AMMAN, Jordan, (AP) – The mayor of a provincial town in Jordan said Sunday he had dropped plans to name a new neighborhood there after Iraq’s late dictator Saddam Hussein at the request of the central government.
Mohammed Sarayrah says several hundred residents of Mazar in southwestern Jordan had applied to name the neighborhood on the edge of the town after Saddam. The number was large enough to grant the request, he said.
But Sarayrah said Jordan’s central government, under pressure from Kuwait and Iraq, demanded that he drops the plans to name the area after Saddam, who was executed by hanging in 2006.
Saddam, who ordered the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, was toppled by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. His 23-year rule was defined by a ruinous, eight-year war with neighboring Iran and the persecution of Iraq’s Shiite majority and the Kurdish minority.
Jordan, a close U.S. ally, is an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim country, but Mazar is home to several religious sites revered by followers of Islam’s rival Shiite sect.
Mazar lies in an area where some political activists have had links to Saddam’s now-outlawed Baath party.