Oct. 4, 2002 -- With America getting closer to going to war with Iraq, everything about Saddam Hussein has become more important to scrutinize — especially his two sons.
Saddam and his wife, Sajida, have five children, the two oldest of whom are the sons, Uday and Qusay. Most of what is known about Saddam's sons is gleaned from press reports, which suggest that both men are apples who have not fallen far from the tree.
The son with the highest profile is the flamboyant 38-year-old Uday, known for driving fancy sports cars. But it is the younger son, Qusay, who people believe could be a very dangerous man if the United States goes to war against Iraq.
U.S. intelligence officials believe that, if Saddam is killed or incapacitated, Qusay might be put in control of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons. And experts on Iraq say Qusay may be just as dangerous as his father.
Uday's 'Red Room'
Uday is, by all accounts, a sadist and near psychopath, who seems to have been groomed for cruelty. He is said to have boasted to a childhood playmate that his father took him and his brother to prisons to witness torture and executions.
Uday heads the Iraqi National Olympic Committee and controls much of Iraq's media. He reportedly has a private torture chamber, known as "the red room," where the victims have included athletes who failed to perform up to expectations.
He also runs a paramilitary force called Saddam's martyrs that is known for tearing the tongues out of Saddam's alleged enemies.
Uday also has the reputation of possessing a violent, homicidal temper. He is believed to have killed several people, including one of his uncles. In 1988, he beat his father's favorite valet to death. In 1996, Uday was shot and severely injured in an assassination attempt. According to Saddam's mistress of 30 years, Saddam himself was behind it.
"I will kill him some day, really. I mean I will kill him," Parisoula Lampsos quoted Saddam as saying.
Qusay, the Heir Apparent
But the real power behind the scenes is not Uday, but Saddam's younger son, 36-year-old Qusay. He is rarely seen on television, and has never given an interview.
Qusay has been called Saddam's most trusted aide and heir apparent. A lawyer by training, Qusay is said to be a family man, devoted to his wife and three sons. Though he is regarded as stable and levelheaded, he is also considered to be ruthless.
Iraqi defectors say Qusay headed a special unit whose mission was to obstruct U.N. weapons inspectors, creating traffic jams and other diversions. Qusay also oversees the elite republican guard, and helps run the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service that ruthlessly suppresses and tortures Saddam's opponents and their families.
Like Uday, he reportedly survived an assassination attempt, back in August, by unknown assailants.