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  His collection also includes an autobiography of Moshe Dayan ... and 'Hitler's War,' by David Irving, about the German dictator to whom the Iraqi leader has sometimes been compared.

Wshington Post
April 11, 2003


An Iraqi Official's Better Home and Garden

Snippets of American Pop Culture on Display at Aziz's Mansion

By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, April 11, 2003; Page A01

BAGHDAD, April 10 -- A bulletin board in the kitchen of former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz is plastered with snapshots that reveal a man who led a rich and varied life. There he is ballroom dancing with his wife. In another frame he poses surrounded by children in front of the family Christmas tree. Naturally, for the man who represented former President Saddam Hussein for years, he is also depicted locked in a warm embrace with the now-fallen Iraqi leader.

David Irving comments:

SO, according to journalist Jonathan Finer (and what do we suspect about him that's relevant to this story) looters ransacking the abandoned home of Tariq Aziz found copies of Cosmopolitan, Vogue and my flagship work Hitler's War! It's official: I'm part of President Bush's Axis of Evil.
   Why is it that ever since the liberators reached Baghdad I have somehow been expecting to see the familiar jacket of my book pop up on American television screens as having been "found" among the ruins. It is surprising how often the US media -- or the people behind them -- run with this gag.
   I can think of three or four instances in the last five years in which that book has surfaced in the wrong hands. of course, I may be doing the media an injustice -- mea culpa, for they have NEVER done an injustice to me. Not in the last four or five days, anyway.
   Maybe Tariq really did read my 1,200 page tome. Maybe his minister of information read my biography of Goebbels (more likely that the Pentagon did, however).

SO, Tariq, wherever you are, if you are now missing that bedtime read, give me an address and I'll mail a new copy to you. It's back in print (and it always will be, not withstanding the pranks of the US press).

The story ran on p. A-1 of the April 11, 2003 Washington Post. Correspondents tell us that it also ran in The Age (Melbourne, Australia), Der Spiegel (Germany) and countless other newspapers.

With his big-framed glasses and gray mustache, Aziz is widely recognized abroad because of his career as foreign minister and longtime defender of Hussein's rule. A fluent English speaker educated at the University of Baghdad, he was the only Christian among the senior leaders of the Baath Party. One rumor had him defecting last month as the Bush administration gathered forces for war, but Aziz popped up on television two days later to publicize his continued loyalty. Since U.S. troops closed in on Baghdad, he has dropped out of sight, with Hussein and all the country's other top leaders.

Aziz, born Mikhail Yuhanna in 1936 near Mosul in northern Iraq, left behind a riverfront home full of personal effects that shed light on the grandeur and the normality of his everyday life. The contents indicate that, with all his denunciations of the United States, he had a vivid interest in American authors and popular culture, from political memoirs to the personality profiles of Vanity Fair.

The four-story home sits on an oxbow of the Tigris River, near a highway overpass. Outside the front door is a worn woven mat that reads "welcome." Throughout the home are understated pieces of Christian iconography: a small portrait of Christ, a Virgin Mary figurine in the kitchen and a wallet-sized photo of an Eastern Orthodox priest attached to a mirror in the bedroom.

Aziz's study is an airy room on the ground floor, its shelves heaving with writings by and about his adversaries, such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and former president George H.W. Bush, as well as dozens of volumes of works attributed to Hussein. He owns several histories of the Iran-Iraq war and a collection of works on the Central Intelligence Agency, including Bob Woodward's "Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987." He also owns several Western works on politics in the region, including Judith Miller's "God Has Ninety-Nine Names: Reporting From a Militant Middle East," and Daniel Yergin's "The Prize," about the politics of oil.

True to his role as a former foreign minister, Aziz owns two major works by former secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger: "Diplomacy" and "White House Years." And tucked away on the top of one shelf is "The Greatest Threat," by Richard Butler, who led a U.N. weapons inspection team in Iraq in the 1990s.

His collection also includes an autobiography of Moshe Dayan, an Israeli general and statesman, and several works on the subject of Zionism. He owns "Saddam's War," an account of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the international response to it, Hitler's Warwritten by John Bulloch and Harvey Morris, and "Hitler's War," by David Irving, about the German dictator to whom the Iraqi leader has sometimes been compared.

Alongside the collection of books are dozens of Vanity Fair magazines and a large glass cabinet overflowing with more than 50 American movies on DVD. The titles include dramas, such as "The Godfather" series, lighter fare, such as "Sleepless in Seattle," and action films, such as "Dragon," the story of martial arts expert Bruce Lee.

As for Aziz's official reading, U.S. Marines blew open several safes when they arrived at the abandoned house Wednesday night and removed reams of documents, which will be analyzed by intelligence experts.

In a ground floor office are photographs of a man in his forties who appears to be Aziz's son. White business cards bearing the name Ziad Tariq Aziz are on a large oak desk. On the floor is a box of cigars, a backgammon set and a bottle of Cartier cologne. Brochures advertising Smith & Wesson and Remington firearms are scattered on the office floor. A Princeton Review test preparation book, titled "Cracking the GMAT," is marked with notes in the margins.

On the second floor of the house is a master bedroom with dressers stacked high with unopened bottles of cologne: Drakkar Noir and Obsession for men. The attached bathroom is filled with American magazines: Vogue, Cosmopolitan and GQ, along with a few dog-eared novels by Danielle Steel.


[... Rest of article is about Saddam's residence]

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