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Who Were Uday and Qusay?

Aired July 22, 2003 - 20:17   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: They died today during a fierce six-hour gun battle, but just who were they, Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay?
Christiane Amanpour joins us now -- Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Paula, well, in short, they were the enforcers. They were the untouchables. They were Saddam's sons. And they had the run of Iraq, essentially. They had formal jobs.

Uday himself had a number of formal jobs. He was a newspaper editor. Had a television station. He was head of the Olympic Committee, sports teams, a member of Parliament, and ruthless enforcer of various certain security organizations. But Qusay had more of the responsible role in the later years, for being head of the Republican Guard unit and also his father's Special Republican Guard, the special bodyguard.

They have -- any number of stories, any number of eyewitness accounts, any number of defectors, human rights organizations, will tell horror stories about those two. I mean, so awful were their methods of torture and repression, that it really entered the realm of almost the ridiculous sort of dictators and their kind of excesses, I mean, things like putting bodies in shredders, putting people in acid baths, making them do all sorts of terrible things.

Uday, who was known for basically his sexual proclivities, he was known for having his thugs go take women off the streets, so that he could rape them. Really, the most terrible things, these people did. And they were very much hated. And, certainly, when we were in Iraq after the war and after the fall of Baghdad, people told us that they were just really glad that these people had been deposed.

They were so hated, but also feared. And, certainly, people were very, very afraid, up until today, that Uday and Qusay may come back. But the fact that they have gone does not remove the shadow of the big ogre, if you like, that still hangs over Iraq. And that is the shadow of Saddam Hussein. Where is he? Why hasn't he been caught? Is he on the run? Is he conducting some kind of guerrilla campaign? These people are very afraid.

And any number of people will tell you that, until Saddam Hussein's body is shown to them, they won't believe it. They're afraid he's coming back. So all of this is a good day, in terms of getting rid of No. 2 and 3 on the list on the most-hated list. But there is still that open question. Where is Saddam and what kind of mischief is he going to be able to continue to create there? ZAHN: And, Christiane, there's been an awful lot of discussion today about why these two brothers were in the northwestern part of the country, not a part of the country that is highly supportive of Saddam Hussein. Some people thought perhaps they were on their way to Syria. No one can confirm that. Were you surprised they were killed where they were killed?

AMANPOUR: The location, I wasn't terribly surprised -- or not surprised by. But the fact that they were together I thought was rather interesting. And then the question about, where is Saddam? Clearly, Saddam cares more about himself -- and he is being protected, presumably, somewhere else -- than about his two sons.

They didn't seem to have that much protection around them, from the reports that we're getting. And I think, as I said earlier, it does certainly imply that these two brothers were on the run, were fugitives, were in a safe house, were around in an area where people felt comfortable, essentially, ratting on them or spilling the beans through indiscreet talk, whatever it was. They gave them up -- and that they weren't really these guerrilla leaders defended by lots of supporters.

So the question still is, who is going to be continuing this guerrilla campaign and will it have an appreciable decline, their deaths, in the attacks against the United States there, Paula?

ZAHN: Christiane Amanpour, we appreciate the update.

We're going to move on now. Qusay and Uday Hussein were the ace of clubs and the ace of hearts in the U.S. military's card deck of the most-wanted Iraqis. The ace of diamonds, former Presidential Secretary Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, was captured last month. Saddam Hussein is the only ace still missing. But U.S. officials are confident of eventually finding him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL BREMER, U.S. ADMINISTRATOR IN IRAQ: It's only a matter of time before we find Saddam Hussein. And I hope that day is a day earlier now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: The question is, where is Saddam Hussein and will today's events lead officials to him sooner?

CNN analyst and Saban Center at Brookings Institute member Ken Pollack joins us from Washington tonight.

It's always good to see you, Ken.

KENNETH POLLACK, CNN ANALYST: Hi, Paula.

ZAHN: First of all, were you surprised that these sons were found in Mosul? And do you think the father was nearby?

POLLACK: I was a bit surprised that they were found in Mosul.

It is certainly a Sunni stronghold. The Sunni Arabs are Saddam Hussein's power base. And so there is some sense in it. There were a lot of Sunnis in the regime who were from Mosul. So, clearly, the sons could have found refuge there. But my expectation was more that they were out with the tribes out in the desert, where much harder for U.S. forces to get at them. Mosul is an urban area. You've got lots of people around there, the kind of people who might turn them in, as exactly seems to have happened.

As for whether Saddam is around there, we just don't know at this point in time. Hopefully, U.S. Central Command does know. Hopefully, they are moving after him. But there are no indications to suggest that he's there or he's not there.

ZAHN: What do you think can be gleaned from any of the information we get from the circumstances surrounding the deaths of these two sons and any clues it might give investigators as to where Saddam Hussein might be?

POLLACK: Well, what it does suggest is that the Iraqi regime does not have some kind of a stronghold somewhere. It seems to suggest that the key figures, the two sons, Saddam, probably other key members of the regime, are continuing to move around the countryside.

They don't have a single refuge, where they've gone to ground and are hiding and are coordinating this operation. They're probably being forced to move on a constant basis, which is what they did during the war. That suggests that they are at a lower level of capability than they would be if they had some kind of a stronghold somewhere, some kind of a camouflaged refuge, where they could sit and operate and direct their forces. It suggests that their ability to control the resistance is probably less than may have been suspected beforehand.

And it also suggests that they are very much on the run and the entire remainder of the regime is still being forced to kind of stay one step ahead of U.S. forces.

ZAHN: In spite of what some are saying today, that they feel that you, in some ways, compromised your ability to get information out of them, obviously, by killing them, you have a different view. You believe that their deaths will have a domino impact on our ability to get intelligence. How so?

POLLACK: Well, I certainly hope so, is the way I'd put it, Paula.

And you're right. Look, it would have been great to have captured them alive, because they could have been debriefed and they might have in fact given additional information from the regime. But I don't think that we should necessarily look a gift horse in the mouth. It was very important to get rid of these two guys. Capturing them would have been much better, but, still, their deaths serve a tremendous purpose. And it's twofold. You heard Christiane Amanpour referring to it. Also, Secretary Cohen was referring to it. There are two big issues out there. One, it sends a very powerful signal to the Iraqi people that Saddam's regime is not coming back, that the U.S. is absolutely determined to extirpate every single major figure of Saddam's regime and make sure that they never come back.

And the fear that Saddam's regime would somehow come back into power is still haunting many Iraqis. And, simultaneously, the domino effect that I'm hoping may take root is that, hopefully, it will send a signal to other members, other holdouts of the regime, that their days are numbered. And, hopefully, they'll conclude that: You know what? The Americans are really closing in on us. They just got the two sons, who are among probably the best protected of the remaining regime officials. It's probably just a matter of time before they locate everybody else.

And under those circumstances, you may have other holdouts coming forward and saying: You know what? If it's just a matter of time, better for us to come forward and cut a deal on our terms than wait for the Americans to come and shoot us, the way that they shot Uday and Qusay.

ZAHN: Well, it sounds like, when the paperback version of your book comes out, you have a couple of chapters to add based on today's very important breaking news.

POLLACK: We'll see if anybody still wants to read it.

ZAHN: I bet they do, "The Threatening Storm," for those of you who have not seen it. Again, Ken Pollack...

POLLACK: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: Thank you.

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