Today, the Iraqi government reported the arrest of three of the men who executed Saddam Hussein.
The arrests were for shooting and releasing unauthorized video of the event, and for events shown on the video itself, including taunting Saddam and dancing around his body.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi authorities reported the arrests Wednesday of two guards and an official who supervised Saddam Hussein's hanging and said the guard force was infiltrated by outsiders who taunted the former leader and shot the video showing his body dangling at the end of a rope.
The unauthorized video, which ignited protests by Saddam's fellow Sunni Arabs in various Iraqi cities, threatens to turn the ousted dictator into a martyr. Saddam was shown never bowing his head as he faced death, and asking the hecklers if they were acting in a manly way.
Apparently one reason they are unhappy is because the video contradicted information given by the official spokesman in a number of ways. This is very important because if the goal is to depress the Baathist insurgents then they want to promote the image of Saddam in fear. And that is what the official word was over the day or two following the execution. But the unauthorized video apparently contradicted that position and likely will have the opposite effect on Sunni insurgents.
It is true that the Iraqi security forces have been infiltrated by many whose primary loyalty is elsewhere than to the government, many in particular to the Iranian backed Badr brigade, which has almost entirely disappeared as a seperate militia since they have almost all followed instructions to join Iraqi security forces and police. It is also true that if the executioners were Shi'ites (as they presumably were) they certainly had no love lost for Saddam.
However, it does point out just how unreliable Iraqi security is. If they can't even put together a team of less than a dozen men they absolutely can trust to follow orders and carry out the most important execution in the history of Iraq in a professional exemplary manner, then how can we trust them to keep control over tens of thousands of Iraqi troops and police officers?
Then again, 'our' man in Iraq, prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has only been prime minister since May, said yesterday that he can't wait to leave office. He even said he may resign before his term is over. Not spoken like a man who is exuding confidence.