The news of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani gifting Kuwaiti emir’s son a rifle belonging to the toppled dictator Saddam Hussein stirred controversy in Iraqi parliament, according to a newspaper report on Wednesday.
London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted a source from Talabani’s office as saying that Hussein’s Brno rifle, which was seized after the fall of the dictator in 2003, was gifted to Kuwaiti emir’s son, Nasir Sabah al-Ahmed.
The rifle is said to be the one carried by Hussein during celebrations or when addressing adoring crowds.
“This rifle belongs to the Iraqi people so no one has the right to give it away including the president,” spokeswoman of the Al Iraqiya Al Hura (Free Iraqi) coalition, Aliya Nisaif, told the newspaper.
“Iraq’s history is its history, whether negative or positive … what is positive we should be proud of, and what is negative we should learn from,” he added.
“Heritage of the Iraqi people is not for sale, and there are some symbolical gestures that cannot be overblown out of proportions,” said former military officer Hamid al-Mutlak, also a member of the Iraqiya List.
However, Kurdish official, Mahmoud Othman, who is a close friend of the Iraqi president, said “this is not the right time for such issues that can create problems and sensitivities.”
Hussein’s personal gun was allegedly given to former U.S. President George W. Bush by U.S. forces.