Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is to undergo chemotherapy for lymph cancer and a family council led by his youngest son is ready to take control if he dies, a leading Arabic newspaper said Sunday.
Western newspapers have reported several times in recent years that Saddam has cancer, but the London-based Asharq al-Awsat went into considerable detail.
The Saudi financed publication quoted an Arab doctor "with an excellent reputation" saying a medical team of three French doctors, one German and one Swede were taking care of the Iraqi President.
The team had been brought together by a committee chaired by the president's personal secretary Abed Hmoud, the daily said.
One of the presidential palaces in a Baghdad suburb has been turned into a private clinic for Saddam Hussein and equipped from Jordan, the Arab doctor, who is attending a medical conference abroad, told Asharq al-Awsat.
The Iraqi President had resigned himself to chemotherapy after suffering from inflamed joints, breathing difficulties, poor vision and temporary memory loss, he said.
Asharq al-Awsat also quoted "independent" Iraqi sources saying Saddam Hussein had called a family meeting and appointed his son Qussay to head a "council" which would run Iraq in the event of his death or if he is no longer fit enough to carry on.
Besides Qussay, who is in charge of the elite Republican Guard, the meeting was attended by his elder brother Uday and Saddam's three half-brothers Barzan, Watban et Sabawi al-Takriti, as well as Hmoud.
Barzan al-Takriti, who has fallen out with Saddam Hussein according to Arab reports, is today a simple "adviser" within the family council which already takes part in the running of Iraq's affairs, the Iraqi sources said.
The Iraqi authorities rarely comment on such reports, but several years ago Saddam Hussein was shown on television swimming the Tigris River which runs through Baghdad in a bid to deny Western reports that he was sick or dying - DUBAI (AFP)
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