In a celebration Saturday in Baghdad broadcast on state-run Iraqiya TV, Nouri al-Maliki declared the day a national holiday.
Al-Maliki told the Iraqi people that the country has become free and called upon them to preserve its unity and sovereignty.
He praised Iraqis for getting rid of Saddam Hussein and 'ending the sectarian conflict' (!). He said now Iraq is focused on rebuilding the country. Obama's writers might have written the last bit for him.
Yet, this narrative still refuses to admit American defeat or accept responsibility for the mess in Iraq in the wake of the US withdrawal. Many in Washington are trying to wash their hands of what might happen next, observers anticipating Iraq's final collapse after the US withdrawal.
Countless articles in the US media have praised the withdrawal and tried to justify the departure of the US forces, while telling Iraqis to take things into their own hands and try to make their institutions function.
They all seem part of the "happy ending" stereotype of America's pre-emptive wars or covert operations abroad, aiming to "change the world and leave" and superbly scripted in Tom Hanks's award-winning film Charlie Wilson's War that recounts US involvement in the war against the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan and its handing of the country over to the Taliban. Full article here.
Events this week in both the United States and Iraq have been marking the impending end—with the withdrawal by the end of this month of the last U.S. combat troops from Iraq—of a miserable chapter in American history, one that did not have to happen and should not have happened. President Obama has struck the appropriate notes for a commander in chief, giving primary attention to recognizing the sacrifices of those Americans—more than 1.5 million of them, as the president observed—who have served in Iraq during these past nine years. Having been clearly opposed to launching this misadventure, Mr. Obama had every right to say “I told you so” but refrained from any remark that came close to that. Besides recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of U.S. troops, he has, including in his appearances with Iraqi prime minister Maliki, looked to future issues of U.S.-Iraqi relations rather than dwelling on mistakes of the past.
The rest of us, unencumbered by a commander in chief’s responsibility to maintain the respectful and reassuring tone that the president maintained, should do plenty of dwelling. We should think and talk, long and hard, about how and why the United States could ever have committed such a huge mistake. We need to do so to reduce the chance of comparable disasters in the future.
The Iraq War has not been the costliest war the United States has ever fought, but when taking into account the how and why of getting into it in the first place, the Iraq War ranks as one of the greatest blunders in American history and one of the biggest travesties in the relations of the United States with the rest of the world. The war was the project of a small, mostly neoconservative cabal that wanted to use Iraq as an experiment to inject democracy and free enterprise into the Middle East through the barrel of a gun. The cabal got much of the rest of the country to go along with their scheme by exploiting national anger and anguish over the 9/11 terrorist attack and by conjuring up scary tales of dictators giving weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.
A ledger on the war assembled by the Center for American Progress summarizes some of the huge costs. There are, first and foremost of course, the nearly 4,500 members of the U.S. military who have made the ultimate sacrifice. That’s about one and a half times the death toll of 9/11, the terrorist event that the promoters of the war repeatedly linked with Iraq in order to sell their project. Over 32,000 Americans were wounded—many of them grievously maimed from combat that in earlier wars, when today’s body armor was not used, would have killed them. Among Iraqis—the people whom we were supposedly rescuing from a savage dictator—over 100,000 civilians have been killed, and more than 2.8 million have been driven from their homes as either refugees or internally displaced persons. And the bloodshed and civil strife in Iraq are far from over.
The direct monetary cost to the United States of Operation Iraqi Freedom has been over $800 billion. Projections cited in the CAP report of the total cost of health care and disability benefits for veterans of the Iraq War range from $422 billion to $717 billion. Add that to the direct cost of military operations and, by way of comparison, we are in the same range as the $1.4 trillion that the Congressional supercommittee was supposed to find in deficit reductions over ten years. There are in addition many other follow-on costs, from replacement of military equipment to indirect economic effects, that have led some economists to estimate the total cost of this war to be more like $3 trillion.
The political, diplomatic and strategic costs are not quantifiable but vast. The United States severely damaged its image and standing in the rest of the world, especially in predominantly Muslim countries, with everything such damage implies in terms of getting or not getting cooperation in pursuit of U.S. interests. The war has boosted extremist sentiment and ideology, hatred of the United States, and international terrorism that is fueled by both. It has increased the regional influence of Iran. Far from leading to a spread of democracy several years ago, it soured many Middle Easterners on the idea of transitioning to democracy. And the war has been a huge preoccupation and diversion, using up time, attention and diplomatic chits that otherwise could have been applied to other U.S. interests.
Learning from this blunder does not simply mean not using force overseas rather than using it. There may be an Iraq syndrome that echoes the Vietnam syndrome of an earlier generation, but just accepting that would be a crude response and not necessarily the best lesson. We need to reflect on the specific attributes of this experience—involving the decision to go to war at least as much as the war itself—that made it so pathological.
One of those attributes is that the United States launched a war of aggression. That is a major break with American tradition. The Iraq War was the first major offensive war that the United States waged in more than a century—since the war against Spain in 1898. All the other major wars that the United States had been involved in since then were responses to someone else’s aggression. America lost some part of its principles and its character when its forces started rolling across the border into Iraq. It will take a long time to make sure we have those principles back.
Future historians will regard as one of the most extraordinary aspects of this war that there was no policy process to examine whether it was a good idea. There were no meetings in the White House with that question on the agenda, no policy-options paper—nothing. When asked a couple of years ago to contribute to a volume on lessons to be drawn from the Iraq War, I identified as the number one lesson the need to have a policy process before undertaking major policy initiatives, and certainly before something as major as starting a new war.
Closely related to the previous pathology was the grossly inadequate attention to what would happen once Saddam Hussein was toppled. It was an inadequacy exhibited not only by policy makers but also by the larger public discourse about Iraq. Americans, mesmerized by the war makers’ chant about dire things that would happen if the Iraqi dictator were not removed, scarcely thought about what would happen once he was removed. An important lesson is that costly unintended consequences almost always result from a major undertaking such as a foreign war.
And related to that was the larger pattern of how many Americans allowed themselves to be duped by the war makers. That’s right: allowed themselves to be duped. There have been many complaints by people who supported the war about how they were misled, and indeed Americans were misled. But they were able to be misled because they got themselves swept up in a political mood that was stoked and exploited by the administration. Even a halfway careful examination of the prowar sales campaign could have seen through it, including such things as a phantasmagorical alliance between the Iraqi regime and al-Qaeda.
Finally there are the prime promoters of the war. The lesson to be drawn about them is how atrocious the war showed their judgment to be. They ought to be so discredited by now that no one listens to them any more. But here’s the scary part: people do still listen to them. As Christopher Preble observes, “Most of the president’s Republican challengers are reluctant to cross the neoconservative cheerleaders for the war who, inexplicably, still have great sway over aspiring chief executives.” Many of those cheerleaders are still prominent members of the policy-influencing Washington elite and still writing and talking about the very sorts of things on which they showed such terrible judgment in the case of Iraq. Some of them are even cheering for yet another war, against another Middle Eastern country with a four-letter name starting with I, and with their cheering featuring familiar old themes about weapons of mass destruction, links with terrorism and the like. Those people ought to be reminded at every turn about the Iraq War and their role in promoting it, and asked repeatedly why anyone should believe a word of what they are saying now.
Old but pertinent clip here:
In The Know: How Can We Make The War In Iraq More Eco-Friendly?
|Odubya's New Iraq - 'Stable, Free and Democratic'|
U.S. diplomats, including Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, have expressed concern about the military relationship with Iraq. Some even said that it could have political ramifications for the Obama administration if not properly managed. There is also growing concern that Mr. Maliki's apparent efforts to marginalise the country's Sunni minority could set off a civil war. From Here.
Posted by TONY on 29.12.11
Posted by TONY on 29.12.11
In 2008, Maliki was able to be seen as a nationalist figure because he ordered his troops to attack the Sadrists. In 2010, after the elections, he brokered a deal with them so he could stay in power. In return for that, the Sadrists received ministries with lucrative finances. They had members of their movement, who had been imprisoned for violent crimes, amnestied even though there was no legal basis for their amnesties.
When you hear the head of Sadr's political bloc, Baha'a al-Araji, issuing a statement calling for new elections, it's as much a shake-down as it is a real call to arms. It's more a rumble to see what else the Sadrists can get from Maliki. Link here.
|The New Iraq|
[...] For years, we have sought a strategic partnership with America to help us build the Iraq of our dreams: a nationalist, liberal, secular country, with democratic institutions and a democratic culture. But the American withdrawal may leave us with the Iraq of our nightmares.'
At least this soldier had enough of a conscience to realise that he was a murderer. Many who acted just as he did were brainwashed into thinking that they had acted entirely normally.
He told her how his team had kicked in the door of an Iraqi house and quickly shot a man inside. With the man lying wounded on the floor, "my son got ordered by his sergeant to stand on his chest to make him bleed out faster," Kirkland said. "He said, 'We've got to move, and he's got to die before we move.'"Not long after, Derrick told her, he had fallen asleep on guard duty, awakening as a car was driving through his checkpoint. He yelled for it to stop, but the family in the car spoke no English. "So my son shot up the car," she said. Link.
Une série d’attentats a frappé la capitale irakienne Bagdad, faisant plusieurs dizaines de morts et de blessés. Cette vague pourrait être liée aux tensions entre Sunnites et Chiites au sommet de l’Etat.
Bahaa al-Aaraji, the head of the Sadr bloc, said yesterday that due to the country's instability and the problems threatening Iraq's sovereignty, new elections are needed.
More from GlobalPost: How long can Iraq hold it together?
Posted by TONY on 27.12.11
We at Wolves In The City and Afghanistan War look to 2012 with nothing but trepidation for the world we share, my friends. Posts will be sparse between now and Hogmanay: Scottish holidays can be physically demanding (cough). ;)
In the meantime greetings of the season to all our readers and followers. See you in the New Year. Peace.
There’s still a half dozen or so families I’m yet to save from Iraq: those from my staff, all of whom risk death should it be known they worked for a foreigner like me. There’s a myriad of issues concerning veterans’ care, both here in Australia and in the States, I’m not yet done yelling about. There’s a peaceful night’s sleep I’m yet to find. And, as Gen. George S. Patton commands me, there’s a host of lives I’ve yet to finish thanking for having lived.
But the war, they tell me, is coming to an end.
After the War: The Fight Over Kirkuk
By Mary O'Reilly
DECEMBER 21, 2011, 12:00 PM
Tensions are running high in post-war Iraq as sectarian divides pose a serious risk to the security and stability of the country. Iraq is made up of Sunnis, Shias, Turkmen, Kurds, Arabs, and Christians. One of the main points of contention has been over the control of Kirkuk Province, one of Iraq's most diverse areas that sits on as much as ten billion barrels of oil reserves. Kirkuk separates Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region in the north from the Arab-dominated south and center. While thousands of Iraqis celebrated the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq after almost nine years in the country, Kirkuk officials say the US troop withdrawal "will further pave the way for extremist groups to operate in the area and fear violence will rise." According to al-Jazeera, Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution is the latest attempt by the Iraqi government to resolve the dispute between Arbil and Baghdad over Kirkuk Province. The article calls for a referendum to determine whether or not the residents of Kirkuk wish to join the Kurdistan Region. However, the initial deadline for the article was set for 2007 and has yet to be implemented because of disagreements in government. As for the Turkmen, they want Kirkuk to be independent of both Baghdad and Arbil .
According to Gulf News, "one of the worst legacies of the American domination of Iraqi politics is institutionalisation of sectarian thinking." Now that the US troops are gone and since there is no unified security force in Kirkuk, conflict over power between the Shiite Mahdi Army, the Kurds' Peshmerga and the Sunni Anbar tribes looms large. Accroding to Tony Karon of Time Magazine, “The Shi'ite-Sunni-Kurdish power-sharing arrangement the Americans imagined would be achieved by the constitution they created is looking increasingly fanciful."
Some political observers believe that the US military presence in Iraq prevented the volatile situation in Kirkuk from erupting. "In short, the US withdrawal has inflicted a heavy blow to Kirkuk," said Halo Najat Najat, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. In line with predictions of political turbulence and civil strife in Iraq in the year to come, one resident of Kirkuk said that after the withdrawal, "no place in Iraq will be stable."
Photo Credit: STRINGER Iraq / Reuters. A woman waves Kurdish flags during a rally in the disputed Iraqi town ofKhanaqin, northeast of Baghdad.
This dross appeared on the official Democrats blog, Democrats.Org, in the US today. My comment is posted on their risible site.
Now that the war in Iraq is coming to a close, our nation is able to start transition efforts in Afghanistan. Ending the war in a responsible manner has reestablished and repaired our international alliances as well as our reputation around the world.
I’m so excited that we will have a chance to welcome our newest veteran’s home. Families all over the United States will be happy to finally have their mother, father, sister, or brother home for the holidays. As we welcome them home, we’ll now enlist their talents so we can focus on investing and rebuilding our own country.'
'The spokesman for the Iraqi health ministry put the death toll at 57 and said at least 167 people were also injured. He did not have a breakdown of where the dead and injured were killed.Earlier reports indicated that the worst of the violence occurred in al-Amal neighbourhood where seven people were killed in a blast that appeared to target rescuers and officials who arrived at the scene after a previous explosion. At least four people were killed in one western Baghdad neighbourhood when two roadside bombs exploded. All the information came from police and hospital officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.' More here.
|Greetings From ISAF|
Posted by TONY on 21.12.11
He also accused Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shia, of being behind a plot to embarrass him and blow apart recent attempts at national reconciliation.
The Sunni deputy prime minister has warned Iraq risks a new sectarian war.
The arrest warrant for Mr Hashemi was issued just days after the final US troops left Iraq, eight years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. At a news conference in Irbil, in Iraq's semi-autonomous northern Kurdistan Region, Mr Hashemi described the charges against him as "fabricated".
''Saddam was a dictator and Maliki is a dictator too”Saleh al-MutlakIraqi Deputy Prime Minister. Read More.
The move comes the day after the final US troops withdrew from the country and two days after the al-Iraqiya parliamentary bloc, which represents most of Iraq's Sunni Arab community, withdrew from parliament.They have accused the Shia Arab Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, of monopolising power.
The President of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, earlier called for urgent talks to prevent the "collapse" of the national unity government, warning that "the situation is headed towards deep crisis". In full.
'Worth it? Worth it?? Yes, Saddam Hussein is dead. As are Qusay and Uday. Good riddance. But consider the overall record of human suffering and all the other associated costs of this catastrophic conflict: millions of Iraqis left homeless, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed or maimed, thousands of western troops dead or disabled, billions upon billions of dollars squandered in pursuit of non-existent WMDs and a moral high ground lost in towns and cities like Haditha, Fallujah and Abu Ghraib.' More from the New Statesman here.
Le dernier convoi composé de 110 véhicules transportant environ 500 soldats appartenant en grande majorité à la 3ème brigade de la 1ère division de cavalerie a traversé la frontière à 07H30 (04H30 GMT). Le dernier véhicule est passé huit minutes plus tard.
Fin du retrait américain en Irak : et maintenant ? by BFMTV
Posted by TONY on 18.12.11
|Slaughter courtesy of Blackwater, then Ze and now Academi|
Posted by TONY on 18.12.11
Yet despite the lofty rhetoric, the police have continued to persecute Ali’s family. For starters, riot policemen fired tear gas at the boy’s funeral, villagers say.
The police summoned Jawad for interrogation, most recently this month. He fears he will be fired from his job in the Ministry of Electricity.
Skirmishes break out almost daily in the neighborhood, with the police firing tear gas for offenses as trivial as honking to the tune of “Down, Down, Hamad.” Disproportionately often, those tear gas shells seem aimed at Ali’s house. Once, Jawad says, a shell was fired into the house through the front door. A couple of weeks ago, riot policemen barged into the house and ripped photos of Ali from the wall, said the boy’s mother, Maryam Abdulla. From Here.
الكذب لان الحرب لم تنته في العراق ، فما زالت التفجيرات والسيارات المفخخة والانعدام الامني من المرتكزات الاساسية في هذا البلد المكلوم، والتضليل ينعكس في الادعاءات الامريكية بالانتصار وانجاز المهمة التي من اجلها غزت ومن ثم احتلت القوات الامريكية العراق، اي القضاء على الديكتاتورية والارهاب.
الرئيس الامريكي باراك اوباما شارك بفاعلية يحسد عليها في مهرجان الكذب والتضليل، عندما اعلن في خطابه الذي القاه في كارولينا الجنوبية يوم امس الاول 'ان حرب العراق تمثل نجاحا باهرا تطلب انجازه تسع سنوات'. وتغوّل في التضليل عندما قال في الخطاب نفسه 'القوات الامريكية تغادر العراق ورأسها مرفوع تاركة خلفها عراقا مستقرا وصلبا وصديقا لأمريكا'.
لا نفهم كيف تغادر القوات الامريكية العراق ورأسها مرفوع، وقد تركت بلدا هو الاكثر فسادا على وجه المعمورة، لا يتوفر لأهله ابسط الخدمات الضرورية من ماء وكهرباء وتعليم، ناهيك عن الأمان، وتمزقه الخلافات الطائفية، وهجرته الطبقة الوسطى، واعاد تنظيم 'القاعدة' قواعده فيه.
كيف يكون هذا العراق ممثلا لامريكا وثقافتها وديمقراطيتها، مثلما قال الرئيس اوباما، ورئيس الوزراء العراقي السيد نوري المالكي اجاب عن سؤال قبل اسبوع حول تعريفه لنفسه بالقول إنه شيعي اولا، عراقي ثانيا، عربي ثالثا، وعضو في حزب الدعوة رابعا.
العراق يحكم اليوم بديكتاتورية طائفية، والكتل السياسية فيه فشلت فشلا ذريعا في حل خلافاتها، والعداء بين السيد المالكي وخصمه اياد علاوي اكثر شراسة من عدائهما مجتمعين لنظام الرئيس الراحل صدام حسين.
President Barack Obama, who came to office pledging to bring troops home, said on Wednesday that the military was leaving behind a "sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq", displaying the blind refusal to face facts that has made him such a hit with voters.
Some Iraqis were cautiously optimistic, however. Commentator Omar Basil said: “Iraq has a long record of maintaining peaceful stability, provided you ignore the first Gulf war, the Iran-Iraq war, the brutal 35 year regime of Saddam Hussein and its attendant genocide and human rights atrocities, and the two coups that took place in the 1960s.
"That aside, it’s been plain sailing”.
Meanwhile, ordinary Iraqis have been wondering what to do with all the shit that American troops have left behind.
Taxi drover Ali Risn said: "In the areas around the former US bases you can see many heavy rock CDs, packets of Doritos and canisters containing something called 'Proto Blast Mega Muscle drink', which apparently helps you 'get ripped fast'.
"The words 'blast' and 'ripped' make me think I don't want to try it."
H/T The Mash.
"We are in a real problem now," he said. "If we pull out of the government, he will be left to do what he wants to do, with us and with the others."
|Another part of the US legacy in Iraq. Air raid victims 2003.|
Al-Mutlaq was banned from running in Iraq's 2010 elections when he was accused of glorifying Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. But he was eventually elevated to his current position in a power-sharing agreement.
"America left Iraq with almost no infrastructure, the political process is going in a very wrong direction, going toward a dictatorship. People are not going to accept that and most likely they are going to ask for the division of the country and this is going to be a disaster," he said.
"Dividing the country isn't going to be smooth because dividing the country is going to be a war before that and a war after that."
He said the government's shape is due to Iran's influence. He said al-Maliki is playing games between the United States and Iran, and the United States will realize that it was deceived.
"It was something strange when I heard Obama present (al-Maliki) as the leader of a democratic state," he said. In full.
Operating out of these American fortresses will be up to 17,000 personnel. They will include 5,500 armed military contractors. The CIA will maintain its largest station anywhere in the world, and, according to reports, commandos of the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command will covertly continue their presence, out of uniform. The plans led Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (Democrat of Massachusetts), a close Obama ally, to question whether the US was “replacing a military presence with a private mercenary presence.”
As troops are pulled out of Iraq, deployments are being beefed up in the surrounding region, above all just across the border in Kuwait, where some 25,000 US military personnel are currently stationed and negotiations are underway to augment their numbers. Read More.
On February 19, 2007, a Blackwater motorcade carrying a dignitary to a local juvenile prison was attempting to make a left turn when a parked white four-door sedan entered oncoming traffic. "The lead [vehicle's] rear gunner...noticed that the lone occupant had a device in his hands," reads a report on the incident. "Suspecting that the vehicle may be a Vehicle-Born Explosive Improvised Device, [redacted] fired one round from his rifle into the grill of the suspicious vehicle.... The impact of the round caused the driver to bring the vehicle to an immediate stop. He raised his hands in the air revealing that he held a cell phone." The same Blackwater team fired on cars three other times that day. Full details here.
Posted by TONY on 13.12.11
From the BBC:
The US security firm at the centre of allegations that its guards killed civilians in Iraq is changing its name once more.
The company, known as Blackwater at the time of the events, became Xe Services in 2009.
Now Xe is to become Academi, named after Plato's institution in ancient Greece.
A US judge threw out charges against five Blackwater guards over the deaths of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad in 2007.
Iraqi authorities claimed that the guards had opened fire on civilians without provocation. The manslaughter charges were dropped because the judge ruled that inadmissible evidence was used. The activities of foreign security firms in Iraq were curbed after that incident.
The company was bought by an investor group in December 2010 and its founder, Erik Prince, left the business.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the company's president, Ted Wright, said Academi will try to be "boring".
But it does plan to apply for a licence to operate in Iraq again, he added.
"We have had a year of extraordinary changes that have resulted in a new, better company," Mr Wright said in a statement seen by AFP.
"I know that everyone at Academi shares in this commitment to promote the highest standards of ethical conduct, compliance and integrity in all of our activities."
Posted by TONY on 12.12.11
The Iraqi government’s decision “has saved the lives of many Iraqis,” said Yusuf al-Anizi, 38, the embittered brother of one of the Haditha victims. “Otherwise, we would have more tragedies to pile on the many tragedies we have seen.” More here.
Posted by TONY on 11.12.11
This brings us to the crux of the matter. Anyone acquainted with the US way of life will have recognised in the photographs the obscene underside of US popular culture. You can find similar photographs in the US press whenever an initiation rite goes wrong in an army unit or on a high school campus and soldiers or students die or get injured in the course of performing a stunt, assuming a humiliating pose or undergoing sexual humiliation.
This, then, was not simply a case of American arrogance towards a Third World people. The Iraqi prisoners were effectively being initiated into American culture: they were getting a taste of the obscenity that counterpoints the public values of personal dignity, democracy and freedom. No wonder, then, that on 6 May, Donald Rumsfeld admitted that these particular photographs were just the 'tip of the iceberg', that there are stronger things to come, including videos of rape and murder.'
The facts of the case were exposed by whistleblowers, not the US military.
Air Force officials, who have denied a cover-up, said last month they could not estimate the precise number of casualties' remains sent to the Virginia landfill. LINK.
Today, the decision is to be made by the U.S. administration and the good international offices.
Silence is more than unstated approval, which would work to assist the slaughter of thousands of innocent people, whose only crime is to stand up to the religious dictatorship in Iran. From Here.
"It will definitely take place, and it will take place after the Americans leave Iraq," said the adviser, Saad Yousif al-Muttalibi, about Aziz, who served as foreign minister.
A lawyer for Aziz said he was surprised. "I did not expect the government would be that stupid, by doing this they will drag this country to the edge of the abyss," said Badi Arif in a telephone interview.
A new law is under consideration that would require death sentences be ratified by the president within 15 days of their being handed down, al-Muttalibi said."What about the national reconciliation that this government has been calling for? The government's position will be even weaker if they carry out the execution after the American troops leave the country and this will lead to more conflict among Iraqi factions."
Al-Mutalibbi added that all of Iraqi society, including members of the three main sectarian groups -- Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds -- favor the law.
Aziz was captured by U.S. forces in April 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Hussein. He appeared frail when he testified in Hussein's 2006 trial on war crimes charges, for which the ousted dictator was hanged later that year.
Aziz was sentenced to death in October 2010 by the Iraqi High Tribunal for his role in eliminating religious parties during Saddam Hussein's regime.
His family was shocked by the verdict, his daughter told CNN at the time.
"My father served his country for more than 22 years. He delivered himself to the U.S. Army (after the fall of Hussein) because he wasn't afraid. He didn't do anything wrong. He served his country," Aziz's daughter, Zainab Aziz, said. "He has been wronged."
Arif said last year that there was a political motive behind the death sentence.
"Mr. Aziz used to always tell me, 'They'll find a way to kill me, and there is no way for me to escape this,'" Arif told CNN. "But from a legal perspective, this sentence is wrong; this is illegal and this is unexpected."
Aziz served as deputy prime minister from 1981 to 2003, also holding the post of foreign minister for part of that time.
After the verdict was announced, Amnesty International urged Iraq not to carry out the sentences, even as it acknowledged the brutality of Hussein's regime.
"Saddam Hussein's rule was synonymous with executions, torture and other gross human rights violations, and it is right that those who committed crimes are brought to justice," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa in 2010.
"However, it is vital that the death penalty, which is the ultimate denial of human rights, should never be used, whatever the gravity of the crime," he said in a written statement.
The Vatican also opposed the death sentence, spokesman Federico Lombardi told CNN.
"This is not the most adequate way to promote reconciliation and reconstruction of justice and peace in a country that has suffered so much," he said.
Posted by TONY on 6.12.11