Chinese experts: Sentence may aggravate situation

By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-06 07:09

Sentencing former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to death will not fundamentally change the volatile situation in the Middle East country, but might lead to escalation of blood-shed, Chinese observers said Sunday.

Saddam's life or death makes no differences to the complicated situation in Iraq, Yin Gang, a researcher of Middle East issues at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily.

"But one definite thing is some supporters of Saddam are likely to take retaliatory actions if he is executed, which will deepen the country's turmoil," Yin said.

According to Yin, the country's majority Shi'ites, who were heavily persecuted under Saddam's more-than two decades of authoritarian rule, will view the outcome as a cause for celebration.

But some Sunni supporters of the former Iraqi leader still cherish the memory of Saddam's rule, he said.

Hua Liming, a former Chinese ambassador to Iran, said the execution is not a matter of Saddam himself.

"The guilty verdict for Saddam is expected to escalate the conflicts between hard-liners among Saddam's fellow Sunnis and the opposition Kurds. Besides, some anti-US military forces might also avail of the opportunity to create conflicts," Hua said.

The verdict was made ahead of the US elections on Tuesday in which control of the US Congress is at stake. The Democrats have pressed the Republicans claiming the war started by the Bush Administration is a "failed course," Hua said.

Although US President George W. Bush's chief spokesman Tony Snow underscored on Saturday that Saddam's trial was being conducted by an independent Iraqi judiciary, observers said there were still concerns that the time of the trial was at least partially approved by the US.

"The Bush Administration wants to assure its voters of the legitimacy of the war, but the verdict will surely complicate the Iraqi situation," Hua said.

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