Tuesday, April 14, 2009

EC Interview : My Uncle Saddam “2”

This is the second part of my online interview with Al-Hussain Arshad Yassin , Saddam Hussein’s nephew. This part is dealing with privileges of Saddam family. You can check the first part of the interview here.

How do you reply that Saddam family had privileges on the expense of the Iraqi people during his rule?? Especially with the photos of the palaces across Iraq?? 

The only privilege you can take into consideration is the Ibn Sina hospital in the green zone and it wasn’t only for the family, it was also for the families of ministers and advisors, the only thing that makes it above Iraqi hospitals is the MRI device that the hospital has bought in the late 90’s, because that device was not available in Iraqi hospitals. However, ordinary Iraqis had the chance to be saddam5 checked by that device upon my uncle’s orders and they have extended the hospitals building to receive Iraqi patients to be checked by the MRI. But surely there were levels inside the family, some people were rich, others lived as average Iraqis and others really lived in poor standards. You can say that there was a government inside a government inside a government, and my uncle wasn’t aware of that. He trusted the wrong people and he was deceived by the circle around him “I don’t mean his sons and wife but people that held positions around him”.

Some members of the family had the freedom to trade and make business to their liking and whatever they want, and others were only allowed to work in the agriculture field and the ice industry.  Because when my uncle issued a law in 1997 saying that members of the family can only work in agriculture and the ice industry; some people in the circle around him went behind his back and excluded their sons and cousins from this law and of course he was never informed about this because again they were the only ones that reported to him only what they wanted. But it doesn’t mean that only these members that were rich in Iraq, there are many Iraqis that are filthy rich only in the city of Baghdad and I can even name some of them such as the Khirbeet family, the Buniya family, the Ghanawi family, the Damirchi family, the Kubaisi family, the Rassam family, the Obaida family…etc these were not only rich but filthy rich only in the city of Baghdad.

Many Iraqis had the freedom to do business and trade that I and many members of the family did not have the freedom to have our own business because the law that my uncle issued in 1997 that we had to sign on including my father states that not him nor his sons are allowed to work in fields other than the stated in the document, and Iraqis even say that he wasn’t just with them, he put pressure on  his family just to please the Iraqi people. Close cousins of mine lived below Iraqi standards, below average. My car in 2002 was 10 years back. But then again I do say there were people living filthy rich and others on average, it was not like the royal families of the gulf when each and every one of them gets more than 10,000 US dollars on a monthly basis to his bankP19 account from the day of his birth till he dies, not members of these royal families but every member of the TRIBE of that royal family. It wasn’t like that in our case.

But there were some members of the tribe that did things against the law and they were not reported to my uncle. Two far away cousins of mine one of them murdered a police officer and the other murdered an ordinary Iraqi in his girlfriend’s neighbourhood and these 2 incidents were not reported to my uncle because the fathers  of these 2 people were among the circle that surrounded my uncle and surely they won’t report their sons or cousins even. They were not imprisoned not even a minute and they were not questioned by the authorities or investigated or arrested. If my uncle had known about it, these people would be behind bars and probably executed if considered guilty by the court.  This inner circle around my uncle always went behind his orders, always excluding there family members from laws my uncle issued and no one will report them because they are the only ones that reported everything about the country to the president at the time.

As for the presidential palaces ; first of all these palaces were not under my uncle’s name, they were under the name of the Iraqi government meaning they were property of the Iraqi government when you come to read the documents. Second, he never spent a single night in these palaces because he was targeted, he used small houses scattered all over the city of Baghdad in ordinary neighbourhoods so that no one would expect the president had spent the night there, because he was targeted and the Americans could have killed him immediately if they knew of his whereabouts, he did not use these palaces but these palaces were used for guests, diplomats, presidents, kings and ministers of other countries. It’s not like the cost of these palaces would affect the budget of the Iraqi government at the time. People make it sound something weird and strange that he had palaces in his country, why not blabber on the royal families of the gulf having palaces all over Europe or the king of Morocco?

In the 1990 war when there was no water available in Baghdad for 40 days, my uncle refused to take a bath for over 3 weeks, he said until the citizens of Baghdad can use water at that time I will take a bath. Plus, he swore that he will not purchase any personal item for himself unless the embargo is over, he said that he will only be wearing military clothes, the other suites he wore on certain events are suits his sisters including my mother and his daughters bought for him. The presents he got on a yearly basis from Iraqi and other 42-15663824 public figures he put them in a museum; he did not use them for his personal use. As for the Cuban cigars that he smoked, he did not purchase them or order them; he got them as gifts from Fidel Castro and other public figures when visiting him in the country.

Do you feel sad when you find all the criticism about your uncle in the media?? Do you think that all those people especially from the Iraq were overestimating the practices of the regime then?? 

Actually it hadn’t crossed my mind whether it makes me sad or not. No it does not make me sad not even your blog. And yes I do believe the practices of the regime were exaggerated. One of the Americans soldiers I became friends with he told me that during the video taping of many media channels about the mass graves, he told me that the American army paid each mother from the south a 100 dollars just to come and mourn and cry above these mass graves to be videotaped, and the American army literally had to include animal bones in these mass graves to make it look as human, that is what I was told by an American soldier named Johnson. The Shiite people of the south know very well what these mass graves are, who they are, where they came from and what they did.


  1. Hi, can you help me in how I can establish correspondence with Hussain?

  2. Hi Zeina, any luck reaching Hussain? I'd appreciate you helping me get in touch.

    1. Unfortunately I do not have his contacts anymore. They must have with my old computer files :( Anyhow I will try to dig more info about him , it will be interesting to see what he has been up to those 9 years with all the dramatic changes that took place in Iraq

    2. Any luck in contacting him?

    3. Hi Z, any update from Hussain? Please let me know how to reach him.

  3. Yes,please do keep up if you can. It was very interesting to read from another's point of view.


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