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

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Interesting story of an assassination attempt against Saddam from 1982.

They emerged from behind the palm groves with Kalashnikov rifles - 17 gunmen, Islamic militants all, opening fire on a passing convoy and killing several people. But the man they were aiming at escaped.

From that day forward, the target - Saddam Hussein - made sure this rich Shiite Muslim town paid dearly.

"The important thing is that it humiliated Saddam," said Khamisa al-Dujaili, 73, whose husband, Abed, and six sons - including 13-year-old Yousef - have never been seen again. Thirty-six other relatives also vanished in the wake of the July 8, 1982 attack.

In the weeks that followed, Saddam's men returned and destroyed more than 247,000 acres of orchards and palm groves, ruining the town's primary source of income.

Worse, however, were the retributions against Dujail's people - Shiites, a frequent target of the wrath of Saddam and his Sunni-dominated regime.

About 1,500 residents were rounded up and taken away. A total of 375 women, children, teenagers and old men were separated from the men and were locked up until 1986. Many of the younger women were tortured so they would confess that brothers or fathers were members of al-Dawa, an Islamic opposition party.

None of the 17 gunmen was arrested. A few of them were killed in the ensuing battles with security forces. Others escaped; one fled to Iran and returned to Iraq just two weeks ago.

A few weeks after Saddam's fall last month, residents of Dujail, about 35 miles north of Baghdad, found in the ransacked intelligence headquarters in the capital a presidential decree ordering the execution by hanging of 147 young Dujail men, some as young as 13.

Dujail's people - including mothers who lost up to seven sons - say they are proud their town was where the first attempt on Saddam's life took place - one of several on the Iraqi leader during his repressive rule.

"He was a tyrant and a criminal," said Sheik Faris Amin, who was 19 when he and 16 comrades plotted to assassinate Saddam, 10 days before he was to arrive in their town.

Al-Dujaili, whose husband and sons disappeared, spent four years locked up, the last two in the Nograt Salman prison near the Saudi border. She was released in April 1986.

Inam Yacoub Dujaili was 21 when she and the other women were trucked first to the intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, then to prison. She was beaten and tortured; even today, she cannot bend her knees. One of her ribs, broken during the beatings, protrudes from her skin.

She was also stripped naked and hung upside down from a ceiling fan while two men beat her with a hose and abused her sexually, placing electrodes on her nipples and inserting hot pepper into her vagina.

Her 16-year-old brother Abas, who belonged to no political party, was later executed, she said.

< email | 5/28/2003 02:38:00 PM | link

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