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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

19 October 2005

Victor’s justice

As the trial of Saddam Hussein starts, many organizations are expressing fears that the tribunal may reinforce the perception of “victor’s justice.” There is no doubt that it will. After all, victor’s justice is precisely at play anywhere and anytime that a former leader is deposed and brought to a courtroom. To think otherwise would be to have unrealistic expectation of justice and law.

There is one example that comes to mind that is very appropriate: Hafiz al-Assad, ruler of Syria from 1971 to 2000, ordered in 1982 the Hama massacre, where upwards of 20,000 people are believed to have been killed. His son, Bashar al-Assad, may or may not have ordered the killing of Rafik Hariri, former Lebanese prime minister. Hafiz died of a heart attack in 2000, aged 70, and still master of Damascus. In contrast, Bashar lost Lebanon and may lose Syria too.

It was suggested by a keen observer of Middle Eastern politics that the death of Hariri resembled the adage of Marquis de Talleyrand: “It is worse than a crime, it is a blunder.” Those who commit blunders are more likely to end up in court than those who commit crimes.

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