Reuters reports that Saddam Hussein’s former vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, has been captured by U.S. Kurdish allies in northern Iraq, U.S. and Kurdish officials. Ramadan was No. 20 and the 10 of diamonds in a deck of cards issued to U.S. troops hunting the 55 most wanted members of Saddam’s administration.
Ramadan, who is in his 60s and originally from the Mosul region, was one of the most hawkish members of Saddam’s inner circle and one of the only surviving plotters of the 1968 coup that brought the Ba’ath Party to power. His capture will fuel speculation that U.S. forces may be closing in on Saddam himself.
Ramadan is alleged to have been involved in crimes against humanity for his role in suppressing Kurdish rebellion in the north in the 1980s and against the Shi’ite revolt in southern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War. A man of blunt words, he told Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister to “go to hell” during the U.S. invasion when the minister suggested that Saddam should step down.