Iraqi heir demoted

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The Independent Online
UDAY, the erratic and violent son of the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, is being demoted by his father who has confiscated his property. Employees of two companies owned by Uday in Baghdad say they were told not to turn up for work because their firms were being taken over by the government, writes Patrick Cockburn in Amman.

Uday was at the centre of a shooting incident early in August which led to the flight of two of Saddam's sons-in-law to Amman. Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a half brother of the Iraqi leader and ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said last week that Uday was "greedy and unfit for power".

The Iraqi opposition learned of the moves against Uday from workers at a transport company and a food processing firm owned by him which were seized last week. They were told not to return to work and guards were posted around the building.

By bringing Uday under control President Saddam will hope to end a bitter family feud. Uday, 33, has grown rapidly in power since the Gulf war despite having beaten to death one of his father's retainers in 1988. Violent even by the standards of his relatives, he has become heir-apparent in the face of growing opposition from the rest of his family.