With the death or capture of Saddam Hussein a large number of government jobs will become vacant in Iraq.
Saddam and his family, including his eldest son Uday, are also major shareholders in over 100 companies dealing with a variety of businesses, ranging from oil to real estate to travel and tourism. They also own a number of front companies in several Arab and African countries as well as India, France, Germany, and Austria.
Key posts in most of them will now become vacant.
Saddam ruled Iraq as a family enterprise. His close relatives accounted for a majority of the members of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), the regime’s highest political organ. In the Council of Ministers, Saddam’s relatives held five key portfolios, including that of defense.
A few weeks before the fall of is regime, Saddam divided Iraq into four regions. His younger son Qusay was put in charge of the central region, including Baghdad. His cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid (the notorious mass murderer known as “Chemical Ali”), assumed control of the south. Another cousin Mazban Hadi was put in charge of the Shiite regions in the Iraqi heartland while Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, an uncle of Saddam’s through marriage, became ruler of the northern region.
Each of Saddam’s relatives held numerous government t jobs while controlling private businesses as well. “Chemical Ali,” for example, held a monopoly agency for French-made cars in Iraq. Al-Duri owned numerous dairy and chicken farms while also representing more than a dozen Austrian companies in Iraq.
Uday Hussein owned two private television channels, including one on satellite, plus four football teams, eleven hotels, and four of the country’s biggest shopping malls. Uday had also run lucrative business smuggling oil out of Iraq via Syria, Turkey, and Iran.
There many different estimates of Saddam Hussein’s personal wealth, much of which was handled by his half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti until the latter’s reported, though unconfirmed, disgrace earlier this year. But Arab and Western sources agree that the fallen despot had amassed a fortune worth at least $4 billion.
By one count the Iraqi dictator, known to his people as “al-Saffah” (The Vampire), held 53 posts.
Here are some of them:
1. president of Iraq
2. prime minister
3. chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council
4. commander-in-chief-of the armed forces
5. chairman of the High Council of National Defense
6. president of the National Security and Intelligence Council
7. supreme commander: the Republican Guards Corps
8. supreme commander, the Popular Guard (Haras al-Shaabi), the ruling party’s militia
9. chairman of the National Budget Allocation Committee
10. president and secretary general of the Pan-Arab Baath Socialist party
11. president and secretary general of the Iraqi Arab Baath Socialist party
12. chairman of the central committee of the Arab Socialist Baath party
13. chairman of the political bureau of the central committee of the Arab Socialist Baath party
14. president of the National Front (a grouping of the Baath, the Iraqi Communist party, and two small Kurdish groups)
15. chairman of the High Council of the Judiciary
16. president of the National Council for Economic Planning and Development
17. chairman of the National Council for Petroleum and Energy
18. president of he Central Council of Iraqi Trade Unions and Syndicates
19. chairman of the National Council for Natural Resources and Minerals
20. chairman of the National Council for Water Resources and the Environment
21. chairman of the National Council for Religious Affairs
22. chairman of the National Council for Cultural Affairs
23. chairman of the National Currency Board
24. chairman of the Iraqi Military Industries Corporation
25. chairman of the board of trustees of the National Iraqi Petroleum Company
26. chancellor of the Universities of al-Mustansariyah (Baghdad), Basra, Mosul, and Tikrit
27. chairman of the National Trust for Religious Sites and Shrines
28. president of the All-Iraq Endowments Trust
29. president of the National Committee on Women’s Affairs
30. president of the Board of Trustees of the Baghdad National Museum
31. president of the Committee for Senior State Appointments
32. chairman of the National Council for Honors and Decorations
33. chairman of the National Council for Sports and Physical Fitness
34. chairman of the National Council for the Guidance of the Youth
35. chairman of the editorial board of al-Thawrah (“The Revolution”) the Baath party’s main daily newspaper)
36. president of the Iraqi Association of Intellectuals and Thinkers
37. chairman of the High Council of the Media
38. president of the Association of the al-Mustansariyah University Alumni. (He won a BA honors from that university in 1977 when he was vice president of Iraq)
39. president of the Iraq-France Friendship Association
40. chairman of the National Association for Heritage and Antiquities
41. president of he National Association for the Protection of Wild Life and Natural Beauty Spots
42. chairman and CEO of the Iraq Distribution Company (Among other things it handles the Iraqi side of the oil-for-food program sponsored by the United Nations)
43. chairman and CEO of the General Imports Corporations
44. chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Iraqi Aviation Corporation
45. president of the Board of the Iraqi Academy of Science and Technology
46. chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Jerusalem
47. chairman and CEO of Al-Nasr Holding, a business conglomerate with banking and insurance interests
48. president of the Baghdad Equestrian Club
49. chief, the Abu-Nasar tribe based in the Tikrit region
50. chairman of the Iraqi Arts Council
51. chief editorial writer for the monthly magazine Alephba
52. chair of modern Arab history, University of Baghdad
53. chair of the Greater Tikrit Council
— Amir Taheri is the Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. Taheri is reachable through www.benadorassociates.com.