Dec 31, 2006

Saddam Executed On An 'Auspicious Day'

Obviously Mr Bush seems to have been in a hurry to end the year 2006 with some sense of victory and chose the easy route of executing Saddam Hussein yesterday. If he had any idea of Indian mythology, he would have avoided Dec 30, for it was the Vaikuntha Ekadasi, the most auspicious day in the Hindu lunar calendar for someone to die. Legend says that a person dying this day goes directly to heaven. Bhishma the father figure of the Indian epic Mahabharatha, after being mortally wounded in the epic battle, waited 56 long days on a bed of arrows to finally breath his last on this very day. Even in the Biblical and later Islamic traditions, this was the day of Eid (or feast) when Abraham sacrificed his son for God; this significance should have made them let Saddam languish like an ordinary criminal isntead of bestowing a halo of martyrdom on him. So Mr Bush unwittingly has once again allowed something to happen which without foreseeing neither the implications nor the repurcussions.

More seriously, this is yet another demonstration of the utter brashness and stupidity of the current US President, who hasn't learnt an iota from his previous mistakes in Iraq. B Raman writes two incisive pieces on the South Asian Analysis Group website, on what this could mean - the impact can only be bad for both the US and India. Iraq goes into a deeper abyss and if the US loses there, the impact on the wider world will be catastrophic with the jehadis going wild(er). Let us hope that the US extricates itself out of the situation without losing to the jehadis.

For this new year, look for more turmoil, higher oil prices, global inflation and cooling (if not sliding) stock markets. What a way to cap an otherwise wonderful year!

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