WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HUSSEINS? ; Death of a Dynasty ++ Some Are Dead, Some in Exile, Some in Hiding. as a Warrant Is Issued for the Arrest of Raghad Hussein, the Daughter of Saddam, Kim Sengupta Reports on the Fate of the Family Whose Charmed Life Was Ended by the Invasion of Iraq

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Looking at this photograph of the "imperial" household of Sad- dam Hussein, no one would have foreseen that the young woman cradling the baby would one day be the standard-bearer for the former supreme leader of Iraq.

But Raghad Hussein, Saddam's eldest and favourite daughter, and the widow of the man he had ordered to be killed, is wanted for allegedly funding and helping to organise the insurgency since the "liberation" by US and British forces four years ago.

An Interpol warrant, issued at the instigation of the Iraqi government, accuses the 38-year-old woman of "crimes against life, incitement and terrorism". If extradited from Jordan, and convicted, she faces life imprisonment and possible execution.

The government in Baghdad made similar accusations against Raghad before, but the issuing of the warrant, and demands at the most senior level between the two countries, show how the ominous shadow of the former dictator still hangs over Iraq, with Baathist loyalists playing a lethal part in the violence.

The renewed pursuit of Raghad, say observers, betrays more about the desperation of the government of Nouri al-Maliki failing to cope with the violence, than any sign that she is more active in fomenting opposition. The Jordanians had rejected requests from two previous Iraqi governments for extradition. She is there, they say, as a guest of King Abdullah and the Royal Hashemite house, and she will not be handed over to the vengeful Shia regime in Baghdad.

Abdullah's father, the late King Hussein, had hosted Raghad before. That was when she and her sister Rana arrived in Amman with their husbands, Hussein Kamal Al Majid and Saddam Kamal Al Majid, who had defected. The men were cousins of Saddam, and Kamal, in particular, was high in the Baath party hierarchy. He talked extensively to US, British and UN officials about Saddam's illicit weapons programme before becoming disillusioned with life in exile and accepting offers of safe conduct to return home.

At the border, Raghad and Rana were separated from their husbands by their brother, Uday. Kamal and Saddam were taken to Baghdad and killed. Raghad and Rana were said to be estranged from their father after the killings, seldom venturing out. Never in the public life, unlike Uday and Qusay, they disappeared into the shadows, sent off to live for a while with Saddam's clan in Tikrit.

Raghad fled Baghdad at night in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion and settled in Amman. For a while, she spent her time being photographed for magazines and visiting hospitals. Then US troops killed Uday and Qusay in a raid on a house in Mosul; they had been betrayed by a confidant for, it was claimed, a reward of $25m ([pound]12.5m) from the Americans and their sister became the unlikely holder of the Hussein mantle. Her nickname, "Little Saddam", was coined about this time and not, as sometimes reported, because of her haughty behaviour while growing up in Baghdad.

Now, Jordanian officials, more worried by American rather than Iraqi government sensibilities, say they want Raghad to comply with the official conditions of remaining in Jordan, not to engage in political activities, make public statements, or communicate with the media. But this is something Saddam's daughter has become increasingly less inclined to do. Although relatively cautious at first, she has become more vocal and confident as the American and British occupation has become more unpopular. And the much- criticised botched hanging of Saddam has led to a new groundswell of support among former loyalists, and sympathy from the Arab world, strengthening her position.

Raghad was the central figure in mourning for her father for the traditional 40 days after his death. In a ceremony in Yemen, hosted by Yahia Mohammed Saleh, the head of the country's security force, and a cousin of the President who is nominally an ally of the US and Britain on the "War on Terror", she said: "Saddam Hussein is the real hero and pan-Arab leader. …