqi president, Al Arabiya reported, citing unnamed sources...Here's how they reportedly came for the pick-up:
Members of the delegation met with advisers to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the governor of Saladin Province and his deputy, the television station said.
The tribal elders want to transfer the body to a cemetery in the Al-Ouja section of Tikrit, where Saddam Hussein's relatives, including sons Uday and Qusay, are buried.
Sheikh Ali al-Nida, head of the Bou Nasser tribe, led a delegation that traveled aboard a U.S. government airplane to Baghdad.And, according to the same story, his last words were "Muqtada al-Sadr".
"This dark page has been turned over," al-Rubaie said. "Saddam is gone. Today Iraq is an Iraq for all the Iraqis, and all the Iraqis are looking forward. ... The [Hussein] era has gone forever."But...
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who didn't attend the execution, used it as an opportunity to plead for national unity to ward off deadly sectarian violence which is straining Iraq's fledgling government.
"In the name of the people I call on all men of the past regime and manipulated by it to reconsider their stances," al-Maliki said in a written statement released after the execution.
Deadly car bombs Saturday struck a mainly Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad and the southern Shiite town of Kufa, officials said.Elsewhere:
Millions of Muslim pilgrims performing the Hajj in Saudi Arabia have thrown stones at three pillars representing the devil, as part of a ritual.CNN is concerned the hanging might create a rift between Sunni and Shiite Muslims:
New security measures have been added in an effort to control the movement of pilgrims and prevent stampedes that have killed hundreds in the past.
2006: 345 die in a crush during a stone-throwing ritual
2004: 251 trampled to death in stampede
2003: 14 are crushed to death
2001: 35 die in stampede
1998: At least 118 trampled to death
1997: 343 pilgrims die and 1,500 injured in fire
1994: 270 killed in stampede
1990: 1,426 pilgrims killed in tunnel leading to holy sites
1987: 400 die as Saudi authorities confront pro-Iranian demonstration
Arab pilgrims in Mecca expressed outrage on Saturday that Iraqi authorities had chosen to execute former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on a major religious holiday, saying it was an insult to Muslims.
Sunni Arabs at the hajj were shocked at Saddam's hanging which followed his conviction for crimes against humanity against Iraqi Shiites.
"His execution on the day of Eid ... is an insult to all Muslims," said Jordanian pilgrim Nidal Mohammad Salah. "What happened is not good because as a head of state, he should not be executed."
The Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, marks biblical patriarch Abraham's willingness to kill his son for God. Muslim countries often pardon criminals to mark the feast, and prisoners are rarely executed at that time.
The death could harden hatred for Shi'ite Muslims in Saudi Arabia, a bastion of Sunni Islam whose Islamic orthodoxy -- known as Wahhabism -- regards Shiites as virtual heretics.
Unlike in 1943-45, when there were thousands of them - there
is only one are only two flyable Lancaster bombers. And those gnomes who spend their spare time poring over the commercial satellite imagery looking for things like airplanes in flight and military installations - found one, flying, in Google Maps.
[Update - over at my place, I've been put in my place as usual by one of my Canadian snipers, positioned to catch all disses Canadian, intentional or unintentional:
Oh dear ... The GoogleEarth image is probably of the Lancaster (PA 474) flying with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight with further details here . However, in TundraLand, we have the Mynarski Lancaster (KB 726) flown by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. I have enjoyed seeing it in flight several times. Hurricane + Spit + Lanc = 6 Merlins in full song.
For those who travel, the CWHM is in Hamilton, Ontario. Further info: click here.
Sic Semper Errata. Heh. Twice.
[Remainder of post snipped as being stale and irrelevant per this post from 22 November pointed out by Eagle1 which I obviously never saw. No reason to waste the picture bandwidth on my server or your reading time.]
Let's celebrate the living who paid a hefty price to send Saddam to the house of the dead.
And measure the impact of Project Valour-IT at the same time.
Surely that will be big headline news, right?
Ahhh, well now I understand completely...
However, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who heard arguments from attorneys by phone, rejected the challenge Friday night. She said U.S. courts do not have jurisdiction to interfere in another country's judicial process.
In a 21-page request filed Friday, Saddam's attorneys argued that because Saddam also faces a civil lawsuit in Washington, he has rights as a civil defendant that would be violated if he is executed. He has not received notice of those rights and the consequences that the lawsuit would have on his estate, his attorneys said.
A couple of interesting side items from the execution story:
...a U.S. district judge refused a request to stay the execution.He was executed on Saturday in Iraq.
Attorney Nicholas Gilman said in an application for a restraining order, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, that a stay would allow Hussein "to be informed of his rights and take whatever action he can and may wish to pursue."
Haddad had called Gilman's filing "rubbish," and said, "It will not delay carrying out the sentence," which he called "final."
There had been speculation that Hussein would be executed before Eid Al-Adha -- a holiday period that means Feast of the Sacrifice, celebrated by Muslims around the world at the climax of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The law does not permit executions to be carried out during religious holidays.
Eid began Saturday for Sunnis and Sunday for Shiites and lasts for four days. Hussein is a Sunni Muslim.
The witness reported that celebrations broke out after Hussein was dead, and that there was "dancing around the body."
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not attend the execution, according to an adviser to the prime minister who was interviewed on state television.
The execution was videotaped and photographed, state television reported, and those images will be distributed to the media.
Al-Arabiya television network reported that Barzan Hassan, Hussein's half-brother, and Awad Bandar, former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were hanged after Hussein. All three were convicted of killings in the Iraqi town of Dujail nearly 25 years ago.
Jules Crittenden hits his (blogging) stride in Dead by Dawn? - which segues to a brief glimpse at reporting in the early days of the invasion.
I think Jules and I are in about the same frame of mind on the execution.
I's add that it's a damn rare thing to see a tyrant meet his maker in such a manner. Unprecedented in modern history?
WMD and other (IMHO) unfortunate advertising gimmicks aside, the fundamental reason for invading Iraq in the first place was a notion that perhaps if freed from Saddam's oppressive rule the Iraqis could build a model democracy*. I'll admit I believed that in 2003 (with the "perhaps" qualifier included, I'm a bit too old to live without it) but I'd like to see more evidence of it now - say more folks acting instead of wishing (or awaiting Allah's will). But perhaps too many were his children after all, and he the only model to which they aspire.
However few there may be to oppose such as that, I'm still on their side.
This war is strange. I never hear soldiers worried about their own morale sagging. Contrary, the war-fighters here are more concerned to bolster the morale of the people at home. Here in Kuwait, where the dining facilities are bedecked in Christmas decorations, soldiers stream in from Iraq on convoys and stream back north along those bomb-laden roads. The service members here are not all rear-echelon people who never see fighting or blood. Yet their overall morale obviously is high. Few of them know I am a writer, and so they speak freely at the tables around me. In Qatar, from which I’d just departed, I spoke with troops taking four-day R&R passes, some having just returned from the most dangerous parts of Iraq, and others heading straight back, and their overall morale was also very high. The morale at war is higher than I have ever seen it at home; makes me wonder what they know that most Americans seem to be missing.We'll know soon enough. Michael says va email: "I've landed in Baghdad and am preparing to re-embed with U.S. Force."
So is Bill Ardolino, whose INDC journal has a new name. He says he's headed to the airport to manifest for a flight - which shouldn't in any way be confused with the act of getting on a plane that takes you where you want to go.
They arrive in interesting times.
*The "Yeah, but why the f--- should we care?" angle being another issue altogether, and one that good people can argue reasonably.
WSJ Online's Best of the Web Today leads off a look at reporting on Iraq with an extensive quote from Russ Vaughn. Quoteworthy from top to bottom, so there's no point pulling one out for inclusion here.
SADDAM HUSSEIN will be executed no later than 0600 Saturday Baghdad time (2200 Friday EST; 1900 PST).
So long, sucker!