Actually responsible for absolutely no crimes whatsoever, Aziz has been imprisoned all these years as a figurehead of Saddam’s evil regime. Aged 79, Aziz was taken to a hospital in southern Iraq where he died. He’d been a smoker & suffered from diabetes.
“I have no future. I have no future,” Aziz told The Associated Press, looking frail and speaking with difficulty because of a recent stroke, in a jailhouse interview in September 2010. At that stage, he had been sentenced to more than two decades in prison.
“I’m sick and tired but I wish Iraq and Iraqis well,” he said.
Elegant and eloquent, Aziz spoke fluent English, smoked Cuban cigars and was loyal to Saddam to the last, even naming one of his son’s after the dictator. His posts included that of foreign minister and deputy prime minister, and he sat on the Revolutionary Command Council, the highest body in Saddam’s regime.
I had originally come to admire the urbane Aziz’s style after despising him as the international face of Saddam’s Iraq. Even the Pope asked for clemency for the man, who was only a propaganda source & verbal defender of atrocities. Hardly worth the trouble people went to keep him locked up.
So, after all is said & done, Aziz virtually remained the last man standing in this sordid & violent chapter of Iraq vs the world. Someone who survived the politics & machinations of a deadly regime, to become the successful & loyal voice of an Iraq that no longer remains.
In its stead, no one will mourn this colorful character from the recent past, in an Iraq that has become a tawdry, failed state. But today I will look to the East & remember the fall of a former enemy who was no criminal. A skilled courtier, who survived even in a diminished state, to become the last man standing of Iraq. A benign monster is dead.