|01-12-2004, 04:20 PM||#1|
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Local Time: 09:05 AM
Bagdhad Bob back on the airwaves
January 12, 2004 -- It's the all-new Baghdad Bob - he's cleaned up his act, dyed his hair and he's back on the air.
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, the Iraqi minister of disinformation who became famous for his absurd daily reports that Iraq was winning the war, has popped up on Arab television as a commentator - as these new exclusive photos show.
The fallen regime spin-doctor was hired by Abu Dhabi TV specifically to rant about his former boss and favorite subject: Saddam Hussein.
"Finding [Saddam] wasn't surprising. However, the way he was arrested was insulting," al-Sahhaf said in a TV interview the day after the former Iraqi dictator was captured.
"We never expected that he would be arrested alive. We all were expecting that Saddam would kill himself rather than be [caught].
"He said that we would not surrender at all; rather, they [the United States] could only take us as dead bodies."
Al-Sahhaf became a laughingstock in the early days of the war when he repeatedly insisted that Iraqi troops were routing American forces - even as U.S. tanks rumbled through Baghdad's streets.
His outrageous claims earned him a cult following in the United States, along with the nicknames "Baghdad Bob" and "Comical Ali." And Arab commentators loved the flowery, over-the-top phrases he used to insult the Americans.
Al-Sahhaf surrendered to the Americans in Baghdad during the summer and was later released. He settled in the United Arab Emirates, a nearby Gulf state, and hooked up with Abu Dhabi TV, a satellite news channel seen by millions in the Persian Gulf and abroad.
In his latest appearance, al-Sahhaf said that he hopes that Saddam's impending trial "shall be fair, not a matter of revenge."
"The expected trial needs evidence to be submitted. Everybody talks about war crimes and the like. But the court considers facts and evidence only," he said.
Still, much of what al-Sahhaf says on TV could be dubious, given his boastful language during the war.
In one memorable instance, he claimed, "God will roast [U.S. soldiers'] stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis."
He also claimed that American forces were "lost in the desert . . . They cannot read a compass . . . They are retarded," and, "There is no presence of the American columns in the city of Baghdad at all. We besieged them and we killed most of them."
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