Saddam HusseinMy emphasis. One of the first PaleoJudaica posts was on Saddam and Nebuchadnezzar. Alas, all the links in it have rotted, but the overall content stands. See also here for the same quote as in today's obituary, and here and here for Saddam's own brick inscriptions in Babylon and Hatra.
April 28, 1937 - December 30, 2006
Iraqi dictator whose brutal and reckless rule brought untold miseries on his people and encompassed their utter ruin
Saddam Hussein was a tyrant whose actions brought down unimaginable catastrophe on Iraq and its peoples. From an early age, he had enjoyed inflicting suffering on those around him and, when he came to positions of political power, those whom he could not force or corrupt into submitting to his will, he maimed, murdered or made to flee.
He started two international wars — one against Iran, the second as a result of aggression against Kuwait — which cost an estimated one million lives. He instituted genocidal campaigns against the Kurds in the north of Iraq and the Marsh Arabs in the south. Ruling through the Sunni minority of which he was a member, he ignored the claims of the country’s majority Shia population.
The third war in the region, which brought him and his regime down, was not directly begun by him, but by apparent American — and British — fears of a perceived threat his weapons posed to international security. This time Saddam misjudged the event — and certainly the American mood. Having been let off the hook after his defeat over his Kuwait adventure, he clearly felt that the international community did not have the stomach for a fight. He may have been right in that. But a new American president, George W. Bush, determined to find a scapegoat for the terrorist attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, was in no mood to abide by the niceties of international law. In the determination of President Bush and his advisers, Saddam at length met his match, though the internecine aftermath of the campaign that overthrew him gave his conquerors little enough satisfaction.
A fervent admirer of Hitler on account of the latter’s boldness and hatred of Jews, he told his official biographer in 1980 that he wanted Iraqis to think of Nebuchadnezzar every day. “We could march into Palestine and bring all those Jews here in Babylon with their hands tied behind their backs once more”, he said.
Motivated by the prospect of humiliating “the ancient Persian enemy” and increasing his chances of becoming the overall leader of the Arab world, Saddam declared the agreement he had signed with the Shah in 1975 invalid, saying that he had signed it when Iraq was militarily weak. On September 22, 1980, Iraqi tanks rolled into Iran and attempted to cut the southern oilfields of Khuzistan from the rest of the country. It proved to be a costly mistake. ...
UPDATE: The American Thinker and Arutz Sheva are drawing an additional parallel between the legendary Nebuchadnezzar of Daniel 4:30 (English version 4:33) and Saddam in his spider hole. And perhaps its worth being reminded by Robert Windrem on the MSNBC Blog of the other person who served as a major inspiration for Saddam:
Publicly, he liked to be compared to the great Mesopotamian leaders who had created the earliest cultures: Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar. But privately, he kept a portrait of the equally paranoid Stalin, the low-born Georgian thug he so resembled. If he had studied Soviet history closely though, he would have seen that arrogant miscalculation had almost undone Stalin. And in fact, it was such miscalculation that did undo Saddam: the Iran-Iraq War that killed almost a million Iranians and Iraqis, the invasion of Kuwait that led to the Gulf War and his belief that the US would never invade Iraq.