Iraq is a nation just recovering from invasion and from restructuring and re-organization by the Western world; this nation is in some chaos now, with an evenly divided Parliament, and that Parliamnet with an ongoing inability to operate. The Parliament supports a Western-friendly, pro-democracy government by only a small majority. The just-less-than-half remainder still favors the world as it was, the world as it existed during the rule of Saddam Hussein. The Western world forced the free elections that brought about this mixed parliament, and has an ongoing promise not to provide un-do influence.
Prior to the strike on Iraq in 2002, Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq from July of 1979, until April of 2003. He was considered by many to be a brutal tyrant. In Saddam's inner circle cruelty was legendary. In mitigation, brutality may have been a necessary quality at that time, in that part of the world. Hussein was hanged for crimes on December 30, 2006.
Under the Presidency of Hussein, was Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz. 74 year old Aziz was the only Christian in Hussein's inner circle. He staunchly defended Hussein's tactics, and was highly critical of the Americans. He came into power following the Invasion of Kuwait and served as Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, then, as Prime Minister in Iraq. He met with American Secretary of State James A. Baker during 1991, and notably with late Pope John Paul II, short weeks before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He had hoped to avoid that conflict.
Aziz now has been sentenced to death by hanging; to death on the gallows for persecuting Shiites during the 1980s. Specifically, Aziz has been found guilty of suppression and abrogation of members of the Dawa party, a Shi'ite group which included in it's membership current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Reverand Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, expressed hope that the sentence won't be carried out and indicates the Vatican will continue to pursue, through diplomatic channels, humanitarian intervention. Russia too, a nation that strongly opposed the pre-emptive strike on Iraq, has called upon that nation not to carry out the death sentence.
Aziz' attorney, Badee Izzat Aref, calls the new assault of Aziz politically motivated, and links it to the recent release on the WikiLeaks website of U.S. military documents previously classified as "Secret". Aref in a statement to the Associated Press, said: "This sentence is not fair and it is politically motivated." Aziz has 30 days to launch an appeal.