THE ROVING EYE Aziz's story will remain untold
By Pepe Escobar
The neo-conservatives always contended that the United States invaded Iraq to
bring "democracy" (from the barrel of a gun). Seems like if not democracy, at
least the greatest hits of the US judicial system are indeed being implemented
in (still occupied) Iraq; torture (as WikiLeaks has amply demonstrated) and the
death penalty. Talk about liberation.
And talk about payback. Former Iraq deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, 74,
ailing, frail, already caged, and the victim of a stroke this year, has been
condemned to hang by the Supreme Court in Baghdad, according to Iraq state TV,
"for his role in the elimination of Islamic [Shi'ite] parties".
Aziz, born Mikhael Yuhann in 1936 in Mosul, a Chaldean
Christian - the only one in the former Sunni and secular Ba'athist inner
circle, its worldwide-known "human face" - holder of a degree in English
language and literature, is already serving a 15-year sentence for a series of
killings of 42 tradesmen in 1992 plus a further seven-year sentence for his
alleged role in the deportation of Iraqi Kurds during the Saddam Hussein era.
No Western court would admit what was presented as evidence showed that he was
personally involved in both crimes.
The European Union (EU) at least is being true to its chart (the death penalty
is "unacceptable"); the EU's foreign representative, Catherine Ashton, will
appeal to Baghdad to block the execution. Aziz's defense will appeal to the
Vatican - which also condemns it. Italian radical leader Marco Pannella has
started a hunger strike to denounce it.
Anyone who does not see this as a political verdict is a believer in democracy
by "shock and awe". In this case, revenge is served to current Prime Minister
Nuri al-Maliki and his Shi'ite Da'wa party, which had been persecuted under
Saddam's Sunni regime. Everyone else loses badly - because Aziz is arguably the
only person on Earth who could tell the real story, bit by juicy bit, about the
rolling, decades-long American dirty game in Iraq.
His is the ultimate political best-seller we'll never be able to read - telling
for instance how the US, the United Kingdom and the Saudis shelled out over $60
billion for Iraq to go to war with Iran during the 1980s; what was really
discussed between Saddam, himself and former US defense secretary Donald
Rumsfeld in Baghdad when they met in 1983; how every Western politician paid
homage at the court of Saddam - the man who would get rid of those demented
ayatollahs; how Saddam beat the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's human waves
of martyrs by spraying them with Western-supplied chemical weapons; and how
those fabled "weapons of mass destruction" were nowhere to be seen since 1995
at least - thus rendering George W Bush's and Tony Blair's casus belli null
When US Marine Corps entered Baghdad on April 9, 2003, his villa was plundered
- by the marines and by local mobs. I went to see it as soon as I could (A
(mis)guided tour of Baghdad Asia Times Online, April 18, 2003), finding
a DVD box set of The Godfather saga - Saddam's favorite was the first
one - right at the door. On April 24, Aziz surrendered to the Americans. He was
the eight of spades in the Pentagon's infamous deck of cards. (Saddam was the
ace of spades.)
History may judge that Bush and Blair - with their Moloch-style terrorizing
machine dubbed "shock and awe" - have been no better than Saddam's inner
circle; directly and indirectly, their "policies" killed more Iraqi civilians
than Saddam ever did. Yet they did (Blair) and they will (Bush) publish books
extolling their "glory".
Aziz instead is the only one left with a real breathtaking story to tell. And
as the proverbial man who knows too much, he had to be taken out.