Memories of Iraq in Kuwait and Iran
The start of trial proceedings against Saddam Hussein has sparked reactions in Kuwait and Iran, both direct victims of the toppled Baathist regime's aggression.
Kuwait stands apart for its relatively pluralistic press, and Ar Raï Al Aam (Public Opinion) is perhaps one of the best daily newspapers. It publishes hardline opinions from those who see the tribunal as a model of its kind and a precedent for Iraq. "The losers who are still weeping for the old regime see the tribunal as unjust. How can they be misguided to such an extent, and forget that Iraq has not had a single fair trial since the Baath party took power?" asks the Kuwaiti writer Qassem Hussein Awad.
However, as it appears in Joseph Samaha's editorial published in the Lebanese daily As Safir (and translated in Courrier International, 8-14 July 2004), Salem Chalabi, the Court's president, has been subject to considerable criticism for his strong links to American neo-conservatives and the Israeli extreme. "The best thing that could happen to Saddam and his band of assassins," writes Yasser Al Saleh in Ar Raï Al Aam, "is for this court to appear like a play staged by the Americans and acted by Iraqis, linked to the occupation and Zionism. Then his execution will not appear to have come directly from the will of ordinary Iraqi people."