2-21-12 - DREAM - It seemed that I was running a school boarding house
and I was the house mother or something. A group of teenage boys came who
all looked very similar - some might have been twins or triplets, etc.
They said they were sorry and regretted that they didn't know how to do anything
- like cook for themselves. Because of the color of their skin, I'm going
to say they were Lebanese, like in the previous dream. They turned in a
small envelop[e with their phone numbers on. They weren't all identical,
but very similar and were government issued apparently. I peeked into the
envelope which contained stickers similar to license plate numbers and I saw 2
and 4 next to each other on the stickers, and I know there was 7 8 and 1
in the numbers, but can't remember the exact order of the numbers.
I received other mail at the same time, some also in large brown government
issued envelopes. I didn't get around to opening those yet.
It came to be later that these boys were the 'Sons of Lebanon" which is how I
found the following:
LEBANON IN THE BIBLE:
92:12 "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a
cedar in Lebanon."
"Lebanon" means "the white one," probably referring to the snow-capped peaks of
the Lebanon Mountains.
The Hittite word for cypress or juniper is close to the Hittite name for the
Lebanon Mountains, so "Lebanon" could refer to the trees of Lebanon.
It is mentioned 71 in the Old Testament.
Lebanon is mentioned 9 times in the Bible as either part of the Promised Land or
the northern boundary of the Promised Land.
Both Temples were built with the cedars of Lebanon (1 Kings 5:15-24; Ezra 3:7).
Solomon sent 30,000 workers to Lebanon, 10,000 per month, to obtain the cedar
for the Temple (1 Kings 5:13-14)
The "House of the Forest of Lebanon" was a public hall built by Solomon entirely
of the cedars of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2-5).
In the Old Testament, the Targums, and the Qumran texts, Lebanon is symbolically
associated with the Temple, probably because the cedars of Lebanon were used to
First-century Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, the last survivor of the Great
Sanhedrin, reported that 40 years prior to the Temple's destruction in AD 70,
the Temple doors opened by themselves. He related the incident to Zechariah
11:1-2, in which he saw Lebanon as a symbol of the Temple.
Lebanon is mentioned 7 times in the Song of Solomon. The beloved comes from
In Hebrew, Lebanon and lebonah (incense) have the same root. Thus, could the
words of Song of Solomon 4:11 refer to the fragrance of the believer's (the
bride's) prayer to the Lord?
The "cedars of Lebanon" is often used as a symbol of strength (Psalm 29:5).
Ancient Tyre had inhabitants on the mainland, but most lived on an island not
far offshore, which proved to be very hard for its enemies to conquer. It wasn't
totally destroyed until AD 1291.
Yeshua (Jesus) ministered in Tyre and Sidon in Lebanon (Matthew 15:21-28).
In Jeshua's (Jesus) day, Lebanon was called Phoenicia. Some early Christians
moved there to flee persecution (Acts 11:19).
Ezekiel 26 prophesies that Tyre will one day be destroyed forever, never to rise
again, when "I shall being up the deep over you and the great waters will cover
you (V. 19).
Zechariah prophesies that one of the places that God will bring back the
scattered children of Israel will be to Lebanon (10:6-10). Will, then, Lebanon
one day be part of Israel?
Lebanon is the historic home of the Phoenicians, Semitic traders whose maritime
culture flourished there for more than 2,000 years (c.2700-450 B.C.). In later
centuries, Lebanon's mountains were a refuge for Christians, and Crusaders
established several strongholds there.
Between the period of 1200 B.C. and 900 B.C. there was no
major military power in Mesopotamia. Therefor smaller states like Phoenicia and
the Hebrew kingdom were able to prosper. These kingdoms especially the
Phoenicians started to trade throughout the Mediterranean region.
History tells us that the Canaanites, a tribe of Semitic
origin, were first to inhabit the Lebanese shores. Indeed their culture is said
to form the basis of the Aramaean culture of both Syria and of Israelite
Palestine. The Canaanites who traded with the Greeks became known by them as
Lebanon started to be called such by name sometime in the
third Millennium before Christ, when reference is made to the Pharoahs of Egypt
importing cedar wood from the mountains of Lebanon.
The term Phoenicia, from the Greek Phoenix, means
purple-red, and refers to the purple industry (the dye extracted from the
mollusc shell-fish and used to colour cloth) of the early Lebanese.
The word Lebanon itself, is an ancient Semitic term meaning
“White”, and the country was so called as the Lebanese mountain summits remain
snow-decked for most of the year. Seeking trading partners, the Phoenicians
sailed further away from the shores of Lebanon, confident in their legendary
vessels crafted in solid cedar wood.
By the end of the second century BC, they had colonised most of the Mediteranean
shore, establishing trading depots and spreading the Semitic culture. The
greatest of these colonies is said to have been Carthage. From the Mediteranean,
the Phoenicians moved westward, eventually discovering the Atlantic Ocean.
They rounded Africa, landed in England and Ireland and
built many cities in Western Europe and on the Atlantic coast of Africa. But
while the Phoenicians became legendary traders - their wares included works of
art, textiles, delicate glassware, precious stones and perfume - their
intellectual contribution to society guaranteed their place in history.
They gave the world the twenty-two "magic signs" called the
alphabet, the first developed system of modern writing and numerical figures.
They also taught mankind the art of stone building and glass manufacturing.
Phoenicia is the Greek name for the country and people living on the coast of
Syria, in ancient times at the east end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is believed
that economic opportunity and population pressures forced them out into the
seas. The Phoenicians colonized many areas along the Mediterranean Sea. Areas
where their colonies have been found: Sardinia, Cyprus, and Carthage - the most
important and lasting colony. By far they were superior to all peoples of that
time in seamanship. Legend has it that an Egyptian pharoah hired a band of
Phoenicians to map and circumnavigate the coast of Africa. They are best
remembered for their contributions in the establishment to trade with the many
peoples living along the Mediterranean Sea. The Greeks received their alphabet
from them as late as the 10th century B.C. or as early as the 15th.
uncovered homes of farmers and fishermen in Gebeil dating back to 7000 B.C. They
found one-room huts with crushed limestone floors and stone idol of god El.
Because of these discoveries, it is thought that Gebeil (later known as Byblos)
may actually be the oldest city in the world.
TIES WITH EGYPT
As far as back as
3200 B.C., the people of Gebeil (Byblos) were cutting down cedar trees in the
mountains of Lebanon, to be shipped to Egypt and Mesopotamia for use in building
ships and making columns for houses. In return, the Phoenicians brought back
gold, copper, and turquoise from the Nile Valley and Sinai. Canaanite ceramic
pieces have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 2999 B.C. In 1954,
archaeologists found Cheops (khufu) at Giza. Cheops lived around 2550 B.C. A
barge that was discovered in Cheops tomb was made of Lebanese cedar wood, and
faint scent of the cedar was still in the grain at the time of its discovery.
cuneiforms (wedge shaped symbols in clay tablets) and Egyptian hieroglyphics
(pictographs) were the only known forms of writing before the alphabet as we
know it was developed. Both scripts, though separately created, used picture
writing. Eventually, pictures or signs represented sounds. Finally, the pictures
became so simplified that a whole word was written as a single sign. By about
1200 B.C., the Phoenicians had developed symbols which in time became a real
alphabet. The Phoenician alphabet consisted of twenty-two symbols, all
consonants. Each one represented its own sound. The Egyptian symbol for the
oxhead was given the Semitic name aleph, and was sounded as "a." The symbol for
house became beth, and was sounded as "b." It is easily see how the Phoenician
alphabet was used to form the other alphabets which followed it. Aleph became
the Greek alpha, beth became beta. In time, these letters became the Roman
letters A and B and eventually the English A and B, and so on for the entire
alphabet. Once a written language was established, it was inscribed on Egyptian
papyrus, a type pf paper made of reeds. So, closely linked was papyrus with the
city of Byblos, (which traded cedar for the paper) that when the writing of the
Hebrew prophets were translated into Greek, the city's name was given to the
great book - the Bible. Because the papyrus rotted away in the damp sea air and
soil, there are practically no Phoenician writings left. Thus, the literature of
the people who influenced the western world in her writing has largely vanished.
Still, because Egyptian scribes copied the Phoenician letters after
hieroglyphics were no longer used, and because artists in Ninevah inscribed them
in stone, the alphabet remains with us.
For the next three
centuries, independent Phoenicia reached its height as a nation whose prime
interests were trade, the arts, and religion. Organized into individual
city-states, each Phoenician city was under its own form of government. Each had
its own god and its own ruler, whose usually remained in power for life. Gebeil
(Byblos) was a strong religious city-state. Sidon and Tyre were cities of
business, industry, and navigation. The city-states were all linked by their
common ancestors, language, and writing. Their mutual interests were their trade
arrangements, their customs, and their rituals and beliefs. Nevertheless, even
though they were only a one or two day march from each other, they never were
able to unite as a single power when they were attacked.
TYRE, THE PURPLE DYE CENTER
Tyre was the major
region for thepurple dye industry, which probably began as early as the 18th
century B.C. The dye was carefully extracted, a few drops at a time from the
murex, a shell-fish found in the waters off of Tyre and Sidon. The process used
to extract the fluid was so difficult and so expensive that only the rich could
afford to buy the dyed fabric. It is because of this Phoenician fabric that we
still use the expression "born in the purple" to mean one who is born rich.
ON THE SEA
Mediterranean Sea allowed the Phoenicians to wander, to explore, and to
discover. It was their link to a world that awaited their skill and their art.
These fine merchants brought their dye, fabric, ceramics, glass, metals, wine,
crops, and oil from port to port. They became the world's finest maritime
nation. The Phoenicians were not only adventurous merchants but expert sailors
and navigators as well. They colonized parts of Cyprus, Rhodes, and the Aegean
Islands. Phoenician sailors journeyed east to the Black Sea and west to places
such as Corinth, Thebes, Sardinia, Palermo, Marseille, Corsica, and Malta. They
were known to have gone as far as Gibraltar and Cadiz in Spain. By about 1000
B.C., they had finally reached the Atlantic Ocean. The Greeks were influenced in
their navigation by the Phoenicians, who taught them to sail by the North star.
The Greeks have designs on their ships similar to those from Phoenician models.
WHO BUILT SOLOMON'S TEMPLE?
to the Masonic legend, Hiram Abiff was a man of Tyre, the son of a widow, and
the chief architect of the Temple built by King Solomon. He was the central
character in the building of the Temple and one of three leading characters
along with King Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre.
Abiff, Masonry teaches, was the only one on Earth who knew "the secrets of a
Master Mason," including the most important secret of all, the "Grand Masonic
Word," the name of God (the "ineffable name"). In the Occult, knowing the name
of a spirit is a key to having its power, there was a very great power in
knowing this word.
the other "secrets of a Master Mason" would enable the masons/workmen working on
the Temple project to go out on their own, working as Master Masons and earning
Master Mason's wages."
Abiff had promised to reveal the "secrets of a Master Mason," including the name
of God ("Grand Masonic Word"), upon completion of the Temple, and to make the
workmen Master Masons, enabling them to go out on their own as masters (instead
of "fellowcraft" Masons). One day Hiram went, as was his custom, into the
unfinished Holy of Holies at noon ("High Twelve") to worship and to draw up the
work plans (on his "trestleboard") for the workmen to follow the next day. The
workmen were outside the Temple for their lunch break ("…the craft were called
from labor to refreshment…").
was leaving the Temple he was accosted by three men in succession, who demanded
that they be given the secrets immediately (without waiting for the Temple to be
completed). He was handled roughly by the first man (Jubela), but escaped.
Accosted and handled roughly by the second man (Jubelo), he again refused to
divulge the secrets and again escaped. The third man (Jubelum) then accosted him
and, when Hiram again refused to divulge the secrets, the man killed him with a
blow to the forehead with a setting maul.
was then concealed under some rubbish in the Temple until midnight ("low
twelve") when it was taken out to the a hill and buried. The grave was marked by
an Acacia branch, and the three men then tried to leave the country. They
couldn't get passage on a ship so they retreated into the hills to hide.
Solomon was notified that these 3 men were missing in addition to Hiram Abiff
who was also missing. Two searches were conducted. The temple was searched
(presumably at the King's request) and none of the men were found. At this point
12 "fellowcrafts" reported to the King that they and three others had conspired
to extort the secrets of Hiram Abiff from him but they had repented and refused
to go through with the plan. They informed the King of the three men that
murdered Hiram Abiff and King Solomon then sent out a second search party to
look everywhere they could and find the body of Hiram Abiff.
unclear at this point how the search party ended up at the proper grave, but
apparently, the sea captain who refused to take the three men onboard had some
information that could be used. In either case, the search party finally
discovered the grave with the Acacia branch at the head. They dug up the body
and sent word back to King Solomon. It is then stated that King Solomon sent an
"Entered Apprentice" to attempt to dig up the body, but because the body had
already begun to decompose, they could not raise it..
Solomon reportedly then sent a Fellowcraft to attempt to raise the body. This
too failed since the "Grip" of the Entered Apprentice and the "Grip" of the
Fellowcraft were inadequate for the job. The story then continues that King
Solomon himself went to the grave and raised the body up with the grip of a
Master Mason, (the "Strong Grip of a Lion's Paw.)"
It is then
stated that Hiram was not only brought up out of the grave, but restored to
word he spoke was the replacement for the "Grand Masonic Word" lost at his death
and that word is the one passed down to Master Masons to this day.
Lodge Masons believe that this story of Hiram Abiff is a factual, scriptural and
Masonic leaders and writers of doctrine agree that it is not only a myth,
unsupported by facts, but acknowledge that it is but a retelling of the story of
Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris!
would people believe the story? Is this story actually recorded in scripture?
The Bible and
anyone named Hiram Abiff ever recorded in the bible? NO, there is no such person
despite the fact that King Solomon's name is used in the Masonic teaching.
Scriptures do record two men named Hiram (1 Kings chapters 5, 7, 9 and 10)
concerning the building of the Temple by King Solomon; one is Hiram, King of
Tyre, who was supportive of Solomon and who provided materials and workmen for
the project. The other Hiram, called "a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali,"
who was a worker in brass, not the architect of the entire Temple. He made the
brass pillars, the brass lavers, shovels and basins.
Scriptures record that this Hiram, the widows son, completed all the work that
he had come to do on the Temple and then he then returned to his home in Tyre,
safe and sound (there is no indication in the Bible of anything to the
Because of the religious sensitivities involved, and the politically volatile
East Jerusalem, only limited archaeological surveys of the Temple Mount have
been conducted. As no excavations have been allowed on the Temple Mount during
modern times, there is no direct archaeological evidence for the existence of
Solomon's Temple, and no mentions of it, in the surviving contemporary
extra-biblical literature. An
Ivory pomegranate mentions priests in the house of YHWH, and an
inscription recording the Temple's restoration under
Jehoash have appeared on the antiquities market, but the authenticy of both
have been challenged and they remain the subject of controversy.
Shekinah (dwelling place) of the God of Israel, was originally the
portable shrine called the
Ark of the Covenant, which was placed in the
tent. King David,
having unified all Israel, brought the Ark to his new capital,
intending to build there a temple in order to house the Ark in a permanent
place. David purchased a threshing-floor for the site of the Temple (1
Chronicles 21–22), but then Yahweh told him that he would not be permitted to
build a temple. The task of building therefore passed to David's son and
1 Kings 6:1–38,
1 Kings Chapter 7, and
Chapter 8 describe the construction and dedication of the Temple under
King Solomon requested the aid of
King Hiram of Tyre to provide both the quality materials and skilled
craftsmen. During the construction, a special inner room, named in Hebrew
Kodesh Hakodashim (Holy
of Holies), was prepared to receive and house the Ark of the Covenant (1
Kings 6:19); and when the Temple was dedicated, the Ark—containing the
Tablets of Stone—was placed therein (1 Kings 8:6–9).
The exact location of the First Temple is unknown: it is believed to have
been situated upon the hill which forms the site of the 1st century
Second Temple and present-day
Mount, where the
Dome of the Rock is situated. However, two other, slightly different sites
have been proposed for this same hill: one places the
stone altar at the location of the rock which is now beneath the gilded
dome, with the rest of the temple to the west. The
of Souls was, according to this theory, a pit for the remnants of the blood
services of the
korbanot. The other theory places the
Holy of Holies atop this rock. Still another location has recently been
proposed between the Dome of the Rock and the gilded dome, based on orientation
to the eastern wall, drainage channels, orientation of the platform stones, and
the location of a possible Boaz pillar base.
2 Kings 12:4–16 describes arrangements for the refurbishment of the Temple in
the time of king
Jehoash of Judah in the 9th century BCE. According to 2 Kings 14:14 the
Temple was looted by
Jehoash of Israel in the early 8th century and again by King
Ahaz in the late
8th century (2 Kings 16:8). Ahaz also installed some cultic innovations in the
Temple which were abhorrent to the author of 1–2 Kings (2 Kings 16:10–18).
The Temple also figures in the account of King
who turned Judah away from idols;
when later in the same century Hezekiah is confronted with a siege by the
Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:23, 19:1 and the
Taylor prism), Hezekiah "instead of plundering the temple treasuries... now
uses the temple the way it is designed to be used — as a house of prayer (2
Hezekiah's son, however, is much different from his father and during the
Manasseh of Judah in the early and middle seventh century (2 Kings 21:4–9),
Manasseh makes innovations to the Temple cult. He has been described as a
Solomon who also fell into idolatry, and Manasseh is described as a king who
"makes" (2 Kings 21:3–7) or "builds" (2 Kings 21:3)
(cf. 1 Kings 11:7) (see
Deuteronomy 12 for the prohibition against high place worship), yet while
Solomon's idolatry was punished by a divided kingdom, Manessah's idolatry was
the grandson of Manasseh, refurbished and made changes to the Temple by removing
idolatrous vessels and destroying the idolatrous priesthood c. 621 BCE (2 Kings
22:3–9; 23:11–12). He also suppressed worship at altars other than the Temple's.
The Temple was plundered by the
Nebuchadnezzar when the Babylonians
attacked Jerusalem during the brief reign of
Jehoiachin c. 598 (2 Kings 24:13), Josiah's grandson. A decade later,
besieged Jerusalem and after 30 months finally breached the city walls in
587 BCE, subsequently burning the Temple, along with most of the city (2 Kings
25). According to Jewish tradition, the Temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av,
the 9th day of Av
His name has previously been mistakenly interpreted as "O Nabu, defend my kudurru",
in which sense a kudurru is an inscribed stone deed of property. However,
when contained in a ruler's title, kudurru
approximates to "firstborn son" or "oldest son".
Variations of the
Hebrew form include
נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר (Nəḇuḵaḏreṣṣar). He is also known as Bakhat
Nasar, which means "winner of the fate", or literally, "fate winner".[citation
Nabopolassar was intent on annexing the western provinces of Syria from
Necho II (who was still hoping to restore Assyrian power), and to this end
dispatched his son westward with a large army. In the ensuing
Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, the Egyptian army was defeated and driven
were brought under the control of Babylon. Nabopolassar died in August that
year, and Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon to ascend to the throne.
Nebuchadnezzar engaged in several military campaigns designed to increase
Babylonian influence in Syria and Judah. An attempted invasion of
in 601 BC was met with setbacks, however, leading to numerous rebellions among
the states of the
Levant, including Judah. Nebuchadnezzar soon dealt with these rebellions,
Jerusalem in 597 BC and deposing King
then in 587 BC due to rebellion, destroying both the city and the temple, and
deporting many of the prominent citizens along with a sizable portion of the
Jewish population of Judea to Babylon.
These events are described in the Prophets (Nevi'im)
and Writings (Ketuvim),
sections of the
Bible (in the books
2 Kings and
2 Chronicles, respectively). After the destruction of Jerusalem,
Nebuchadnezzar engaged in a thirteen year siege of
Tyre (585–572 BC), which ended in a compromise, with the Tyrians accepting
Following the pacification of Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar turned again to Egypt. A
now in the
British Museum, states: "In the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the
country of Babylon, he went to
(Egypt) to wage war.
king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad." Having
completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and a campaign against Egypt,
Nebuchadnezzar set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon, and
constructed canals, aqueducts, temples and reservoirs.
WHERE DID WE MORE RECENTLY HEAR THE NAME
Saddam's Babylonian Palace
Saddam Hussein's Palace in Babylon
From the ancient palace of Nebuchadnezzar to a lavish new palace for
himself, Saddam Hussein used architecture to awe and intimidate.
When Saddam Hussein rose to power in Iraq, he conceived a grandiose scheme to
rebuild the ancient City of Babylon. Saddam Hussein said that Babylon's great
palaces and the legendary hanging gardens of Babylon (one of the seven wonders
of the ancient world) would rise from dust. Like the powerful King
Nebuchadnezzar II who conquered Jerusalem 2,500 years ago, Saddam Hussein would
rule over the world's greatest empire. The vaulting ambition of Saddam Hussein
found expression in vaulting, and often pretentious, architecture.
In 1982, Saddam's workers began reconstructing Babylon's most imposing building,
the 600-room palace of King Nebuchadnezzar II. Archaeologists were horrified.
Many said that to rebuild on top of ancient artifacts does not preserve history,
but disfigures it. The original bricks, which rise two or three feet from the
ground, bear ancient inscriptions praising Nebuchadnezzar. Above these, Saddam
Hussein's workers laid more than 60-million sand-colored bricks inscribed with
the words, "In the era of Saddam Hussein, protector of Iraq, who rebuilt
civilization and rebuilt Babylon." The new bricks began to crack after only 10
Adjacent to Nebuchadnezzar's ancient palace and overlooking the Euphrates River,
Saddam Hussein built a new palace for himself. Shaped like a ziggurat (stepped
pyramid), Saddam's Babylonian palace is a monstrous hill-top fortress surrounded
by miniature palm trees and rose gardens. The four-storey palace extends across
an area as large as five football fields. Villagers told news media that a
thousand people were evacuated to make way for this emblem of Saddam Hussein's
The palace Saddam built was not merely large, it was also ostentatious.
Containing several hundred thousand square feet of marble, it became a showy
confection of angular towers, arched gates, vaulting ceilings, and majestic
stairways. Critics charged that Saddam Hussein's lavish new palace expressed
exuberant excess in land where many died in poverty.
On the ceilings and walls of Saddam's palace, 360-degree murals depicted
scenes from ancient Babylon, Ur, and the Tower of Babel. In the cathedral-like
entryway, an enormous chandelier hung from a wooden canopy carved to resemble a
palm tree. In the bathrooms, the plumbing fixtures appeared to be gold-plated.
Throughout Saddam Hussein's palace, pediments were engraved with the ruler's
The role of Saddam Hussein's Babylonian palace was more symbolic than
functional. When American troops entered Babylon in April, 2003, they found
little evidence that the palace had been occupied or used. Saddam's fall from
power brought vandals and looters. The smoked glass windows were shattered, the
furnishings removed, and architectural details - from faucets to light switches
- had been stripped away.
During the war, Western troops pitched tents in the vast empty rooms at
Saddam Hussein's Babylonian palace. For one soldier's view of Babylon, visit our
King Nebuchadnezzar is best known to students of the Bible for his defeat
of the southern kingdom of Judah (the northern kingdom of Israel was by then
long gone, having been conquered and deported over a century earlier by the
Assyrians - see Ancient Empires - Assyria). By 586 B.C., the Babylonian
forces conquered the land, devastated Jerusalem, looted and burned the
original Temple that had been built by Solomon (see Temples and Temple Mount
Treasures), and took the people away into what became known as the
"Babylonian Exile." (2Kings 25:1-17)."*
Can it be that Saddam Hussein actually believes he is the reincarnation
of one of History's great conquerors?
The Rise of
by Charles H. Dyer with Angela Elwell Hunt
…Dyer points out Saddam Hussein's own plans to emulate King Nebuchadnezzar as
evidenced in a commemorative medal he had cast with the ancient king's profile
and his own side by side. In addition to the hanging gardens of Babylon and the
unification of the surrounding nations, King Nebuchadnezzar is perhaps most
noted for the sacking of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jewish people.
The author reveals how Hussein's followers already recognize him as today's
equivalent of that ancient king:
The tour guide at a reconstructed palace in Babylon described with enthusiasm
the restored monument of the ancient city...she got to the throne room and
pointed to the empty platform. "This is where the Saddam Hussein had his throne.
This is where Saddam Hussein sat," she said, voice rising in pride.
The short, stout woman looked around at the quizzical faces, then caught
herself with a nervous laugh. "I mean Nebuchadnezzar... Nebuchadnezzar had his
Saddam Hussein: The Last Great Tyrant
By Robert Fisk Independent December 30, 2000
In Baghdad, the palace lawns are better tended, but the same sense of spent
taste and vulgarity pervades the president's imagery. Saddam on horseback, in
Kurdish clothes, embracing babies and war heroes, riding on a charger in
medieval armour to confront the Persians at the Battle of Qaddasiyeh, dressed as
Nebuchadnezzar, he who conquered Syria and Palestine, sacked Ashkelon and
subdued all the tribes of the Arabs. Like the king of Babylonia, Saddam decided
to rebuild Babylon; and so the ancient city was ripped apart and reconstructed,
Disney-style, in the image of the great man.
FInspired by his uncle's tales of heroism in the service of the Arab nation,
Saddam has been consumed by dreams of glory since his earliest days. He
identifies himself with Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylonia who conquered
Jerusalem (586 B.C.) and Saladin who regained Jerusalem in 1187 by
defeating the Crusaders….
Iraqi-Lebanese relations have been close throughout history,
both politically and culturally. Iraq and Lebanon have maintained
diplomatic relations since 1943. Both countries have refused to
Israel and have supported the
Lebanon's prime minister traveled to
on August 2008, which was the only third such visit by a top Arab leader
since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Fuad Saniora called his one-day trip an opportunity to renew contact
after more than a decade of chilly relations between
and Baghdad. At a news conference alongside Saniora, Iraqi Prime
Nouri al-Maliki said the two countries would sign several agreements
soon, including one on Iraq exporting oil to Lebanon.
Lebanon's parliamentary majority leader,
Saad Hariri (also, of partial Iraqi origin), visited Iraq in July
2008, followed by
King Abdullah II, the first Arab head of state to fly to Baghdad
since the 2003 war.
Some figures in Lebanon's powerful Shiite militia Hezbollah have
close personal ties with the religious hierarchy in
and some Lebanese Shiites trace their family origins back to Iraq.
Relations between Lebanon and Iraq soured in the mid-1990s after Iraqi
agents killed a dissident in
But the two maintained embassies in each other's capitals even after the
U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Saddam's WMD in Lebanon
Weapons transferred to Syria before war, then to Bekaa Valley
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Over the last few months, the U.S. intelligence community has received new
evidence a sizable amount of Iraqi WMD systems, components and platforms were
transferred to Syria in the weeks leading up to the U.S.-led war in Iraq,
reports Geostrategy-Direct, the global intelligence news service.
But chances are the Bush administration won’t be releasing this information
for a while.
The convoys were spotted by U.S. satellites in early 2003, but the contents
of the WMD convoys from Iraq to Syria were not confirmed.
Confirmation later came from Iraqi scientists and technicians questioned by a
U.S. team that was searching for
Saddam’s conventional weapons. But all they knew was the convoys were
heading west to Syria.
But over the last few months, U.S. intelligence managed to track the Iraqi
WMD convoy to Lebanon’s Bekaa
Through the use of satellites, electronic monitoring and human intelligence,
the intelligence community has determined that much, if not all, of Iraq’s
biological and chemical weapons assets are being protected by Syria, with
Iranian help, in the Bekaa Valley.
The Syrians received word from
SaddamHussein in late 2002
that the Iraqi WMD would be arriving and Syrian army engineering units began
digging huge trenches in the Bekaa Valley.
Saddam paid more than $30
million in cash for Syria to build the pits, acquire the Iraqi WMD and conceal
At first, U.S. intelligence thought Iraqi WMD was stored in northern Syria.
But in February 2003 a Syrian defector told U.S. intelligence the WMD was buried
in or around three Syrian Air Force installations.
But intelligence sources said the Syrians kept dual-use nuclear components
for themselves while transferring the more incriminating material to
Saddam married his first wife and cousin
Sajida Talfah (or Tulfah/Tilfah)
in an arranged marriage. Sajida is the daughter of Khairallah Talfah,
Saddam's uncle and mentor. Their marriage was arranged for Hussein at age
five when Sajida was seven. They were married in
his exile. The couple had five children.
Uday Hussein (18 June 1964 – 22 July 2003), was Saddam's oldest son,
who ran the
Iraqi Football Association,
Fedayeen Saddam, and several media corporations in Iraq including
Iraqi TV and the newspaper
Babel. Uday, while originally Saddam's favorite son and raised
to succeed him he eventually fell out of favour with his father due to
his erratic behavior; he was responsible for many car crashes and rapes
around Baghdad, constant feuds with other members of his family, and
killing his father's favorite valet and food taster
Kamel Hana Gegeo at a party in Egypt honoring Egyptian first lady
Suzanne Mubarak. He became well known in the west for his
involvement in looting
War, allegedly taking millions of dollars worth of Gold, cars, and
medical supplies (which was in short supply at the time) for himself and
close supporters. He was widely known for his paranoia and his obsession
with torturing people who disappointed him in any way, which included
tardy girlfriends, friends who disagreed with him and, most notoriously,
Iraqi athletes who performed poorly. He was briefly married to
Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri's daughter, but later divorced her. The
couple had no children.
Qusay Hussein (17 May 1966 – 22 July 2003), was Saddam's second —
and, after the mid-1990s, his favorite — son. Qusay was believed to have
been Saddam's later intended successor, as he was less erratic than his
older brother and kept a low profile. He was second in command of the
military (behind his father) and ran the elite
Iraqi Republican Guard and the
SSO. He was
believed to have ordered the army to kill thousands of rebelling
Marsh Arabs and was instrumental in suppressing Shi'ite rebellions
in the mid-1990s. He was married once and had three children.
Raghad Hussein (born 2 September 1968) is Saddam's oldest daughter.
After the war, Raghad fled to
Jordan where she received sanctuary from the royal family. She is
currently wanted by the
Iraqi Government for allegedly financing and supporting the
insurgency and the now banned Iraqi Ba'ath Party.
The Jordanian royal family refused to hand her over.
Rana Hussein (born c. 1969), is Saddam's second daughter. She, like
her sister, fled to Jordan and has stood up for her father's rights. She
was married to
Saddam Kamel and has had four children from this marriage.
Hala Hussein (born c. 1972), is Saddam's third and youngest
daughter. Very little information is known about her. Her father
arranged for her to marry General Kamal Mustafa Abdallah Sultan
al-Tikriti in 1998. She fled with her children and sisters to
Saddam married his second wife,
in 1986. She was originally the wife of an
Iraqi Airways executive, but later became the mistress of Saddam.
Eventually, Saddam forced Samira's husband to divorce her so he could marry
There have been no political issues from this marriage. After the war,
Samira fled to
Beirut, Lebanon. She is believed to have mothered Hussein's sixth child.
Members of Hussein's family have denied this.
Saddam had allegedly married a third wife,
Nidal al-Hamdani, the general manager of the Solar Energy Research
Center in the Council of Scientific Research.
Wafa el-Mullah al-Howeish is rumoured to have married Saddam as his
fourth wife in 2002. There is no firm evidence for this marriage. Wafa is
the daughter of Abdul Tawab el-Mullah Howeish, a former minister of military
industry in Iraq and Saddam's last deputy Prime Minister.
In August 1995, Raghad and her husband
Hussein Kamel al-Majid and Rana and her husband,
Kamel al-Majid, defected to
their children with them. They returned to Iraq when they received assurances
that Saddam would pardon them. Within three days of their return in February
1996, both of the Kamel brothers were attacked and killed in a gunfight with
other clan members who considered them traitors.
In August 2003, Saddam's daughters Raghad and Rana received sanctuary in
where they are currently staying with their nine children. That month, they
spoke with CNN and
the Arab satellite station
Al-Arabiya in Amman. When asked about her father, Raghad told CNN, "He was a
very good father, loving, has a big heart." Asked if she wanted to give a
message to her father, she said: "I love you and I miss you." Her sister Rana
also remarked, "He had so many feelings and he was very tender with all of us."
Assistant Secretary of the Regional Command (1966–1979)
Assistant Secretary General of the National Command (1979–1989)
Saddam's wife in gold ... and exile By Marie Colvin of The Sunday Times December 15, 2003
SAMIRA Shahbandar, Saddam Hussein's wife, gave the following interview to
The Sunday Times before the ousted Iraqi leader was captured.
THE fashionable blonde sat alone at a table in the back of a restaurant north
of Beirut in Lebanon. She had hazel eyes and wore a classically tailored trouser
suit, gold earrings and a striking gold necklace. There could be no mistaking
the attraction of Samira Shahbandar. Striking though she is, in Lebanon she is
little-known. But in Iraq she is a legend.
Samira is the woman who so fascinated Saddam Hussein, reviled as one of the
world's most evil dictators, that he kidnapped her husband, forced a divorce and
persuaded her to marry him.
When Hussein and his regime fell, she fled abroad, with $US5 million ($6.74
million) in cash, a box of gold bars and a false passport, and has since been
living quietly under an assumed name. She was reported to have gone to Russia,
but The Sunday Times traced her, through a nephew who remained in
Baghdad, to Beirut.
She agreed to talk to an intermediary, and spoke about her life with Saddam.
It is a relationship that amazingly continues, even as he is in hiding, pursued
by coalition forces. They are, she says, in regular contact.
She recalls how when the war came, Hussein was optimistic. ``We were prepared
for the war,'' Samira recalled. ``Saddam thought we would win. He believed we
As coalition forces raced into the country, the dictator organised a series
of safe houses for Samira. She was taken to various homes in Baghdad and north
of the capital. The first was in Mansour, a wealthy Baghdad neighbourhood, where
she stayed with an elderly couple who were friends of her mother. She stayed
there a week.
After that, she and their teenaged son Ali went to Diyala, near Baquba, where
they had to endure the 49C heat in a house without airconditioning. She
remembers listening to the increasingly ``bad news'' about the progress of the
She moved several times, always taken by Hussein's bodyguards, who would show
up without warning. In the third week of the war, they moved her back to Mansour
and Hussein came to see her.
She told him that she had heard from the radio that things were not good.
``Saddam said, `It's all bull. We have a plan to trap them in Baghdad','' she
But as the Americans surged into the centre of the capital, Hussein crumbled.
``He came to me very depressed and sad,'' she said. ``He took me to the next
room and cried. He knew he had been betrayed.
``He told me not to be afraid. He kissed Ali and said the same, `Don't be
afraid'.'' It was the last day he appeared in public in the city.
Eventually, his former bodyguards came with an old pick-up truck and drove
her and her daughters towards the Syrian border. Ali followed behind in a taxi.
They stopped in the desert. All she remembers is a small restaurant and a
tiny mosque. That is where she saw Hussein for the last time.
He drove up in an ordinary car, disguised as a Bedouin tribesman. It was 12
days after his statue had been pulled down in Baghdad. She did not recognise him
at first, then ran to him.
``He said, `Don't ask me how I will be. I want you to be safe'.'' He gave her
a briefcase with $US5 million in cash.
One of the men with him put a heavy box in her car, and Hussein told her:
``This one you can use when you are really in need.''
He held her hand, she said, and put it on his heart, and told her everything
would be all right.
Samira said she cried all the way to Damascus, where she stayed for eight
days before travelling on to Lebanon. When she opened the heavy box, she found
that it contained 10kg of gold bars to supplement her fortune. At the border
between Lebanon and Syria she was given a Lebanese passport that listed her
first name as ``Hadija''. The passport of Hussein's son, Ali, now gives his name
Two decades ago, when they met, Hussein was a peasant boy from Tikrit, in
northern Iraq, who had muscled his way to power and married, as is the Arab
tradition, his first cousin, Sajida. She bore him five children. Samira was the
child of an aristocratic Baghdad family.
She had married an Iraqi pilot and had a son and daughter; but the marriage
was not a happy one by the time Hussein's eye fell on her.
Hussein went on a school picnic for his youngest daughter, encountered
Samira, and was captivated by her beauty.
``He came to my house two weeks after my husband had travelled abroad,'' she
said. ``This was the most powerful man in Iraq and he was holding a bouquet of
flowers and chocolates. He was unable to speak. When I saw that, I thought to
myself, `this is a man that really loves me'.''
Her father considered Hussein's family unworthy of his daughter.
Nevertheless, Samira became his mistress.
Hussein kidnapped her husband, held him for several days and made clear he
wanted the man's wife. The husband's agreement to step aside was not without
benefits. He was made head of Iraqi Airways.
After they married, she became a gypsy, moving from house to house with him.
``He was a good husband,'' she said, although she was well aware of the
dangers of crossing him. ``I'm not afraid of dying, if it is my time to die. I
did know that if I said no to Saddam, he might kill me.''
In the early 1980s, she gave birth to a boy, Ali, who is now Hussein's only
surviving son. He too is living under an assumed name in Beirut. Hussein's
marriage to, and affection for, Samira enraged one of his sons by Sajida. Uday,
his eldest son, blamed a valet for helping the relationship flourish between
Hussein and Samira.
Qusay, Hussein's other son and his heir apparent, was more restrained.
Samira's son by Hussein was never publicly acknowledged, and Hussein's other
family hated him.
Not that everything was smooth for the second wife of the tyrant. ``He loved
the army. The army meant more to him than anything in his life,'' Samira said.
``He thought that his family should be the first to go into the army. One of the
only times he would not listen to me is when I tried to get my relatives out. He
did not accept.''
Her son by her former husband went abroad and did not wish to return for
military service. Hussein ordered him to be banished for good. ``It was the
worst day of my life: my husband told me I could not speak to or see my son
Despite the obvious horrors of Iraq under Hussein, Samira makes few apologies
for him. For all her sophistication, she seems not to know how desperate the
condition of the ordinary Iraqis was.
``He made mistakes, and we argued,'' she said. ``But he told me that early on
he realised the Iraqi people are such that if you give them an apple they will
demand a basket of fruit.''
They had to be treated toughly, she seems to say. Yet she sees no
contradiction in also boasting that Hussein ``loved to buy me gold jewellery''.
Hussein and his regime were notorious for lavish palaces and extravagant
Sajida and her three daughters by Hussein are thought to have escaped to
Syria only to be later sent back to Iraq. They are now thought to be being
sheltered by tribal leaders in northern areas of the country.
Hussein's two older sons by Sajida, Uday and Qusay, were killed last July by
US forces who surrounded a house where they had taken refuge in Mosul. And the
hunt for Hussein, who has a $US25 million reward on his head, remains intense.
Samira claims, however, that she is in regular contact with him. ``If he
cannot say something in detail on the telephone, I know I will receive a letter
in two to three days giving me an explanation,'' she said.
She does not think he will ever be tried by the new international war crimes
tribunal, announced last week for Iraq.
``If I know my husband, he will not be captured,'' she said.
second wife Samira Shahbandar is currently living in Beirut with her
children and grandchildren from her first husband before Saddam, Time
Magazine said on Monday, citing an unnamed former secretary of the
deposed Iraqi leader as the source of its report.
A Saddam valet also denied recently
published reports that Saddam had a son from Samira named Ali in
addition to his two sons from his first wife Sajida, Odai and Qusai, who
were killed by U.S. troops in Mosul last week.
The unnamed valet was quoted as saying
Saddam's marriage contract with Samira stipulates that she would not
have children from him although she maintained strong bonds with Saddam
and had his ear, Time and the London-based Asharq Al Awsat said.
Sajida and her two daughters Raghad and
Rana, and their seven children currently live in the sanctuary of a
prominent tribal chieftain in Mosul, where Odai and Qusai perished in an
air-supported assault by U.S. soldiers on the villa of another tribal
chief last Tuesday.
Time quoted a U.S. military official in
Baghdad as saying the United States was not interested in any of
Saddam's wives or his daughters because the U.S. has no reason to
believe that they know anything about his current whereabouts. "If they
come here, I will serve them tea," the official was quoted as saying.
Beirut, Updated 30 Jul 03, 11:56
THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT OF LEBANON
within the overall framework of
confessionalism, a form of
consociationalism in which the highest offices are proportionately reserved
for representatives from certain religious communities.
The constitution grants the people the right to change their government.
However, from the mid-1970s until the parliamentary elections in 1992, civil war
precluded the exercise of political rights. According to the constitution,
direct elections must be held for the parliament every 4 years. The last
parliamentary election was in 2009.
Parliament, in turn, elects a
President every 6 years to a single term. The President is not eligible for
re-election. The last presidential election was in 2008. The president and
parliament choose the
Political parties may be formed; most are based on sectarian interests.
Syria was charged
League with disentangling the combatants and restoring calm from the time of
Lebanese civil war (which began in 1975) until 2005 when the Lebanese
revolted against the Syrian presence and caused the withdrawal of Syrian troops
with the support of the International community. Israel
occupied parts of Lebanon in 1978 then withdrew from all Lebanese
territories in 2000 although they still occupy
Shebaa Farms, an area disputed between Syria,
Lebanon. 2008 saw a new twist to Lebanese politics when the
Doha Agreement set a new trend where the opposition is allowed a veto power
in the Lebanese Council of Ministers and confirmed religious Confessionalism in
the distribution of political power.
Since the emergence of the post-1943 state and after the destruction of the
Caliphate, national policy has been determined largely by a relatively
restricted group of traditional regional and sectarian leaders. The 1943
National Pact, an unwritten agreement that established the political
foundations of modern Lebanon, allocated political power on an essentially
confessional system based on the 1932 census. Seats in parliament were divided
on a 6-to-5 ratio of
Muslims, until 1990 when the ratio changed to half and half. Positions in
the government bureaucracy are allocated on a similar basis. The pact also by
custom allocated public offices along religious lines, with the top three
positions in the ruling "troika" distributed as follows:
Efforts to alter or abolish the confessional system of allocating power have
been at the centre of Lebanese politics for decades. Those religious groups most
favoured by the 1943 formula sought to preserve it, while those who saw
themselves at a disadvantage sought either to revise it after updating key
demographic data or to abolish it entirely. Nonetheless, many of the provisions
of the national pact were codified in the 1989
Ta'if Agreement, perpetuating sectarianism as a key element of Lebanese
Although moderated somewhat under Ta'if, the Constitution gives the President
a strong and influential position. The President has the authority to promulgate
laws passed by the Parliament, to issue supplementary regulations to ensure the
execution of laws, and to negotiate and ratify treaties.
The Parliament is elected by adult suffrage (majority age for election is 21)
based on a system of proportional representation for the various confessional
groups. Most deputies do not represent political parties as they are known in
the West, and rarely form Western-style groups in the assembly. Political blocs
are usually based on confessional and local interests or on personal/family
allegiance rather than on political affinities.
The parliament traditionally has played a significant role in financial
affairs, since it has the responsibility for levying taxes and passing the
budget. It also exercises political control over the cabinet through formal
questioning of ministers on policy issues and by requesting a confidence debate.
Lebanon's judicial system is based on the
Napoleonic Code. Juries are not used in trials. The Lebanese court system
has three levels—courts of first instance, courts of appeal, and the court of
cassation. There also is a system of religious courts having jurisdiction over
personal status matters within their own communities, e.g., rules on such
matters as marriage, divorce, and inheritance.
There are differences both between and among Muslim and Christian parties
regarding the role of religion in state affairs. There is a very high degree of
political activism among religious leaders across the sectarian spectrum. The
interplay for position and power among the religious, political, and party
leaders and groups produces a political tapestry of extraordinary complexity.
In the past, the system worked to produce a viable democracy. Events over the
last decade and long-term demographic trends, however, have upset the delicate
Muslim-Christian-Druze balance and resulted in greater segregation across the
social spectrum. Whether in political parties, places of residence, schools,
media outlets, even workplaces, there is a lack of regular interaction across
sectarian lines to facilitate the exchange of views and promote understanding.
All factions have called for a reform of the political system.
Some Christians favor political and administrative decentralization of the
government, with separate Muslim and Christian sectors operating within the
framework of a confederation. Muslims, for the most part, prefer a unified,
central government with an enhanced share of power commensurate with their
larger share of the population. The reforms of the Ta'if agreement moved in this
direction but have not been fully realized.
Palestinian refugees, predominantly
Sunni Muslims, whose numbers are estimated at between 160,000-225,000, are
not active on the domestic political scene. Nonetheless, they constitute an
important minority whose naturalization/ settlement in Lebanon is vigorously
opposed by most Lebanese, who see them as a threat to Lebanon's delicate
On September 3, 2004, the Lebanese Parliament voted 96-29 to amend the
constitution to extend President
Lahoud's six-year term (which was about to expire) by another three years.
The move was supported by Syria, which maintained a large military presence in
Following the withdrawal of
Syrian troops in April 2005, Lebanon held
parliamentary elections in four rounds, from 29 May to 19 June. The
elections, the first for 33 years without the presence of Syrian military
forces, were won by the Quadripartite alliance, which was part the
Rafik Hariri Martyr List, a coalition of several parties and organizations
newly opposed to Syrian domination of Lebanese politics.
Political parties in Lebanon
This category has the following 5 subcategories, out of 5 total
Ruminations on the changing nature of global conflict in the 21st century. By
May 13, 2008
Gates slams FCS
Wow, I can't believe he actually went after the Army's prize
program... but he did. In a speech today at a
Heritage Foundation conference in Colorado Springs, Co., Defense
Secretary Robert Gates questioned the utility of the Army's massive
$200 billion Future Combat Systems modernization program. Gates'
comments are the strongest words denouncing the problem plagued
program I've seen yet from a high ranking defense official. In his
speech, Gates again repeated, as he has in almost every public
speech he's given since taking over the Pentagon, that the irregular
wars we're fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are the kinds of wars
we'll fight in the future.
[I]t is hard to conceive of any country confronting the
United States directly in conventional terms – ship to ship,
fighter to fighter, tank to tank – for some time to come. The
record of the past quarter century is clear: the Soviets in
Afghanistan, the Israelis in Lebanon, the United States in
Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Smaller, irregular forces –
insurgents, guerrillas, terrorists – will find ways, as they
always have, to frustrate and neutralize the advantages of
larger, regular militaries. And even nation-states will try to
exploit our perceived vulnerabilities in an asymmetric way,
rather than play to our inherent strengths.
Gates said irregular wars demand the right people, not
costly weapons programs. Then, he talked briefly about the
procurement challenges facing DOD. He only mentioned one program.
I believe that any major weapons program, in order
to remain viable, will have to show some utility and relevance
to the kind of irregular campaigns that, as I mentioned, are
most likely to engage America’s military in the coming decades.
In Texas, I had an opportunity to see a demonstration of the
parts of the Army’s Future Combat Systems that have moved from
the drawing board to reality. A program like FCS – whose total
cost could exceed $200 billion if completely built out – must
continue to demonstrate its value for the types of irregular
challenges we will face, as well as for full-spectrum warfare.
In government speak, and particularly in public
comments by a defense secretary, that amounts to a HUGE vote of
no-confidence in a weapons program that has gotten so out of control
the Army can't even explain what it's supposed to do. Right after
saying he went to Ft. Bliss, Texas to see the FCS dog and pony show,
instead of saying how impressed he was with what he saw, he brings
up the program's cost, and then says it has to prove its the right
program for irregular wars and then says "if completely built out."
Of course he's not buying into the Army/Boeing bullshit, nobody with
a brain and not a direct financial connection to the program do. I
really wish Gates would stick around into the next administration.
I interviewed Gen' Peter Schoomaker a couple of times
back when he was chief and when the subject turned to FCS, the
former special operator never talked very enthusastically about the
program. He'd spout the usual Army talking points, but not will any
real conviction. Schoomaker, for all his failings as a chief, of
which they're were a few, realized infantry win irregular wars, not
some assesnine belief that technology will provide you with perfect
information on the battlefield. I don't think he ever bought the
snake oil Boeing was selling.