Saturday, October 20, 2007

Talibini defends Sultan Hashim al-Tai

I was not surprised to read that Adnan al Dulaimi wants to see Sultan Hashim al-Tai released, but I was very surprised to see that Jalal Talabini has also defended al-Tai as a patriot.

PS: After reading the article a second time, I realized that Talibani did not defend al-Tai as a 'patriot' (Dulaimi did that) - Talibani called al-Tai an excellent officer who could not disobey orders. There were many of those in Saddam's military, it seems, and for good reason - disobeying Saddam's orders was punishable by death.

Iraq Sunnis urge release of 'patriot' death row general
1 day ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraq's main Sunni bloc called on Friday for the release of a high-ranking general who served as defence minister under Saddam Hussein and is on death row for his role in a 1988 Kurdish massacre.

The National Concord Front (NCF) said the execution of general Sultan Hashim al-Tai would be "revenge on patriots on behalf of the enemy," in allusion to Shiite Iran.

Sultan Hashim was sentenced to death in June, along with Ali Hassan al-Majid better known as "Chemical Ali", and Hussein Rashid al-Tikrit, the former armed forces deputy chief of operations.

The supreme court upheld the ruling on September 4 and said that all three should hang within 30 days for the slaughter of tens of thousands of Kurds in the so-called Anfal (Spoils) campaign of 1988.

An estimated 182,000 Kurds were killed and 4,000 villages wiped out in the campaign of bombings, mass deportation and gas attacks.

But some leading Iraqis believe that the general was fearfully following Saddam's orders during the atrocities and was a proven patriot due to his previous military service during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

"The Iraqi government must respect Iraqi officers that are known for their patriotism and courage, who defended our homeland and confronted external aggressions," said Adnan al-Dulaimi, a leading figure in the NCF.

"The government has no right to try the men of Iraq as a punishment for defending Iraq and for their participation in the Iran-Iraq war," Dulaimi added.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is himself a Kurd and saw many of his supporters fall victim to the Anfal campaign, has repeatedly come out in defence of Tai and has said he will refuse to sign any execution order.

The Iraqi government said on Thursday that the executions of Sultan Hashim, Rashid and Majid, which have been delayed for weeks due to Muslim holidays and legal hitches, would happen in the coming days.

"This man does not deserve execution," Talabani said in an interview with Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television. "He was a capable and excellent officer who implemented Saddam Hussein's strict orders. He could not disobey orders."

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