Hussein Kamel Hassan al-Majid (Arabic: حسين كامل حسن
المجيد) (18 June 1954 – 23 February 1996) was the
son-in-law and second cousin of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. He
Jordan and assisted United Nations
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection
teams assigned to look for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
2 Return to
Iraq and death
3 After effects
5 See also
6 External links
Kamel rose through the military ranks to become the Supervisor of the
Republican Guard, Iraq's elite military forces, in 1982. He later
became the Minister of Industries, heading the Military
Industrialisation Commission and supervising Iraq's weapons
development programs from 1987. Kamel became oil minister of
He married one of Saddam Hussein's daughters, Raghad Saddam, and lived
Iraq until 1995. On 7 August of that year, Kamel and his wife
defected from Iraq, along with Kamel's brother, Saddam Kamel, and the
brother's wife, Rana Saddam, another of Saddam Hussein's daughters. In
a 21 September 1995 interview with CNN, Hussein Kamel explained:
This is what made me leave the country, the fact that Saddam Hussein
surrounds himself with inefficient ministers and advisers who are not
chosen for their competence but according to the whims of the Iraqi
president. And as a result of this the whole of
Iraq is suffering.
Jordan granted asylum to the Kamels, and there they began to cooperate
with UNSCOM and its director Rolf Ekéus, the American CIA and the
British MI6. The initial promises of a wealth of information were,
allegedly, not fulfilled. According to U.S. and Jordanian officials,
the intelligence provided by Hussein Kamel on Iraqi secret weapons
programs was of limited content and value.
Kamel confirmed what inspectors had been able to ascertain shortly
before his defection, that
Iraq had operated a biological warfare
program prior to the Gulf War, providing locations for large amounts
of undeclared technical documentation. The defection appears to have
had a psychological impact in
Baghdad due to uncertainty over what
Kamel would reveal: soon afterwards, inspectors were invited to
revisit weapons sites and new documents were turned over for
Iraq and death
In February 1996, after intermediaries for
Saddam Hussein had assured
them that all would be forgiven, Hussein Kamel and
Saddam Kamel were
convinced to return to
Iraq with their wives. Reportedly, immediately
upon their return, they were ordered to divorce their wives and were
denounced as traitors. Three days after their arrival, on 23 February,
they refused to surrender to Saddam's security forces and were killed
in a 13-hour firefight at a safe house. According to an alternative
version of events, the Kamel brothers were killed less than 24 hours
following the divorce decrees, in a gun battle with other cousins
trying to gain back their clan honor in the eyes of Saddam.
In a 25 January 1999 report to the U.N. Security Council, UNSCOM
declared that the history of the Iraqi weapons inspections "must be
divided into two parts, separated by the events following the
departure from Iraq, in August 1995, of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel."
Kamel maintained that
Iraq had destroyed its weapons of mass
destruction and related programs after the end of the first Gulf War.
I ordered destruction of all chemical weapons. All
weapons—biological, chemical, missile, nuclear—were destroyed.
A 3 March 2003 Newsweek report said that Kamel's revelations were
"hushed up" because inspectors "hoped to bluff Saddam [Hussein] into
revealing still more." Kamel's version of events appear to have
been borne out in the wake of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
In the build-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Bush administration
figures—including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney,
Donald Rumsfeld and
Colin Powell—repeatedly cited Kamel's testimony as evidence that
Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.
^ Ibrahim, Youssef M. (30 October 1990). "Gulf Leader Says Failed
Overtures Could Mean War by Year's End". The New York Times. Retrieved
16 March 2013.
^ King Abdullah II of Jordan: Our Last Best Chance; Viking Press; New
York, New York; 2011; p. 95.
^ a b Transcript of part one of Correspondent Brent Sadler's exclusive
interview with Hussein Kamel; CNN; 21 September 1995.
^ Washington Post 24 February 1996
^ Anthony H. Cordesman; Ahmed S. Hashim (1997). Iraq. Westview Press.
p. 24. ISBN 978-0-7867-4234-9. Retrieved 16 March
^ Shahin, Miriam (1 April 1996). "The final straw". The Middle East.
Retrieved 16 March 2013.
^ Barry, John (3 March 2003). "The Defector's Secrets". Newsweek.
Archived from the original on 12 March 2013. Retrieved 16 March
^ "Star Witness on
Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed". Fair. 27
February 2003. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
House of Saddam
Profile: Hussein Kamel, Center for Cooperative Research.
A Defector's Revelations, Frontline,