Qusay Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti (or Qusai) (May 17, 1966 - July 22, 2003) was the second son of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. He was appointed as his father's heir in 2000. Qusay's older brother Uday Hussein had been seen as the heir until he was injured in an assassination attempt in 1996. Qusay was thought to head the internal security forces, possibly the Iraqi Intelligence Service (SSO) and had some authority over the Iraqi Republican Guard and other Iraqi military units.
Unlike his brother Uday who was known for extravagance, Qusay Hussein kept a low profile.
Qusay Hussein played a vital role in crushing the Shiite uprising in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War and is also thought to have masterminded the destruction of the southern marshes of Iraq. The wholesale destruction of these marshes ruined the habitat for dozens of species of migratory birds, and ended a centuries-old way of life that prevailed among the Shiite Marsh Arabs who made the wetlands their home: the Iraqi government stated that the action was intended to produce usable farmland, while a number of outside observers felt that the destruction was aimed against the Marsh Arabs, as retribution for their participation in the 1991 uprising.
Iraqi dissidents claim that Qusay Hussein was responsible for the killing of many political activists. The Sunday Times (London) reported that Qusay Hussein ordered the killing of Khalis Mohsen al-Tikriti, an engineer at the military industrialization organization, because Qusay believed he was planning to leave Iraq. In 1998, Iraqi opposition groups accused Qusay Hussein of ordering the executions of thousands of political prisoners after hundreds of inmates were summarily executed to make room for new prisoners in crowded jails. However, groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International report none of this, and show Qusay's human rights record as being about on par with most Arab royal family members.
In response to an imminent US invasion, in March 2003 Saddam gave Qusay control over the Baghdad-Tikrit area, one of four military zones. On March 17, 2003, George W. Bush gave Qusay Hussein 48 hours to leave the country with his brother Uday and father Saddam, or face war.
On July 22, 2003, troops of the American 101st Airborne, aided by U.S. Special Forces, killed Qusay and his older brother Uday during a raid on a home in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Acting on a tip from an unidentified Iraqi, a special forces team attempted to apprehend the inhabitants of the house. After being fired on, the special forces moved back and called for backup. As many as 200 American troops, later aided by Apache helicopters and an A-10 "Warthog" gunship, surrounded and fired on the house. After three hours of battle, the soldiers entered the house and found four dead, including the brothers, and three others wounded. There are reports that Qusay's 14-year-old son Mustapha also died in the melee.
According to news reports (including the BBC and the New York Times), many of the people of Baghdad celebrated word of the brothers' death by firing rounds into the air. The praise for Uday's and Qusay's deaths was not universal, however, with a correspondent for Al-Jazeera calling the demise of the brothers a "crime" carried out "in cold blood.". The average Iraqis feelings were largely mixed. While widely unpopular, the image of the two brothers fighting off 200 heavily armed American troops for three hours was considered by many to be a noble sacrifice. The subsequent treatment of the bodies was also largely looked down upon.
On July 23, 2003 the American command said that it had conclusively identified two of the dead men as Saddam Hussein's sons, using dental records. They also announced that the informant, possibly the owner of the house, would receive the combined $30 million award on the pair.
On July 24, 2003 pictures of the killed brothers were released to the press (). The U.S. military command stated that photos of brothers were released to combat widespread rumors in Iraq that the brothers are still alive..
In releasing the photos of the dead brothers, some criticize the U.S. for creating a double standard, given that the Bush Administration condemned Saddam Hussein for releasing photos of American dead during the conflict. The U.S. military has answered these criticisms by pointing out that these men were no ordinary dead combatants, and that confirmation of the deaths would bring "closure" to the Iraqi people.
Qusay was the ace of clubs in the coalition forces' most-wanted Iraqi playing cards, just behind his father.
See also: 2003 invasion of Iraq