Treacherous Return

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Three days after returning to Iraq, a senior State Department source reports that Hussein Kamel and his brother have been killed by a mob of "hotheads" in Baghdad. The killings follow shortly after news that Saddam Hussein's daughters had divorced the husbands they had defected to Jordan with six months ago. Iraq's official news agency announced the divorces earlier today and cited "betrayal of the homeland" as the wives' main reason. The two men, Lt. General Hussein Kamel al-Majid and his brother Col. Saddam Kamel, had returned to Iraq with assurances of a pardon being granted by Saddam Hussein. The fact that General Kamel was Saddam's blood relative and married to his favorite daughter led him to believe that a pardon would be granted -- which it was -- and that his safety, upon returning to Iraq, would be secured. The divorce announcement dispelled any such assurances. "The sudden announcement of divorce would suggest that Kamel was not in as control of his fate as he thought he was," says TIME's Scott MacLeod. Kamel may have been pressured to return by his wife and her sister. The sisters, unhappy living in exile in Jordan, may have appealed to their mother to intervene with Saddam. Another reason for the party's return: the refusal of other expatriate dissidents to embrace General Kamel as their leader left him isolated and unhappy, says MacLeod. "Also, after warmly welcoming Kamel to Jordan and ensconcing his family in a lavish royal palace, King Hussein gradually distanced himself from the Iraqi defector."