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Nic Robertson: Saddam's last hideout

CNN Correspondent Nic Robertson
CNN Correspondent Nic Robertson

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• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Iraqi capital is giving up some of its secrets and some of the country's former leaders. Now it is being reported that Saddam Hussein's last hideaway may have been found. CNN Correspondent Nic Robertson spoke to anchor Miles O'Brien about the latest revelations.

O'BRIEN: In Baghdad Thursday another sibling of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is out of circulation, and a nondescript house is telling secrets on Saddam's final days in power, possibly his final days on Earth -- we don't know for sure. Nic Robertson reports from Baghdad.

ROBERTSON: Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, a half-brother of Saddam and head of Iraq's intelligence service from 1979 to 1983, has been picked up by U.S. special operations forces. His brother, Watban, also a half-brother of Saddam, was picked up a few days earlier.

Likely both of these men will be able to provide a lot of very useful intelligence to the coalition forces, possibly even about the whereabouts of Saddam, but certainly about many of the things the coalition is interested in -- weapons of mass destruction, the country's finances, Saddam Hussein's finances.

Barzan was Saddam's money man in Switzerland for many years. He was there, essentially, as Iraq's representative to the United Nations in Geneva, but he was widely regarded as controlling the family's and the country's international finances from Geneva in Switzerland. So he will be a very key and useful figure to the coalition.

Another location that's been discovered in Baghdad, by the Arab news network Al-Jazeera, may also prove to be a treasure-trove of information for the coalition forces.

According to Al-Jazeera, this particular location was Saddam's last hideaway during the war, a place where he made his last broadcast transmission to the Iraqi people.

They believe they have discovered a meeting room in this particular hideaway that matches and fits exactly those pictures we saw in the last weeks of the war on Iraqi television with Saddam meeting with his ministers, meeting with his military officials.

Also discovered at that location -- a presidential seal, or what is believed to be a presidential seal, a military uniform that appears to bear the insignia that Saddam would have worn.

So it appears at this stage that this is the last hideaway -- according to Al-Jazeera at least -- the last known place where Saddam may have been.

Al-Jazeera reports this is Saddam's improvised Cabinet room.
Al-Jazeera reports this is Saddam's improvised Cabinet room.

O'BRIEN: Tell us a little bit more about this place. This is not a bunker beneath a palace, is it?

ROBERTSON: No, this is in a residential neighborhood. It's not a palace.

It's more of a villa-type apartment, and it's very interesting that despite all these palaces Saddam built around Iraq, he should choose somewhere as nondescript as a villa in a suburb of Baghdad to essentially use as his headquarters during the war.

It fits to a degree with what we heard, the rumors we heard about the Gulf War in 1991, that he was said to have driven around Baghdad and hidden in different people's houses.

It fits with what we heard -- that leadership figures were in this upmarket neighborhood, Al-Mansour of Baghdad.

It fits to a degree with these pictures we saw of somebody purporting to be Saddam in the last days of the war on the streets of western Baghdad. It all fits into that picture.

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