Uday Hussein's Family Background

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Family Background
Uday Hussein’s family constantly surrounded him in positions of power and was the guiding force in his development. The lavish lifestyle that he and his family had is in stark contrast to their humble beginnings in Tikrit, Iraq. Uday’s father, Saddam Hussein, was orphaned at a young age and lived with his uncle (he was raised Sunni). He was arranged to marry his first cousin, Sajida, who would eventually become Uday’s mother. Sajida and Saddam were raised like brother and sister; arranged marriages amongst first cousins were not uncommon in the Middle East at the time .

Later in life Saddam dreamt of military career and had applied to a military academy. He was rejected and attended law school. This only lasted three years; Saddam dropped out in 1957 to join the growing Pan-Arab movement at the age of 20 . He became involved with the Ba’ath party which opposed Western influence as well as communism. One year later the monarchy of Faisal II fell and was replaced by Abdul Karim Qassim. Qassim soon opened friendly relations with the Soviets and lifted a ban on the Iraqi Communist Party . In 1959 Saddam was involved in a Ba’ath and CIA backed assassination attempt against Qassim. The plot ultimately failed which forced Saddam to seek refuge in Cairo. He stayed in Cairo for four years until Qassim was overthrown by Abdul Salam Arif in 1963. When he arrived in Iraq he quickly married Sajida who would soon become pregnant with Uday. It seems that Saddam’s exile had a great influence on his character. Before the assassination attempt he was characterized as being a thuggish kid who had a proclivity to using his fists to resolve conflicts, but now he was viewed as shy introvert who would only speak aloud to voice his disdain for communism . He was given a lowly position in the Central Farmers’ Office but eventually earned the rank of Regional Command in the Ba’ath party in 1964 . His slow ascent to power can be traced to his alliance with his uncle’s friend Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. Soon the Arif regime began arresting Ba’ath members, but Saddam stayed in Iraq to fight. He built an internal security force to help unify the party, though it was a failed assassination attempt that became his downfall. He was jailed in 1964 along with other Ba’ath members. His incarceration made him miss Uday’s birth on June 18, 1964 . Uday would prove to be an invaluable tool for furthering his father’s political interests. Sajida would bring Uday into prison to visit Saddam with secret Ba’ath messages from Bakr hidden in his diapers. Saddam would pick Uday up and discretely slip the messages out of Uday’s clothes. The guards saw this as intimate paternal act of love and looked the other way . It is odd that Saddam’s prison stay was free of punishment and he received special treatment while his peers received beatings and torture. This brought many to question his loyalty. It is known that Saddam had CIA, US embassy, and British Intelligence contacts at the time which further complicates the situation. Robert Anderson (CIA) would pen pamphlets that would be later distributed to Saddam’s paramilitary. Anderson was interested in the Soviets attempts to control Iraq’s massive oil reserves. Others believed he was an informant for Arif which would help explain his mysterious escape from prison in 1966 . Saddam’s rise was accelerated by the coup of 1968 that removed Arif’s brother from power (Arif had died in a helicopter crash in 1966). Led by General Bakr, the coup was nearly bloodless and Arif was cooperative and exiled to London. Saddam would later portray his involvement in the overthrow as an act of heroism by claiming he had to learn how to shoot his tank mounted machine gun at a group of loyalist while his step brother fired tank rounds into the presidential palace. In reality Saddam was relegated to guard duty to insure no Arif loyalist would interfere with the overthrow . With the Ba’ath party in power Saddam was appointed to...
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