Trust needs to be re-established between Iraq’s ethno-religious communities. Decades of Ba’athist rule tore apart the fabric of society, and the Machiavellian policies of using sectarianism to gain political leverage, a mainstay of the post-Saddam era, has been extremely potent in exacerbating these divisions further. I believe in the need for reconciliation, to the extent that I believe ex-Ba’athists who are ready to repent, ready to recognise their mistakes and ready to apologise to their victims should be allowed entry into Iraqi society again.
One person who does not fit into this category is the ex-foreign minister, Tariq Aziz. A man who, at a trial for the Anfal genocides his regime perpetrated against the Kurds, said: ”I had the honour to work with the former regime and with the hero Saddam Hussein” and who clearly doesn’t feel there was anything wrong with the long list of crimes against humanity his regime carried out with ruthless efficiency. It therefore came as a real shock to me when Ayad Allawi had this to say about this ruthless Ba’athist criminal: ”Tell Tariq Aziz that he is my friend and I think of him often. He is a good man and I know his family well. I wish him all the best and it is wrong to lock him up like this for so long. He is an old man.”
Lets be clear: Aziz actively contributed to the downfall of Iraq. His regime’s legacy has resulted in Iraq being what it is today. And he is completely unrepentant. So I agree with Dr Allawi, it is wrong to lock him up. He deserves nothing less than the noose.