“The guests were scared,” said Mr. Alawi, in a telephone interview Thursday from Beirut. “They said, ‘That is Saddam.’”
Mr. Alawi, who stood by Mr. Hussein’s side as he rose to power and was briefly imprisoned before fleeing in to exile, said he maintains a fondness for his former patron, even though he has now embraced the democratic transition here as a member of parliament. “Until this day, I love Saddam,” he said.
The call, he said, was jarring. “Saddam used certain words and emotions when he talked to me,” he said. “And this guy had all those words and emotions in this call.”