8.6.1        Reasons for Dissatisfaction with Saddam’s Regime

(This is an archived extract from the book Patterns of Power: Edition 2)

The Iraqi people had numerous reasons for dissatisfaction with Saddam’s authoritarian regime in all dimensions:

·      They didn’t all get a fair share of Iraq’s oil wealth; Saddam’s presidential palaces were presumably built by appropriating oil revenues which could have been put to better use.

·      They were suffering from the international economic sanctions which had been imposed as a consequence of Saddam’s foreign policy from 1990 onwards (8.2.4).

·      As noted in UN Security Council Resolution 688, the government was repressing the Kurds.[1]

·      The law didn’t protect people against abuses of human rights, including torture.[2]

·      The Marsh Arabs had been driven out of their ancestral homeland.[3]

·      There was political discrimination against the Shia majority.[4]

Despite all of this, the regime was meeting one test of minimum acceptability (2.3.3): most people were able to go about their daily business without disturbance.  Clearly, though, the governance problems needed to be resolved.

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014

[1] UN Security Council Resolution 688 referred to “The repression of the Iraqi civilian population in many parts of Iraq, including most recently in Kurdish-populated areas, which led to a massive flow of refugees". This was available in April 2014 at http://www.fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/sres0688.htm.

[2] The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office produced a report entitled SADDAM HUSSEIN: crimes and human rights abuses, which was published in November 2002 and was available in April 2014 at http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2002/12/02/hrdossierenglish.pdf.

On 15 August 2001 Amnesty International published a report entitled Iraq, Stop the Torture (AI Index: MDE 14/012/2001 - News Service Nr. 142); in this report “Amnesty International called on the Iraqi authorities to put an end to the systematic torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners and to introduce legislative and practical steps to improve the human rights situation in the country”.  This was available in April 2014 at http://iraqiholocaust.blogspot.co.uk/2004/07/amnesty-international-report-2001.html.

[3] As noted earlier (8.5.2), on 3 March 2003 the BBC published a report entitled Iraq's 'devastated' Marsh Arabs, which was available in April 2014 at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2807821.stm.

[4] “Discrimination on a massive scale occurred against Iraqi Shi'a in the political, cultural and economic arenas” under Saddam’s Ba’ath party, according to an Assessment for Shi'is in Iraq published under the University of Maryland’s Minorities At Risk Project (as at 31 December 2006).  This was available in April 2014 at http://www.cidcm.umd.edu/mar/assessment.asp?groupId=64506.