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News ::
Inside The Mind of Saddam Hussein (english)
01 Feb 2003
The ultimate fate of Saddam Hussein, the world's most notorious control freak, may ultimately be decided by U.S. President George W. Bush, the son of an old foe.
iraqus_flags.jpg
The ultimate fate of Saddam Hussein, the world's most notorious control freak, may ultimately be decided by U.S. President George W. Bush, the son of an old foe.

INSIDE
THE MIND OF SADDAM HUSSEIN
By
M H Ahsan - Editor,
Dhamaka News - This Week's Guest Commentary
The
ultimate fate of Saddam Hussein, the world's most notorious control
freak, may ultimately be decided by U.S. President George W. Bush,
the son of an old foe.
Both
men's biographies and narratives are the stuff of mythology, but
the conflict between these two men -- and their countries -- is
seen by many experts as almost tribal, on some levels.
While
much has been written about the fact that Bush is picking up a battle
left over from his father's presidency in the early 1990s, there's
not a lot of solid information on what's motivating Hussein to stick
to his hard line in this current standoff.
Military
leaders and political opponents have probed Hussein's psyche since
his rise to power. Analysts are now trying to predict how he might
react if Iraq is attacked by looking for clues in his past.
Escape
from village life
Saddam
Hussein's beginnings can be traced to the small village of al-Awja.
In his early years, in keeping with tribal customs, three dark-blue
dots were tattooed on his wrist. These dots, still visible today,
are a reflection of his humble origins.
Some
analysts say Hussein built his regime according the tribal mindset
of his village where power is achieved and maintained through force.
The
Iraqi president was born in 1937 in the small village of al-Awja
just outside Takrit. Hussein's own father either died or abandoned
the family. His stepfather repeatedly beat him, and forced the young
boy to work on the small family farm.
There
were no close bonds, no one he could count on, and no one he could
trust. Spurned on by a desire to become literate, Hussein ran away
when he was 10 to live with his uncle Khayrallah Tulfah.
His
uncle, a firebrand who spent five years in jail for his nationalistic
leanings, introduced Hussein to a new world. The young man was soon
steeped in Arab history and his uncle's tales. Chosen heroes were
drawn from the far past: Saladin (famous for having recaptured Jerusalem
from the Crusaders in the 12th century) and Nebuchadnezzar (considered
the most powerful of all the Babylonian kings, whose army made a
similar conquest of Jerusalem in B.C. 598).
Hussein
gravitated into politics as a teen and joined the socialist Baath
party at 19. Three years later, he participated in the 1959 assassination
attempt against Iraqi Prime Minister Abudul Karim Kassim. Even though
he was shot during the botched assassination, Hussein was not deterred.
In
1968, Hussein was part of the revolt that brought the Baath party
to power under General Ahmed Hassan Bakr. He assumed the post of
vice president and built a network of secret police to root out
and murder dozens of government officials suspected of disloyalty.
Eleven years later in 1979, Hussein moved into the top spot when
he toppled Bakr.
A
brutal life in politics
When
his country was at war with Iran in the 1980s, he asked his cabinet
ministers to give their advice. His Harvard-trained minister of
health suggested that Hussein should temporarily step aside until
peace was restored. Hussein reportedly thanked him and then ordered
his arrest.
When
his wife begged for his return, her husband's body was chopped into
small pieces and delivered to her in a canvas bag. That was in 1982
and few inside his inner circle have challenged him since.
Hussein's
war with Iran lasted eight years and ended in a stalemate. He hasn't
restricted his large-scale attacks to neighboring countries. In
the early 80s, he crushed a Kurdish rebellion in northern Iraq by
using chemical weapons.
"Here
is a person who, for the sake of his own grasp for power and ambition,
has been willing to execute hundreds, thousands of his own citizens,"
US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch said following the Gulf
War.
Friends
and family feared him
A
former mistress told ABC that Hussein placed his own son in the
cross hairs of his wrath. Parisoula Lampsos said he tried to have
his son Udai Hussein assassinated when he feared he might remove
him from power.
Udai,
who is the oldest of Hussein 's five children, survived the 1996
attempt on his life but sustained serious injuries. Like his father
he is known for his brutality.
Udai
first made headlines when he beat one of Hussein's aides to death
at a party being held in honor of Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of the
Egyptian president. At the time, Hussein pressed murder charges
against his 24-year-old son but later dismissed the death as accidental.
The
narcissistic borders of Hussein's world are legendary. A 600-page
hand-lettered copy of the Koran on display in a Baghdad museum was
written with Hussein's blood, which was donated a pint at a time.
He plastered the streets with massive portraits of himself when
he ousted Bakr.
The
six-week Gulf War left his country in ruins. Sewage systems and
telephone lines were out, electrical grids were down, and Hussein
found himself in an underground bunker. He emerged from the ruins
convince he had won the war.
When
his old foe, the senior George Bush, lost the 1992 presidential
election, Hussein stood on the palace balcony and fired his gun
in celebration.
Lampsos
told ABC that Hussein liked to smoke Cuban cigars and watch tapes
of his enemies being tortured, sometimes wearing a cowboy hat to
the viewings. She said it was his "happiest" time.
Hussein
usually begins his days by swimming laps. At six foot two, he remains
an imposing figure although he now walks with a limp. Dye keeps
his hair jet black and his former lover says he enhanced their sexual
encounters with Viagra. In recent years, he has replaced his military
uniforms with well-cut suits.
Like
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, he has spent most of his political
life sleeping in a different location each night. He drinks warm
milk with honey, eats plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and
prefers fish to meat. But details of his living habits have failed
to crack the code that dictates his thought process.
Thinking
like the enemy
Former
US Ambassador Robert Oakley told CNN it would be a huge mistake
to underestimate Saddam. In reference to a three-week US war exercise
that he participated in over the summer, Oakley said that the complexities
of Saddam's psyche make it difficult to anticipate his next move.
"Exactly
what's he [Saddam Hussein] going to do? How he's going to do it?
How strong will the allegiances be of those who will follow him
or defect from him? These are things that are subjective. They're
very, very hard to judge but they're going to be very, very important
in the outcome," he said.
Dr.
Jerrold M. Post presented a psychological profile to the House Armed
Services Committee when the US was on the brink of going to war
with Iraq in 1990.
The
psychiatrist said that while Hussein was extreme, he rejected the
opinion that he was a "madman." He also dismissed the
idea that Saddam was unpredictable, saying his behavior had proven
to be consistent over time.
"When
he pursues a course of action, he pursues it fully, and if he meets
initial resistance, he will struggle all the harder, convinced of
the correctness of his judgments.
"But
if circumstances demonstrated that he miscalculated, he is capable
of reversing his course. In these circumstances he does not acknowledge
he has erred, but rather views himself as adapting flexibly to a
dynamic situation," Post said.
Since
the early 90s, US policy has favored a coup to remove Hussein from
power but numerous attempts have failed. As for what Hussein would
do if he was backed against a wall, Post believes he would seek
an escape route at any cost.
"Saddam
will not go down to the last flaming bunker if he has a way out,
but he can be extremely dangerous and will stop at nothing if he
is backed into a corner.
"If
he believes his very survival as a world class political actor is
threatened, Saddam will respond with unrestrained aggression, using
whatever weapons and resources are at his disposal, in what would
surely be a tragic and bloody final act," he said.
About
this week's Guest Commentary's Author
Contributing
Author - M H Ahsan
Prominent
Journalist, Commentator, Writer and Editor in Chief for www.Dhamaka
News.net & www.HyderabadNewz.com. He has written many books
on different topics, produced and directed many television documentaries
and news-based programs of global appeal. Aged 39, Indian national,
with a good record and reputation.
M
H Ahsan
Email: editor (at) dhamakanews.net
Website: Dhamaka News
Axcess
Business News Comment: ThamakaNews is an Axcess Business News
Partner Site. This guest commentary is Mr. Ahsan's perspective of
a global concern. He lives in his native India where he publishes
Dhamaka News. We are very honored to have such a talented journalist
join our Partner Site Program and contribute his work. On an added
note - we will be putting up a special section on News from India
where we will be featuring news from that part of the world, courtesy
of Thamaka News! Kind of a "home away from home" for the
thousands of Indian's now living here in North America, and certainly
an insightful and interesting section for everyone! Enjoy!
Eric
Stevenson
Editor
Axcess Business News
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