The Corner

Saddam and Fille

In response to Watchdog

David French has written about the Saddam Hussein regime and its accommodation of Islamism. Indeed, its absorption of Islamism. Another David, David Pryce-Jones, used to point out a couple of things.

On the eve of the Gulf War, Saddam added a sacred scripture to the Iraqi flag. This was the takbīr, i.e., “Allahu akbar.” It was said to appear in Saddam’s own hand.

A few years later, Saddam wrote out the Koran in his own blood — or so the regime claimed.

You remember Stalin in the summer of ’41. When Hitler broke their pact, Stalin all of a sudden decided that his country was not the Soviet Union at all. It was something that he and his fellow Bolsheviks were supposed to have banished: “Russia.” (Stalin came from Georgia, you recall. “Dzhugashvili” was his name. He always spoke Russian with a heavy accent.)

Back to Saddam. In Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators, I spend some time on Raghad, one of his daughters. She lives in Amman. And

she has taken on a political role, emerging as the defender of the Saddam Hussein legacy. She is the keeper of her father’s flame. Indeed, Raghad is called “Little Saddam,” and she has earned the name. After her father’s execution, she was an enthusiast for the insurgents against the Iraqi government. She was also, allegedly, a funder of them. The same charge was made against her mother, Sajida, in Qatar. Both of them were wanted by the Iraqi government as fugitive criminals. The government requested their extradition. Neither Jordan nor Qatar coughed the women up.

When the Islamic State — also known as ISIS or ISIL — seized swaths of territory in 2014, Raghad was exultant. “I am happy to see all these victories,” she said. Interpol issued a warrant for her arrest, on the grounds of “inciting terrorism in Iraq.” Der Spiegel dubbed her “Terrorpatin,” or “Terror Godmother.” There is no question that Saddam would be proud, and that his daughter would be proud of that pride.

Oh, yes.


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