The former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was widely known for his cruelty. Fewer people know that the tyrant was not a skinflint. On the contrary, he is claimed to have given valuables to members of his inner circle. Haitham Wihaib, once the right-hand man of the Iraqi dictator, worked for more than a decade as the Iraqi Chief of Protocol under Saddam Hussein. Wihaib recently set up a website to auction a variety of gifts which he claims to have received from Saddam.
The centerpiece of Wihaib’s collection is a custom-made gold Rolex watch studded with dozens of diamonds. According to Wihaib, Saddam forgot to pick up the watch from a night table one day. Saddam played down the incident and gave the watch to Wihaib after the latter raised the issue of his former boss’ forgetfulness. Now the watch, valued by Wihaib at $200,000, is listed on his website as one of the items for sale.
The Dior sunglasses are going for $12,000. Wihaib claims Saddam gave him the sunglasses after they narrowly avoided being captured by Iranian soldiers while visiting the front during the Iran-Iraq War. “The Iranians started chasing our convoy during that trip to the front… At one point Saddam ordered his driver to pull over. He removed his sunglasses so that we could see his eyes. He made clear that we’re supposed to shoot him before the enemy soldiers capture us. Eventually, we managed to escape. I requested him to give me the sunglasses as a memento of the incident, and so he did,” Wihaib said.
A Cartier pen is offered for $5,000. Wihaib claims the dictator used the pen for signing death warrants. “Saddam loved signing death warrants. There was always a pile of 25 death warrants sitting on his desk. He would sign them at his leisure,” Wihaib said.
Zambian President Kenneth Konda sparked up Saddam’s interest in black magic and the supernatural. The Iraqi dictator began wearing silver rings inscribed with spells in Arabic. The spells were meant to ward off evil. One of the rings is going for $3,000. The inscription on it reads: “The gate of heaven will open for thee.”
Wihaib has no evidence to prove that the items did in fact belong to Saddam Hussein. The former henchman of the Iraqi dictator is auctioning them off in an effort to raise over $700,000 for Iraqi schools.
Translated by Guerman Grachev
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