December 17, 2003


Arrest raises fears in Saddam's tribe (Ferry Biedermann, 12/18/03, Asia Times)

Sheikh Mahmoud Nidda, who heads Saddam Hussein's al-Nasseri tribe, has reasons to be upset. United States forces make his life difficult because he is a relative of the deposed leader. And now, Saddam himself is no longer a source of pride and prestige. He has become reason for embarrassment.

"We are a tribe of brave men," the sheikh, 60, asserts in his large reception hall in Ouja, the village near Tikrit where Saddam was born. "Saddam should have fought. He should have killed a couple of American soldiers and then he should have let them kill him, just like his sons Uday and Qusay did."

In Iraq, as indeed in the wider Arab world, people are shocked by the meek surrender of the once feared leader. "Maybe the people who took him his food drugged him," the sheikh speculates. But he acknowledges he is disappointed.

To Sheikh Mahmoud, that kind of surrender is a personal affront. It may also have repercussions for his tribe. When the deposed dictator stands trial, the role that his family played may come out. "It is obvious that the tribe profited from its connection with the leader of the country," he says. The sheikh lives in a palatial villa on the edge of Ouja. The house and the reception hall exude power and money.

The tribe should fair no better than the Nazi Party did, hopefully worse.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 17, 2003 8:04 AM

They will rat one another out. I heard on TV yesterday that Osama will not be ratted out by the locals in Pakistan, because they are much more loyal than those in Iraq. Rubbish.

"For of men it may generally be affirmed, that they are thankless, fickle, false, cowardly, greedy, devoted to you while you are able to benefit them, and ready, as I said before, while danger is distant, to shed their blood, and sacrifice their property, their lives, and their children for you; but in the hour of need they turn against you."

Niccolo Machiavelli (14691527). The Prince.
XVII. Of Cruelty and Clemency, and Whether It Is Better To Be Loved or Feared

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 17, 2003 11:07 AM

"Arrest raises fears in Saddam's tribe"

The headline makes it sound like a bad thing.

Posted by: Karl at December 17, 2003 11:23 AM

It is a quick drop from the penthouse to the outhouse.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 17, 2003 3:31 PM
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