June 25, 2003


I am not in custody, I am roaming free like the gazelle, no force can constrain me:

US troops have arrested Iraq's information minister under Saddam Hussein, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf - dubbed Comical Ali - at a roadblock in a Baghdad suburb, a media report claimed today.

There was no immediate reaction from Washington. But Britain's Daily Mirror claims the ex-minister, dubbed Comical Ali for proclaiming the defeat of US forces even as they moved into Baghdad, had been hiding out at a relative's house watching satellite TV.

The report said he was caught on Monday night.

"He has some serious talking to do...this time," a senior coalition source was quoted as saying.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 25, 2003 12:57 PM

I miss his press conferences. It helped brighten up what was otherwise a very gloomy time of news.

Posted by: Glenn at June 25, 2003 at 01:01 PM

Cheer up, Glenn. I am sure he'll have much to say now that he has been dragged kicking, screaming and undoubtedly bristling with indignation out of hiding. I'm just waiting in anticpation for his fanclub to hear the news; http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/

Posted by: Naiad at June 25, 2003 at 01:18 PM

Hang on, I thought I read some weeks ago that he was trying to give himself up to the Americans but they didn't want him... he wasn't in the Baath card deck, after all...

Posted by: parallel at June 25, 2003 at 02:16 PM

No doubt the intial meeting was a hoot as Comical Ali explained his willingness to accept the surrender of not only the patrol that encountered him but all coalition forces in Iraq as a precursor to the unconditional surrender of the USA, UK, Australia and Poland to the righteously victorious forces of glorious Iraq.

Posted by: Kev Metcalfe at June 25, 2003 at 02:36 PM

I heard he's been offered a job on Simon Crean's front bench - probably replacing Nick Bolkus.

Posted by: Maxi at June 25, 2003 at 02:43 PM

I heard a couple of weeks ago that he offered to turn himself in but the coalition wasn't interested.

Talking of the Iraqi Information Minister, has he ever said that Iraq has had no weapons of mass destruction? There should be an inquiry on wether he deliberately told the truth or merely lied in good faith.

Posted by: Andjam at June 25, 2003 at 11:52 PM

Get him to the Daily Show at once!

Posted by: mojo at June 26, 2003 at 01:55 AM

Yeah, some interrogation:

"I am not in US custody! You are in Iraqi custody!"
"I have you completely surrounded!"
"I do not have to answer your questions! You will answer my questions or I will roast your stomachs in hell some more!"

Posted by: Sean at June 26, 2003 at 03:52 AM

parallel + Andjam: yes, indeed. And his address was known, if anyone wanted to pick him up without an agreement. Makes one wonder why Fox and the others were not parked outside with contracts...

Posted by: John Anderson at June 26, 2003 at 08:23 AM

What I heard (from some friends in government jobs) was that he was actually trying to negotiate for his surrender the first time, and among his demands for turning himself in was that he would not be interrogated at all, but immediately be released into Syrian custody. Needless to say, the Americans said "no fucking way," so he spent the next two weeks hiding from the Coalition forces at his auntie's house.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at June 26, 2003 at 08:20 PM