Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf speaks at a news conference in Baghdad on March 24, 2003.
Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf (‘Baghdad Bob’)
Al-Sahaf’s daily press briefings in the lead-up to the war and in its first weeks led to him being nicknamed “Baghdad Bob” or “Comical Ali” (an allusion to “Chemical Ali,” the nickname of former Iraqi defense minister Ali Hassan al-Majid.) He gained a considerable cult following, with several websites devoted to his outrageous claims.
In February 2007, al-Sahaf was back in the news when London’s Guardian newspaper compared his wartime pronouncements to those of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
According to The Associated Press in January 2009, al-Sahaf’s whereabouts are uncertain, but some reports have placed him in Qatar.For instance, as coalition troops stormed the capital, al-Sahaf declared, “The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad.”
A Shia Muslim, al-Sahaf was an outsider in the Sunni-dominated government in power from 1968 and was one of the few senior Iraqi officials not to come from the area around Saddam Hussein’s hometown, Tikrit.
His last public appearance as information minister was on April 8, 2003, the day before the fall of Baghdad, when he said that the Americans “are going to surrender or be burned in their tanks. They will surrender, it is they who will surrender.”
In June 2003 day al-Sahaf recorded an interview for the Dubai-based al-Arabiya news channel. He said he had surrendered to U.S. forces and had been interrogated by them. He was reportedly paid as much as $200,000 for the interview, in which he was very unlike the bombastic man seen during the war.
For a while in late 2003. al-Sahaf was featured on Abu Dhabi Television, one of the Arab-speaking world’s most popular satellite channels, in a weekly series of interviews, talking about Iraq and the war. He also appeared several times as a pundit.
There have been no moves to charge or detain al-Sahaf for his role in the Saddam Hussein government.
- Jessica Lynch
- Hans Blix (UN arms inspector)
- Colin Powell
- Tariq Aziz (Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister)
- Ahmed Chalabi (Iraqi exile leader)
- Tony Blair
- Gen. Tommy Franks
- Josh Rushing (Marines spokesman)
- Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks (Army spokesman)
- Paul Bremer (Iraq administrator)
- Farris Hassan (teen journalist)
- Lynndie England (Abu Ghraib)
- Mohammed Al-Rehaief (aided Jessica Lynch)
- Ali Hassan Al-Majid (‘Chemical Ali’)
- Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf (‘Baghdad Bob’)