Raghad, who arrived in the Jordanian capital with her sister Rana and their nine children on Thursday, termed the sudden fall of Baghdad “a great shock”.
“The main betrayal came from the people whom he trusted fully, those he considered his right hand … (In fact) they betrayed their country before betraying Saddam Hussein,” she told Al-Arabiya news channel in Amman.
Describing the hours leading up to the abrupt end of her father’s 24-year rule, Raghad said she spent them in Baghdad’s posh Mansur district with Rana and their children, knowing it was “all over.”
She said her father sent cars to the house in which they were staying after midday with instructions to leave.
“I miss you very much, Dad.” — Raghad
At the time, she said, the wife of her brother Qusay was with them in the house along with her children.
“The moments of saying goodbye were horrendous,” Raghad recalled.
“We left Baghdad and met up with my mother (Sajida) and (younger sister) Hala after a few hours. We were brought together in a house on the outskirts of Baghdad.
“Links were all but cut with my father and brothers because matters had gotten out of hand. I saw with my own eyes the (Iraqi) army withdrawing and the Iraqi soldiers, regrettably, frightened and retreating.”
Raghad spoke of another journey after which mother and daughters spent the night together before going their separate ways.
“Excuse me, I won’t answer this question, if you please, it’s so difficult for me to answer it.” — Raghad when asked what she felt about the deaths of Uday and Qusay
“We were a group of women having to decide the next step … We parted company, until another day,” said the 34-year-old Raghad, clad in black with a white scarf wrapped around her head.
Asked what she would tell her father, whose whereabouts is unknown, she said: “I miss you very much, Dad,” wiping away the tears.
Raghad and Rana, two years her junior, first took refuge in Jordan in August 1995, along with their husbands General Hussein Kamel Hassan al-Majid and his brother Saddam Kamel Hassan al-Majid.
The brothers, who were prominent members of the Iraqi regime, had defected to Jordan along with around 30 other members of the al-Majid family.
They called for the immediate overthrow of the Baath party regime in Iraq.
But Hussein Kamel’s defection came to a tragic end.
In February 1996, believing in an amnesty issued by the Baath Party that they would be safe, the families returned to Iraq, only for Hussein and Saddam Kamel Hassan to be assassinated along with several family members.
Asked in a later interview with CNN how she had felt about the deaths of Uday and Qusay on July 22, Raghad said: “Excuse me, I won’t answer this question, if you please, it’s so difficult for me to answer it.”
Sources close to Raghad and Rana told AFP on Friday that the two women would claim the bodies of Uday and Qusay in order to give them a proper Muslim burial.
Saddam’s daughters, who according to a relative arrived in Amman from Syria after a US green light, are being hosted in Jordan on humanitarian grounds.