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Wedding of Saddam Hussein's granddaughter in Jordan sparks criticism

The lavish wedding of Banan Hussein, who married the son of a minister executed by the late Iraqi dictator, featured Ba'ath party memorabilia
A market in Iraqi capital Baghdad sells gold-lacquer watches bearing the face of Saddam Hussein (AFP)

The granddaughter of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Banan Hussein, was married this week in a ceremony that is being billed as the wedding of the year in Jordan.

But amidst the party favours and bouquets of flowers, the family has faced a storm of criticism over the lavish ceremony, especially at a time when Iraq is facing some of its toughest times since Hussein was toppled from power in 2003.

An image circulated by the family showing some of the preparations (Twitter / @sultanah_w)

The leader of Saddam’s Tikrit-based Nada tribe, Falah Nada, has led much of the backlash.

“They should have respected the people, the tribe and relatives in Iraq at this critical time, when they are displaced and many are in poor conditions,” he told local news site Elaph.

“How can they publicly hold a wedding on such a scale when they could have helped people with that money?”

The wedding took place at the Four Seasons in Amman, one of Jordan's most exclusive hotels, on Monday night. The hotel's top-floor “Royal Two-Bedroom Suite” at the hotel, which boasts panoramic views of the capital and “gold accents” to its décor, can cost upwards of $4,500 per night.

According to local media, Banan Hussein was reported to be marrying Badr Waad Mahmoud the son of Hussein Kamil Majeed - a former Industry Minister under Hussein, who fled for Jordan in 1995 with his brother and denounced the regime.

A year later Saddam publicly pardoned the pair and invited them to return to Iraq but on their arrival, both were executed, in a tactic commonly employed by Saddam to silence detractors.

Ahead of the ceremony, the bride-to-be circulated pictures of the preparations on Twitter and the photo-sharing site Instagram. Most of the photos featured glittering chandeliers and towering trays of petit fours.

An invitation to the ceremony is in the shape of an eagle, an emblem most commonly associated with Iraq under Hussein’s rule.

A separate hand-out is devoted to a lengthy quote attributed to its former leader, Saddam Hussein.

The images have been widely circulated on social media and in the Arab press, and have provoked anger among many who worry that the lavish ceremony is funded by wealth from Iraq’s natural resources, siphoned off by Hussein during his 24-year rule.

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