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Saddam's Daughters Miss Dad; CIA Circulates Photos of Saddam in Disguise

Aired August 1, 2003 - 19:01   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, Saddam Hussein. Today, new developments on several fronts. We're going to have a number of reports from a number of reporters covering the latest.
Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon on the hunt for Saddam. Rym Brahimi is in Baghdad on another alleged Saddam audiotape.

We're going to begin with Jane Arraf in Amman, Jordan, who conducted an exclusive interview today with Saddam's two oldest daughters.

Jane, I know you asked Rana and Ragda -- Raghad Hussein about the last time they'd met with their father, was right after the start of the war. Let's listen in to those who missed it.


RAGHAD HUSSEIN, SADDAM HUSSEIN'S DAUGHTER (through translator): We left Baghdad. We met our father a few hours later. They placed us in a house in the extreme suburbs of Baghdad. And then, you know, the situation was out of control. We lost contact with my father and brothers so soon. I saw with my own eyes that the Iraqi army was failing and rockets were falling all over the place. Sometimes, about 50 meters from where we were.


COOPER: Obviously, we played the wrong tape, not from your interview, Jane.

Basically, from the interview, though, what is the number one thing that came out of it that really surprised you?

JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Essentially, Anderson, that these women were so much different from what we'd imagined. In fact, it was hard to imagine what they were like at all. They were kept under such close wraps as part of Saddam Hussein's family in the Iraq that he ruled. There were a few pictures of them, but they were nothing like the actual women.

And the women were strong and dignified. And they truly believe that they had a loving father who had brought them up correctly.

Now, the thing that came out time after time was that somehow, they had made an accommodation. And this was the man their father, who essentially sent their husbands to their deaths. But despite that, they acknowledge that. They said that had caused some tension. But despite that, they said he was, at the end of the day, their father. And they loved him and they missed him and they were obviously in great fear that he would suffer the same fate that their brothers did last week. That he would be shot dead and they would never see him again -- Anderson.

COOPER: Fascinating. That really came across in the interview. We're going to play a portion now which is from your interview, where they talk about their father. Let's listen.


RANA SADDAM HUSSEIN, SADDAM HUSSEIN'S DAUGHTER (through translator): It's very hard for me, as his daughter that loves her father so much, and all her family. I'm praying to God that he will be fine and safe.

ARRAF: What kind of father was he?

RAGHAD HUSSEIN: He was a very good father. Loving. Has a big heart. Love his daughters. Sons. Grandchildren. He was very good father.


COOPER: I mean, it's fascinating. This is a man who killed their husbands. What else did they say about Saddam Hussein?

ARRAF: Well, they said that it's unlikely that anyone would know where he was, including their mother, because Raghad, the older daughter, she's 35, between the both of them -- by the way, between the two the two of them, they were both married at 15, they have nine children. These two women have had extraordinary lives, even at this age.

They said knowing their father the way they did, he would not have told anyone where he was. Not even their mother. Now, they've lost contact with their mother. They're clearly distressed at this.

But the indication that they gave and the picture they painted of their father was just so radically different from what we know of him. Yet it had the ring of truth. It indicated they did see a side of him most people don't see and saw perhaps only that side.

They clearly were not privy to his secrets. They clearly weren't privy to political discussions. I asked them, for instance, whether it was true, regarding his personal life, that he had been married four times. Now, they're the daughter of Saddam Hussein and his first wife. His eldest daughter said it was true that he had been married twice, and she said, as for the rest of it, that was his private life, how many times he was married.

Clearly, they saw a limited side of him. But one which they loved -- Anderson.

COOPER: Fascinating interview, Jane Arraf. Thanks very much for that.

In the second hour of live from the headlines, we're going to play Jane Arraf's full interview. We'll talk to her again in a lot more detail. Stay with us for that. That's at 8 p.m.

Well, Saddam Hussein's daughters are not the only members of the Hussein family speaking out. Yet another tape has surfaced, allegedly made by Saddam himself. It was played on Arab television today.

Rym Brahimi in Baghdad has been listening.


RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new audio tape, purportedly by Saddam Hussein. This time, predicting his return to power.

SADDAM HUSSEIN, (through translator): We are confident that the occupying forces will collapse and surrender to the truth and the will of God and that of the people.

BRAHIMI: In a long and rambling audio tape, released by the Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera, the speaker outlines his detailed vision for Iraq when, in his words, things return to normal.

S. HUSSEIN (through translator): We have decided to consider all the missing property of the party and the government a gift to whomever has it. Use it as you see fit.

BRAHIMI: Among those who have heard the latest tape, few doubt that it is Saddam Hussein and fewer believe he'll return to power.

S. HUSSEIN (through translator): What are you talking about? He will never come back. He's a fugitive. He's on the run. He's finished.

BRAHIMI: Even after U.S. forces toppled Saddam Hussein's regime in April, it took weeks for most people to rest assured that after nearly 25 years, Iraq's strong man had really fallen from power.

Just before the war began, Saddam Hussein reminded Iraqis of how the uprisings that followed the 1991 Gulf War had been dealt with, by a brutal repression in the north and south and the killing of thousands who dared oppose his rule.

Now, four months into the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the fear instilled in past years has subsided and Iraqis speak out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Ninety percent of the Iraqi people would not welcome Saddam back and should he declare Jihad no one would comply.

BRAHIMI: But even as most here relegate Saddam Hussein to the past, there are many who see those resisting the U.S. occupation as worthy combatants. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Saddam Hussein is a criminal president and we don't want him here. We want a new government, and those who launch attacks against the U.S. forces are true Fedayeen.

BRAHIMI: The slogan of many Iraqis who are disappointed and losing patience with the U.S. authorities in their country, neither Saddam nor the U.S.


BRAHIMI: We're just hearing reports, Anderson, as you know, that the CIA believes it's very highly likely that this audio tape would be, indeed, the voice of Saddam Hussein.

It's the sixth such tape, Anderson. Previous ones have all been mobilizing speeches, except the last one, which was mourning the death of Uday and Qusay, his two sons, as well as calling for people to resolve volt.

But really, this last tape takes it a step further when Saddam Hussein actually talks of his return to power -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's fascinating. Rym Brahimi in Baghdad, thanks very much.

Now Saddam may be a no-show, but U.S. forces report capturing two more of his loyalists in Tikrit today. Of course, the hunt for Hussein himself continues, aided by new images of what the former Iraqi leader may look like today.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has that.


BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is this Saddam Hussein? The U.S. Military has given troops digitally enhanced photographs of how Saddam Hussein might look after months on the run: photographs showing him with a full beard, wearing a traditional Arab head dress, with gray hair and white hair. And with and without his trademark mustache.

DR. JERROLD POST, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: The pictures are important technically, logistically, in facilitating the search for Saddam.

STARR: U.S. troops are using the pictures as they scour the Tikrit area. They believe the former Iraqi leader moves constantly, using civilian vehicles. Predator unmanned drones are now being called in for additional surveillance.

While the soldiers clearly feel they are hot on the trail, senior defense officials are sticking to their caution.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We obviously are not close or we are close. But we don't know, because we haven't caught him. We'll only know when he's caught how close we were.

STARR: Officials are beginning to think about what happens if they locate Saddam. U.S. officials say there are no special orders to take him alive. If there is a final assault, President Bush will be notified beforehand if possible.

If he is taken alive, what happens next? A Pentagon official tells CNN the plan is to be vague, not specifying whether an alive Saddam is being held in another country.

But there may be another outcome. Officials say it is possible Saddam might commit suicide and try to make it appear the Americans killed him.


STARR: Now, the CIA has done its own series of sketches on how they think Saddam Hussein might look. Those aren't going to be made public. There are some reports that he has now a beard and long hair, but that too might have changed -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's fascinating. And also, it surprised me, I guess, that all those pictures basically look the same. I mean, it basically looks like Saddam Hussein with a white mustache or white hair. They don't look significantly different.

STARR: That's right, Anderson. I mean, in fact, what these are is just to give the troops an idea of what to be on the lookout for.

There are these other series of sketches done by the CIA based on eyewitness reports. They don't know how credible those eyewitnesses are, but they're looking at every possible way in which he might have disguised himself.

COOPER: That's interesting you mention that. In the 8 p.m. hour, we're also going to look -- we're going to talk to a former CIA master of disguise about his own sketches that he's made. So we'll see how similar they are.

Barbara Starr, thanks very much for the report.


Saddam in Disguise>

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