Washington distributed a deck of cards depicting its 55 most-wanted to occupation troops on the ground in war-torn Iraq.
Over the past four months occupation soldiers have managed to net 32 officials, including number four Abd al-Hamid Mahmoud al-Tikriti, believed to be Hussein’s most trusted presidential secretary and key advisor.
Others in the top ten to be captured include Aziz Salih al-Numan, who was the Ba’ath party’s regional command chairman and Mohammad Hamza al-Zubaydi, former secretary of the Ba’ath party northern bureau.
On 22 July US special forces pounded a villa in the northern city of Mosul where the “ace of clubs” and the “ace of hearts”- Qusay and Uday, Hussein’s sons respectively, were hiding. Both were killed in the attack, along with one of their bodyguards and Qusay’s 14-year-old son Mustapha.
Washington had placed a bounty price of $15 million on Qusay and Uday separately.
Still at large
Among those who have not been captured is the “king of spades” Ali Hassan al-Majid, Hussein’s cousin and Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) Commander, notoriously known as “Chemical Ali” for allegedly ordering a deadly chemical weapons attack against Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988.
About 5,000 Kurds were killed in the attack. In April, US military sources said Chemical Ali had been killed in American raids in the southern city of Basra where he had retreated in the run-up to the war. Today they say this is not clear.
Former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, the “ten of diamonds” in the deck of cards and number 20 in list of 55, was a member of Hussein’s inner circle, and has yet to be captured. He was often sent abroad on official visits, heading the Iraqi envoy to meet foreign dignitaries.
Ramadan declared the Bush
Ramadan, along with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, launched shuttle diplomacy in the run-up to the US war in March, visiting Arab leaders.
He was once quoted as saying the Bush administration “is Zionist…more Zionist than the Jews”. The former vice president has been accused by Iraqi exiles of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in crushing the 1991 Shia and Kurdish uprisings following the Gulf War.
Iraq’s former Defence Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Jabburi Tai has not been seized. He made news in February of this year when it was reported he was placed under house arrest by Hussein. It coincided with reports in the follow-up to the war that the Iraqi army, including the elite Republican Guard, might desert in the event of a US attack.
Not only a member of Hussein’s inner circle, Tai is related to the ousted leader since his daughter was married to the late Qusay.
Abd al-Baqi Abd al-Karim al-Abd Allah al-Sudan is the Central Ba’ath Party Regional Command Chairman in the Diyalah region, where resistance has been fierce against the occupation. Named as number 40, US forces have not captured him.
Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz was taken into US custody on 25 April, shortly after Baghdad fell to occupation forces. Aziz, a prominent Christian in Hussein’s former government, is not related to Hussein’s Tikriti clan.
Aziz is the eight of spades
He began working as a journalist in 1985 and was chief editor of al-Thawra newspaper, the Ba’ath party’s daily. In this position he met the ousted Iraqi president.
Aziz stepped into the international spotlight in 1990, becoming Iraq’s chief spokesperson to the world as Baghdad invaded neighbouring Kuwait. He criticised Arab states for “subservience to the United States’ hegemony in the Middle East and their support for punitive sanctions.”
On 19 March, a day before US planes began pounding Iraq, rumours floated around that Aziz had been shot dead. He emerged across Iraqi television screens to dispel the rumours.
The “five of hearts” Dr Huda Salih Mehdi Ammash was captured by US forces on 9 May, a month after Hussein’s government fell. Her detention was perceived as significant because she was seen as a major player in developing Iraq’s alleged chemical and biological weapons programmes.
Ammash’s father was allegedly
Dubbed Dr Anthrax, she received a Master’s degree in microbiology from the University of Texas and a PhD in the same field in 1983 before returning to Iraq.
She has published a paper titled “Toxic Pollution, the Gulf War, and Sanctions” in an anthology “Iraq Under Siege”.
In it, Ammash examines the effects of depleted uranium used by American-led forces during the 1991 Gulf War. Her final assessment included that the US actions were responsible for the deterioration of public health among ordinary Iraqis.
The US Central Command has posted digitally enhanced pictures of Hussein on its website and placed a bounty of $25 million to capture the former president.