Revenge is not the answer!
Prosecuting tyranny in the Arab world

In the wake of the Arab Spring, not one Arab dictator has faced charges for creating a police state and inducing terror among citizens. Similarly, none has been prosecuted for destroying state institutions, the essentials of citizenship, or the means of social advancement. Analysis by Shafiq Nazim Ghabra

A series of trials have taken place of Arab leaders who were overthrown by social movements and their demands for freedom and political reform in the Arab Spring. If we take a closer look at these trials and at their historical significance and impact on Arab countries, we can conclude that they did not deal fully with the injustices of despotic rule and with the crimes which accompanied that era.

The court cases began before the Arab Spring with the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and then after it with the trial of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and more recently with the trials of Omar al-Bashir in Sudan and the leading figures in Bouteflika’s regime in Algeria, including his brother. However, these trials did not address the major grievances which accumulated in the modern Arab autocratic era.

In the past, for example, Saddam Hussein was tried for the killing of a number of people in one particular area of Iraq, whilst Omar al-Bashir is now on trial for the huge funds which he either acquired or which were transferred to him from the public treasury or from other Arab countries.

The Arab dictators have not been prosecuted for "breach of trust" or "betrayal of the confidence placed in them by the people"; nor have they been tried for "abuse of power", for the wars they provoked, the executions they ordered, or for the hasty and reckless decisions they made.

No Arab dictator has been tried for creating a police state and instilling terror and fear in its citizens; nor have any of them been called to account for demolishing the structure of society, for turning brother against brother, son against father, or brother against sister.
Indeed, they haven’t faced any charges for turning their societies into places devoid of soul, ambition and any sense of human dignity. The Arab tyrants made every young man and woman dream of emigrating and fleeing these failed states and ossified regimes.
Saddam’s execution was more about revenge than due process
The trial of Saddam Hussein after 2003 should have encompassed the misuse of power after he waged war after war from Iran to Kuwait. Indeed, he should have been tried for mass murder in the uprising in 1991 and for not saving Iraq from one disaster after another, culminating in its capitulation under U.S. occupation.
Saddam should have been tried for his crimes against his comrades and his friends, as well as against the cream of Iraq, both in and outside the Ba’ath Party. He should also have been prosecuted for the crimes he carried out against the Kurds, the Shia and against his many Sunni opponents. His execution after a show trial was not a wise decision; it was more about revenge than a proper trial to lay bare the true face of tyranny.
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Comments for this article: Prosecuting tyranny in the Arab world

Please, use this version if you are publishing my comment, which I doubt it.


I totally agree with you that all the four despots you focused on must face trial, but that must be done by the people of the respective countries without any foreign interference, regional or international.

I am wondering though why shouldn't we include those who supported those despots for decades through various means and prolonged the life expectancy of those repressive regimes, be it well-known Western leaders who dined and wined with them, heads of international institutions which strengthened them although many of them were hanging by a fine thread, Western banks that helped the flight of capital and corruption...

Did not the French government /regime in 1988 supported and turned a blind eye on the Algerian regime when it cancelled the elections and the crimes it committed afterwards?

Did not the American regime and its allies support Saddam Hussein's regime in his war against Iran? When the Republican Guards were slaughtering those who rose up in 1991, the American troops stood by and watched.

When Iraqi troops were fleeing Kuwait, the American forces slaughtered them although they were retreating, not fighting.

It is sufficient to say that Mubarak was supported by the Western and non-Western regimes for decades despite the latter knowing the repression and corruption the regime engaged in. And that support continues today but to even a more repressive despot.

Similarly, the French regime supported Ben Ali's regime and, as the FT reported in January 2011, it expressed its willing to send special forces to support Ben Ali just a couple of days before he was overthrown/he fled the country.

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the consequences its brought with it, including the breeding ground for ISIS. Who must be held responsible for that?

Shall I assume also that despite what has happened in Libya since 2011, from the killing to slavery, NATO's intervention was worth it?

Ndeem06.10.2019 | 18:42 Uhr