Iraq: Saddam's legacy splits Sunnis and Shias on execution anniversary


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Baghdad's Sunni and Shia communities reflected on the rule and dramatic death of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on the 12th anniversary of his execution this Sunday.
Sectarianism has plagued Iraq since the fall of Hussein's secular but Sunni-dominated regime in 2003. The balance of power then shifted towards the two-thirds Shia majority and ethnic Kurds.
In the predominantly Sunni suburb of al-Adhamiyah, Mohammad Kareem lamented the manner in which the ex-leader was killed. "It's a death that I wish to no one, even if they were a bad person."
Fellow Sunni, Um Mohammad Sheikhly called Saddam "priceless" and called for a return to the days of Ba'athist rule. "We were living in wellness and luxury, love and brotherhood, we were all Muslims, we had no difference between Shia and Sunni."
Locals told a different tale in the neighbouring Shia-stronghold of al-Kadhimiya, describing Saddam as an "dictator" and "tyrant."
"[Saddam Hussein] deserved to be executed because he was a dictator, he was against humanity and against all regardless whether they were Muslim, Christian, Sabeans," said Rafed Ali-Akbar.
Moayyad Abadi blamed Hussein for having "led us to war" in the 1980s, 1990s and early 200s.
On December 30, 2006, Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging on the first day of Eid ul-Adha (Islamic Holiday) at 'Camp Justice', a joint US-Iraqi military base, after spending three years in custody.
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