Saddam asks for new shoes

Published December 14, 2005

BAGHDAD, Dec 13: Two years after being pulled from a ‘rat hole’ in Iraq, former president Saddam Hussein is demanding clean clothes and new shoes, while his countrymen focus on this week’s crucial election.

“I am Saddam Hussein, I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate,” were his first words on Dec 13, 2003, when US special forces pulled him from a cramped underground space in Ad Dawr, near his home town Tikrit.

Saddam Hussein narrowly escaped sharing the cache with live grenades according to US Colonel James Hickey, who told reporters at the time: “He was wise not to wait too long.

“Two hands appeared and the individual clearly wanted to surrender.”

A bearded and bewildered Saddam was later shown on a video having his teeth examined and hair checked for lice, looking a picture of total defeat.

Since then, the 68-year-old Saddam has recovered some of his bravado, and his trial in the capital’s fortress-like Green Zone has witnessed several outbursts, the latest on Dec 6 when he told the court to ‘go to hell’.

“Our clothes are dirty. We cannot wash, nor smoke,” Saddam Hussein complained.

But according to one of his lawyers, the Qatari Najib al Nuaimi, Saddam will at least be sporting a new pair of shoes when the trial resumes on Dec 21, something he has been demanding for two years.

The lawyer said Saddam Hussein needed the 14th century Arab sociological classic, Al Mukadima by Tunisian academic Ibn Khaldun, and a new pair of shoes. —AFP

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