Monday, April 14
washingtonpost.com: Iraqi Information Minister Now Cult Figure
RAWYA RAGEH, The Associated Press, April 13, 2003
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf is the star of a Web site whose creators poke admiring fun at his dogged defense of Saddam Hussin's regime and his skewerings of opponents from the standard "infidels" to the pop-culture-savvy "superpower of Al Capone."
The site - WeLoveTheIraqiInformationMinister.com- collects the most memorable insults al-Sahhaf used to castigate the United States and Britain. Operators had to shut it briefly Friday to switch to more powerful computers because of soaring visits to the site. [...]
The site describes al-Sahhaf as "currently on administrative leave" - a gentle euphemism for his disappearance.
Al-Sahhaf last appeared Tuesday, a day before Baghdad fell. Showing up at the Palestine Hotel, where hundreds of foreign journalists were staying, he took a final verbal shot at coalition forces:
"They are in a state of hysteria and haste. They imagine that by killing civilians, they'll win. These villains will not win."
His whereabouts are unknown, but his rhetoric lives on. The site takes particular delight in what it calls al-Sahhaf's "all-time greats," including
-"My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all."
-"God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis."
-"We will welcome them with bullets and shoes."
-"We will push those crooks, those mercenaries back into the swamp."
-"We went into the airport and crushed them. We cleaned the whole place out. They were slaughtered."
-"They have started to commit suicide under the walls of Baghdad. We will encourage them to commit more suicides quickly."
-"They're not even (within) 100 miles (of Baghdad)."
The site expresses disappointment al-Sahhaf was omitted from the deck of cards issued Friday by the U.S. military depicting 55 regime figures sought by the coalition. "We are now stunned to hear that he was not fortunate enough to have been honored with the inclusion of his increasingly popular image in the 'Death Pack.'"
"People really loved watching him speak regardless of what he was saying," said Mai Hassan, an advertising consultant in Cairo, Egypt. The Web site, she said, proves al-Sahhaf "was quite successful in reaching the people."