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Archive for Saturday, August 2, 2003

American command distributes retouched photos of ‘new’ Saddam

August 2, 2003

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Saddam the thick-bearded desert sheik? Saddam the kindly, gray-haired uncle?

The U.S. Central Command said Friday it had begun distributing to American troops several digitally enhanced photographs of fugitive Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, to aid in spotting him if he has adopted a "new look" to escape detection.

Two photos show the usually shaven-cheeked Iraqi leader with a heavy black beard. In one his face is framed by a white keffiyah headscarf of a tribal Arab, garb worn by millions of Iraqi men.

Three other photos show Saddam -- always assumed to have been either a dyed brunet or wearing a dark-brown toupee -- with hair more fitting to his 66 years, ranging from white to salt-and-pepper gray. In two of those photos, he has a mustache to match.

All five photos depict Saddam with his trademark smile, the grin on tens of thousands of photos of the dictator that, until April, had hung on walls, poles and monuments across Iraq.

Release of the photos comes as the U.S. military steps up its efforts to capture the deposed leader. Last week, his two sons, Odai and Qusai, were killed in a U.S. raid in northern Iraq.

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