Rumors Fly about Saddam Hussein's Health

Article excerpt

The diplomatic grapevine in the Middle East is abuzz with rumors that Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein's days may be numbered -- and not as a result of any covert action launched by the CIA or Persian Gulf neighbors Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Butcher of Baghdad is said to be suffering from lymphatic cancer and undergoing treatment in a villa on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital.

Rumors about Saddam's ill health first began to circulate in July when Iraqi opposition figures suggested he was suffering from cancer. A few weeks later a London-based Arab newspaper also reported that Swiss doctors were treating the Iraqi leader.

While it is impossible to confirm that Saddam is ill, there are signs of unusual activity in Baghdad. Saddam has told his family circle that his youngest son, Quasi Hussein, should be considered his successor, according to Arab sources in the Iraqi capital. Those sources say also that the 34-year-old Quasi appears to be heading a family committee that is involved in much of the day-to-day running of the country.

This isn't the first time rumors have linked Saddam with cancer. In 1996 there were claims he was suffering from the illness. …