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Saddam Capture Moves Iraq Closer To Civil War

by Abdul Raheem Ali

Killing Of Ayatollah Marks Start Of Iraq Civil War
Saddam statue
The dictator in times of better grooming
(IPS) CAIRO -- The capture of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein will give momentum to spiraling Iraqi resistance against the U.S.-led occupation and cast clear light on who really stand behind it, Egyptian military and political experts expect.

They said Saddam's capture gives cause to the Shiites and even the Sunnis to join the resistance, particularly the Shiites who remained neutral after the downfall of Baghdad, fearing Saddam would be credited for the resistance.

Saddam was captured Saturday night in a swift raid by U.S. forces near his hometown of Tikrit but the ground-breaking news was only made public Sunday, December 14.

Gihad Ouda, professor of international affairs at Helwan University, said Saddam's capture put Iraqi Sunnis on "political alert," adding he expected resistance to be intensified in the days to come.

"Saddam's capture will also re-shape Iraq's political landscape with the emergence of new Sunni powers," he told

Asked about the Shiites' role in post-Saddam Iraq, the expert said they would seek to restore the rights they were denied under Saddam.

Shiites would also try to show strength and influence to prove their patriotism and keenness on booting the Americans out of Iraq, given that they make up the majority of the Iraqi population, he added.

Ouda argued that the envisaged rise in resistance operations would only reflect a "political disunity," given that every party would now rush to lay their cards on the table.

On the transfer of power to Iraqis, he said Saddam's capture "would facilitate but not expedite the handover of power to the Iraqis."

But he expressed doubt that Americans could return a calm and normal life to the Iraqi people in the chaos-mired country.

Munzir Soliman, an Egyptian military and political expert, said finding Saddam in a remote hut distances him from having a role in steering the mounting resistance.

"Now that Saddam is in custody, the days ahead will portray the character of the resistance," he said.

Soliman asserted that the resistance should adopt a unified agenda and be more organized.

He expected the capture to have "a limited" impact on the anti-occupation resistance.

Broadcasting the capture gave the U.S. a morale boost but the military expert submitted that the high spirits would be short-lived.

Munzir said the Iraqi resistance has a deeply-rooted religious and patriotic record, noting that Iraqis were fighting off the Americans because they felt humiliated and not because they were loyal to the ousted regime.

"Even Saddam's fedayeen and Baathists do not fight for his sake," he opined.

For his part, Mohammad Abdul Salam, a military expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said all indicators point out that the arms used in resistance operations have not been provided by Saddam.

He feared, however, that the capture of Saddam would have a negative effect on the resistance, amid rumors he was the financier of several resistance attacks.

Abdul Salam further ruled out that the Americans would backtrack on their pledges of speeding up power transfer to the Iraqis, warning this would be a fatal mistake.

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Albion Monitor December 16, 2003 (

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