CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Inside a Presidential Palace in Basra
Aired April 7, 2003 - 04:54 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There's also a lot going on in southeastern Iraq. In Basra, the city, the focus of so much activity on the part of British forces who are in control of that region. British forces now moving -- have moved into and have taken control of parts of Basra, the city, the first time they are really holding territory inside the city.
One piece of property you can say they are holding is another palace inside Basra. And for that, we go to a report filed by Mark Bowden, a British reporter, just a short time ago. Let's listen.
MARK BOWDEN, BRITISH CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Come with me and let me show you what Saddam Hussein has spent some of his smuggled oil revenue on. This, remember, just one of his palaces here in Basra.
We go through the big, heavy, front door and into a vast entrance hallway. On the floor, as every where throughout, marble flooring and intricate detailing. And as we move towards the stairs, you can see, throughout the house, more marble, more beautiful woodwork, beautiful paneling. Every tread on the stairs is marble, as far as I can work out.
The detail on some of the paneling is magnificent. Some body spent a lot of time and a lot of Saddam's money on detailing all of this beautiful, beautiful marketry (ph).
As we move around the corner, the crunch of glass. When the military came in here, they weren't to know that there was no opposition. But when they got here, Saddam wasn't at home.
Again, perhaps ironic, given what's there are white doves of peace on Saddam's walls -- who knows?
Moving further up, again, you're taken in just by the vast size of the area of this place. But for me, the best part of this house, the most beautiful part of this house -- roof space. Beautiful stained glass, intricate tile work, pastel colors.
As you move through, again, the openness, again, there's not a stick of furniture in this hose at all. Nobody has lived here, certainly not in the last few months, I suspect -- probably never. But if you wanted to go to the loo while you were here, there's one for every room -- and not just any old toilet: This is what passes as a W.C. in Saddam's house. I'm no expert, but these fittings look to be made of (UNINTELLIGIBLE), if not the real McCoy all the way through.
Let me show you: When they say buying a house is all about location, location, location, look at the location Saddam built his house here in Basra.
Again, as we wander through, marvel at the detailing, the beautiful floorwork, the beautiful detailed tooling on all this woodwork.
And then come into what must be a sunroom. somewhere to take your afternoon tea when you're talking to your generals.
And then walk out here and you'll see this beautiful vista, the palm trees in the distance, and in the forefront, the chateau (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- the boats plowing up and down it. That way you can see the small fishing vessels.
And if we pan round to the other side, down there, is downtown Basra.
And who lived in a place like this? Well, Saddam Hussein lives in a place like this. That's who.
COOPER: Lifestyles of the rich and dictatorial.
You have been watching a tour by a British reporter, Mark Bowden, of a presidential palace -- Saddam Hussein in the southeastern city of Basra.
We have just seen a lot of interior shots of a presidential palace in the city of Baghdad, one of two palaces of Saddam Hussein now held by U.S. forces.
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