Deadly divorce for Iraq traitors

Baghdad's unhappy family: Returning defectors find their trust in Saddam is horribly misplaced


Immediately before the apparently bloody death of Saddam Hussein's sons- in-law three days after returning from Jordan to the all-too-welcoming arms of the President, the official Iraqi news agency announced President Saddam's two daughters had divorced their husbands.

During their six months in Jordan Lieutenant-General Hussein Kamel al- Majid, husband of Raghad, and Lieutenant-Colonel Saddam Kamel Hassan al- Majid, husband of Rana, had denounced their father-in-law and his regime.

"[Raghad and Rana] are refusing to stay married to men who betrayed the homeland, the trust and the lofty values of their noble families and kinsfolk,'' the Iraqi news agency said.

In returning to Iraq with his brother, Saddam Kamel, Hussein Kamel must have thought he would be protected by family solidarity. He was the most important member of President Saddam's inner circle ever to flee the country. This hope proved somewhat optimistic.

The official Iraqi account of the divorce petition, which was immediately granted on Thursday, says that Raghad and Rana were duped into defecting with their husbands. "Saddam's daughters asked for an immediate meeting with King Hussein to inform him of this fact face to face and to ask him to facilitate their return to their country, people and family because they had been deceived and misled by the two failed traitors," the news agency said.

The simultaneous divorces were presumably ordered by the Iraqi leader. The flight of his sons-in-law with his daughters to Jordan last August was the most serious blow ever to Iraq's ruling family. Hussein Kamel also revealed to Iraq's enemies damaging information about its secret nuclear, chemical and poison gas programmes. Ominously for the former sons-in-law, the first news of the divorce came on a television station in Baghdad controlled by Uday Hussein, President Saddam's son and a known enemy of Hussein Kamel. It was after a shooting at a party during which Uday, known for his extreme violence, shot his uncle Watban, a former interior minister, in the leg, that Hussein Kamel and his brother fled.

Neither of the defectors was happy in exile. They told their secrets to Western intelligence without getting anything in return. The Iraqi opposition considered they were too close to the regime. King Hussein of Jordan gave them a palace to live in, but their movements and contacts were closely supervised. No other country would receive them. They and their wives lived in lonely isolation.

Hussein Kamel was not an appealing figure. Once head of Iraqi arms production and procurement, he owed his rise to the fact he was a distant cousin of Saddam Hussein and became his son-in-law. He was in charge of the crushing of the Shia Muslim uprising in the cities of Kerbala and Najaf in 1991, in which thousands of people were slaughtered. Saddam Kamel, once deputy head of security in the Iraqi leader's palace, started his career by playing Saddam Hussein, whom he physically resembles, in historical movies.

Did Raghad and Rana betray their husbands? Were the divorces planned before they returned across Iraq's western desert last Tuesday? The terms of the return are believed by Iraqi sources to have been arranged by Iyada al-Sideed, a former governor of President Saddam's home town of Tikrit, who visited Hussein Kamel in Amman two weeks ago. He returned from Baghdad last week-end and persuaded the brothers that it was safe to go home.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk