U.S. tried to delay Saddam’s execution

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — U.S. officials reportedly tried to delay last week’s execution of Saddam Hussein, fearing it would fuel perceptions the death of the former Iraqi dictator was more about Shiite retribution and less about justice.

Those fears seemed borne out by an amateur recording of Hussein’s last moments.

It was a caution that fell on deaf ears, however, as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, was determined to put Hussein to death before the beginning of the Eid al-Adha holiday.

The holiday began at sunrise Saturday for Iraqi Sunnis on Sunday for Shiites.

Hussein, a Sunni, was executed 6 a.m. Saturday (10 p.m. Friday ET).

Official: U.S. wanted to wait two weeks

By midday Friday, amid reports and public denials that the United States had given Iraqis custody of Hussein, American officials were talking privately with al-Maliki, according to a member of the Iraqi parliament close to the prime minister.

At one point, the parliament member said, a top U.S. official suggested a delay of two weeks.

Al-Maliki and his aides rejected that, the Iraqi official said, citing security concerns and rumors of possible violence swirling around the capital.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi official said, the Americans asked for written documentation to make sure the execution was legal under the Iraqi constitution.

There was one final hurdle: Would President Jalal Talabani, a Sunni Kurd who opposes the death penalty, object to the execution?

A phone call later Friday between al-Maliki and the president ended with a decision that Talabani’s signature was not needed.

No explanation for the decision was given.

Late Friday night, the parliament member told CNN, top U.S. officials met with al-Maliki’s deputies to work out when the handover should take place, along with other logistical arrangements.

At that point, Iraqi officials told the media that al-Maliki had signed the last crucial document.

4 thoughts on “U.S. tried to delay Saddam’s execution

  1. moey,

    question: how many times the Americans lied. answer: i don’t know since my calculator does not have that many digits.

    and do you really think this issue of timing of saddam’s execution will acquit the Americans after all their killings and all their brutality which turned Iraq into a far more violent place than it ever were?

    you are one strange guy.

  2. I don’t think us delaying the execution would have done much to curb the inevitable cries of how it was an American plan, etc. The only thing I can see it might have prevented was pissing off Sunnis (which by some accounts according to interviews done during the Hajj) seem pissed off. If Talabani’s signature was needed, they violated their own constitution. Finally, I’m glad they didn’t listen to us and decided to go ahead with it. This way, they really do have sovereingty in those regards.

  3. In my view, Saddam did not stand trial for the gassing of the Kurds (maybe because Rumsfeld gave him this gas). Many of Saddam’s victims will not be vindicated.
    The hanging of Saddam strikes me as an act of the ongoing Sunni-Sheite sectarian violence in Iraq. The executioners were clearly looking for revenge and insult to Sunni Muslims. They have shown that they are no better than Saddam. They rule with an iron fist, with no regard to the dignity of human life.

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