(CNN) -- Saddam Hussein, who spent his last years in captivity after his Baathist regime was toppled by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003, was executed Saturday for his role in the 1982 massacre of Shiite villagers in Dujail.
We asked CNN.com readers what impact Hussein's execution will have on Iraq. Hundreds of our readers from around the globe have responded. Here is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.
Johara Ahmed of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
As a Muslim I was stunned at what happened yesterday, on the day of our holiday. Choosing to execute Saddam Hussein on the day of our Eid and during our prayer time is a great insult to all Muslims. The message that America sends is that it has no respect for us as a nation, or for our religion. I have never heard of an American being executed on Christmas or on Jewish holidays. The message that was sent to us is that the United States of America has no respect for any religion or culture that does not come from within its borders. It has become a country led by hypocrites.
Jose Angel Victores of Spain
Thought things couldn't go any worse in the Middle East? Just wait. They've made a martyr out of a villain. Great.
Jack Sseruwo of Kamapla, Uganda
Saddam Hussein ceased the moment he was toppled. Since then, Iraq has struggled to identify with leadership, good or bad, tyrannical or democratic. Saddam had no say in Iraq's current [situation] while still alive and will have no say in it now that he is dead. Iraq is too busy trying to survive and by the break of dawn of 2007, Saddam will have been forgotten.
Charles Mathew of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
One never rejoices in the death of any human, but this sends a clear message: There are consequences for evil actions. Now the rest of the trials can go on without the Hussein circus.
Patricia Remkus of Carbondale, Illinois
Do two wrongs really make a right? Perhaps Saddam Hussein was evil incarnate, but his execution smacks of revenge, barbarism. I do not believe that Hussein's execution will help, in any way, to unite a fractured society in Iraq, it will only encourage and reinforce continued division and violence.
Kurt Arnold of Kalamazoo, Michigan
Iraq will always remember this day. It was a victory for the Iraqi people. After all, it was a decision made by an Iraqi court, not by the U.S., that led to Saddam's death. Thank you, Iraq. Now that he is gone the insurgents will lose hope .... Iraq, you did the right thing.
Jim Cobb of Utica, New York
Although the execution of Saddam Hussein may have been the result of the legal process of the Iraqi government -- and was very probably morally justifiable -- the timing (during a religious celebration period) and the reportedly jubilant mood of revenge of the officials in attendance will probably serve to fuel more violence and hatred in the Muslim world. The fact that the current Iraqi government is so strongly supported by the U.S. government -- to the point where it appears to be little more than a puppet government -- means that much of the hatred and violence will be directed at the U.S.
Kia Feyz of Los Angeles, California
The death of Saddam will have little to no effect in curbing violence in Iraq. By killing him, the coalition forces and the Iraqi government did him a favor. Had he been kept alive for a sentence of life in prison, isolation and humiliation would have killed him naturally.
Alberto Eleta of Panama
The war has ended for Saddam, but there's still a giant shadow he has cast over Iraq that will drive conditions deeper into a civil war for the domination and control of the political structure of the country, and all of this with the U.S. being in the middle.
Some leaders are more powerful after their deaths, Saddam is one of them, for he has drawn the U.S. into a long protracted war of attrition long before being deposed, and will make his bid the torch that will ignite the resolve of the Muslim world to refuse and reject the U.S. intrusion in the Middle East.
James Milby of Grovetown, Georgia
I believe [Hussein's execution] will not have the impact that everyone thinks. These militants see him as a martyr. If anything, this will cause a large-scale terrorist attack, possibly on our soil.
Robert Roth of Bucharest, Romania
I am sure that [Hussein's] death is a setback for the entire underground terrorist world. Now they understand that nobody is invincible. The reign of Saddam is over and his "golden" era is already history. The problem is, of course, that the Iraqi people expect so much more from this event just as Romanians hoped after Ceausescu was executed. They must understand that Saddam's death is not the solution to their problems but the premise from which they can start a new life, a life of peace, of law, of freedom.
Rich Siegel of Teaneck, New Jersey
We have probably just guaranteed World War III.
Bill Buckley of Foley, Alabama
[Hussein's] hanging will do nothing more than anger the Sunnis, and make for more violence. These people have been enemies of each other for many, many years and it will not stop the bloodshed between the Shiites and the Sunnis, nor will it stop the aggression of either of them toward our troops.
Camille of Geneva, Switzerland
[Hussein's execution means] more bloodshed in the short run, not much change in the long run. I think the execution of Saddam is coming at a time when the stakes are no longer dependant on him -- and never actually were. He was still a symbol for his followers to hang on to -- and that is the reason why they will temporarily increase the violence on their part. Now it is a question of how the U.S. is going to get the situation from exploding throughout the region by avoiding a civil war in Iraq, Lebanon and the occupied territories. Saddam's influence was dead the day he was captured and imprisoned.
Aloysius Fernandez of Bungsar, Malaysia
Saddam's execution will have no effect on the present conditions in Iraq. By ousting Saddam, [President] Bush has helped recruit more terrorists and turned Iraq from a secular anti-al Qaeda nation into a greater terror threat to countries around the world.
Eli Rodriquez of Fredericksburg, Texas
Saddam's execution will, more than likely, promote a knee-jerk reaction from his followers, but as days, possibly weeks, go by, Saddam's absence will allow the country to continue toward its democratic future. There will be fewer and fewer internal attacks as the external forces are eliminated.
Osnor Vieira de Moraes of São Paulo, Brazil
[Hussein's execution] showed that the law must be followed. Iraqi people deserve to have a future and this is a sign that there's still a hope for them to have a peaceful future.
Bruce Grimes of Bartow, Georgia
I think it will give the country, at least those in the country who want it, a chance to move on. The past is history and can't be changed. It's up to the Iraqi citizens to mold a new country. We've done what we could to help and guide them. I think they will move forward now.
Scott Franco of Providence, Rhode Island
Saddam's execution will stir further resentment toward the U.S. and the currently installed Iraqi government. Certainly there are many people in Iraq who were wronged by Hussein and take delight in his punishment. He managed his country through fear, but somehow the masses learned to survive under his reign. Now the situation in Iraq is impossible and degrading quickly during the U.S. occupation. We beat his army in days, but through our negligence, created an enormous humanitarian disaster that has no possibility of a good outcome. The highly publicized hearings and eventual capital punishment of Saddam symbolizes an end to a tyranny that somehow is more palatable than their current situation.
Tim from Okinawa, Japan
The death of Saddam Hussein means that the Iraqi people can move forward in forging their new government without the fear of the return of Saddam Hussein. I have been to Iraq, it was like Saddam was omnipotent, statues, murals all over the country. When Saddam took over power in Iraq he broadcast his predecessor's corpse hanging by a rope as he repeatedly spat on the body to prove to the Iraqi people that the former ruler is dead. Initially there may be an increase in violence but after a period of a few days I believe the violence will deescalate.
Andreas Sprenger of Kaiserslautern, Germany
[This is a] very sad day. This hanging can inflame nothing but anti-American sentiments around the globe. Saddam should have bought to international war crimes tribunal; not to this puppet Iraqi judiciary system.
Joseph Alves of Miramar, Florida
Although I think it's a great day finally bringing justice to Saddam, I think it will have little effect on Iraq. We will not win the war until Americans stop their whining and unite and support the people sacrificing their lives for our freedom. Terrorists everywhere are feeding off Americans' division over the war. Because of this they see us as weak. We will never be feared until we show them we will not be scared out [of Iraq] until the mission is complete.
Walter Johnson of Vancouver, Washington
Saddam's execution will have either a very dramatic positive difference or no difference at all. If the Sunnis conclude that the death of Saddam gives them no leadership to turn to in victory, the insurgency may come to an end. If, however, Saddam has become irrelevant and no longer the implicit leader of the Sunni minority, the new leadership won't care one way or another about Saddam's death. They might even view it as a personal positive, as Saddam would have, because it eliminates a competitor.
Lakshmanan Veerappan of Madurai, India
The execution will lead to more problems than it solves. Can the U.S. honestly claim that it has applied the same yardstick [in how it] treats the dictators around the world? It allows [dictators] when it suits and eliminates [them] when it hurts. A natural death of Saddam in an Iraqi prison would have been more convenient and brought down the sectarian divide.
Perry Warren of Birmingham, Alabama
The hanging death of Saddam Hussein strengthens the democratic movement in Iraq. No longer will the citizens who suffered under this tyrannical dictator remain in bondage to the idea he may one day return to his post as leader of Iraq. The chains of terror this horrific monster used to control and dominate the Iraqis were broken at the end of the noose when he swung to his death. Without having to constantly look over your shoulder, you are free to run forward to your greater destiny. The world should begin to notice an Iraq not only liberated from a cruel dictatorship, but more importantly from the fear of the possible return of the cruel dictator who orchestrated the injustice against their humanity.
Kenneth Massey of Santiago, Chile
The Baath Party resistance shows coordination and leadership and is held together by trust. This demonstrates that there are effective and capable people in charge and that they have their own interests in mind and have defined their own mission. This is a self-organizing and still sustainable system we are observing with its own program. There is no reason to believe that the death of Saddam Hussein will have any effect whatsoever nor is there any reason to believe that their struggle was motivated by expectations that he would ever return.
Helen Moss of Cleveland, Ohio
This will be viewed as a political execution rushed and implemented by the Iraqi government currently in power backed by the U.S. It will cause deeper divisions by making Saddam Hussein a martyr or a symbol of the power and hypocrisy of the U.S. government.
Meredith Blazys of Ontario, Canada
Although the execution of Saddam Hussein is a fitting end to his murderous and hideous life -- I can't help but think that an alternative would have been to have him work the rest of his days giving back to the Iraqi people that he took so much from. Hard labor in the steaming hot sun, building homes and perhaps humiliation for someone who so obviously was mentally ill beyond belief. I am a huge supporter of his death, though, and know the world will be a better place without him in it.