Thursday, December 18, 2008

House of Traitors

I just finished watching Parts 3 and 4 of House of Saddam. I watched Parts 1 and 2 last week, and since Part 2 ended with Saddam declaring victory after US forces withdrew to Kuwait in 1991, I expected Part 3 to start with the Shia and Kurdish uprisings and the subsequent crushing of the rebellions, the destruction of Najaf and Karbala, and the murder of at least 100,000 Iraqi Shia. I did not expect all of Saddam's atrocities to be included in the film because there were so many, but the uprisings and the mass murder that took place in 1991, one of the most important events in the history of modern Iraq, was not covered at all in the movie. Perhaps the producers did not want to explain how the US betrayed the Iraqi Shia, and how Saddam's Republican Guard slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis because Bush Sr. didn't have the balls to do the right thing. Bombing the country for 41 consecutive days and nights with 88,000 tons of bombs, destroying electrical and water treatment plants, and expelling Iraq from Kuwait was all the US and allies could do, or were willing to do.

It is action packed and dramatized to suit Hollywood, but it is a good miniseries that shows how Saddam killed many of his closest friends and relatives, suspecting them of being traitors. Saddam wondered if Adnan Tulfah, son of Khairallah Tulfah and brother of Sajida, would turn traitor, so he had him killed in a helicopter crash. Adnan Tulfah is portrayed as a good guy in the movie - I don't know if there's any truth to that. Even Saddam is depicted as having a soft side, much like Tony Soprano was.

I learned a few things from the movie. I did not know that tanks were into Dujail and nearly destroyed the city in 1982 to punish them for the assassination attempt. I thought the abductions and murders happened in secret. I did not know that Saddam decided to cooperate with weapons inspectors so that Hussein Kamil, who had defected to Jordan with his brother and their wives (Saddam's daughters), would have nothing to negotiate with when seeking an alliance with the Americans. I did not know that Ali Hassan al Majeed oversaw the killing of his own nephews to preserve the honor of the Majid tribe.

In the end it was Qusay and Uday's own cousin who told the US military that they were hiding in his home in Mosul. Most Iraqis hated Saddam and his sons. Even their relatives hated them. I guess that makes them (and most Iraqis) traitors in the eyes of those who loved Saddam.

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