Saddam Hussein: Out of the Ashes

February 17, 1999

As Kurds around the world hold a second day of protests over the surprise arrest of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK, the Kurdish workers’ party in Turkey, we look at one country whose repression of Kurds has been particularly deadly: Iraq. President Saddam Hussein reportedly gassed thousands of Kurds in their homeland of Kurdistan in the late 1980’s.

This week, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein issued threats to his neighbors, telling Turkey and Saudi Arabia to stop allowing U.S. and British planes to use their bases to patrol the no-fly zones in Iraq. Hussein threatened to retaliate with force if they failed to heed to his warnings.

Today we look at the survival of Saddam Hussein, who has outlasted the Cold War, the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War, George Bush and repeated U.S.-British bombings.


  • Alexander Cockburn, author of several books on defense and international affairs. He has also written about the Middle East for The New Yorker, co-produced the 1991 PBS documentary on Iraq titled "The War We Left Behind," and edits the online newsletter, CounterPunch.
  • Patrick Cockburn, senior Middle East correspondent for The Financial Times and the London Independent since 1979. He was one of the few journalists who remained in Baghdad during the Gulf War.

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