Uday Hussein
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Uday Hussein

Uday Hussein
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Uday Saddam Hussein.png
Commander of the Fedayeen Saddam

1995-1996
Position established
Qusay Hussein
Personal details
Born1963 (1963)-1965 (1965)
Tikrit, Iraq
Died22 July 2003(2003-07-22) (aged 39)
Mosul, Iraq
Cause of deathBallistic trauma
Height1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
ParentsSaddam Hussein (deceased)
Sajida Talfah
Relatives
Military service
Allegiance Baathist Iraq
Branch/serviceFedayeen Saddam
Years of service1988-2003
RankCommander
Battles/wars2003 Iraq War

Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti (Arabic: ? ? ‎; c. 1964 - 22 July 2003) was the eldest child of Saddam Hussein by his first wife, Sajida Talfah, and the brother of Qusay Hussein. Uday was seen for several years as the likely successor to his father, but lost the place as heir apparent to Qusay due to injuries he sustained in an assassination attempt.

Witness allegations have suggested that Uday was guilty of rape, murder, and torture,[2] including the arrest and torture of Iraqi Olympic athletes and members of the national football team whenever they lost a match.[3]

Following the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, he was killed alongside his brother Qusay and nephew Mustapha by an American task force after a prolonged gunfight in Mosul.

Biography

Uday Hussein was born around 1964 in Tikrit to Saddam Hussein and Sajida Talfah while his father was in prison. Multiple sources give different birthdays; although official sources give a 18 June birth, The Independent gave a birth date of 9 March 1964, while others give a 1965 birth. One source gave it as early as 1963.[4][5][6] As a child, his father would take him and his brother Qusay to watch executions of enemies.

He started his studies at the university in Baghdad Medical College, where he only stayed for three days. Then he moved to the College of Engineering, and obtained a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Baghdad.[7] He obtained a doctorate in political science from the University of Baghdad and the title of his thesis was entitled "The world after the Cold War."[8] He wrote his master's thesis on "Iraqi military strategy during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war". But some argued that Uday did not have academic abilities and his theses were written by others in exchange for money and gifts, and no one was able to give Uday a low score out of fear.[9] "He was really smart, probably smarter than his father - but he was crazy," said one of his classmates about Uday.[10]

In 1984, Saddam appointed Uday chairman of the Iraqi Olympic Committee and the Iraq Football Association. In the former role, he tortured athletes who failed to win.[11][12][13] Furthermore, he founded his own sports club called Al-Rasheed and signed all the best players from the country to play for the club as they went on to dominate Iraqi football until their dissolving in 1990. He also became the editor of the Babel newspaper, the general secretary of the Iraqi Union of Students and the head of the Fedayeen Saddam. He was also the Head of the Iraq Journalists Union.[14] His newspaper, Babel, was known for carrying Western reports on Iraq's conflict with the United States and was said to be the most influential newspaper in the country. Uday Hussein also had a television channel, Youth TV (Al-Shabab), which aired reports by other Arab channels not usually heard on Iraq's state-run media.[15] Iraq's most popular radio station was Voice of Youth, owned by Uday, the only radio that played Western music.[16][17] Uday seemed proud of his reputation and called himself Abu Sarhan, an Arabic term for "wolf".[18]

Raed Ahmed, one of the Iraqi athletes who escaped, said, "During the training, he would watch all the athletes closely, put pressure on the coaches to push the athletes even more ... If he was not happy with the results, he would have coaches and athletes put in his private prison in the Olympic Committee building. The punishment was Uday's private prison where they tortured people. Some athletes, including the best ones, started quitting the sport when Uday took over the Committee. I always managed not to be punished. I paid attention not to promise anything. There is a strong possibility of always being beaten. But when I won, Uday would be very happy."[19] Amo Baba, who coached teams who won 18 tournaments and participated three times in the Olympic Games, said the punishment that Uday imposed on the players had destroyed their athletic abilities. Amo Baba noted that half of the Iraqi athletes had left the country, and many of them pretended to be sick before the games against strong competitors. The famous coach, who was arrested several times but loved by Saddam, said that Uday had destroyed the national team, adding that they played worse after the arrest. Uncle Baba said he told his friends that if he died suddenly, they would know the reason. However, some people claim that these stories are exaggerated. Maad Ibrahim Hamid, assistant coach of the national football team, said that Uday was giving the players financial rewards for victory and threatening them with imprisonment in the event of defeat. Hamid said that the athletes were not subjected to torture, but some were arrested for immoral behaviors, including adultery and addiction to alcohol, as well as for playing poorly.[20]Ahmed Radhi, one of the most famous football players in Iraq, said that after he was not willing to join the newly founded Al-Rasheed club, he was kidnapped at midnight by Uday's men, beaten and accused of harassment and then he accepted Uday's offer because of death threats.[21] Another Iraqi international soccer player, Saad Qais, said that Uday was angry with him because he was expelled from the 1997 Iraqi team's game against Turkmenistan, the "discipline" operation was carried out by jailers known as "teachers" in a closed section of the famous Radwaniyah detention facility for athletes and journalists.[22] He said, "Uday established the Rashid team and forced the best Iraqi players to play in it, and forced me to leave my beloved team, and he honored us with gifts after every win, and in return, he punished us after every loss."[23]

It has been claimed that he had taken advantage of the United Nations sanctions in Iraq and built an immense wealth and influence empire. He supplied oil, cigarettes and other prohibited materials through smuggling and sold them on the black market in Iraq. He also sold alcohol and racehorses to rich Gulf countries.[9]

Although his status as Saddam's elder son made him Saddam's prospective successor, Uday fell out of favour with his father.[11] In October 1988, at a party in honour of Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Uday murdered his father's personal valet and food taster, Kamel Hana Gegeo, possibly at the request of his mother. Before an assemblage of horrified guests, an intoxicated Uday bludgeoned Gegeo and repeatedly stabbed him with an electric carving knife. Gegeo had recently introduced Saddam to a younger woman, Samira Shahbandar, who had become Saddam's second wife in 1986. Uday considered his father's relationship with Shahbandar an insult to his mother. Samira's oldest son fled to Jordan because of the harassment by Uday after the marriage.[24] He also may have feared losing succession to Gegeo, whose loyalty to Saddam Hussein was unquestioned.[25]

As punishment for the murder, Saddam briefly imprisoned his son and sentenced him to death; however, Uday probably served only three months in a prison in a private area.[11] In response to personal intervention from King Hussein of Jordan,[26] Saddam released Uday, banishing him to Switzerland as the assistant to the Iraqi ambassador there. He was expelled by the Swiss government in 1990 after he was repeatedly arrested for fighting. According to Jalopnik website, Uday's vast car collections were burned by his father, Saddam, after the Kamel Hana Gegeo incident.[27][28][29]

Others describe the murder as follows: Next to the palace where Suzanne Mubarek and Uday's mother was staying, Kamel Hana was celebrating the wedding of a relative and firing in the air, so Uday sent his men and asked them not to bother Suzanne Mubarak and his mother. In the discussion, Uday hit Kamel's head with his walking stick and caused his death. Uday, afraid of his father's reaction, tried to commit suicide and was taken to the hospital. He escaped from the hospital, set up a barricade around his home and fired at anyone trying to enter his home. He surrendered with the persuasion of his brother Kusay.[30]

According to the memories of Uday's step-uncle Barzan, after escaping from the hospital, he went to his father's palace and said to his father that "stay with your real wife". Then Saddam said to Barzan, "He was lucky because I had no weapon with me." But Uday later came to the door of the palace again and said Barzan that he intends to shoot his father with his gun. He fired at his brother Qusay and step-uncles who were trying to prevent him. Later, under the guidance of Barzan, Uday apologized to his father. His father ordered him to surrender. When his brother-in-laws Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel learned that he was trying to escape to America, he was forcibly arrested by his father's order but released 3 weeks later. After the incident, Uday attacked 2 people who he thought were informers. At the request of Saddam, he sent Uday out of Iraq under the control of Barzan to Switzerland in order to get rid of the disgrace caused by Uday.[31]

Muhammad Asim Shanshal, head of the private office of Uday, said, "After a call from his mother, Sajida, told him that Kamel Hanna holds a joyful party for Saddam's second wife, Samira Shahbandar. There was shooting, rejoicing, and Uday shouting in the face of "Kamel Hanna" denounced: "What is the mess?"! .. And he said: We celebrate on the occasion of lady and the President. Uday threatened him and warned him not to shoot bullets in the air, so it was "Kamel Hanna" except that he raised his weapon in the air and fired bullets, so Uday's response was a fatal blow to his head with a heavy club that was with him, and he was killed. Saddam imprisoned all his guards and those who were with him and were 15 individuals, and I was supposed to be with them had it not been for the delay that saved me from prison, they were sentenced to imprisonment, and Uday was exiled from Iraq to Switzerland for a period of six months."[32]

Uday was responsible for nearly 20 American prisoners of war captured during the 1991 Gulf War, including ex-Navy Commander Jeff Zaun, forced to appear on Iraqi state television and forced to condemn their country after being tortured. In 2000, a group of French university students claimed that they were invited by Uday to the party in Baghdad, but as soon as they entered the room, they were forced to have sex with each other at gunpoint while it was recorded by camera.[33] In 1999, an anti-embargo group of French volunteers went to Iraq and a girl was forced to stay with Uday after the party, but they were able to leave the party when one of the girls said "we did not come here to be prostitutes".[34] Miss Germany, Alexandra Vodjanikova, met with Uday and said "he was charming, downright warm, very friendly and always said to her 'you are beautiful, you are sexy'".[35] Zainab Salbi, daughter of Saddam Hussein's private pilot said, "The days when Uday came to the university, the girls were hiding in the toilet in fear to escape from his hungry eyes, but it is a known fact that nobody can escape from the lust of Uday and Uday is known for his eerie quietness than for wild craziness."[36] One of his long-time employe, Khaled Jassem, said: "You shouldn't compete with Uday on two subjects: business and girls. Often, he would make his decisions under the influence of the drink a cocktail based on whiskey, gin and champagne. I have never seen someone so cruel. My life was a nightmare. I was always afraid. I have suffered foot whipping as punishment four times. When he could not attend the caning, he sent his executioners to administer it. But not wanting to deprive himself of the pleasure of hearing the victim's pain, he listened the victim shouting over the telephone."[37]

Latif Yahia, who claims to be Uday's body double, said, "The word that defines him is sadistic. I think Saddam Hussein was more human than Uday. The Olympic Committee was not a sports center, it was Uday's world."[38][39][40] In November 1987, Latif said, "I saw many rapes. He raped and killed women, and then killed her parents if they complained. I witnessed many murders. Uday had raped one of the Baghdad Beauty Queens and her father complained to Saddam. He ordered me to kill him. I refused and instead cut my wrists." He said that "The Devil's Double", based on his memories, is only 20% of the truth.[41][42]  

In 1995, in a fight between his maternal uncle Louay and paternal step-uncle Watban, Uday shot his step-uncle intentionally or unknowingly with the other guests of the party with his Jack Hammer gun. Then he took him to the hospital. Uday later disappeared. When his brother-in-laws, Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel, escaped to Jordan the next day, Uday's attack on his uncle remained in the background. Saddam ordered Uday to ask his uncle to shoot him in the same way from where he was shot, but Watban refused to shoot Uday. One of the injured at the party said that the reason for the attack was that Uday's step-uncle had fun with Uday's speech disorder and his maternal uncle told this to Uday. Since birth, Uday's upper jaw has extended forward an abnormally large stretch. For this it was difficult for him to speak clearly. At the ceremony, his uncle imitated him with a subtle tradition and made his speech defect a material of mockery and humor, which sparked an atmosphere of extreme fun at the party. Shortly after the incident, Saddam got angry when he saw the difficulty of walking of his half-brother in the hospital and ordered to be burned the garage of Uday's luxury cars. Uday was angry with his brother Kusay for not preventing Saddam and had a nervous breakdown. Kusay said he prevented him from burning another garage. Uday set up a barricade in front of his luxury cars in another nearby garage and waited for his father or his men to come with heavy firearms. According to his close friend Jaber, Uday would have killed him if his father had come to the second garage.[43][44]

According to the interrogation book of Saddam Hussein by John Nixon, Uday provoked the escape of Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel in 1995. Drunk Uday went to Kamel's house where a party was being held and punched Saddam Kamel. When he was defeated by Kamel, he took out his gun and fired. But bullet wounded Watban who got in the way. Soon shortly after the grooms escaped to Jordan, Saddam burned the garage of Uday's luxury cars, saying, "While Iraqis are suffering from the embargo, this situation may send a false message."[45] After Uday took over Iraq's oil sales, used to be largely pocketed by the entourage of Hussein Kamel when he oversaw the oil business along with his responsibilities in defense and industry, also Uday zeroed in on other areas that were the province of Kamel, including army equipment supplies, reconstruction and food imports, then Iraqi official said, "Kamel decided to defect because he became frightened that Uday was now getting strong enough to really take care of him."[46]

Uday sustained permanent injuries during an assassination attempt in December 1996.[11] Struck by between 7 and 13 bullets while driving in Mansour (Bagdad),[47] Uday was initially believed to be paralyzed. Evacuated to Ibn Sina Hospital, he eventually recovered but with a noticeable limp.[11] Despite repeated operations, two bullets remained lodged in his spine and could not be removed due to their location near the spinal cord.[48] In the wake of Uday's subsequent disabilities, Saddam gave Qusay increasing responsibility and authority, designating him as his heir apparent in 2000.[49] However, Abbas al-Janabi claims that Uday's exclusion in the family has ended after shooting his step-uncle Watban after this assassination.[50] An American hypnotist, Larry Garret, claimed that he hypnotized Uday Huseyin to treat. He said, "He was an educated man, with a background in engineering. He was versed in the Koran. He had visited the U.S. with his cousin when he was 17. He expressed some political views, but he didn't involve me in them. I must say I was developing a fondness for him. He never spoke to me as a leader or the son of a leader. He never condescended. It was just two men sitting around at night."[51]

The Shia Shaaban Movement assumed responsibility for the assassination. Salman Sharif, one of the 3 assassins, learned that Uday regularly visits one of the luxurious streets of Mansour every Thursday at 7 in the evening to pick up a girl. They watched the street for 3 months and made preparations. They realized that Uday was sometimes unprotected and tried to find out who was the real shopkeeper and who was the secret police on the street. On the day of the assassination, they saw a luxury car that could only belong to Uday without bodyguards. They shot Uday exactly 50 times, but 17 hits. Some Shaaban members who knew about this assassination were arrested for another incident in Jordan and handed over to the Iraqi police. In August 1998, Saddam's men arrested Abu Sajad and learned the details of other members of the team. Sharif's seven brothers and father were imprisoned, and his mother was then told to collect their bodies from the Baghdad morgue. The father and three brothers of assassin Abu Sadeq were executed. Other assassin Abu Sajad and his father shared the same fate. Security guards destroyed the homes of all families with bulldozers and confiscated all their property. In December 2002, Iraqi intelligence officers tracked down and killed Abu Sadeq, who was in Iran. Uday was injured for the rest of his life and - according to popular belief - became impotent. Sharif interpreted this as "divine justice" by referring to Uday's brutal reputation for women.[52]

The doctor who operated Uday, Alaa Bashir, said, "he was not impotent because the injury was far from the reproductive system." He said that Uday saw assassination as the revenge of God after he shot his uncle in the same leg. He said, "Saddam entered the operating room. He looked at his son with calmness, and if any other person, whatever his strength, saw his son in such a scene, he would lost his temper, but Saddam did not shook his time, but turned around his son and said to him despite his knowledge Uday was unconscious, 'My son, such things are possible and can be expected for men, but we are right and they are false' Then he kissed him on his forehead and left. Then he met his son Qusay and said to him, 'My son. These things happen to the men, except for a bullet or a wound with a knife. These are normal matters, but you must prepare yourself for the worst day.' Then he went out." About Uday's personality, Ala Bashir, said, " Uday was scary because he was unbalanced and did not care about anyone. He often attacked the leadership and no one stood up to him, so I avoided him and did not come close to him. Uday used to hate me a lot and tried to offend me and caused me a lot of problems, but his father's interest in me was a deterrent in front of him."[53]

Abbas al-Janabi, who had worked with Uday as his secretary for 15 years, claimed that every Iraqi knew that Uday had come to that street on Thursdays and claimed that Uday had become much more brutal after the assassination. He also claimed that Uday was outraged because of rumors that he was made impotent after the assassination and ordered the secret police to make up stories about his sexual power. Janabi said: "Uday is a sadist, a monster. I saw how he laughed when someone was whipped." [54] He also claimed that he witnessed dozens of rape. He said that what makes Uday sexually excited is violence: "This is his nature, rape is like a hobby for him, and believe me, I know what I am talking about and I am not exaggerating."[55] Janabi said: "I saw how he tortured people, how he laughed, how he enjoyed it, you can't control him, he is a kind of maniac, he is psychologically imbalanced person." He said that Uday never kept friends around for a long time because he enjoyed scaring them. Uday would not believe that it would be clean to take the birds he shot by his dogs. So he would use his friends as Retrievers by force when he went hunting. He said that Uday neutralized women who refused him with alcohol and drugs, raped them, recorded it, if the victim's family was important, he terrorized the family by blackmail, and Uday even started to look 12-year-old girls after he was 30 years old. Unlike their fathers, he said that Uday and Kusay are not the type of people to surrender.[56][57]

Dr. Ala Bashir claimed that Uday suffered brain damage due to low blood pressure after the assassination, but doctors could not report this damage to Saddam.[58] Again, according to Bashir, on the day of the incident, there was Ali Al Sahar with Uday, brother of singer Kadim El Sahar, and Uday was assassinated when Ali got out of the car to give Uday's phone number to the girls that Uday liked. Ali immediately took Uday to the hospital. Kusay told his father that the incident happened when Uday went to buy food to break his fasting, but Saddam said to Ali, "I know you were going to pick up girls there."[58] Earlier it was claimed that Uday was jealous of singer Kadim Al Sahar because of his fame in Iraq and Kadim had to leave Iraq because of his threats.[59]

Saad al-Bazzaz, who was the editor-in-chief of Uday's newspapers and state television, said, "In an editorial meeting, Uday got angry at an article in my newspaper and took out his gun, you could imagine our reaction when he started playing with the gold-plated Kalashnikov while yelling at us. After that, any kind of dialogue with him was impossible. When Uday took over most of the media, the situation in Iraq got worse. This man had nothing to do with journalism, but he saw that media is a powerful way to try to control the minds of the Iraqi people. He knew very well that many journalists did not support his father. Many people worked against the regime at night. Some were beaten and executed. Others were killed or fled the country, leaving their families vulnerable to Uday's bloody revenge retaliation."[60]

According to a former employee, Uday would party five nights a week and fast for the remaining two days. The Chief of the Baghdad Hunting Club claimed that after a wedding party in the late 1990s, the bride suddenly disappeared, Uday's bodyguards locked all the doors, and the groom committed suicide. Again, according to the allegations of Uday's servant, he witnessed forced custody of a crying bride at home in October 2002 and later said that the girl was killed and her body was destroyed after being raped. When the city was about to fall into US-led forces, it was alleged that Uday ordered Fedayeen Saddam to burn his cars instead of letting others take their cars. Former business manager Adib Shabaan said that Uday burned hips of many women whom he had sex with a horseshoe and created a U-shaped scar. Ala Bashir, the doctor of the Saddam family, claimed that he was treating women who were in the same condition and who had been burned with a lighted cigarette by Uday.[61][58]

Adeeb al-Ani, who was the secretary of Uday, said, "Uday wanted a different woman every night and made them kidnapped, usually very young girls, but also women from wealthy Baghdad families. They would all be paid as if they were prostitutes."[62] Uday's assistant, Adib Shabaan, said, "In 1998, Uday saw an ex-governor's 14-year-old daughter at a party, made her kidnapped, sent her home after three days, and when the girl's father received a rape report and talked about what happened, Uday told the man, 'Your daughters will be my girlfriend, or I will erase you from the earth,' and ordered the man to bring his daughter and his other 12-year-old daughter to his next party." According to a former employee, "five nights a week, two dozen girls, all brought to him by his friends, were taken to the luxurious Baghdad Boat Club on the Tigris coast to meet Uday; those who were chosen after drinks, music, and dance would spend the night with Uday". "He never slept with a girl more than three times," said an ex-butler. If a friend used the same brand of clothes, perfumes, or shoes as Uday, Uday would threaten his friend not to use the same thing again. A family friend said that the day when Uday discovered the Internet was "a black day for the Iraqis", and he had employees whose job was to investigate new methods of torture and new car models on the Internet. In the Boat Club's kitchen, there was a monkey named Louisa, and if one of Uday's friends fell asleep at parties because of alcohol, he would put them in the same cage with the drunk monkey.[61]

One of Saddam Hussein's mistresses said that Uday had raped her 15-year-old daughter.[63] When Saddam was informed of what happened, after several hours, Uday was put behind bars in prison but he was released after a short period. For taking revenge, Uday's bodyguards tortured the mistress with electric batons when Uday was there because she didn't keep silent for the rape.[64] According to one of Uday's close circle, "If the girl he chose did not want Uday, if she found another boyfriend or was late or reluctant, she would have to dance after getting foot whipping." Again, according to a friend's claim, Uday would make fun of the girls who lost their virginity because he knew that no one would touch them later and would say, "she will have to be a prostitute from now on."[65] Again, one of his employees said, "He had a secretary hunting the girls - in universities, ministries. They even had a bedroom in the Olympic offices for women brought to him. They generally agreed to sleep with him. They had no other chance."[66]

Dhafer Muhammad Jaber Siddiq, one of Uday's closest aides, said about Uday: "He used to criticize his father's policies on many occasions, directly or indirectly, especially when discussing with Hussein Kamel... Uday was a young man like many young men trying to get close to beautiful women. He would send his phone number to every young woman he liked. There were a lot of women who were trying to get to know Uday, some of them changed their minds, and some of them strengthened their relationship with him...He was a person with many contradictions. For example, after the killing of his uncle, Minister of Defense Adnan Khairallah in 1989, he started to pray regularly and never cut it, and he fasted every Monday and Thursday, but he used to drink alcohol continuously. He was generous at times to the extreme, but at other times, he became unimaginably stingy. He had his independent empire. He used to say it himself, he used to say that he possesses the foundations of a state. He has press, television, sports, military and trade."[67] Uday made a lawyer shot after he raised the case of a 17-year-old girl who was kidnapped and was rumored at the compound of Uday's Iraqi Olympic Committee. According to the lawyer's testimony, "Uday was looking at the papers I carried for him and then said: I will break both of your legs so that you cannot come back again, but I see your left leg injured during the war with Iran, so I will break your right leg." One of Uday's men then shot the right leg of the lawyer, and he had been thrown near a hospital. As for the girl, she was finally sent to her home after being raped repeatedly and asked her family not to travel. However, she managed to escape to Poland where some of her relatives lived there. But after a few years, some of the killers working for Uday were able to track down the girl and they killed her along with her father, the lawyer said. Some of the waiters working in high-end clubs said that they were shrinking with terror whenever Uday arrived, drunk and armed, looking for women to kidnap them. A lawyer said that Uday had ordered the head of a beautiful TV presenter to be shaved so that he could keep her long strands and then kept her naked in the Olympic Committee building for a month because she opposed his request.[68]

He was known at his parties forcing people to drink high content of alcohol.[69] According to a friend, whoever earns Uday's friendship, has to drink the cup of friendship of Uday Saddam Hussein, which is a mixture of whiskey, brandy, vodka, cognac, and beer. And this mixture was served with a large and special cup, and the new friend had to drink it all. And of course, after half an hour, he will lose his balance and speak to Uday. He had employees whose job was to make people and especially singers drink cocktails containing 90% alcohol, sometimes including drugs. The guard would line up all the entertainment against the wall and give them 10 minutes to drink. Those who did not drink despite the threats were punished in three ways; the first was the head and eyebrow shaving, the second they had to be beaten enough to stand up without touching their faces and the third was walking after the foot whipping. Often the tortures were done in front of Uday's eyes. If the bodyguards did not do this, or when asked to answer correctly who was drinking and who did not, they would receive the same punishment. The bodyguards alleged that they tortured this way twice a week and at least 100 people a year. "When Uday wanted for a car, no one could stop him," one of his employees said. His employees claimed that they were also tortured by Uday or by Uday's order.[70] A source claimed that he killed his friend after forcing him to drink large quantities of alcohol, and this is not the first time that Uday has killed those close to him in this way.[71]

Ismail Hussain, who worked as a singer at Uday's parties in early 1990's, said, "Uday did not need a reason to party. He would have food and drink tables while many people in Iraq were starving. He'd get drunk and dance -- he was a good dancer too. Later, he'd bring out the machine guns and start shooting them off. He'd point the guns right over my head, and the bullets would spray all over the place. I would sing right through the flying bullets. I couldn't hear the music anymore. I'd just keep going, because I couldn't stop. It ended when Uday was ready for it to end.. At the parties, there would be about five or six men and 40 or 50 women. He was moody. People were expendable."[72] He said, "I would be performing, and Uday would climb up on the stage with a machine gun and start shooting it at the ceiling. Uday would insist that everyone get drunk with him. He would interrupt my performance, get up on stage with a big glass of cognac for himself and one for me. He would insist that I drink all of it with him. When he gets really drunk, out come the guns. His friends are all terrified of him, because he can have them imprisoned or killed. I saw him once get angry with one of his friends. He kicked the man in the ass so hard that his boot flew off. The man ran over and retrieved the boot and then tried to put it back on Uday's foot, with Uday cursing him all the while."[19]

Singer, Qas?m Sultan, was called to the Hunting Club in 1997 after singing at private parties in America and returning to Baghdad. Uday ordered him to sing until the sun rises. At 8 am, Uday began shouting at Sultan, and scolded Qasim for returning to Baghdad without telling him and told his guards to beat him. When Sultan went to another midnight concert by Uday, Uday's bodyguards beat him for not arriving earlier. Before Sultan came on the stage, he was called by Uday to drink his "mysterious cocktail", a bottle of mixtures of beer, gin and other hard liquors. Sultan was hospitalized twice because of the amount of alcohol he was forced to drink at these parties. He also claimed that in 1997, after the assassination; in the garden of Uday's palace, he was forced to sing while lions there. He described the parties as "a place where armed cowboys can kill you at any time."[73] After Al-Shabab was founded in 1993, Iraqi singers of the 70s and 80s, such as Fadel Awad, Saadoun Jaber, Riyadh Ahmed were banned by Uday, on the grounds that they were the singers of the previous generation. Uday said to them, "You are forbidden from singing and I do not want to hear that any of you sings at a party." The ban was issued, their songs were not shown on TV, they did not perform any concert, and did not record a song for TV.[74] However, Singer Ali Al-Issawi said, "Uday was a fan of singing and a connoisseur and he listened to all the singers and enjoyed our songs. Uday did not punish anyone at that time, but he only held accountable the abusive artists. He used to meet with me two to three times during the same day and did not harm me or my group at all."[75]

Muhammad Asim Shanshal, head of the private office of Uday, said, "Uday by providing all the possibilities and needs for poors, as he allocated about 40% of the Olympic Committee's revenues as the head of the Olympic Committee, as he was coordinating with the rest of the ministries to allocate 20% of each ministry to poor families...They were spreading these rape rumors to discredit him, so it was not until Uday forced any girl to engage in obscenity, but we must note that any young man in any country has certain relationships and whims. He was a young man who had connections, and he was loved by everyone, and everyone wished to accompany him, but he was a smart person, as he knew very well and with an understanding of how to identify friends. Uday used to provide everything necessary for the players from homes, cars and all means of rest and decent living. But everything that happened if any player made a mistake was reprimanded by Uday, so if the player keeps repeating mistakes, he must be punished. The penalty was to stop him from playing and not participate in the team, until he regains consciousness, and apologizes, and if the player insists on the mistake, his punishment is severe , refer to legal matter. Uday was bloody fierce in the moment only, and after he laughed and loved fun."[76]

In the last years of the regime, the Fedayen Saddam troops led by Uday cut the heads of 30 prostitutes and threw them in front of their homes.[77] A member of a guerrilla group whose duties were mainly special operations of Saddam's Fedayeen said that they assassinated figures opposed to the regime, shattering the appearance of those who were accused of hiding the truth from the government. He said, "If Uday said, cut his tongue, hands, fingers, or head, or anything, we do that. As for the penalties that do not amount to death, they were executed according to a specific system, those who steal cut their fingers and hands. Those who lie, throw heavy stones on their backs, while informants who transmit incorrect information, put hot irons in their mouths, and those who evade the army, cut their ears." When Uday wanted to kill someone, he sent this group equipped with ten photographs of the target. The process would be recorded with video or audio to demonstrate that it was carried out and Uday would maintain a set of these videotapes.[78][79]

Uday opened accounts with Yahoo! and MSN Messenger, which created controversy as this allegedly violated U.S. trade sanctions against Iraq.[80] Uday also amassed a large video collection, found in his palace in 2003, much of which featured himself in both public and private situations.[81] In Uday's palace, a zoo with wild animals, hundreds of luxury cars, guns made from many brands of gold, hundreds of luxury drinks and hundreds of cigars with the name on it were found.[82][83][84][85] At the Presidential Palace, in Uday's dwellings, anti-depressants, an e-mail output that "a virgin girl agrees to come to him," and another order asking for the girls to be examined for diseases were found.[86] One of Uday's private prisons was later disclosed, and it was stated that there were everyone who bothered Uday inside, the insiders were businessmen clashing with Uday, athletes who could not win, drivers who did not yield him the right of way, and some were thrown into the same cell with German shepherd dogs and left to die.[87] Erotic pictures of women downloaded from the internet and pictures of American president Bush's twin daughters Jenna and Barbara were found on the walls in the gym of Uday.[88][89] In another house owned by Uday, "pornographic pictures, heroin bags, expensive liqueurs, vintage cars and HIV testing" was found.[84] He was feeding lions and the other wild animals in his palace and often fed them with his own hands.[90][91]

Personal life

A family portrait of Saddam Hussein's family. Uday is seen standing in the middle.

Uday was reportedly erratically ruthless and intimidating to perceived adversaries as well as to close friends. Family relatives and personal acquaintances were often victims of his violence and rage.

Personal accounts state, Uday grew up idolizing his father, Saddam Hussein, although their relationship later became strained due to his father's many mistresses. Uday maintained a close cordial relationship with his mother, Sajida Talfah. The otherwise apathetic Uday, at his uncle's Adnan Khairallah's funeral in 1989, showed a rare moment of tenderness.[92][93]Neglect and lack of bonding with Saddam in childhood, over-exposure to the regime's brutalities, and Sajida's over-nurturing molded his character.

After being handicapped by the assassination attempt on him in 1996, he maintained distance from Qusay who was rising in ranks and thought to be Saddam's next legitimate successor. Along with many other crimes, he along with Qusay in 1996, was said to be involved in the killings of their brothers-in-law, Hussein Kamel al-Majid and Saddam Kamel al-Majid, who themselves were powerful members of the elite regime. The two men, who had defected to Jordan along with their wives and children, were murdered after their return to Iraq.[94][95]

In a sign of loyalty to Saddam, the vice president of the Revolutionary Command Council Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri consented to marry his daughter to Uday.[96] However, al-Douri's influence with Hussein was so substantial that he was able to levy a condition: that the union would not be consummated. Because of Uday's violent and erratic behavior, al-Douri quickly petitioned that his daughter be permitted to divorce Uday.[97] Uday reportedly had no children from his marriage.[98] His second marriage was with Saja al-Tikriti, daughter of his step-uncle Barzan ?brahim al-Tikriti. But the marriage soon ended up with Saja's refusal to return to Iraq after going to Switzerland.[99] Brother of Saja said about the reason of divorce, "Uday did not beat my sister black and blue but treated her like a princess. My sister was only 16, and had different ideas about marriage. That's why they separated soon after the wedding."[100] It was alleged that he married to the daughter of Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid for the third time.[101] A Turkish woman named Sevim Torun claimed that she was married to Uday and had a son named Mesut Uday and published her memories in the book "Saddam's Bride".[102]

Uday was reported to have converted to Shia Islam in 2001,[103] but he denied these reports.[104]

Allegations of crimes

A report released on 20 March 2003, one day after the American led invasion of Iraq, by ABC News detailed several allegations against Uday:

  • As head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, Uday oversaw the imprisonment and torture of Iraqi athletes who were deemed not to have performed to expectations. He would insult athletes who performed below his expectations by calling them dogs and monkeys to their faces.[105] One defector reported that imprisoned football players were forced to kick a concrete ball after failing to reach the 1994 FIFA World Cup finals.[106] The Iraqi national football team were seen with their heads shaved after failing to achieve a good result in a tournament in the 1980s. Another defector claimed that athletes were dragged through a gravel pit and then immersed in a sewage tank to induce infection in their wounds.[18] After Iraq lost 4-1 to Japan in the quarter finals of the 2000 AFC Asian Cup in Lebanon, goalkeeper Hashim Khamis, defender Abdul-Jabar Hashim and forward Qahtan Chathir were labelled as guilty of loss and eventually flogged for three days by Uday's security.[106]

Other allegations include:

  • Uday was known to intrude on parties and otherwise "discover" women whom he would later rape. Time published an article in 2003 detailing his sexual brutality.[11][98]
  • Usage of an iron maiden on persons who fell foul of him.[107]
  • Beating an army officer unconscious when the man refused to allow Uday to dance with his wife; the man later died of his injuries. Uday also shot and killed an army officer who did not salute him.[18]
  • Stealing approximately 1,200 luxury vehicles, including a Rolls-Royce Corniche valued at over $200,000.[]
  • Plotting, in 2000, to assassinate Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress. This was done shortly after Saddam named his younger son, Qusay, heir-apparent to the dictatorship. Uday allegedly intended to curry favour with his father through the assassination.[108]

Death

House of Uday and Qusay in Mosul, Iraq destroyed by U.S. forces, 31 July 2003

Saddam Hussein's closest aides, Abid Hamid Mahmud, had been captured, and told his interrogators that he and Saddam's two sons had sought refuge in Syria but were turned back.[109] According to the smuggler who made them cross the border, they came again after less than 48 hours. They said to the smuggler: "A Syrian citizen will be waiting for a call from them and my mission is limited to bring them to the borders, not inside Syria." Smuggler said, "They sought refuge with some of their acquaintances near the Rabia border center, and they already reached the outskirts of the city of Aleppo, and there, after replacing the broken tires of their car, the Syrian authorities, who ordered their return to Iraq, stopped them. Abd Hammoud was not staying with them, but he visited them for four days and on the fourth day they left the house. Accompanying Abd Hammoud towards Mosul, and there Uday and Qusai took refuge in the house of Nawaf Al-Zaidan, joined by Mustafa Qusai, who was staying with his grandfather, Maher Abdul-Rashid. On July 16, 2003, he met with Qusay again, asked if he had an intention to get out of Iraq, Qusai replied, 'This is no longer possible. I will stay in Iraq awaiting the instructions of the father.' Seven days later, Uday, Qusay, and Mustafa, and their companions, were killed."[110] Abdel Halim Khaddam, the former vice president of Syria, revealed that his country handed over half brother of Saddam Hussein, to the American forces. They also deported the sons of the ousted president to Iraq and refused to receive the former foreign minister, Tariq Aziz.[111]

On 22 July 2003, JSOC Task Force 20, aided by troops of the United States Army 101st Airborne Division, surrounded Uday, Qusay, and Qusay's 14-year-old son Mustapha during a raid on a home in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Uday had been the Ace of Hearts on the most-wanted Iraqi playing cards (Qusay was the Ace of Clubs). Acting on a tip from an unidentified Iraqi, soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division provided security while the Task Force 20 operators tried to capture the inhabitants of the house. As many as 200 American troops, later aided by OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and an A-10 "Warthog", surrounded and fired upon the house, thus killing Uday, Qusay, and Qusay's son. After approximately four hours of battle, soldiers entered the house and found four bodies, including the Hussein brothers' bodyguard.[112]

Soldiers, who tried to enter the house three times, encountered resistance with AK-47 and grenades in the first two attempts. Uday, Kusay and guard took up positions in a bathroom at the front of the building, where they had a line of fire on the streets and on steps leading up to the first floor; Kusay's son took cover from the bedroom in the back and defended themselves. The American forces then bombed the house many times and fired missiles. Three adults were thought to have died due to the TOW missile fired into the front of the house. In the third attempt, the soldiers killed Kusay's only remaining 14-year-old son after he fired.[113] Saddam Hussein's 14-year-old grandson, Mustafa, have been the last to die in four-hour siege, and kept shooting even after Qusay and Uday Hussein, his father and uncle, had been killed, US military officials said.[113]

Brigade commander Col. Joe Anderson said an Arabic announcement was made at 10 am on the day and called on people inside to come out peacefully. The answer he received was bullet bombardment. An experienced team of commandos tried to attack the building, but they had to retreat under fire. Four American soldiers were injured. Anderson then ordered his men to fire with 50-caliber heavy machine guns. Uday and Kusay refused to surrender even after a helicopter fired a rocket and the Strike Brigade threw 40 mm grenades at them. The Colonel decided that more firepower was necessary to take down the brothers, leading to 12 TOW missiles being fired into the building.[114]

Later, the American command said that dental records had conclusively identified two of the dead men as Saddam Hussein's sons. They also announced that the informant (possibly the owner of the villa, Nawaf al-Zaidan, in Mosul in which the brothers were killed) would receive the combined $30 million reward previously offered for their apprehension.[115]

Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division and U.S. Special Operations (Task Force 20) watch as a TOW missile strikes the side of a house occupied by Uday and Qusay Hussein in Mosul, on 22 July 2003

According to Saddam Hussein's memories, when he learned about the death of his sons and grandson, the first thing he said was, "Did they fight?" When he got the answer "Yes", then he said, "Good! Praise be to God, who honored me with their martyrdom and defense of their homeland."[116]

After his sons death, Saddam Hussein recorded a tape and said,

"Beloved Iraqis, your brothers Uday and Qusay, and Mustafa, the son of Qusay, took a stand of faith, which pleases God, makes a friend happy, and makes an enemy angry. They stood in the arena of jihad in Mosul, after a valiant battle with the enemy that lasted six hours. The armies of aggression mobilised all types of weapons of the ground forces against them and succeeded to harm them only when they used planes against the house where they were. Thus, they adopted a stand with which God has honoured this Hussein family so that the present would be a continuation of the brilliant, genuine, faithful, and honourable past. We thank God for what he has ordained for us when he honoured us with their martyrdom for his sake. We ask Almighty God to satisfy them and all the righteous martyrs after they satisfied him with their faithful Jihadist stand. Had Saddam Hussein had 100 children, other than Uday and Qusay, Saddam Hussein would have sacrificed them on the same path God honoured us by their martyrdom. If you had killed Uday, Qusay, Mustafa, and another mujahideen man with them, all the youths of our nation and the youths of Iraq are Uday, Qusay, and Mustafa in the fields of jihad."[117]

During Saddam's interrogation, when George Piro started asking questions about Uday, Piro said, "I was surprised. He didn't show any remorse (about his son's death). He told me that he was, of course, proud of his sons. They died believing, or fighting, for what they believed. I pressed him until Saddam didn't want to hear anymore (the rumors about Uday). He tells me to stop. Basically stop asking these questions. You don't get to pick your kids. You're kind of stuck with what you get."[118] During interrogation of CIA analyst John Nixon confronted Saddam with the rumor that he and Samira had a son named Ali, then Saddam painfully said, "If I told you yes, would you kill him like you killed Uday and Qusay?"[119]

Newsweek magazine claimed that the contents of Uday Hussein's briefcase were Viagra, numerous bottles of cologne, unopened packages of men's underwear, dress shirts, a silk tie and a single condom. The money found with the former Iraqi leader's sons was more than three times the $30m bounty put on their heads by the US Government. They had about $100m in Iraqi dinars and US dollars. Some claimed it was Nawaf al-Zaidan, who owned the villa where the men were hiding, to have tipped off the Americans to their presence after reportedly sheltering them for 23 days. The others claimed that Uday and Qusay were tracked down after Uday made a telephone call to an associate that was tracked by the US Central Intelligence Agency.[120] Then the brother of Nawaf, Salah al-Zidani, was shot dead by gunmen while Nawaf was thought to have fled Iraq.[121] According to a former bodyguard for Uday Hussein, after the fall of Baghdad, they planned a guerrilla resistance and Saddam and his sons lived separately in Baghdad after the American occupation, changing houses every two or three days. But Uday continued to drive through the city in nondescript vehicles, he carried a machine pistol, always.[122] He said Saddam and his sons had been moving freely around Baghdad, often with astonishingly little effort to hide themselves during the war. At one stage, Uday had driven past a convoy of US soldiers, looking at their faces and quietly insulting the men who now controlled his country. During the war Uday forsook the alcohol and womanising and concentrated his energies on directing the Fedayeen Saddam.[123]

The U.S. Administration released graphic pictures of the Hussein brothers' bodies. Afterwards, their bodies were reconstructed by morticians to assure the public that they were deceased. For example, Uday's beard was trimmed and an 8-inch metal bar in his leg from the 1996 assassination attempt was removed.[124] When criticized, the U.S. military's response was to point out that these men were no ordinary combatants, and to express hope that confirmation of the deaths would bring closure to the Iraqi people.[125] Uday was buried in a cemetery near Tikrit alongside Qusay and Mustapha Hussein.

That night, and several nights following Uday and Qusay Hussein's deaths, celebratory gunfire could be heard throughout Baghdad.[126]

In film, television, and theater

Philip Arditti played Uday in the miniseries House of Saddam. He was portrayed by Dominic Cooper in The Devil's Double. Hrach Titizian played him in the play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

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