Mustafa Alani, analyst at Royal United Services Institute in London:
“There will be a reduction in operations sponsored by former regime loyalists, but this is not the full story because they are not the only group involved. It won’t affect those by Iraqi or Arab mujahidin and might increase them because those who did not want to be branded as supporters of Saddam might now join a resistance with a more nationalist dimension.
For the Americans, after the failure to capture Usama bin Ladin after so many years, it is a propaganda coup, especially if he were captured alive. It’s an intelligence prize because they can get information from him about cells working now. And it’s a huge victory because he was the head of the regime and not like anyone else on the list of 55 most wanted.”
Toby Dodge, analyst at Warwick University and International Institute for Strategic Studies, UK:
“It’s a huge coup and most Iraqis will be celebrating the capture of this tyrant. But it’s not as clear-cut as that. The insurgency has grown well beyond Saddam’s control or even influence. There are 15 to 30 groups that have no direct contact, financially or strategically, with Saddam Hussein. His capture gives the United States a window of opportunity.
If they redouble their efforts and increase their troop commitment, they could contain or even roll back the insurgency. But the temptation of Bush, facing a re-election campaign, will be to call this victory and cut and run. That would be a disaster for Iraq, for the Middle East and for the strategic interests of the United States in the region and beyond.”
Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Governing Council member and head of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan:
“With the arrest of Saddam the financial resources feeding terrorists have been destroyed and his arrest will put an end to terrorist acts in Iraq.”
Amar al-Hakim, member of the Central Council of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq:
“The Iraqi nation is happy and the sound of gunfire indicates the Iraqi’s people’s joy and happiness. His arrest will put an end to military and terrorist attacks and the Iraqi nation will achieve stability. We want Saddam to get what he deserves. I believe he will be sentenced to hundreds of death sentences at a fair trial because he’s responsible for all the massacres and crimes in Iraq.”
Walid Mubarak, Beirut-based political analyst:
“I think the reaction is going to be positive, but there are still questions about the occupation of Iraq… I don’t think this will resolve that. But we will have to wait and see how people will react in Iraq. What I know about their (US) behaviour is that there have been mistakes. I hope they have learned from their mistakes.”