Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Fear of the regime is starting to disappear. Chemical Ali's palace outside Basra has been looted by the people.

The Iraqi president's paternal cousin, has vanished deep into the heart of the paramilitary death squads he still controls in the southern Iraq.

But the people who had the most reason to fear the former leader of Saddam Hussein secret police the Mukhabarat have reduced his home to ruins.

And at the bottom of his 25 foot (7.62 metre) swimming pool - in the heart of the desert, where the children of Iraqi farmers beg for water at roadsides - lies a notebook.

Each page bears the stamp: "Ali Hassan al-Majid, leader of the southern area" and a quoted from the Koran: "Your victory is from Allah and no one can ever defeat you".

In the entrance hall, a smashed photograph shows Saddam with one of his generals.

It could be al-Majid - but the faces have been torn out.

The elaborate wooden fretwork at the door, huge smoked glass windows and chandelier lie smashed on the stone-tiled floor

Two plush bathroom suites have also been smashed and the contents of every room ripped out - probably to be sold as scrap by Iraqis desperate for food.

The soldiers were led to a Moorish-style mansion hidden from the road by a barrier and guardhouse, a long, winding drive and high banks of sand, designed to protect inhabitants from gunfire.

Corporal Nyall Jenkins, 33, of Selby, North Yorkshire, said: "The place has been ransacked, just about gutted, everything's been ripped out.

"Obviously the locals have gone to town on it, just ripped out everything they could get.

< email | 4/03/2003 11:08:00 AM | link

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