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'He is already history': Ghaith Abdul-Ahad watches the execution with Sunni insurgents.
In this remarkable dispatch, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, one of the few journalists who can still move freely about Baghdad, watches the execution with Sunni insurgents
Sunday December 31, 2006
In a small, bare living room in Baghdad, two Sunni mujahideens, Abu A'isha and his friend Abu Hamza, sat mesmerised. The Shia-controlled state TV was showing the final moments of the life of their former leader, the noose being tightened around his neck. Saddam was dressed in a black coat, his black dyed hair pushed to the back, his hand and legs shackled. Men in civilian clothes and ski masks helped him up a small ladder. A trap door surrounded by a metal rail could be seen.
Saddam appeared a little confused and exchanged a few words with his masked hangman, who gestured at his neck. Saddam nodded and the hangman wrapped a black piece of cloth around his neck.
'They killed him, is that possible?' Abu Hamza, a muscled Sunni insurgent in his early thirties asked in disbelief. 'I still can't believe it,' he continued, resting his head on his palm. The TV channel repeated the scenes many times, cut before the actual execution moment and followed by television scenes of jubilant Shia men and boys dancing, accompanied by patriotic songs. 'Those Shia, they killed him on the day of the Eid just to humiliate us,' said Abu Hamza.
Abu A'isha, a mid-level commander of an insurgency group in west Baghdad, short, stout, in his forties and dressed in a blue tracksuit, was more calm. 'It's better for the jihad,' he explained. 'Every time the mujahideen do an operation they say it's the people of Saddam. Where is Saddam now? Let's see if his death will affect the jihad. Of course it won't.' He added: 'The resistance is led by the Islamists, and we don't love Saddam. It's good that he is out of the picture. Now things will be clearer.