Tuesday, April 8
Uday and Qusay Hussein have been much in the news.
But, I never knew Saddam Hussein had a stepson called Mohammad Nour Al-Din Saffi.
He lives(d) in New Zealand.
"The Weekend Herald, a newspaper in New Zealand, reported in December (2001) that Saffi was employed by Air New Zealand as an engineer and had lived in the country six years.
They said officials in New Zealand had investigated Saffi after Sept. 11 when they learned he was Saddam's stepson. No action was taken, the paper said.
Saffi had declined to discuss his relationship with the Iraqi leader when asked by the paper. The Miami Herald reported that Saffi denied any family tie to the Iraqi leader and denied it to federal agents.
Air New Zealand declined comment, citing privacy concerns.
Mohammed Saffi is the eldest son of Samira al-Shahbandar, Saddam's second wife.
His father is Nour al-Din Saffi, an aviation engineer and former head of the Iraqi Airways.
According to well-placed sources in Baghdad and in Iraqi exile circles, Saddam forced Nour al-Din Saffi to divorce al-Shahbandar in the late 1970s before Saddam married her. He has since married again.
Mohammed Saffi is believed to have left Iraqi after the 1991 Gulf War -- first to neighboring Jordan and then to New Zealand -- following an argument with his mother. The reason for the argument was not clear, but according to rumors in Baghdad, he and his father were afraid of Saddam's wrath. The father is believed to be living in exile in Jordan since Saddam fired him from his airline post."
See LINK to above story
Security alert over Saddam link [New Zealand Herald, 22.12.2001]
Turmoil in Iraq: Saddam's Dysfunctional Family
Tonya Ugoretz Buzby, December 1995
Tonya Ugoretz Buzby is managing editor of Middle East Quarterly.
When Saddam Husayn's two sons-in-law, their wives, and others defected from Iraq in August 1995, media accounts concentrated on the sons-in-law, Husayn Kamil and Saddam Kamil, due to their high positions in the regime, almost completely ignoring the daughters.
But the daughters' defections are equally, if not more, indicative of the turmoil within Iraq's ruling family.
This is hardly the first time that dissension within the family has affected matters of state, nor is it likely to be the last. Ties between Saddam and his relatives have been likened to those of the fictitious Corleone family of The Godfather. ... ... The "Don from Tikrit"1 apportions power and wealth, and in return his relatives lie, cheat, steal, and murder on his behalf. However, the reality in Iraq is far more frightening than fiction, and more consequential, for squabbles among the ruling family of a powerful rogue state have important repercussions for the country and the outside world. To understand the tensions, it helps to know the major players in Saddam's family and what they have done in the past, as an indication of what they are likely to do in the future. [...]
Saddam and Sajida have five children, the two oldest of whom are the sons, `Udayy and Qusay.
`Udayy Saddam Husayn. Saddam reportedly sees `Uday, born in 1964, as his heir apparent. Once known primarily for his taste in sports cars and women, `Udayy now has diverse powers. Starting from his chairmanship of the Olympic Committee, he has acquired a daily newspaper (Babil), a sports paper (Al-Ba`th al-Riyadi), a weekly magazine (Ar-Rafidayn) and a youth television and radio network (Shabab). He recently founded Saddam's Fida'in--a grouping of youth commando units charged with protecting the regime. He oversees foreign oil sales, much of the domestic economy, and some of the issues concerned with international sanctions. He has many other cultural, social, security, and economic responsibilities, and is even beginning to dabble in military matters.
`Udayy's behavior is inversely proportionate to his power: the more he controls, the worse he acts. Perhaps the most famous incident was the October 1988 murder of Saddam's trusted valet, Kamil Hanna Juju. Henderson 80
The many versions of this attack all agree on the motive: `Udayy was angry over the valet's role as a go-between for Saddam and his new mistress (and eventual second wife), Samira Shahbandar, a relationship that to `Udayy dishonored his mother and therefore himself. As best as can be determined, `Udayy's unhappiness with Hanna was aggravated when he was excluded from a party Hanna threw at Saddam's behest for Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of Egypt's President Husni Mubarak. On the shooting off of celebratory shots into the air, one of `Udayy's men reportedly complained about the noise, to which Hanna replied, "Tell `Udayy I don't take orders from babies." A drunken `Udayy then stormed the party, carrying a German-made nightstick equipped with a stiletto and electric prods, and slashed Hanna's neck, then shot him. `Udayy then fled the scene, swallowed pills, and ended up in the hospital. While recovering, Saddam reportedly warned his son, "If Hanna dies, so will you."7 The valet did indeed die but Saddam permitted `Udayy to leave the country until his feelings had cooled enough for his son to return. [...]
Qusay Saddam Husayn. Comparatively little is heard of Saddam's younger son. Born in 1967, Qusay runs Saddam's special security force. It not only protects the ruler but also "employs the bodyguards of ministers and Ba`th Party officials who are tasked not only with protecting these people but also arresting them if they become suspect."16 Some exiles suggest that Qusay in fact wields more power than his older brother. Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, a leading opposition group in exile, believes that Qusay, as head of the regime's security services, is more likely than `Udayy to succeed their father.17 [...]
`Adnan Khayrallah Tulfa. The current period of family strife can be traced back to May 1989 and the death of Saddam's cousin and close friend from childhood, `Adnan Khayrallah.
Once again, the president's involvement with Shahbandar, ex-wife of the head of Iraqi Airways, was the likely cause of conflict. `Adnan's death is generally attributed to a public disagreement with Saddam over the affair. As the brother of Saddam's first wife Sajida, the defense minister sided with his sister's complaints when the affair became public knowledge -- a betrayal in Saddam eyes. Saddam's uncle Khayrallah also expressed unhappiness with the situation. Soon thereafter, Khayrallah Tulfa was stripped of his possessions; and his son was killed in a helicopter crash that, though probably an accident, is widely believed to have been arranged by Saddam.
Husayn Kamil al-Majid. By now the internationally best known cousin of Saddam's, Husayn Kamil defected along with his brother Saddam Kamil and their families on August 8, 1995.
Though (like Saddam) a school dropout, the president promoted him until he reached the rank of four-star general; and permitted him to marry his eldest daughter Raghad. That Saddam allowed Husayn and his brother to marry his daughters irritated other family members, who saw the marriages as increasing the Majids' power. In 1994, `Udayy reportedly refused his youngest sister Hala's hand in marriage to Husayn Kamil's youngest brother, Hakim.21 [..]
Saddam Kamil al-Majid. Like Qusay, less is known about this younger brother, yet the origins of Saddam Kamil's rise to power are particularly interesting. His career was launched with a starring role as none other than the president himself in a film called The Long Days. His performance as the heroic young Saddam Husayn caught the president's attention (Saddam has an apparent weakness for people in which he sees his own image) and prompted him to transfer Saddam Kamil from the Academy of Fine Arts to the Military Academy.30 After graduating as an officer, Saddam joined the Republican Guard, commanded by his older brother. He went on to marry Saddam Husayn's middle daughter, Rana, and to command Special Security and efforts against opposition groups.31
In all the attention to the Kamil brothers, the decision of their wives, Saddam's daughters, to defect has gone curiously without notice. And yet, it may well be that their turning against him had far more impact on Saddam. In the end, the sons-in-law were functionaries whom Saddam had made important, but Raghad and Rana are his immediate family. We do not know if he is heartbroken by their absence, but we do know he must be humiliated.
Among Arabs, a woman's loyalty goes first to the father, not the husband. Joseph Ginat, an anthropologist, notes that Arab families do not attend the wedding of a daughter, as a symbol that "she has not left her home and that she continues to belong to her family of origin. It also means, in effect, that she is still under the control of her father."32 A father is expected to control his females -- and especially a father with Saddam's power.
For a daughter to desert her father is the ultimate dishonor -- and two is unspeakable. Tellingly, Saddam did not mention his daughters' escape in his speech to the Iraqi people following the defections.33 "