Assassination In Iraq


Sir, - I received with great sadness and anger the news of the assassination of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq Al-Sadr and his two sons at the hands of Saddam's regime, in the southern Shi'a holy city of Najaf, and after the Friday Prayers on February 19th. The late Ayatollah Al-Sadr had been speaking out against Saddam's tyrannical regime in Iraq and was a popular figure with many Iraqis. He is the third grand ayatollah to be murdered by the regime in less than a year, exposing Saddam's poorly concealed efforts to undermine the Iraqi Shi'a Marji'iyya (High Theological Offices). The subsequent riots that have taken place (and are still taking place) in parts of Baghdad and many cities and towns in southern Iraq have been brutally suppressed by Saddam's regime. The city of Nasiriyyah has been shelled with heavy artillery, yet Britain and the United States have not taken any air action to protect the Shi'a inhabitants of the south from this wrath.

It is not a case of Shi'a opposition against a minority Sunni government, as some news agencies like to claim. It is Saddam's regime against the people of Iraq in his attempt to maintain domination and control on the country. The strategies of kill and destroy is a well-documented feature of Saddam's regime and has been his main method in oppressing the Iraqi people irrespective of their religious, ethnic and political backgrounds.

Saddam's record speaks for itself. He killed more than 300,000 Iraqis after the failed uprising in March of 1991. He tried to wipe out entire Kurdish communities and killed more than 182,000 Kurds. Leading members of the Assyrian and Turkoman minorities have been arrested, persecuted and massacred. Assyrio-Chaldean churches have also been destroyed. Leading Sunni clergy and military figures have been executed, including individuals in his own town of Tikreet. His own family members and thousands of members of his own Baath party have also not been spared.

The dictatorship of Saddam Hussein has created an environment of fear and terror within Iraq and throughout the region, with its gross violations of international law and human rights. This has got to be stopped. Now the international and the regional communities are more receptive to the idea of helping the Iraqi people in their struggle to replace this tyrannical regime with a democratic government. I urge our Irish Government to condemn this hideous crime and to call for the indictment of Saddam Hussein and his inner circle by the UN and the World Court. This should be before an international tribunal which will look into his crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of genocide. - Yours, etc., Dr Mohammed Hussain Alsadr,

Corrig Court, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.