Ali Hassan al-Majid (born 1941), a first cousin of former President Saddam Hussein, was the Defense Minister of Iraq. He has been called Chemical Ali and the Butcher of Kurdistan for ordering a poison gas attack in 1988 that killed thousands of Kurds (see Halabja poison gas attack). He also oversaw the occupation of Kuwait in 1990 and 1991 and served as the country's military governor from August to November of 1990. After the 1991 war, he commanded the Iraqi Republican Guard divisions that put down a rebellion by Shi'a Muslims in Iraq's southern marshlands.
Al-Majid had been mistakenly thought to have died in April of 2003, following the US-led 2003 Invasion of Iraq. After a coalition attack on his house in Basra, he was reported to have been killed by laser-guided bombs. "Major Andrew Jackson, of the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment, said that the body was found along with that of his bodyguard and the head of Iraqi intelligence services in Basra." It turned out he spoke too soon.  "He is a senior adviser to Saddam. He is known as an enforcer for the regime," said a U.S. intelligence official, who asked not to be named. "He is used to put down uprisings and maintain order." 
In June 2003, al-Majid's status was changed from "...believed dead but unconfirmed" to "unknown" by U.S. defense officials, saying he might still be alive after all. He was rumored to have been joking and smiling in a Baghdad hospital on the day that it fell. This proved to be a justified doubt - U.S. officials confirmed on August 21, 2003 that he had been captured alive.
See also: Comical Ali