Festivities to mark Iraqi President President Saddam Hussein's birthday, which have assumed a grandiose scale in recent years, are scheduled to last two weeks this year, the official press announced Saturday, cited by AFP.
On April 28, the Iraqi leader will be 65 years old and the heart of the celebrations will be his hometown of Takrit, in the province of Salahedin, some 170 kilometers north of the capital Baghdad.
Provincial governor Ahmed Abed Rashid, who chairs a committee organizing the national event, said "festivities will take place over two weeks to mark this happy event for Iraqis and Arabs."
The party will start on April 17 and end on May 1, he said, adding that, "two stages which can hold 350 people each have already been put up in Takrit."
Saddam has allowed his birthday to be a cause for official celebration since 1990 before Iraq invaded Kuwait resulting in UN sanctions, which are still in force as of today.
However, he himself is rarely seen at any of the numerous occasions and usually has the media report that he celebrated amongst school children at an undisclosed location.
In power since 1979, Saddam Hussein holds an array of posts from secretary general of the ruling Baath party to Prime Minister and commander in chief of the armed forces.
The United States, charging that Iraq is again developing weapons of mass destruction in the absence of international arms inspections, is threatening to topple Saddam Hussein. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )