Iraq: September 1, 2005

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Iraq carried out its first executions since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Three convicted murderers were executed by hanging.

The panicked stampeded during an August 31 Shia religious procession, killed over a thousand people, mostly women and children. Poor organization of the procession led to the panic (rumors that a suicide bomber was in the crowd on a bridge). Unlike a year ago, nearly all Iraqis blamed their own government, and Sunni Arab terrorists, not the Americans, or "Israeli agents." There were calls for the Interior and Defense ministers to resign. These officials may survive, because religious organizations usually have the greatest say in security for religious ceremonies. But with elections coming up, personal responsibility of government officials has become a very real issue. Voters will remember this incident, and elected officials who are seen on the wrong side of it will suffer. 

 

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