The House of Saddam

A BBC/ HBO series. Interestingly they arent showing it in the US

Part I


Summer 1979 sees Deputy President Saddam Hussein gather his inner circle for his daughter Hala’s 7th birthday party. Amongst the group are Ba’athist Party members.

Saddam, fearing the increasing power of Khomeini in Iran and a proposed union with Syria, instigates the overthrow of President al-Bakr. The newly-appointed President Saddam Hussein orders his half-brother Barzan to initiate a bloody purge of the Ba’ath Party leadership. Saddam himself executes his closest friend and ally Adnan Hamdani as a show of strength. The Islamic Dawa Party rock Baghdad with a series of terrorist attacks while Saddam is on a hunting trip in Tikrit with his wife Sajida Talfah and son Uday.

Saddam attempts to maintain good relations with the U.S. as he takes his country into the Iran–Iraq War, whilst beginning an affair with married school teacher Samira Shahbandar. He also orders the execution of two top Iraqi generals after a military defeat at Al-Muhammarah and begins to turn against Barzan following the death of their mother, putting the arranged marriage of Saddam’s daughter, Raghad, with Barzan’s son, Mohammed, in jeopardy. After Saddam narrowly survives an assassination attempt in the Dawa stronghold of Dujail, Barzan fears for his own life and razes the city in retribution. Despite his pleas with Saddam not to dishonour him, Barzan is exiled and Saddam marries Raghad to Hussein Kamel instead, to form an alliance with his late father’s al-Majid clan. Hussein Kamel takes over Barzan’s post and becomes Saddam’s new Iraqi Special Republican Guard leader.


Lt General Hussein Kamel witnesses (via CCTV) Uday losing control in a Baghdad nightclub in 1988. His behaviour includes brandishing a gun under the influence of alcohol and firing it recklessly, before ordering the clubbers to be happy as they have ‘just won the war’.

Saddam commissions Mohammed Ghani to construct the Hands of Victory in celebration of his declared victory over Iran but post-war Iraq faces bankruptcy as Kuwait drives down the price of oil by increasing production. Sajida learns that Saddam has remarried to Samira and blames his trusted valet Kamel Hana Gegeo for assisting their affair. Uday also blames Kamel Hana and almost kills him for the sake of his mother’s honour, sparing him only so that he can control him when he takes over from his father as President.

Meanwhile, Hussein Kamel, spotting an opportunity to rise within Saddam’s inner circle, begins to sow mistrust between Saddam and his popular brother-in-law, General Adnan when Adnan requests Saddam to let his soldiers come home. Tariq Aziz, at an OPEC meeting in Geneva, reveals that Kuwait has been slant drilling into Iraqi oil fields and orders them to cease and apologize.

Not long after drunkenly sharing his concerns with brother Qusay that any children Saddam has with new wife Samira could jeopardise his status as rightful heir, Uday confronts Kamel Hana again at a late night party and beats him to death to the horror of witnesses. Saddam has him arrested and almost kills his first-born son in his cell. Adnan calls into question the ability of Uday to lead Iraq when his time comes, but is not supported by Hussein Kamel, who continues to gain Saddam’s trust. Not long after, Adnan is killed in a suspicious helicopter explosion.

Sajida confronts Saddam about the death of her brother but he dismisses her with claims that it was merely an accident. Saddam meets with the U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie and takes her statement of “No Opinion” as giving him to go ahead for the invasion of Kuwait but U.S. President Bush immediately decries the action and organises a coalition to drive out Iraqi forces. Saddam refuses to back down and is forced to move between safe-houses as the Gulf War commences with the bombing of Baghdad. The Iraqi army is quickly forced into retreat but the Americans declare a ceasefire and withdraw to the border leaving Saddam defiant.


Iraq has survived the Gulf War but is crippled economically with the UN refusing to lift sanctions unless the government co-operate with their weapons inspectors. Saddam states he has nothing to hide resulting in a stand-off between him and chief UN inspector, Rolf Ekeus. Despite this, Saddam is more interested in tracing his roots. When Qusay comes to warn him about Uday’s erratic behaviour Saddam ignores him, presenting him his family tree and the “proof” that they are direct descendants of the prophet Muhammad. Qusay, clearly worried about his father’s state of mind, leaves him to his devices. Later, Saddam has the Qur’an written in his own blood.

The rivalry between General Hussain Kamel and Uday swiftly goes out of control, as the erractic son of the president humiliates Hussain Kamel by pelting him with food at a dinner with Saddam’s closest allies. The frustrated General states his disillusionment with Saddam’s regime that allows the spoilt Uday to run wild, unable to be reined in by anyone. His patience ends when Uday hijacks a shipment of medical supplies that he was intending to sell with his brother Saddam Kamel. Hussein Kamel tells his brother about his plan to oust Saddam by co-operating with UN inspector Ekeus as well as the CIA, whom Hussein Kamel hopes will topple Saddam and allow him to become the new president.

During a holiday celebrating Iraq’s “victory” over Iran Hussain and Saddam Kamel make the trip over the border to Jordan taking their wives – Saddam’s daughters, Raghad and Rana – who warn their husbands of what their father would do if he ever caught them. At the holiday party, Uday indulges his appetites by raping a waitress, but Qusay realises that something is wrong, warning his father. In Jordan, King Hussein grants the exiled group asylum just as Saddam declares them traitors in Iraq. Hussain Kamel plans to oust Saddam with Western co-operation and to ingratiate himself with the West by revealing state secrets. His plans are undermined when Saddam decides to reveal all the information himself. The Kamel brothers are increasingly isolated in Jordan and begin to lose the support of the king and their CIA contacts. Saddam phones Hussain Kamel and offers him and his brother a pardon if they return with their wives to Iraq. Believing he will be forgiven, and disturbed by his increasing loss of social status, Hussain persuades the others to return.

Hussain and Saddam Kamel are met by Uday and Qusay, who humiliate them by forcing them to divorce their wives and stripping them of their Iraqi uniforms. However they allow them to return to their family home. Saddam Hussain then tells Ali Hassan al-Majid (“Chemical Ali”) that the honour of the al-Majid clan will be tainted as long as the pair are unpunished. Ali surrounds the brothers’ house with troops and offers the brothers weapons so that they can die fighting. In a pitched battle Hussain and Saddam Kamel are killed.


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