Hang-ups about democratic reformSo the death penalty is back in Iraq. Three men convicted of murder where hanged in Baghdad yesterday, according to Arab News.
“It was a difficult decision because we are living in a democratic atmosphere,” said government spokesperson Laith Kubba. “This is the highest punishment taken against people who have conducted assassinations, and it aims at deterring criminals from going too far in their crimes.”
I can understand that in country plagued by unimaginable lawlessness, it might be tempting to go down the capital punishment road, but one really has to question the deterrent value of the death penalty when suicide bombing is not uncommon and death is all around.
Indeed, the death penalty isn’t likely to deter those inspired by clerics like Yusuf al-Qaradawi who asserts that suicide attacks in Iraq are a religious duty.
It worries me that this is just a foreshadowing of things to come. With the status given to Sharia Law in the draft Iraqi constitution, things are looking rather bleak.
What is certain is that whatever hopes might have be harboured for a liberal democracy to emerge in Iraq are fading fast.
As I’ve said before:
Strike One: No Ossama Bin Laden
Strike Two: No weapons of mass destruction found
Strike Three: Democratic reform down the toilet
Worst of all, the reintroduction of the death penalty was all about having the legal means to string up Saddam Hussein – if he’s found guilty of .. well, you know what.
So, Saddam has actually had the final word. In seeking to destroy him, the first step down the path to destroying any hope for a free country has been taken. My Iraqi friends fear that Iraq will be indistinguishable from Iran a year from now.
For other issues that make for some serious pessimism, check out The Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq.
It’s time to stop making excuses for both the occupying forces and the so-called resistance and to start supporting genuine democratic movements in Iraq.