Uday Hussein Biography

Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, the eldest son of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, was a controversial figure known for his violent behavior and involvement in the Fedayeen Saddam. Despite being initially seen as his father’s successor, Uday was eventually replaced by his younger brother Qusay. Uday’s life was marked by allegations of rape, murder, torture, and corruption, leading to his fall from his father’s favor. However, he managed to hold various positions in Iraq, including the chairmanship of the Iraqi Olympic Committee. Uday’s life came to a tragic end during the United States-led coalition’s attack on Iraq in 2003, when he was killed alongside his brother and nephew.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti
  • Died At Age: 39
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Nada, Saja, Sevim Torun, Suha
    • Father: Saddam Hussein
    • Mother: Sajida Talfah
    • Siblings: Hala Hussein, Qusay Hussein, Raghad Hussein, Rana Hussein
  • Political Leaders
  • Iraqi Men
  • Height: 6’6″ (198 cm), 6’6″ Males
  • Died on: July 22, 2003
  • Place of death: Mosul
  • Cause of Death: Execution

Childhood & Early Life

Uday Hussein was born on June 18, 1964, in Tikrit, Iraq to Saddam and his first wife Sajida Talfah. He was about two years older than Qusay, who was born on May 17, 1966. Saddam was still in prison for attempting to assassinate the 24th Prime Minister of Iraq, General Abd al-Karim Qasim, when Uday was born. Uday and Qusay had three sisters, Raghad, Hala, and Rana.

Since his childhood, he idolized his father. When Uday was five years old, he participated in a family picnic in a public square and witnessed the executions of several “spies”, mostly Iraqi Jews. His father took pride in toughening his sons up by letting them watch the torture of the “enemies of the nation” and liquidation of “traitors”.

Despite immensely respecting his father, Uday was never really close to him. His mother, Sajida, on the other hand, shared a deep bond with him. Scholars speculate that it was the relationships he had with both of his parents that shaped his character.

Education and Early Career

He was an accomplished student at school and later enrolled at the Baghdad University College of Medicine. However, only three days later, he left and began attending the College of Engineering, which is situated only a kilometre away. He received a degree in engineering and graduated summa cum laude from the Baghdad University, coming first among 76 students. Many of his professors have since revealed that he barely managed to maintain passing grades and only won the honour of being the valedictorian because of who his father was.

Violent and Ruthless Behavior

Uday grew up to be violent, ruthless, and psychotic. According to the sources in the opposition, Uday, who was only 15 then, took part in the 1979 massacre of Iraqi cabinet ministers, which occurred soon after his father had become the Iraqi President.

In 1983, during the Iraq-Iran War, Uday showed interest in joining the military. He enrolled at the Al-Bakr Military Academy to study military strategy. There, he learned how to pilot a helicopter and would often wreak havoc by flying missions without due training. Eventually, Saddam had to ban him from flying again after he destroyed vehicles and caused multiple deaths on his own side.

Rise to Power and Controversial Actions

In 1985, Uday Hussein began running a youth radio station and then a television station and set up a youth paper. In 1990, he established Babel, a daily newspaper which eventually became the mouthpiece of Ba’athism.

Initially, he was being groomed to be his father’s successor but Saddam himself was weary of his increasingly excessive and violent lifestyle. In October 1988, after the murder of Saddam’s personal valet and food taster, Kamel Hana Gegeo, Uday permanently fell out of his father’s favour.

During a party organized in honour of Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Uday bludgeoned Gegeo with a club, stabbed him with an electric carving knife, and by some accounts, eventually shot him to death in front of horrified guests.

Downfall and Death

After the fall of Baghdad, Uday, alongside his father, brother, and brother’s children fled the city. Uday and Qusay eventually hid together in a house in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. On July 22, 2003, Task Force 20, accompanied by the troops of the United States Army 101st Airborne Division, surrounded the house, asking them to surrender. Uday was designated the Ace of Hearts on the most-wanted Iraqi playing cards. When they did not come out, the US forces opened fire, killing Uday, Qusay, Qusay’s son, 14-year-old Mustapha, and their bodyguard.

Personal Life & Legacy

Uday Hussein shared a complicated relationship with Qusay. They were quite close as children and went on to enjoy each other’s company as adults. That changed after Saddam replaced Uday with Qusay as his successor. Uday grew envious of his brother and kept a distance from him as Qusay became more influential in their father’s government.

Uday reportedly married three times. While the validity of Uday’s union with Nada is still often questioned, his next marriage is well-documented. During his stay in Geneva, Uday married Saja, the daughter of his father’s half-brother and then-ambassador to the United Nations Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, in an Islamic ceremony. Their relationship was a tremulous one. He repeatedly emotionally and physically abused her as well as was unabashedly unfaithful. She eventually fled back to Switzerland.

In order to demonstrate his loyalty to Saddam, the vice president of the Revolutionary Command Council Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri agreed on a marriage between his daughter Suha and Uday. The marriage was predictably disastrous and eventually al-Douri made a petition to Saddam to dissolve the marriage. Soon enough, it was granted.

According to most sources, Uday did not have any children. However, there are a few respected global news outlets, like The Independent, that report that he had three sons, two with Nada and one with Suha. The middle-eastern news outlets, on the other hand, state that he had a son with Sevim as well. Some in the western media even speculate that his marriage with Suha was never consummated so no child was produced from that union.

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