Published April 20, 2010
Raghad Hussein, who lives in Amman, Jordan, under the protection of King Abdullah II, was charged in November 2006 with supporting the Iraqi insurgency. But in the murky world of Middle East politics, neither the warrant nor the charges against her created much of a stir. She was, after all, Saddam Hussein's daughter. And in the chaos that followed the coalition invasion of Iraq, no one quite believed that the justice system worked there.
But now things have changed, according to sources and media reports from Iraq.
Vanderbilt University Professor Mike Newton, who helped set up the Iraqi War Crimes Tribunal, said the revised warrant was issued by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) – a different court than the one that gave her father a death sentence. “Iraq law works differently than ours,” Newton explained. "It focuses on the event or crime, and lists everyone involved. Western law focuses on the person and then lists the crime.”
He said Raghad’s name was among a long list of suspects charged with supporting terrorism. The new charge is based on evidence directly linking the 42-year-old to terror bombings meant to disrupt last month’s Iraqi elections.
In a letter sent in September to Izzat Ibrahim al Douri, the man many believe leads the Sunni-based insurgency, Raghad allegedly urged him “step up attacks on government targets in Baghdad " and to disrupt the elections. Al Douri, the highest ranking member of Saddam’s regime to escape capture after the war, is credited with organizing the insurgency after the regime collapsed.
The allegation that Raghad was in direct communication with a key terror leader and advised him on plans not only opens her to the new charges in Iraq, but also would violate the agreement she had with Jordan to stay out of politics in return for protection.
While Raghad's involvement has long been suspected, this is the first time documentary evidence has emerged.
So far, however, Jordanian authorities have reaffirmed their support for her, telling FOX News “that they will not give her up because she is the guest of the king and she is under observation all the time, so she is not getting involved in anything.”
Since 2003 Raghad and her three sons and two daughters have lived in a plush villa near the American embassy in Amman under 24-hour protection by the king’s security forces. The deal is simple: She makes no public pronouncements and does not involve herself in politics, and the king allows her to live as close to a normal life as possible. Her children attend the city’s most elite private school, the King’s Academy, and she is allowed to shop and socialize -- within limits.
Intelligence officials suspect that when she fled to Jordan shortly before the ground invasion began in 2003, she carried with her more than $1 billion in cash and untold more in treasures and other loot. Efforts to recover the cash and locate secret bank accounts have largely been unsuccessful. Intelligence agencies believe at least some of the cash has gone toward terrorist acts inside Iraq.
Raghad's husband, Hussein Kamel a-Majid, was a high-profile Iraqi defector who shared weapons secrets with coalition allies and the United Nations weapons inspection team after he defected. He was convinced to return to Iraq -- many suspect Raghad and Saddam's intermediaries persuaded him to come home.
He was divorced from his wife immediately upon his return to Baghdad, and he was murdered three days later.