View Full Version : 'Comical Ali Dead'

04-17-03, 07:21 AM

Can it be true, or just the last act of spin to save his own skin?

There are reports that Iraq's information minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the man who famously denied US troops were in Baghdad when the rumbling of tanks could be heard just half a mile away, has committed suicide.

Two Iranian newspapers said al-Sahaf, dubbed Comical Ali by the Western media, had hanged himself shortly after the fall of the capital.

The reports come from Iraqi refugees in a town near the Iranian border but have not been confirmed and it is not known who the source is.

Following orders

According to one report form an Iranian news agency, al-Sahaf was ordered to stay in Baghdad until the last moment to give the impression the regime was still in control.

The White House said Iraq's former leaders, including al-Sahaf, may be hiding in Syria.

Al-Sahaf was the public face of the Iraqi regime during the war.

Cult figure

He became a cult figure for his colourful language and wild claims which seemed to directly contradict the reality of what was happening.

He famously appeared on the roof of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, home to the world's media, to deny that American troops were in the city as gunfire echoed in the distance and tanks could be seen just a few hundred yards away across the River Tigris.

He even brazenly denied Coalition forces had taken Baghdad airport as embedded journalists reported from the departures lounge.


A website set up in his honour is receiving 500,000 hits a day and has been inundated with requests for T-shirts of the minister with the slogan "In Control" emblazoned across the front.

A Comical Ali doll has also gone on sale in America.

The doll has soundbites of al-Sahaf saying, "there are no American infidels, never," and "our assessment is they will all die."

Last Updated: 10:01 UK, Thursday April 17, 2003