Saddam Hussein’s granddaughter Banin enraged Iraqis with photos of her expensive wedding preparations on social media. She is set to marry Badr Raad Mahmoud Nasser in Jordan’s capital Amman on Friday.
Her mother, Raghad, Hussein’s eldest daughter, posted pictures of Banin’s “hen party” on Instagram. A hen party is a traditional Henna pre-wedding party. The bride and her party enjoy “intricate patterns drawn on their hands, and sometimes feet.” Other photos show her signing the marriage contract and hugging her future husband. A wedding invitation is in the shape of an eagle, which “was the state emblem of Iraq when Saddam was in power.” The reception is scheduled at an exclusive hotel.
Iraqis criticize the Hussein family for the extravagance while the country is suffering from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and divisions between rivals in government. Falah Nada, the chief of Hussein’s tribe, is the one leading the criticism against the family.
“They should have respected the people, tribe and relatives in Iraq at this critical time, when they are displaced and many are in bad conditions,” he said. “How can they publicly hold such a wedding on this magnitude when they could have helped people with that money? They should have kept their family affairs private. How can the granddaughter of Saddam Hussein post pictures in such revealing dresses and hug the groom like that?”
Car bombs and suicide bombs in Baghdad occur on an almost weekly basis, but is becoming worse as the Islamic State moves closer to the capital. In fact, Baghdad is going to change its security measures away from “concrete blast walls and police checkpoints.” Others believe the money used on the wedding was “stolen by Saddam during his dictatorial rule.”
Hussein killed Banin’s father Hussein Kamel al-Majid and his brother Saddam Kamel, who was married to Raghed’s sister Rana, in 1996. The men defected to Jordan in 1995 to work with the United Nations and the CIA. Six months later, Hussein said he forgave the men and asked them to return. When they crossed the border, their wives divorced their husbands. The men were executed because “blood should be shed due to their treason to their homeland.”
Hussein was executed in 2006. The new Iraqi government placed Raghad and other family members on a new wanted list. Raghad and her sister received asylum from Jordan. Jordanian Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit told the United States and Iraq the families are under royal protection.
“The presence of Mrs Raghad Saddam Hussein and her children in Jordan is motivated by humanitarian considerations,” he said. “She is the guest of the Hashemite royal family (of King Abdullah II) and under its protection as a seeker of asylum.”