Saddam's brother `defects' to UAE

IRAQ DENIED a claim yesterday that Barzan al-Tikriti, the powerful half-brother of the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, had defected to the United Arab Emirates.

The London-based Iraqi National Accord opposition group said earlier that it has unconfirmed reports that Barzan, once a senior lieutenant of the Iraqi leader, had asked for asylum in an Arab Gulf state. Extra details were given by the al-Hayat newsaper in London, which quoted informed sources as saying that Barzan had arrived in the United Arab Emirates on a private aircraft.

"Barzan al-Tikriti left Baghdad on a private plane to the United Arab Emirates to end internal difficulties which made living alongside the sons of his brother the president, Uday and Qusay, impossible," said al- Hayat. It is true that Barzan has had notoriously bad relations with Uday, the Iraqi leader's eldest son. He was also displeased to lose his job as Iraqi ambassador to the UN in Geneva last year after almost a decade in the post and initially resisted returning to Baghdad.

But the Iraqi denial in Baghdad yesterday that Barzan had defected was peculiarly circumstantial. "News reports about Mr Barzan al-Tikriti are false and baseless," said Uday al-Ta'e, head of the official Iraqi News Agency. "Barzan al-Tikriti is on leave to visit his sons who live in Geneva and you can speak with him by telephone."

There is some confirmation of this from the Iraqi National Congress (INC), another opposition group, which says that until recently Barzan had been at his residence on Lake Geneva. His bodyguards and Mercedes were seen in the driveway of the house. The organisation had been tracking his movements because Bar-zan no longer has diplomatic immunity and it would like to bring charges against him as a war criminal.

"I wish it was true that he has defected," said an INC spokesman. "But I think this story is just an attempt to show dissension in Iraq." Iraqi opposition groups, notably the Iraqi National Accord, which is based in London, have long circulated stories about divisions within Saddam's family. Most, though by no means all, have turned out to be untrue.

There was no comment last night from the United Arab Emirates, but the claim that Barzan had fled Iraq recalls the flight of Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel, both sons-in-law of Saddam, to Jordan in 1995. The following year they unwisely returned to Baghdad where they were killed on their father-in-law's orders.

Barzan played an important role in his half-brother's rise to power in Iraq in the 1970s. He was later eclipsed after a family dispute and went to Geneva. Nevertheless, he is a powerful enough member of the Iraqi leader's inner family to make him difficult to touch. Kamran Karadaghi, an Iraqi commentator, said yesterday: "It is true that Barzan has bad relations with Uday and Qusay, but he can't be harmed without direct orders from Saddam himself." Though Barzan remains influential in Iraq, real power is concentrated in the hands of Saddam himself. When Hussein Kamel defected in 1995 his calls for a coup against his father-in-law in Baghdad produced no results despite the fact that he had long been at the pinnacle of power in Iraq and once headed an inner security service. Neverthless Uday, who was himself badly wounded in an assassination attempt in Baghdad in 1996, has a reputation for extreme personal violence, particularly when drunk. In 1988 he murdered Kamel Hannah Jajo, one of his father's closest aides, during a party on an island in the Tigris. At another party in Baghdad in 1995 he shot his uncle, Watban, brother of Barzan, through the leg and killed several dancers. Barzan had made little attempt to conceal his contempt for Uday and his pretensions to succeed his father. He once said: "The notion of inheriting power is not acceptable in Iraq" adding that Uday did not have "the legitimacy to govern".

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn