A video has surfaced showing Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s spokesman Rafid Jaboori literally singing the praises of Saddam Hussein more than ten years ago, leading to Jaboori’s resignation from his position.
Jaboori swiftly resigned his post, saying that he didn’t want to “further embarrass the Prime Minister’s office” on his Facebook page. He had previously sought to defend himself by arguing that the video in question is over 15 years old, he was “young and lacked wisdom” at the time, and he was merely doing what was necessary to survive in Saddam Hussein’s totalitarian Iraq. He denies being a member of Saddam’s Baath Party, either now or in the past.
An AFP report describes the video as including images of the late dictator “standing before crowds, holding a sword and riding a white horse in a parade,” while Jaboori sings, “O Saddam Hussein, your enemies fall and you remain!” and praises him as “the sword of righteousness against wrong.”
Jaboori’s resignation comes even as the Iraqi government has announced the death of Saddam’s right-hand man Ezzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the “King of Clubs” from the famous list of high-value insurgency targets created by U.S. forces in Iraq and a key figure in the coordination between Baath Party holdouts and ISIS. Assuming al-Douri is really dead—there have been false reports before—this would be a big moment for anti-Baath sentiment in Iraq and a particularly bad moment for an uncomfortable old video like Jaboori’s to surface.