SOC 300-Sociology of Developing Countries
April 24, 2011
Discuss the effects of Saddam Hussein’s government on Shi’a-Sunni relations in Iraq.
The Sunni, Shi’a conflict in Iraq (and other parts of the Muslim world) started long before the reign of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but when Saddam became Prime Minister of the country the conflict between the two religious sects was taken to a new level. As soon as Hussein gained full power, under his control, began years and years of persecution of the Shi’a Muslims in the country. With Saddam's newly gained power, he had the full support of the Sunni’s, supporting his long standing hatred of the Shi’a. He then set out to show the nation who was ultimately in control and to rid the nation of any opposition. Shi’ites were persecuted under the Ba’ath party rule. Many Shi’a religious traditions were banned throughout the country, such as the Shi’a Ashoura religious festival, stating “the last thing he wanted was that many Shi’as together” (www.associatedcontent.com). It is said that every Shi'a clerical family of note in Iraq had tales of torture and murder to recount. (www.wikipedia.org) from the years 1979- 1983. Under Saddam’s regime, 48 Shi’a clerics were executed, in Iraq. During his reign, Saddam mercilessly persecuted, tortured and executed several Shi’a leaders and followers alike (www.associatedcontent.com). After the United States beat Iraq in the Gulf War (1990-1991) the persecution intensified (Handleman, 2011). Saddam believed that the United States under George W. Bush called the Iraqi people to overthrow Hussein and that the United States would support any uprising of the people to overthrow him. This primarily meant the Shi’a in the southern part of the country and the Kurds in the northern part. When U.S. assistance failed to materialize, Shi’a towns all throughout the south were leveled and thousands of...