Although the date of birth may be disputed, the location is not. Saddam was born in a mudhut owned by his maternal uncle Khairallah Tulfah, a Nazi sympathizer who was later jailed for five years for supporting an Iraqi anti-British revolt during World War II. He was born into the Sunni Muslim al-Bejat clan, part of the al-Bu Nasir tribe, which was dominant in the Tikrit region. Tribal loyalties were to play a significant role in Saddam's rise to power. By the 1980s there were at least a half-dozen members of the al-Bu Nasir tribeincluding the president and Saddam -- who held key government positions. In the 1930s, however, the clan was known primarily for its poverty and for its violent disposition.
The foregoing is excerpted from Saddam: King of Terror by Con Coughlin. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.
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