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Saddam: 30 Years of Ignorance and Arrogance - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I can’t stop reading the reports on the 20 interviews with Saddam Hussein conducted by the FBI between February 7 and June 28, 2004. I read all the reports, which were also were carried by Asharq Al-Awsat.

The magnitude of information on the years of Saddam’s rule, his war with Iran, his occupation of Kuwait, his relationship with his people and the world, and his final days, is vast and important. So too is the information on his arrest that took place at a location where he also hid back in 1959 after having participated in an assassination attempt on Abdul Karim Qassim.

Readers will be shocked by these documents as they show how Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq and his vision of governance. The interviews did not contain the words of a depressed man; Saddam spoke knowing that his words would reach the public, as he asked the investigator who would have access to the interviews and then said to the investigator “I don’t even mind if they are published for the public [to read].”

The investigations show how Saddam was a shallow and conceited ruler. He was completely cut off from reality and the outside world. This is demonstrated by the fact that he stated that he watched a large number of Hollywood films because he was keen to learn more about American culture and through these films he formed his impression of the United States!

Does it make sense that a ruler forms an impression of a state by watching films, let alone the fact that the state in question was a superpower and a declared enemy and threatened Saddam’s rule and country? All this simply shows how Saddam only listened to himself, as he was the “inspired leader,” the “unrivaled planner,” and he represented the “nation and dignity.” Therefore, when the investigator asked him who drafted the plan of attack on Al Khafji in Saudi Arabia, his response was: “Me…the experience of eight years at war with Iran made that easy!”

Saddam’s comments on Kuwait further revealed the extent of his arrogance. The investigator asked Saddam about previous claims made by his regime that the Kuwaitis asked Iraq for help to get rid of their ruler. He also asked how this call for help reached Baghdad to which Saddam replied, “We felt it.”

Of course that’s not all. Saddam went on to say that he wrote his speeches himself and that he did not like to read them and preferred others to read them back to him, like a newsreader. This was the pinnacle of his narcissism.

The investigation reveals information that, without doubt, deserves to be read in depth and to be studied in order to deduce how a shallow and conceited man like Saddam Hussein was able to rule Iraq for 30 years, especially considering the fact that he told investigators that he was not political and hated politics. This is true because if this man was of a political nature, or had an ounce of political savvy, he would not have foolishly claimed to have had nuclear weapons –further implicating his country and regime – just to scare the Iranians, according to what Saddam told the American investigator.

The investigation files on Saddam – even if they do reveal many other matters – show how this man considered himself more important than Iraq and its people and that he destroyed an entire country with his arrogance and narcissism. Iraq was not a victim of Saddam Hussein alone but also of those who applauded him and even complimented his errors.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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