Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti (18 June 1964 Baghdad – 22 July 2003 Mosul), (عُدي صدّام حُسين) was the eldest son of Saddam Hussein and his first wife, Sajida Talfah. He was the older brother of Qusay Hussein.
He was for several years seen as the heir apparent of his father. He produced the newspaper Babel and a local Iraqi TV channel called "Al-shabab TV". He was killed at age 39 by U.S. military forces during a prolonged gunfight.
Although his status as Saddam's eldest son made him Saddam's prospective successor, Uday fell out of favor with his father. In October 1988, at a party in honor of Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Uday murdered his father's personal valet and food taster, Kamel Hana Gegeo (some say at the request of his mother). Before an assemblage of horrified guests, an intoxicated Uday bludgeoned Gegeo with a cane, reputedly administering the coup de grâce with an electric carving knife. Gegeo had recently introduced Saddam to a younger woman, Samira Shahbandar, who later became Saddam's second wife. Uday considered his father's relationship with Shahbandar an insult to his own mother. He furthermore feared losing succession to Gegeo, whose loyalty and fidelity to Saddam Hussein were unquestioned.
As punishment for the murder, Saddam briefly imprisoned his son. The original sentence was eight years; Uday probably served half of that in a private prison. In response to personal intervention from King Hussein of Jordan, Saddam released Uday, banishing him to Switzerland as the assistant to the Iraqi ambassador there. He was expelled by the Swiss government after he threatened to stab someone in a restaurant.
Saddam later appointed Uday head of the Iraqi Olympic committee, and subsequently the head of one of Saddam's security organizations. In the former role he tortured athletes who failed to win. Uday seemed proud of his reputation and called himself abu sarhan, Arabic for "father of the wolf."
Uday sustained permanent injuries during an assassination attempt in December 1996. Struck by eight bullets while driving his Porsche, Uday was initially believed to be paralyzed. Evacuated to Ibn Sina Hospital, he was treated by a Cuban medical team and eventually recovered his ability to walk, albeit with a limp. Despite repeated operations, however, a bullet remained lodged in his spine and could not be removed due to its location near the spinal cord. In the wake of Uday's subsequent disabilities, Saddam gave his younger brother Qusay increasing responsibility and authority, later designating him as his heir apparent in 2000.
On 22 July 2003, Task Force 20, aided by troops of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, had a showdown with Uday, Qusay and Qusay's 14-year-old son Mustapha during a raid on a home in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. He had been the Ace of Hearts on the most-wanted Iraqi playing cards. Acting on a tip from an unidentified Iraqi, the blocking element from the 101st Airborne Division provided security while the Task Force 20 operators attempted to apprehend the inhabitants of the house. After U.S. troops hotwired Uday's Lamborghini, he revealed himself, upon which a gunfight ensued. The assault element withdrew to request backup. As many as 200 American troops, later aided by OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and an A-10 "Warthog", surrounded and fired upon the house. After approximately four hours of battle, soldiers entered the house and found four bodies, including the Hussein brothers' bodyguard.
According to news reports, many citizens of Baghdad responded to the brothers' demise with gun fire. It is unclear, however, what sentiments this gun fire intended to convey. The firing of rounds is customary at funerals in some parts of the Arab world, but is also sometimes used for celebratory purposes.
On 23 July 2003, the American command said that dental records had conclusively identified two of the dead men as Saddam Hussein's sons. They also announced that the informant (possibly the owner of the villa in Mosul in which the brothers were killed) would receive the combined $30 million award previously offered for their apprehension. Furthermore, the owner of the villa, Nawaf al-Zeidan, who is distantly related to Saddam, was granted U.S. citizenship and permitted to depart from Iraq. Locals said Zeidan had tipped off United States forces that Saddam's sons were staying there. In what was likely an act of revenge, on 5 June 2004, Zeidan's brother Salaah al-Zeidan was killed, and three of his male relatives (including an eight-year-old boy) traveling in the same vehicle were wounded by unknown assassins.
The Bush Administration has been criticized for displaying a double standard — publishing photos of the dead brothers despite condemning Saddam for releasing images of American prisoners of war. The U.S. military's response was to point out that these men were no ordinary combatants and to express hope that confirmation of the deaths would bring "closure" to the Iraqi people, even though international law clearly prohibits the publishing and ridiculing images of war dead or the use of such images for publicity purposes. When photos of Americans killed at Nasiriyah [in March 2003] were published, U.S generals declared it was a violation of the Geneva Convention.
Uday was buried in a cemetery near Tikrit alongside Qusay and Qusay's son Mustapha.
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