COUNTERPUNCH: “Baathism, Secularism and the U.S. Encouragement of Fanatic Islamism in the Arab World” by GARY LEUPP

COUNTERPUNCH – A beautiful essay posted on, entitled “A Marine in Syria: Silhouettes of Beauty and Coexistence before the Devastation” by Brad Hoff, draws our attention to what for the warmongers in Washington is a highly inconvenient truth: the secular dictatorships in the Middle East the U.S. has sought to destroy since 9/11 (including most recently that of Libya) have been far more tolerant towards religious and cultural diversity than the regimes that have replaced them.

In particular, the much-vilified Baath Party, which governed Iraq during the Saddam years and continues to govern Syria, was and is based upon the principle of secularism (non-religious, relatively religiously tolerant) rule…

Read the rest at Counterpunch Magazine…


A bizarre and fascinating tale of the young Ba’ath revolutionary Saddam Hussein

File:Saddam Hussain 1980.jpg

The below paragraph from the first English political biography of Saddam Hussein to have been produced after the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography (1991), contains the most intriguing story you’ve likely ever heard about the young revolutionary Ba’ath officer (account said to have happened in or near 1968):

These purges were not only planned and executed by Saddam in his capacity as the head of the security services, but there is some evidence that he took close interest in their practical implementation. A Shi’ite dissident who survived the torture chambers of Qasr al-Nihayyah gave a hair-raising description of how Saddam personally killed another Shi’ite detainee by the name of Dukhail: “He came into the room, picked up Dukhail and dropped him into a bath of acid. And then he watched while the body dissolved.” Although this episode, like numerous Shi’ite stories seeking to blacken Saddam’s image, can neither be confirmed nor denied, the Deputy Chairman’s personal involvement in the persecution of political opponents is also illustrated by the account of a Jewish survivor of the notorious palace, who was much luckier than his Shi’ite counterpart. Na’im Tawina, now a 65-year-old Israeli, was a member of the Iraqi Jewish community when he was jailed in the early 1970s as “a Zionist spy.” One day, as he was about to be tortured, Saddam suddenly entered the room. He cast a quick glance at Tawina and addressed the investigator. “Do not touch this man,” he said, “he is a good man. I know him. Let him go.” The startled Tawina was released from jail and sent away. Shortly afterwards he fled the country and emigrated to Israel. For years he wondered what drove the “strong man in Baghdad,” whom he had not personally known, to show such close interest in his fate. It was only much later, when he saw a picture of the young Saddam, that the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle were put together. He recollected that Saddam had been the slim youth at the Baghdadi street corner from whom he used to buy his cigarettes on his way to work, and whom he had often tipped handsomely. Saddam apparently remembered his anonymous benefactor and rewarded him in the most significant manner possible. (pp. 39-40)