While Saddam Hussein is spearheading what he dubs a holy war against occupying Anglo-American troops in Iraq, two of his daughters and their nine children are leading a low-profile, Western-style life under the protection of King Abdullah.
Heavily guarded, the children are pursuing elementary educations in three exclusive schools, and they take English courses, classmates said.
One, named Sara, at the International Shouweifat school – where upper-class Jordanians, including the royal family, send their offspring – said four cousins there rarely mingle with other boys and girls and keep to themselves.
Raghad, 36, Saddam’s eldest daughter, and her four children as well as her sister Rana, 34, and her four children have been pursuing a low-profile life in Jordan after they were granted refuge on August 1.
It is the second time in seven years that Saddam’s daughters and their children have fled to Amman. The first time was when the late King Hussein gave refuge to the two women’s husbands, General Hussein Kamel Hassan and his brother, Saddam Kamel Hassan, who sought refuge from Saddam.
Six months after their arrival in Amman in August 1995, the two families returned to Baghdad, where the Hassan brothers were forced to divorce Saddam’s daughters. Two days later, the two men were killed by family members who said they were cleansing the clan’s honour, according to Saddam’s ousted regime.
Officials said the two widows, who are trying hard to come to grips with the tragic fate of their family are trying to lead a normal life in Amman.
Saddam Hussein Kamel, 12, Raghad’s son, is at the International Shouweifat school, perched on hills surrounded with trees south of Amman. Joyce, a classmate, said he is proud and calm.
Raghad, Saddam’s favoured daughter, is accompanied by her three sons – Ali, Saddam and Wahej – and two girls, Harir and Banan. Rana is accompanied by her three sons – Ahmad, Saad and Hussein – and one daughter, Nabea.