Most-wanted Iraqi playing cards
In the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition, the U.S. developed a set of playing cards to help troops identify the most-wanted members of President Saddam Hussein's government, mostly high-ranking Baath Party members or members of the Revolutionary Command Council. The cards were officially named the "personality identification playing cards".
About the cards
Each card contains the wanted person's name, a picture if available, and the job performed by that individual. The highest-ranking cards, starting with the aces and kings, were used for the people at the top of the most-wanted list. The ace of spades is Saddam Hussein, the aces of clubs and hearts are his sons Qusay and Uday, and the ace of diamonds is Saddam's presidential secretary Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti. This strict correspondence to the order of the most-wanted list was not carried through the entire deck, but some time later in 2003, the list itself was renumbered to conform (almost) to the deck of cards.
Ostensibly, since soldiers often play card games in their leisure time, U.S. military leaders decided that putting information on playing cards would be a more effective way to get information to coalition troops than just distributing an information bulletin. However, in reality, the cards were produced in a very limited run. According to interviews conducted by Stars And Stripes Magazine with Pentagon spokeswoman Megan Fox, there were only about 200 printed, and none have been distributed to the troops. .
Texas-based Liberty Playing Card Co. first manufactured the cards for wider distribution. The U.S. military inadvertently included in the jokers the trademarked Hoyle joker owned by The United States Playing Card Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. Although The U.S. Playing Card company does not object to the government's use of the image, they do object to other companies using the trademarked image. Thus, in some sense, the U.S. military inadvertently granted The U.S. Playing Card Company exclusive rights to manufacture the authentic decks, if the trademarked images on the jokers are considered a requirement for being authentic.
The deck of cards spawned many imitations and parodies, such as decks featuring members of the Bush administration.
- Ace ♠: Saddam Hussein, president (#1 on most-wanted list).
- King ♠: Ali Hassan al-Majid, presidential adviser/Revolutionary Command Council member (#5).
- Queens ♠: Muhammad Hamza Zubaydi, retired RCC member (#9, but was originally #18).
- Jack ♠: Ibrahim Ahmad Abd al-Sattar Muhammad, Iraqi armed forces chief of staff (#13, was #11).
- Ten ♠: Hamid Raja Shalah, Air Force commander (#17, was #15).
- Nine ♠: Rukan Razuki Abd al-Ghafar, head of tribal affairs office (#21, was #39).
- Eight ♠: Tariq Aziz, deputy prime minister (#25, was #43).
- Seven ♠: Mahmoud Diab al-Ahmed, minister of interior (#29, was #46).
- Six ♠: Amer Rashid Muhammad, presidential adviser/former oil minister (#33, was #47).
- Five ♠: Watban Ibrahim Hasan, presidential adviser (#37, was #51).
- Four ♠: Muhammad Zimam Abd al-Razzaq, Baath Party regional command chairman (#41, was #23).
- Three ♠: Sa'd Abdul-Majid al-Faisal, Baath Party Regional command chairman (#55, was #36).
- Two ♠: Rashid Taan Kazim, Baath Party regional chairman (#49, was #30).
- Ace ♣: Qusay Hussein, Hussein's son (#2).
- King ♣: Izzat Ibrahim, RCC vice chairman (#6).
- Queens ♣: Kamal Mustafa Abdallah, secretary of the Republican Guard (#10, was #8).
- Jack ♣: Sayf Al-Din Fulayyih Hasan Taha, Republican Guard chief of staff (#14, was #12).
- Ten ♣: Latif Nusayyif Jasim, Baath Party military bureau deputy chairman (#18, was #37).
- Nine ♣: Jamal Mustafa Abdallah, deputy head of tribal affairs (#22, was #40).
- Eight ♣: Walid Hamid Tawfiq, governor of Basra (#26, was #44).
- Seven ♣: Ayad Futayyih Khalifa, Quds forces chief of staff (#30, was #20).
- Six ♣: Hossam Mohammed Amin, head of National Monitoring Directorate (#34, was #49).
- Five ♣: Barzan Ibrahim Hasan, presidential adviser (#38, was #52).
- Four ♣: Samir Abd al-Aziz, Baath Party regional command chairman (#42, was #24).
- Three ♣: Sayf al-Din, Baath Party regional command chairman (#46, was #27).
- Two ♣: Ugla Abid Saqr, Baath Party regional chairman (#50, was #31).
- Ace ♦: Abid Hamid Mahmud, presidential secretary (#4).
- King ♦: Aziz Salih, Baath Party regional command chairman (#8, was #17).
- Queen ♦: Muzahim S'ab Hasan, air defense forces commander (#12, was #10).
- Jack ♦: Tahir Jalil Habbush, intelligence service (#16, was #14).
- Ten ♦: Taha Yassin Ramadan, vice president/RCC member (#20, was #38).
- Nine ♦: Taha Muhie-eldin Marouf, vice president/RCC member (#24, was #42).
- Eight ♦: Himat Mizaban Ibrahim, deputy prime minister and finance minister (#28, was #45).
- Seven ♦: Amir Hamudi Hasan, presidential scientific adviser (#32, was #55).
- Six ♦: Sabawi Ibrahim Hasan, presidential adviser (#36, was #50).
- Five ♦: Abd al-Baqi Abd al-Karim Abdallah, Baath Party regional command chairman (#40, was #22).
- Four ♦: Yahya Abdallah, Baath Party regional command chairman (#44, was #25).
- Three ♦: Mushin Khadr, Baath Party regional command chairman (#48, was #29).
- Two ♦: Adil Abdallah Mahdi, Baath Party regional command chairman (#52, was #33).
- Ace ♥: Uday Hussein, Hussein's son (#3).
- King ♥: Hami Abd al-Latif Tilfah, special security organization (#7).
- Queen ♥: Barzan Abd al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid, Special Republican Guard commander (#11, was #9).
- Jack ♥: Rafi Abd al-Latif Tilfah, director of general security (#15, was #13).
- Ten ♥: Abdel Tawab Mullah Huweish, deputy prime minister (#19, was #16).
- Nine ♥: Mizban Khadr Hadi, RCC member (#23, was #41).
- Eight ♥: Sultan Hashim Ahmed, minister of defense (#27, was #19).
- Seven ♥: Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar, director of military intelligence (#31, was #21).
- Six ♥: Muhammad Mahdi (#35, was #48).
- Five ♥: Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, weapons of mass destruction scientist (#39, was #53).
- Four ♥: Humman Abd al-Khaliq Abd, minister of higher education and scientific research (#43, was #54).
- Three ♥: Fadil Mahmud Gharib, Baath Party regional command chairman (#47, was #28).
- Two ♥: Ghazi Hammud, Baath Party regional command chairman (#51, was #32).
There are also two jokers: one lists Arab titles, the other Iraqi military ranks. There are no cards for most-wanted #45 (was #26), Nayif Shindakh Thamir, #53 (was #34) Husayn al-Awadi, or #54 (was #35) Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad.
See also: U.S. list of most-wanted Iraqis
The Hoyle joker image is a trademark of the U.S. Playing Card Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, and its image is shown here to illustrate the entire official set. Its presentation here does not indicate any endorsement by the company.
- "Troops Dealt an Old Tool" by Tom Zucco, St. Petersburg Times, April 12, 2003.
- Personality Identification Playing Cards
- "Card-Carrying Civilians", Time Magazine, May 12, 2003, page 25.
- Card Makers Producing 'Most-Wanted' Decks: Company Warns Others About 'Joker' Image, April 23, 2003, ClickOnDetroit.com.