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Tariq Aziz

Date of Birth:
April 28, 1936

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Mikhail Yuhanna, later and more popularly known as Tariq Aziz or Tareq Aziz, was the Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, and a close advisor of former President Saddam Hussein for decades. Their association began in the 1950s, when both were Ba'ath party activists, while the party was still officially banned.

Since Saddam Hussein was both Prime Minister and President of Iraq, Aziz often played the role of Iraq's de facto head of government. Because of security concerns, Saddam rarely left Iraq, and Aziz in turn would often represent Iraq at high-level diplomatic summits. In December 2002, Aziz called the arms inspection a "hoax" and war "inevitable." What the United States wanted, he averred, was not "regime change" in Iraq but rather "region change." He summed up the Bush Administration's reasons for war against Iraq tersely: "oil and Israel." Aziz's Chaldean Catholic faith made him as the Iraqi government's only high-ranking Christian government official.

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