“Tariq Aziz, known as the face of Saddam Hussein’s regime on the world stage for many years, has died in an Iraqi hospital,” BBC reported on Friday last week.
According to the news agency:
“Aziz, 79, served as foreign minister and deputy prime minister and was a close adviser to the former leader.
He was sentenced to death by the Iraqi Supreme Court in 2010 for the persecution of religious parties under Saddam’s rule but was never executed.
He surrendered to US troops in 2003 shortly after the fall of Baghdad.“
“This recent death of Tariq Aziz, a high-ranking member in Saddam Hussein’s government and the foreign minister during the 1991 Gulf War, marks the end of one of the last surviving members of the Baath party’s old guard,” Ibrahim al-Marashi, an assistant professor at the Department of History at California State University in San Marcos , said.
“In his lifetime, he played a major role as foreign minister of Iraq, re-establishing ties with the United States in the 1980s, to only be arrested by the US close to 20 years later, making it to number 43 on the notorious 55 most-wanted deck of cards issued to US soldiers during the 2003 invasion of Iraq,” according to Ibrahim al-Marashi cited by Al-Jazeera.
The body of Tariq Aziz, the only Christian in Saddam Hussein’s inner circle, is already in Jordan ahead of being buried. It arrived in Jordan’s capital, Amman, early Saturday. Authorities took it to a local morgue, where Aziz’s son, Ziad, and others met it. Some Baath Party supporters chanted outside, Haaretz reports.
Ahmad Abu Safiah, one of the supporters, described Aziz as a martyred pan-Arabist hero, according to The Jordan Times.
“He is the martyr of the Baath and Arabs. We are proud of this man who is the son of Baath and Arabism and we are proud that he managed to withstand the tough times he’s seen during years of detention,” he told reporters.
Tariq Aziz died on 5 June 2015 in al-Hussein hospital in the city of Nasiriyah, aged 79. According to his lawyer, he was being treated well in prison but suffered from ill health and simply wanted an end to his “misery”. The incarcerated Aziz suffered from depression, diabetes, heart disease, and ulcers.