Local businessmen expect Iraqi resistance to continue

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Khaled Abdeen, who was born in the Middle East and is owner of Prestige Footwear in Pemberton Square mall, talks about the capture of Saddam Hussein. (Jenny Sevcik The Vicksburg Post)

(12/16/03)Although Vicksburg businessman Khaled Abdeen expects former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein will be executed, he said he’s patient for justice.

Among other atrocities, Hussein is reported to have ordered the deaths of 50,000 to 100,000 Iraqi Kurds in 1987 and 1988 and is said to have had about 40 of his own relatives murdered.

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“To start with him as the very first trial in Iraq is kind of ironic,” said Abdeen, 33, owner of Prestige Footwear in Pemberton Square mall. “It will show how much Iraq has advanced since he was in power.”

Saddam was captured Saturday night hiding in a small hole in Adwar, Iraq, a village north of Baghdad. The Iraqi leader was one of the world’s most-sought fugitives.

However, Abdeen, whose roots are Palestinian, said he doesn’t thinks Iraqi resistance will stop anytime soon.

“I don’t think he was calling the shots,” he said of the Saddam. “I think he was on the run.” Abdeen said he thinks al-Qaida is responsible for the many recent attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

“Catching Saddam is the best thing the United States could do,” he said, speaking of the Iraqi leader’s records of human rights.

Abdeen said he believes most of the younger generation in Iraq is happy, although some Iraqis still support their fallen leader.

Moving the Iraqi government from a dictatorship to a form of democracy will take lots of effort and patience, Abdeen said, because a generation of Iraqis has lived knowing no form of government other than dictatorship.

“It’s going to take lots of time for them to speak their mind,” he said.

Maher Mehaisin, owner of the Gold Station kiosk in Pemberton Square mall, said he also is glad Saddam was captured. The businessman from Jordan said he believes Saddam is getting what he deserves.

“This is punishment from God,” Mehaisin said. “Look at what Saddam did to his own people.”

Mehaisin said he also believes the United States’ time in the country should be limited now that Saddam has no chance of regaining power.

“The United States has no business there anymore,” he said.