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Tariq Aziz

Tariq Aziz, also Tareq Aziz, (born 1936) is the former Foreign Minister (1979-1991) and Deputy Prime Minister (1979-2003) of Iraq and was a close advisor to Saddam Hussein for decades.

Aziz was born in Mosul, in northern Iraq. Originally called Michael Yuhanna, he was the only Christian (a Chaldean[?] Catholic) in the Saddam Iraqi leadership.

Yuhanna studied English at the Baghdad College of Fine Arts and later worked as a journalist, before joining the Ba'ath Party. He changed his name to Tariq Aziz which means "Glorious Past". In 1980 he survived an Iranian-backed assassination attempt.

On March 19, 2003, reports surfaced from Iraq that Aziz had been shot dead while trying to enter the Kurdish part of the country. The rumor was quashed rather quickly when Aziz held a press conference assuring the world he was still alive and well. After the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, he surrendered to United States forces on April 24, 2003. He was the 43rd of 55 most-wanted Iraqi leadership members sought by U.S. forces after the Fall of Baghdad in the 2003 Iraq War, identified as the eight of spades in the most wanted Iraqi playing cards. Before the war, Aziz claimed he would rather die than be a U.S. prisoner of war.

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