UPI International Desk
April 7, 2003

The Other Saddam: A View From India

by Mani Shankar Aiyar

. . . Iraq under Saddam had everything going for it -- except democracy. And it was, of course, the absence of democracy that accounted for Saddam brushing aside all vested interests: his instant liberation of women, his instant dismantling of feudalism, his instant caging of the priesthood, and, therefore, his instant -- and, yes, brutal -- exclusion from Iraq of all forms of religious fundamentalism and religion-based terrorism. Which is, one thing at least that Osama bin Laden and Bush III share: they hate Saddam equally.

If Saddam goes, the brutality of the Baath party will finally be ended.

But other things not wonderful either will take its place. There will be a takeover of civil society by the elements sidelined over four decades of Baath rule. Therefore, along with democracy, fundamentalism and terrorism will rear their heads. . . .


[Mani Shankar Aiyar was commercial counselor and deputy chief of mission at the Indian Embassy in Baghdad from 1976 to 1978. He is a member of the Indian parliament representing the Congress Party. His column is published weekly.]

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