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Iraqis Bemused By Saddam's Daughters' TV Interview - 2003-08-02

Iraqis in Baghdad say they are bemused to see ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's eldest daughter, Raghad, interviewed on television. On Friday, Raghad told the Al-Arabiya satellite channel and CNN that betrayals by her father's closest aides led to the regime's downfall.

Saddam Hussein's eldest daughter has appeared to tell her side of the story to the Al-Arabiya satellite channel and CNN, but Iraqis say they are somewhat skeptical about what they are hearing.

Raghad claims that neither she nor her younger sister, Rana, know where their father is hiding. Coalition commander Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez says his troops remain focused on capturing Saddam Hussein dead or alive.

Jordan's King Abdullah has given asylum to Raghad and Rana, along with their nine children. The sisters have been viewed by many as victims of their father's brutality.

Raghad says she last saw her father and her brothers, Uday and Qusay, five days before the start of the U.S. led war. She tearfully told the interviewer that Saddam was a good father and that she hoped to see him again.

The brothers were killed in a shootout July 22 with U.S. forces, who are still searching for the ousted dictator.

Perhaps for the first time, Raghad told international reporters that she felt outrage at the decision taken seven years ago to execute her husband, Hussein Kamel, on Saddam's orders.

She says she would be a liar if she said it was not a nightmare. She was it was a tremendous shock to learn that her husband had been killed.

Raghad's husband and Rana's husband, Saddam Kamel, were executed shortly after returning to Iraq, following a brief defection to neighboring Jordan.

Saddam Kamel had been the highest ranking Iraqi official to ever defect from Saddam Hussein's inner circle. He reportedly ran Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile weapons program for 10 years before his execution. He maintained at the time that Iraq had not abandoned its weapons of mass destruction ambitions.