A bizarre and fascinating tale of the young Ba’ath revolutionary Saddam Hussein

File:Saddam Hussain 1980.jpg

The below paragraph from the first English political biography of Saddam Hussein to have been produced after the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein: A Political Biography (1991), contains the most intriguing story you’ve likely ever heard about the young revolutionary Ba’ath officer (account said to have happened in or near 1968):

These purges were not only planned and executed by Saddam in his capacity as the head of the security services, but there is some evidence that he took close interest in their practical implementation. A Shi’ite dissident who survived the torture chambers of Qasr al-Nihayyah gave a hair-raising description of how Saddam personally killed another Shi’ite detainee by the name of Dukhail: “He came into the room, picked up Dukhail and dropped him into a bath of acid. And then he watched while the body dissolved.” Although this episode, like numerous Shi’ite stories seeking to blacken Saddam’s image, can neither be confirmed nor denied, the Deputy Chairman’s personal involvement in the persecution of political opponents is also illustrated by the account of a Jewish survivor of the notorious palace, who was much luckier than his Shi’ite counterpart. Na’im Tawina, now a 65-year-old Israeli, was a member of the Iraqi Jewish community when he was jailed in the early 1970s as “a Zionist spy.” One day, as he was about to be tortured, Saddam suddenly entered the room. He cast a quick glance at Tawina and addressed the investigator. “Do not touch this man,” he said, “he is a good man. I know him. Let him go.” The startled Tawina was released from jail and sent away. Shortly afterwards he fled the country and emigrated to Israel. For years he wondered what drove the “strong man in Baghdad,” whom he had not personally known, to show such close interest in his fate. It was only much later, when he saw a picture of the young Saddam, that the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle were put together. He recollected that Saddam had been the slim youth at the Baghdadi street corner from whom he used to buy his cigarettes on his way to work, and whom he had often tipped handsomely. Saddam apparently remembered his anonymous benefactor and rewarded him in the most significant manner possible. (pp. 39-40)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s