Ra'ad al-Hamdani

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Ra'ad Majid Rashid al-Hamdani
Hamdani 2009.png
Hamdani in 2009
Native name رعد مجيد الحمداني
Born (1951-11-08) November 8, 1951 (age 66)
Baghdad, Iraq
Allegiance  Iraq
Service/branch Iraqi Army
Years of service 1966–2003
Rank Iraqi lieutenant general Lieutenant general
Unit Republican Guard
Commands held 2nd Republican Guard Corps
Battles/wars

First Iraqi–Kurdish War
Yom Kippur War
Second Iraqi–Kurdish War
Iran–Iraq War
Gulf War
Iraq War

Ra'ad Majid Rashid al-Hamdani (Arabic: رعد مجيد الحمداني‎) was a General of the Iraqi Republican Guard, and was one of Saddam Hussein's favourite officers.[1]

Early career[edit]

Hamdani graduated from the Iraqi Military College in Baghdad in 1970 with a BA in military science.[2]

He served in the 71st Brigade as a first lieutenant, which saw action on the Golan Heights as part of the 3rd Armoured Division.[3] Following the war he attended Bakr University from 1978 to 1980 receiving an MA in military science from the Iraqi Staff College.[2][4]

Iran–Iraq War[edit]

During the Iran–Iraq War Hamdani served as a staff officer in various armoured and reconnaissance units, and joining the Republican Guard in 1982, and serving as a senior training office between 1987 and 1989.[2] He received both of Saddam Hussein's sons; Uday and Qusay, as well as Tariq-Aziz's son, to serve as officers in his battalion. This was done as a political stunt, so Saddam and Tariq-Aziz could claim their sons were fighting in the war. However, Hamdani was told not to let any of the sons die.[5]

Iraq War[edit]

Hamdani as commander of the II Republican Guard Corps

As commander of the II Republican Guard Corps, Hamdani was given responsibility for the Karbala region. Hamdani was further stripped of units after Qusay Hussein believed that the U.S. invasion of the South was a feint. Hamdani protested this and argued that unless reinforcements were rushed to the Karbala gap immediately to prevent a breach, U.S. troops would reach Baghdad within 48 hours. His suggestions fell on deaf ears.[6] Hamdani was ordered to launch a counterattack in response to the continued U.S. advance, resulting in a night raid on the 2–3 April which was repulsed with heavy casualties. The U.S. counterattack the following morning totally routed the Republican Guard forces.

After the war[edit]

Following the invasion of Iraq the Iraqi Army was dissolved by way of Coalition Provisional Authority Order 2. Hamdani, now no longer in the Iraqi military, was cleared of any political crimes by the Coalition forces. However, due to his status as a former Sunni army officer linked to the former Ba'athist government Hamdani became a target for Shiite militias. As a result, Hamdani fled the country, alongside some 2 million other Iraqis. Hamdani moved to Amman, where he works in military academia. As of 2008 Hamdani believed that were he to return to Iraq then he would likely be killed.[7]

Following the war Hamdani also founded the Association of Former Officers of the Iraqi Armed Forces, for which he is currently the chairman,[8] and has been working to help reinstate former officers of the Iraqi Army into the new Armed Forces.[9]

As of 2009, Hamdani was still in contact with the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, representatives of which had expressed to him their approval for his work to reintegrate former members of the Ba'athist regime into the new Iraq. Hamdani also claimed to have direct contacts with Mohammed Younis al-Ahmed al-Muwali, the rival to al-Douri for the party's leadership. Hamdani has claimed however that he only represents former military officials, but that he feels that the government does need to make more concessions to reintegrate former Ba'athists. Mohammed Salman al-Saady, Maliki's adviser for reconciliation, has claimed that talks with Hamdani had stalled due to Hamdani's demands being against government policy.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Hamdani is a Shia Muslim who was born in Baghdad. He is a secularist, and is noted for his sense of humour and cosmopolitan attitude. He can read English, but cannot speak it fluently. As of 2009 he was living in Amman, Jordan, and was interviewed the same year for the Iraqi Perspectives Project.[11] He built a close relationship with Qusay Hussein, who served in his battalion in the Iran–Iraq War. Hamdani believes this relationship likely kept him out of prison during the 1990s and saved him when he gave advice counter to Saddam's views.[5] In 1992 he earned a PhD in military science from the Iraqi War College.[2]

Hamdani featured in a historical television program made for the Arabic service of RT, appearing in the episodes detailing the Yom Kippur War,[12] the Gulf War,[13] and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.[14] He also published his memoirs, entitled Before History Leaves Us, in 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Iraqi general tells of Arab armies' admiration for IDF". Haaretz. 7 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d Woods, Kevin M. (2011) [2010]. Saddam's Generals: Perspectives of the Iran-Iraq War. 4850 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia: Institute for Defense Analyses. p. 29.
  3. ^ Woods, Kevin M. (2009). Saddam's War: An Iraqi Military Perspective of the Iran-Iraq War. Washington, D.C.: Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defence University. p. 22. ISSN 1071-7552.
  4. ^ Woods, Kevin M. (2009). Saddam's War: An Iraqi Military Perspective of the Iran-Iraq War. Washington, D.C.: Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defence University. p. 24. ISSN 1071-7552.
  5. ^ a b Woods, Kevin M. (2009). Saddam's War: An Iraqi Military Perspective of the Iran-Iraq War. Washington, D.C.: Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defence University. p. 12. ISSN 1071-7552.
  6. ^ Interview with Lt. Gen. Raad al-Hamdani | PBS Frontline
  7. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video?id=4490171
  8. ^ Montgomery, Gary W.; McWilliams, Timothy S., eds. (2009). Al Anbar Awakening, V. 2, Iraqi Perspectives: From Insurgency to Counterinsurgency in Iraq, 2004-2009. Quantico,VA: Marine Corps University Press. p. 275. ISBN 9780160842948.
  9. ^ "Officers Who Served Under Saddam To Rejoin Iraqi Army". Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. 7 February 2009.
  10. ^ Daghler, Sam (25 April 2009). "Iraq Resists Pleas by U.S. to Placate Baath Party". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Woods, Kevin M. (2009). Saddam's War: An Iraqi Military Perspective of the Iran-Iraq War. Washington, D.C.: Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defence University. p. 2. ISSN 1071-7552.
  12. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHnqIkKl3T4
  13. ^ http://arabic.rt.com/prg/telecast/33432/
  14. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPCDNkZVDAo