Friday, March 04, 2005

Saddam's son plotted his ouster

'Saddam's son plotted his ouster'

AFP[ FRIDAY, MARCH 04, 2005 01:31:37 PM ]

LOS ANGELES: The eldest son of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was plotting to overthrow his father just as the US troops advanced on Baghdad in March 2003, journalist Peter Arnett claimed in Playboy magazine.

Uday Hussein, known for his ruthlessness and flashy lifestyle, had won the support of the leadership of his father's Fidayeen militia to overthrow Saddam's 35-year rule, according to an advance copy of the April edition of Playboy.

The controversial reporter, who was fired by the US NBC television network in 2003 after suggesting that the US war plan in Iraq had failed, made the claim following an 18-month investigation in which he says he gained access to Uday Hussein's inner circle.

The article cited a letter from Saddam Fidayeen commander Gen Maki Humudat, dated March 26, 2003, in which he swore allegiance to a new Iraqi government under the control of Fedayeen chief Uday Hussein.

"According to your direction and command to form a new government under the leadership of your excellency (Uday), we have informed all the senior officers of the Saddam Fidayeen of your desire to appoint them as your candidates for office in your government," the letter said.

Uday had planned to announce his seizure of the crumbling reins of power later the same day, but was thwarted when US jets bombed his Youth TV studios in Baghdad, according to Arnett.

The ambitious heir had even formed a shadow government on the outskirts of Iraq's capital, Baghdad that was disguised under the cover of his powerful Olympic committee and funded by murky oil deals, he said.