5 Things You Didn't Know About Saddam Hussein

On December 13, 2003, after spending nine months on the run, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces and charged with war crimes. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about this defiant Iraqi dictator.

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He Received A Key To The City of Detroit In 1979, after Saddam Hussein took power in Iraq, he received a note of congratulations from a Reverend Jacob Yasso in Detroit. In return, the dictator sent Yasso and his congregation of Chaldean Christians $250,000. Chaldeans are a sect of Christianity with roots in modern-day Iraq. Yasso was invited to come to Baghdad and meet Saddam. While there, he presented the Iraqi dictator with the key to the city of Detroit, courtesy of then-Mayor Coleman Young. Hussein then gave the church another $200,000.

He Offered To Debate George W. Bush On Live TV In an effort to prevent the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, the dictator offered to debate U.S. President George W. Bush on live TV.  In a three-hour interview with CBS News, he offered to debate the U.S. President.  “I am ready to conduct a direct dialogue – a debate – with your president,” CBS quoted Saddam as saying.  “I will say what I want and he will say what he wants.  ”The White House said the offer wasn’t a serious one but Hussein reiterated his stance. “  This is something proposed in earnest out of my respect for the people of the United States and the people of Iraq and the people of the world.  I call for this because war is not a joke.”

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He Had a Copy Of The Qur’an Written Using His Own Blood On his 60th birthday, Saddam Hussein commissioned a Qur'an to be written using his own blood as ink. Calligrapher Abbas Shakir Joudi wrote 6,000 verses and 336,000 words of the Qur’an using 50 pints of blood over the course of two years. If you’re a blood expert who questions if it’s possible to give that much blood over two years, you aren’t alone. A blood donation expert once estimated it would have taken at least nine years to safely donate that much blood, so it's unlikely that the entire text is written in only his blood.

He Wrote a Best-Selling Romance Novel In 2000, the book “Zabiba and the King,” was published. The passionate romance novel caused a ruckus in the literary world after it was released. But it wasn't just the story that made people take notice. The book was penned by an anonymous author. Although the author stated his humble desire to remain anonymous, Iraqi newspapers started to report that Hussein might be the author. The book became an immediate bestseller, and was turned into a musical spectacular. The CIA believes the book was written or at least supervised by the Iraqi dictator.

He Pledged $94 Million To Help America’s Poor In 2001, ten years after the end of the Gulf War and just days before George W. Bush was inaugurated, Hussein pledged to donate $94 million to poor Americans, calling it a humanitarian act meant to help the homeless and impoverished. (It's worth bearing in mind that at the time, Iraq's poverty rate stood at about 50 percent).