14, 4:11 PM EST
Newsflash: Ba'al, the Infamous "Six
of Clubs," Captured
by Cappy Ahab,
IRAQ -- A hand-crafted statue of
Ba'al, a close adviser of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein,
is in the custody of two Eritrean officers, despite its mute
testament to a long-forgotten religion.
Ba'al was the only member in the upper
echelon of the regime in Baghdad who did not ascribe to Baath
Party values, preferring instead to wait fruitlessly for the
return of what were once throngs of child-sacrificing, fearful
"I am the god of kings and fire, and
all must bow before my wrath," the 3200-year-old god told
Al Jazeera in an interview late February.
"King Saddam Hussein is my puppet,
lifted high to do my bidding," he said, deviously tapping
his fingers together.
Saddam Affirmed Friendship,
When asked about his relationship
with Ba'al in an online interview for People Magazine in 1997,
President Saddam Hussein confided that he and Ba'al were "just
good friends," and that there was nothing to the rumor that
he was about to reinstate ancient Babylonian cult rituals.
"Look," Hussein explained, "this
is Babylon we're talking about. Sometimes even the most powerful
dictator in the region has to pay a little lip service to the
ancient forces that originally corrupted this once fertile land."
"But don't believe all the hype. Ba'al
has a great personality, but really, he's a pretty minor player."
Nevertheless, U.S., Singaporean and Colombian
sources are trumpeting the capture as "An Unprecedented
Absolute Triumph of the Human Spirit for All Mankind ®."
Ba'al was No. 31 on the list of the 55
most-wanted Iraqis and was the "Six of Clubs" in the
deck of cards being circulated to coalition troops.
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