The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Someone wants to spend $7 million on the rope used to hang Saddam Hussein

This video image released by Iraqi state television shows Saddam Hussein's guards wearing ski masks and placing a noose around the deposed leader's neck moments before his execution Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006. (AP Photo/IRAQI TV, HO)

According to a Lond0n-based Arabic-language publication, bidders are vying to purchase the length of rope used to hang ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2006.

An unnamed senior Iraqi political official told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that various suitors, including a wealthy Israeli family, an Iranian religious organization and two Kuwaiti businessmen, have approached the man who still keeps the rope. That's Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser between 2004 and 2009, who apparently keeps the rope around a bust of the fallen tyrant in Rubaie's home in the Iraq city of Kadhimiyah.

Rubaie has received a $7 million bid, reports Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, but supposedly wants more. There so far has been no direct confirmation or denial from Rubaie or the Iraqi government that this grisly artifact is indeed up for sale.

The official was present on the December day Hussein was executed more than eight years ago.

"I had my men bring me back a segment of the rope after they cut Saddam down," he explained to the Independent in 2013, gesturing then at the large bust in his home. "So I thought it appropriate to put it around the neck of Saddam’s statue."

Rubaie, a Shiite who spent many years in exile during Hussein's reign, described the experience of watching Iraq's long-ruling dictator being taken to the gallows.

"I was not looking for revenge for the three times his security thugs had imprisoned and tortured me," he told the Independent. “I was hoping to see him show some remorse for the terrible crimes, the hundreds of thousands of his own citizens that he and his henchmen killed... But there was nothing. I could see he was not a religious man. We had to remind him to say ‘Allahu Akbar’ [‘God is greatest’] as he was about to die."

Hussein was eventually buried in the town of Auja, his birthplace, 95 miles north of Baghdad. As Iraq unraveled in the chaos of recent years, his tomb became the site of a tacit struggle between Sunni tribal groups and Shiite militias. According to a Reuters report last year, local tribal leaders ordered the body to be secretly taken away in order to protect it from the ravages of Shiite fighters, mobilized to ostensibly fight the jihadists of the Islamic State.

"We moved him to a place far from the hands of his enemies," a leader from Hussein's Albu Nasir tribe told Reuters. "Isn't it enough for them that they killed him once. Now they are afraid of his body."