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People Top 5
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- January 12, 2004
- Vol. 61
- No. 1
Saddam in the Hot Seat
They've Got Him: So Now What? Trading His Hole in the Ground for a Converted Restroom, the Fallen Iraqi Leader Faces the Mother of All Trials. But What Is His Life Like Today? And When Will the Fighting Stop? Ten Burning Questions Answered
Most likely in the highly secure detention center at the Baghdad Airport, where other crucial prisoners are also being detained and interrogated. According to a member of the Iraqi Governing Council who visited him, the dictator is confined in a windowless converted bathroom measuring roughly 9 ft. by 12 ft. He sleeps on a bed beside a toilet. The decor is decidedly minimalist: a chair, awash basin, a hatrack and, on the wall, a U.S. military map of Baghdad. The Governing Council member found him wearing a long Arab robe, a nylon jacket and black leather slippers. "He looked a bit silly in them, especially under the circumstances," he says. "He was lucid and articulate, but he didn't seem to understand how low he'd reached and that the game was over."
2 What's his daily life like now?
Almost certainly, the CIA has scuttled Saddam's body clock to make him feel disoriented and isolated. "My guess is that he has no idea whether it's day or night—there is no day for him," says John Hess, a former FBI agent who developed the interrogation training course still used by the bureau. "Lock yourself in a closet for a couple of days. See what you feel like. He's constantly being questioned. People come and go at all sorts of times. He's probably getting a few hours of sleep, then he's back up talking again."
3 How is he being interrogated?
"There's a psychological game going on," says CIA veteran Peter Brookes, now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. "It's preying on basic human motivation and vulnerability, using threats, flattery and something in between. We've shown him movies of tortures under his regime. He knows we know what he has done." Torturing or drugging Saddam isn't in the game plan. "He's 66. He's been living in a hole for nine months. You've got to be careful with his health. He's a treasure trove of information."
4 Has he spilled anything significant?
U.S. officials would not comment on reports in two Arab newspapers that Saddam had given up information on the location of hidden weapons and up to $40 billion in stolen money. They did confirm that plans and names found in his briefcase led to the capture of about 200 loyalists.
5 Who got the $25 million reward for turning Saddam in?
No one. The informant was in custody and didn't talk willingly.
6 Who received the $30 million for ratting out Saddam's late sons Uday and Qusay?
A lone informant believed to be ex- Saddam ally Sheik Nawaf al-Zaydan Muhammad, who owned the house where Uday and Qusay were staying.
7 Where are the other members of Saddam's family?
Not all of his four wives and four surviving children are accounted for, but daughters Rana, 34, and Raghad, 36, were granted asylum by Jordan's King Abdullah and are now living in one of his palaces in Amman. Since they arrived with their children in August, Rana and Raghad-watching has become a game for locals. The sisters have been spotted at clothing stores such as the European chain Mango and at Damas, a high-end jeweler. At 7:30 each morning they drop off some of the kids at the prestigious International School of Choueifat. A guard patrols the grounds in an RV. "We try not to notice it," says one teacher. "We just want to get back to the business of teaching."
As for Saddam's wives, Sajida is thought to be living in Damascus; Samira and son Ali, 21, have been sighted in Syria and Lebanon; Nadhal in the United Arab Emirates. The whereabouts of Iman, whom he wed in 2002, are unknown.
8 Who's next on the Iraq Most Wanted list?
Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, former vice chairman of the Iraqi Republican Command Council, who has a $10 million price on his head. The State Department says al-Duri has funded terrorist groups.
9 When, and how, will Saddam be tried?
Probably next summer before a tribunal set up by the new Iraqi government. Easier said than done—the Iraqi judiciary is in tatters. "They've got to impanel judges," says Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. "They have to bring indictments against Saddam and other members of the former regime. This will take some time." Indeed, like the war crimes trial of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic, it could take years to bring Saddam to justice. "We're walking a thin line between pressure by Iraqis for a swift trial and pressures to do this right by international standards," says Salem Chalabi, legal adviser to the Governing Council.
10 Has his capture weakened the insurgents—or only stoked their resolve?
A former fedayeen commander who will be identified only as Fathel tells People that the resistance movement is more organized and determined than ever. He offers an insider view of the insurgency:
"One day before Baghdad fell, we received orders to send our families away and to rent houses in the outskirts of the city in order to lie low for a while. In June we were given orders to sell the cars, houses and lands the government had given us and to await new orders. I went to Jordan for a meeting and was shocked by the numbers of my colleagues and friends from the Ba'ath socialist party. They had gone to Jordan after the fall of Baghdad, continued to prepare operations from there and had stayed in touch with Saddam's family, many of whom were now in Jordan.
"After I went back to Baghdad I had many meetings with Ba'ath leaders. They were in good spirits.... On the day the U.S. announced they arrested the president, our leaders ordered that we should adapt and eliminate Iraqis serving as agents of the U.S. They told us our work must be more secret because of spies among us. But we are still in the world and we still work. The resistance will never end."
Reported by Hassan Fattah in Baghdad, Andrea Billups in Washington, D.C., and Pete Norman in London
- Hassan Fattah,
- Andrea Billups,
- Pete Norman.
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