"I have saved you from destitution and misery and destroyed your enemies, the Persian and Americans...God damn you."
Saddam Hussein, to his guards, shortly before being executed
Saddam Hussein is hanged on December 30. An apparent cell-phone video of the execution is leaked shortly thereafter; in it, some of the witnesses, who appear to be members of Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army, taunt Saddam in the moments just before his death. The execution is controversial both for the release of the video and for the fact that it occurs on the day that Sunnis celebrate Eid al-Adha, an important Muslim holiday (Shi'ites celebrate it a day later). The rushed and chaotic nature of the execution helps turn Saddam from a once brutal dictator into an Arab martyr in much of the Middle East.