Report: U.S. tried to delay Hussein's execution

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

On Friday, U.S. officials asked Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to delay the hanging of former dictator Saddam Hussein for two weeks, CNN reported on its website Tuesday.

The story, which CNN posted at 1:27 a.m. EST, cited "a member of the Iraqi parliament close to the prime minister." The account has so far not been verified by other news agencies.

Saddam, a Sunni Muslim, was executed before dawn on Saturday.

American officials reportedly asked for the delay, fearing the execution could be perceived as "more about Shiite retribution and less about justice."

Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, saw Saddam as his arch-nemesis and did everything he could to ensure the execution went off without a hitch, the Wall Street Journal reported on its front page Tuesday. Al-Maliki was sentenced to death in 1980 by the government of Sadam because of his activism in the Dawa party. Since then, he lived in exile in Iran, and later in Syria.