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“Reports are coming in …”

Following up the somewhat irrelevant but entirely excellent and useful comment number one on the previous post, here’s Ananova:

Reports are coming in that Saddam Hussein has been captured in Iraq.

The reports, from the Iran News Agency and an Iraqi Kurdish leader, claim he’s been arrested in Tikrit.

There has been no confirmation from the US Defence Department or the Ministry of Defence.

“Saddam Hussein was arrested in his hometown of Tikrit,” the agency IRNA quoted top Iraqi leader Jalal Talabani as saying. It gave no further details.

The reports have sparked celebrations by hundreds of people in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

In Baghdad, a US spokeswoman told reporters that a “very important” announcement would be made at a news conference scheduled for 3pm local time (1200 GMT) but did not say who would be the speaker.

Here’s hoping it’s true.

39 comments to “Reports are coming in …”

  • mark holland

    Good news but is it better that he’s alive or dead?

    Alive – humiliation in front of followers, arabists and Galloway

    Dead – got to put up with Guantanamo type human rights bollocks!

    I suggest a Mussolini style lynching by the populace would have been best.

  • Sky News is reporting that Tony Blair has confirmed that Saddam Hussein has been captured. Celebratory gunfire is being heard in Baghdad.

    Outstandingly good news.

  • mark holland

    Sorry should have previewed.

    Alive – humiliation in front of followers, arabists and Galloway but got to put up with Guantanamo type human rights bollocks!

    Dead – can become a martyr.

  • Verity

    Oh, god. NION and ANSWER and all the rest of the commie appeaseniks and “human rights” activists are going to want a Nuremburg type trial that lasts for five years with a million lawyers. Send him out into the the “celebratory gunfire” in Tikrit with a target painted on his forehead.

  • The news is reporting that a DNA test has been conducted which confirms that it is definitely Saddam Hussein. Apparently the Americans had considerable help from Kurdish intelligence sources in the north in finding Saddam Hussein. There is a press conference in 30 minutes (ie midday GMT, which is 7am US Eastern time). Sky News is talking to a Kurdish spokesman now. When I switched to ITV news a few minutes ago they were talking to George Galloway (yes, really). “I don’t think this will make any difference” was all I heard before hitting the channel button.

  • Jacob

    No Verity !
    You have absolutely no respect and consideration for local culture and traditions.
    A public hangign in the main square of Bagdad would be the PC thing in Iraq.

  • Ron

    Be careful – what “bad news” will New Labour be burying this morning now that the media is full of Saddam Hussein…?

  • mark holland

    As my girlfriend pointed out, where would they have got the DNA sample to test aginst from? Hair off his old clothes? Enquiring minds want to know.

  • Verity

    Oh, Jacob – heaven forefend that I should have been guilty of political incorrectness! But I have to ask myself, is hanging part of the Iraqi cultural tradition? I’m not too sure. It seems to me that guns and the random shooting off thereof play more of a part in their folkways.

    On the other hand, a swift beheading with the Saracen’s blade might be consonant with their historical means of getting rid of oxygen thieves. I swear I will respect whatever means they choose.

    Ron – thanks for the alert. I hadn’t thought of it (yet). Let’s keep our eagle eyes peeled. Blair may sign the constitution “conditionally” today after all, just to show willing.

  • Geoffrey Davis

    Mark – They can compare his DNA with samples taken from Uday and Qusan.

  • Looking at the pictures on CNN of the pit he was hiding in, this outcome is the best. Humiliating capture broadcast everywhere is the best possible outcome. I fully expect that eventually the Iraqis will try him and execute him – ideally publically but whatever I think absolutely the best thing the world can do is let Iraq decide his fate.

  • Verity

    I’ve just visited the BBC news Have Your Say and yup, the preachy mahatamas are out in force saying we must respect him as a human being and not prejudge him, fair trial, blah blah blah. Jeeeeze — even though these people are s-o-o-o-o predictable, they’re still as irritating as hell.

  • They’ve got a positive DNA check. Check out the picture of him in custody; he looks like Gandalf after a bender.

  • Matt

    My guess is that there are some nervous politicians in France (and Russia). Not a good weekend for Chirac – first the breakdown of EU Constitution talks, now this.

  • Ron


    I just heard Sky News reporting that Chirac and Schroeder have congratulated Bush, etc, etc

    You couldn’t make it up!

  • CPT. Charles

    …’and there was much rejoicing’…in the streets of Bagdad .

    HUZZAH for the brave warriors of TF 21 and the 4th ID.

    And for the weenies in the EU with long faces…’I fart in your general direction.’

  • Harry Payne

    Anyone know a Politically Incorrect DJ who might be persuaded to play some Motorhead by way of celebration? You know that which of I speak…

  • mad dog

    Hurray! Peace in our time!

    What I find amazing is how Saddam managed to conduct all the operations against the coalition forces from his itsy bitsy “spider hole”. Or indeed from anywhere in the locality. Saddam didn’t look like being able to organise anything at the time of his capture.

    Which leads one to suspect that far from being a “captured lion”, he was a spent force some time ago. And that probably underlines the administartion’s switch in emphasis to “the war on terror” as the main reason to go on extracting the tax dollars for this campaign.

    But, I will admit to slight sense of revelling in my opponents misery. Back in 1988 when I watched those pictures of the gassed Kurdish famlies – I knew Saddam’s time would come.

    I am not sure what I felt when I saw the pictures of Mr Rumsfeldt shaking Saddam’s hand and calling him friend. But I suppose every dog has his day…

    …even a mad dog.

  • Ron

    As Saddam is being “talkative” perhaps we will find out where the WMDs ended up.

    A missionary from our local CofE church who has just retired from the “Africa Inland Mission” in Sudan reported that many convoys of weapons labelled with Iraqi military markings were seen trundling through the Sudanese backroads a few months before Gulf War 2 started…

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I’m listening to the BBC World Service, and it’s amazing (but not surprising) the sorts of comments they’ve dug up. They even got some twit to phone in, saying that the Bushies delayed capturing Saddam so that it would be closer to the election and that they could have captured him months ago.


  • Galloway was just on Sky from Cairo saying that this capture will mean a rise in attacks not a lessening. What a prat this man is…why can’t he be captured?

    A good day for all those who supported the allies efforts in Iraq.

  • Brian Micklethwait

    Yes I heard Galloway too.

    What he said, let it be recorded, was that the idea that Saddam organised the entire “resistance” was wrong, and that now that he’s gone, more may join this resistance because it is less personally identified with him, and there will thus be more.

    This is reasonable. Whether it has any truth remains to be seen. But that’s what he said.

    My objection to this man is not his analysis, but his (well rewarded) support first for Saddam and then for this hoped for post-Saddam resistance. He wants more resistance. That’s what makes him a prat. But it is not impossible that, for a while, he may get what he wants.

  • toolkien

    I’m sure there will be a rise in incidence for a while, the irritating thing about the left skewed coverage here in the States (e.g. CNN) is that that is what they are concentrating on. “Bush will have a lightening of his political load for perhaps a few days…uhhhh…..and what will happen now with the resistance?” cue five minute dissertation on the subject. They certainly should be bringing forth the possibility that attacks are not over and may even rise for a period, but to have that as the thrust of the ‘breaking news’? It’s sad that media partisanship runs so deep that huge divisions still manifest themselves even on days that are great days for a nation as a whole.

    And Saddam looked less like Gandalf on a bender but Marx, circa 1850, on a normal day.

  • SC

    Haven’t heard traitor Galloway’s comments, but as Brian reports them they contain some sense. Early predictions of the impact of Saddam’s capture? Negative first- primarily the fact that the threat of Saddam and his Ba’athists kept a lot of the more extreme religious groups, especially Shia, in check. Better the Coalition than Saddam. Now Saddam is gone, so is that restraint. However, the majority of the Shia groups aren’t nearly as extreme as the press would have you believe, and even more importantly they are lead by people who are politically astute (or cunning if you prefer). And the US has been quite succesful in giving the most important leaders an interest in the re-building process by giving them a stake in power in the Interim Council (Al-Hakim in particular). So while there might be trouble from the likes of Sadr. massively exaggerated by the press over here, it won’t be a real problem.
    The second negative point is that a great deal of the “resistance” will continue because it isn’t resistance at all. A lot of the violence is extremely local, inter-tribal or straightforwardly criminal, (or of course prmoted by anti-western force from outside Iraq) so Saddam’s death won’t stop it. This violence will however be relentlessly described by the likes of the BBC as evidence of continued anti-US Iraqi resistance.
    Having said all that, though, the overwhelming impact of Saddam’s capture will be to accelerate the re-building of Iraq. There was a Ba’athist resistance movement, based around the Sunni traingle, and this represented the bulk of the problems for the colaition and the most serious (tactical) military threat. Whilst it probably wasn’t run by Saddam, it was certainly inspired by him. It can now be expected to fizzle out. That’s the problem with cults of personality- take away the personality, better yet humilate him, and you destroy the cult. And the vast majority of Iraqis still thought there was at least a chance of Saddam returning (seems ridiculous to us, but Iraqis remember that the Ba’athists were defeated and returned 6 times before, in their history). So up until now most Iraqis have been quite sensibly hedging their bets. Now, Saddam definitely gone. Never underestimate the importance of this in a society based on personality, not law or organisations. The figurehead is gone, the warfighting phase is now truly over, we can begin the rebuilding phase properly. The tipping point has been reached, although as with all tipping points it may take a while to become obvious. And expect our press to deny it to the bitter end.

  • SC

    Incidentally, anyone interested in how Saddam may have operated whilst hiding, and how the US (and UK) caught him, might be interested in Mark Wolfenden’s book “Killing Pablo” on the hunt for Pablo Escobar. It details a surprisingly similar set of problems for both hunters and prey. (I think the author’s name is correct, it’s from memory- he also wrote “Blackhawk Down”).

  • Verity

    The BBC is inconsolable.

  • Dave S.

    Harry Payne-

    That song’s been going through my head all day! This is for you, buddy-

    “If you like to gamble, I tell you I’m your man,
    You win some, lose some, it’s all the same to me …
    I don’t share your greed, the only card I need is the Ace of Spades, the Ace of Spades…

    “Pushing up the ante, I know you got to see me Read ’em and weep, the dead man’s hand again.
    I see it in your eyes, take one look and die.
    The only thing you see, you know it’s gonna be,
    The Ace of Spades, the Ace of Spades…”

  • Verity –

    Even the BBC actually looked quite pleased in all the stories I read – mad George is the only person I’ve spotted so far who’s anything other than delighted. Why make things up, when there are plenty of genuine reasons to bash the Beeb?

    Re giving him a trial – why on earth shouldn’t we? A trial doesn’t mean he won’t be punished (Nuremburg springs to mind), but does confer legitimacy on whatever thoroughly deserved horriblenesses happen to him afterwards.

  • Verity

    john b – Here we go again. I don’t see British TV. Maybe I should have said the World Service is inconsolable. Their first (maybe the second, as you are so dainty and precise) question was, what is this going to do for the president’s re-election chances? Charming. (This was the second question the newsreader in France asked their correspondent in DC. Pedestrian minds think alike.)

    Why shouldn’t we try him? Maybe because the crimes were committed in Iraq and it is therefore up to the Iraqi citizens to decide how they wish to dispose of him?

    BTW, I was the first one on this thread to predict that Nuremberg would be quoted. I was confident it would spring to mind.

  • Murel Bailey

    A trial also makes clear to the world just what happened. Compare the fall of nazi Germany to the fall of the USSR – in the latter case, much of the thinking classes still can’t admit what went on behind the Iron Curtain, largely because Soviet leaders did not end up in public trials. The Nuremburg Trials bared for the world Germany’s crimes; the lack thereof for Hitler’s peer Stalin help forces of denial and forgetfulness where no one should deny or forget.

  • Verity

    Muriel Bailey – It is not our business. It is up to the Iraqis to decide what they’re going to do. There are some people posting here with a very colonial attitude. It’s not the white man’s burden. It’s the Iraqis’ call.

  • Verity

    Muriel – Sorry to be so short. I take your points, but it is not our call.

  • Michael Hiteshew

    a few minutes ago they were talking to George Galloway…

    Why hasn’t (Saddams’ Boy) George been charged with treason? Have you Brits no self respect? Do you no longer even CARE if someone is a traitor? What about all that money he pilfered from the average Joe in his “charity” scam? Why isn’t that money seized (after a trial, of course) and distributed to genuine Iraqi charities?

    Doesn’t anybody there give a damn?

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    Let the Iraqis run the trial, judges and prosecutors; just make sure his defence team is drawn from the UN/NGOs who were less than vigorous in their opposition to his regime.


  • Michael – we’d rather laugh at GG for being an idiot who nobody respects, at least until he commits an *actual* crime (which the charity thing certainly hasn’t been proven as). It’s called freedom – maybe you should try it one day.

    Verity – I take your point about Saddam being the Iraqis’ to deal with. However, given that there isn’t currently a non-occupation-controlled Iraqi government (not a criticism of the occupiers, incidentally, the point isn’t too relevant. Presumably the best course of action would be to imprison him until such time as there is one.

    BTW – even Al Jazeera is covering this story in a reasonably appropriate manner.

  • I just posted this and it seems worth repeating the first little bit. Often. Everywhere. :^)

    Via Instapundit who provides this link to more than I have time to read: The Command Post

    Ok, here’s my first reaction:

    Please, God, Allah, Whoever may provide a clue from on-high, please tell CNN, FOX, CBS, The BBC and Al Jazeera that there are other, more important news stories out there.

    This is damn good news, of course, and I understand the happy delirium, especially that of the Iraqi people. It deserves top coverage. But please, folks, NO MORE OJ! NEVER AGAIN!

    Saddam isn’t that interesting. He’s a criminal and a thug, let us refrain from giving him significance beyond that. And hell, NOBODY is that interesting!

    Let Court TV cover the trial, give us updates on the hour and otherwise, get back to work. Thank you.

  • Verity

    john b – you’d rather laugh at GG for being an idiot – than take action. This makes you somehow superior to the more action-oriented people who believe treason is punishable? It makes you into pathetic, weak appeasers.

    On Saddam – ooooh, but imprisoning him until the US has gone home …. whatever, would be soooooo against his human rights!! Oh, tweet tweet!

    It doesn’t matter what the situation on the ground is in Iraq, at least it’s Iraq and Iraqis will get to try him, as indeed they should. I don’t mean this to be Zen-esque, but that is how it is now. Ideal cirumstances will never arrive. We’re humans. We deal in the moment.

  • Wild Pegasus

    May your death be long and painful.
    May you be sorry you were ever born.
    May you rot for all eternity.
    Sic Semper Tyrannis, bastard.

    – Josh

  • mad dog

    Ah, that old familiar tune….

    Wasn’t that the song Saddam used to sing while torturing his victims?