Saddam : his rise and fall by Hussein, Saddam; Hussein, Saddam; Coughlin, Con

By Hussein, Saddam; Hussein, Saddam; Coughlin, Con

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By 1941, after Hitler had conquered most of western Europe, a group of Iraqis led by the pro-Nazi prime minister Rashid Ali, who was backed by four colonels known as the Golden Square, decided to challenge British influence in the country by attacking one of the RAF bases on the outskirts of Baghdad. Having committed himself to driving the British out of Iraq, Ali appealed for German support. The Germans were, however, slow in responding, and the British were able to crush the revolt easily. Rashid Ali and some of his supporters managed to flee the country, but other participants, including Saddam’s uncle, Khairallah Tulfah, were rounded up and punished.

As for the fate of Saddam’s natural father, the most that can be said is either that he died sometime after Siham’s birth, or simply abandoned the family home. 5 Whatever the truth of the matter, the fact that Saddam had to endure the absence of his natural father throughout most of his childhood was a cause of great distress, even if the presence of a younger sister meant that he could defend himself against claims of illegitimacy. Although it is difficult to establish a precise chronology of Saddam’s early childhood, it is possible to piece together a rough outline of his whereabouts.

He spent five years in prison. . ‘He’s in prison,’ was my mother’s constant reply whenever I asked about my uncle. , the British. Indeed, this sense of xenophobia was so deeply imbued that Saddam himself was to write, shortly after becoming president: “Our children should be taught to beware of everything foreign and not to disclose any state or party secrets to foreigners . . ”7 Khairallah’s imprisonment meant that Saddam had to return to live with his mother. By the time Saddam returned to his mother’s home in Al-Ouja, she had found herself a new husband.

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