Tariq Aziz, Ex-Saddam Hussein Aide, Dies in Iraqi

16575

Tariq Aziz, known as the face of Saddam Hussein’s regime on the world stage for many years, has died in an Iraqi prison, officials say.

Aziz, 79, served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister and was a close adviser to the former leader.

He was sentenced to death by the Iraqi Supreme Court in 2010 for the persecution of religious parties under Saddam’s rule but was never executed.New Baghdad

Read also: Obama to meet Iraq PM, Buhari on G7 summit sidelines – W. House

He surrendered to US troops in 2003 shortly after the fall of Baghdad.

Aziz, who was known for his black-rimmed glasses and love of cigars, first came to prominence while serving as foreign minister during the first Gulf War in 1991.

As a Christian in a mainly Sunni Muslim government, he was not considered a member of Saddam Hussein’s innermost circle.

A fluent English speaker, he played a vocal role before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, meeting Pope John Paul II in the Vatican to call for peace.

But when Baghdad fell, his lack of influence was reflected in his lowly ranking as the eight of spades in the US military’s famous “deck of cards” used to identify the most-wanted players in Saddam’s regime.

Read also: Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Onyeama Is Now Covid-19 Negative

Tariq Aziz was one of the most visible of Saddam Hussein’s lieutenants and, it seems, one of the most loyal.

He frequently represented Iraq on the international stage, speaking fluent English and giving a monstrous regime an urbane, often charming face. And like Saddam, he was often seen puffing on fat Cuban cigars.

When Iraq found itself in dock, as it did after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, it invariably fell to Tariq Aziz to explain Saddam’s actions to an exasperated world. He did it doggedly, often infuriatingly, for decades.

As an ethnic Chaldean from northern Iraq, he was also the only Christian member of Saddam’s entourage, which made him useful as an envoy for an secular regime. It also made him an outsider in Baghdad.

Western diplomats never doubted his loyalty to Saddam, but wondered how much he really knew about his master’s secrets.

Subscribe to Our VIP Newsletter

Previous articleWhite House: Obama To meet Iraq PM, Buhari
Next articleBig Match Feature: Juve v Barca
Hamilton Nwosa

The New Diplomat stands for ethical journalism, press freedom, accountable republic, and gender-equity. That is why at The New Diplomat, we are committed to speaking truth to power, fostering a robust community of responsible journalism, and using high quality polls, data, and surveys to engage the public with compelling narratives about political, business, socio-economic, environmental, and situational dynamics in Nigeria, Africa, and globally. From our insightful reports of political issues to our riveting investigations and analyses of business, socio-economic, and cross-cutting sectors, The New Diplomat remains ever committed to investigative reporting and ethical journalism. Support and partner with The New Diplomat today, to guarantee a positive future for all under an atmosphere of free press!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here