BAGHDAD, Iraq April 12 —
The doors of the town house opened to reveal a playboy's fantasy
straight from the 1960s: mirrored bedroom, lamps shaped like women,
airbrushed paintings of a topless blonde woman and a mustached hero
battling a crocodile.
Troops thought it was the home of Saddam Hussein's mistress,
though on the wall and in the bedroom were photos of the Iraqi
president and a woman who appeared to be his wife. The company
commander suspected they had found one of the Iraqi leader's many
"This must have been Saddam's love shack," said Sgt. Spencer
Willardson of Logan, Utah.
The split-level, one-bedroom town house is in a Baath Party
enclave in an upscale neighborhood in central Baghdad where generals
and senior party officials lived.
As U.S. officials set up command posts there, troops were going
home by home, searching for looters and weapons.
Next door, where iron sheets were welded over all the windows,
they found more than 6,000 Berretta pistols, 650 Sig Sauer pistols,
248 Colt Revolvers, 160 Belgian 7.65 mm pistols, 12 cases of
Sterling submachine guns and four cases of anti-tank missiles all
still in the unopened original boxes. There were also tens of
thousands of rounds of ammunition mortars and cases of old handguns
and heavy machine guns.
Not far off was another presidential palace, this one with a
Yugoslav-built, chemical and biological weapons-proof bunker
underneath it. A U.S. Army team inspected it and it appeared to be
strictly defensive in nature.
But this home was different: beanbag chairs, a garden of plastic
plants, a sunken kitchen and a room for a servant, all
The sunken wet bar was stocked with 20-year old Italian red wines
and expensive cognacs, brandies and Scotch whiskeys, the same brands
found in several presidential palaces.
The glassware, too, was the same pattern that was found in at
least three palaces also visited by U.S. troops since the regime
collapsed. The pattern features the Iraqi government seal and a gold
pattern on that rim.
But when it came time to eat dinner, Saddam was served his food
on the official fine china of the Kuwaiti royal family, complete
with the family seal and gold and maroon trim.
Capt. Chris Carter, commander of A Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th
Infantry Regiment, said the home appears to be one of Saddam's safe
houses. Officials concluded that the house was used by Parisoula
Lampsos, who publicly claimed to be Saddam's mistress. She escaped
to Lebanon in 2002.
Saddam's wife, Sajida Khairallah Telfah, is also his cousin.
Together they had two daughters and three sons. Like her husband,
her whereabouts are unknown.
Lampsos was interviewed extensively about her relationship with
Saddam on U.S. television. Her current location is unknown and she
was last believed to be in hiding.
The photos show Saddam and a woman smiling at each other and
standing beside one another in one Saddam wears a uniform and in
another a suit.
On one wall was a 16-by-20 inch plaque of the Iraqi eagle and
Upstairs was a television room with bright blue, pink and yellow
throw pillows. The bathroom included a whirlpool bath. The kingsize
bed was fitted into an alcove with mirrors on two sides and a
fantasy painting on the third.
The closets and drawers were empty except for a man's night
shirt, two pairs of boxer shorts, two T-shirts and a bath robe each
item individually wrapped in plastic, just as similar items had been
in the palaces.
One of the airbrushed paintings depicted a topless blonde woman,
with a green demon behind her, pointing a finger at a mythic hero.
From the tip of her finger came a giant serpent, which had wrapped
itself around the warrior.
Another showed a buxom woman chained to a barren desert mountain
ledge, with a huge dragon diving down to kill her with sharpened
The home's 1960s look parodied in the series of "Austin Powers"
spy spoofs inspired a round of imitations from soldiers slogging
door to door.
"Yeah, baaabeee," said Carter, doing his best imitation of actor
Mike Myers' character.
"Shagadelic," another soldier shouted.
Indeed, the carpet was navy blue shag.
|U.S. Army Captains Steve Barry,
right, and Chris Carter, left, relax in a house in an upscale
neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq Saturday, April 12, 2003. Photos
of Saddam Hussein and Parisoula Lampsos, a woman who has
publicly claimed to be his mistress were displayed inside the
house. Lampsos escaped to Lebanon in 2002. (AP Photo/John
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