Tariq ‘Aziz, who has died at the age of 79, was Saddam Hussein's longtime Foreign Minster and Deputy Prime Minister, and thus was the public face the Saddam regime showed other countries. If many found him more acceptable and less blood-soaked than his colleagues, that was certainly why he was the public face; he was still the regime's key apologist. ("He wasn't quite as monstrous as all the others" is not really an epitaph anyone wants, though.) Though sentenced to death after the fall of the regime, he was not executed. He suffered a heart attack in prison and died after being taken to a hospital.
Born Mikhail Yuhanna, he was the highest-ranking Christian in the regime, a Chaldean Catholic (though I rather suspect not a regular churchgoer). I note his passing, but will not say RIP.
"Michael Collins Dunn is the editor of The Middle East Journal. He also blogs. His latest posting summarizes a lot of material on the Iranian election and offers some sensible interpretation. If you are really interested in the Middle East, you should check him out regularly." — Gary Sick, Gary's Choices
"Since we’re not covering the Tunisian elections particularly well, and neither does Tunisian media, I’ll just point you over here. It’s a great post by MEI editor Michael Collins Dunn, who . . . clearly knows the country pretty well." — alle, Maghreb Politics Review
"I’ve followed Michael Collins Dunn over at the Middle East Institute’s blog since its beginning in January this year. Overall, it is one of the best blogs on Middle Eastern affairs. It is a selection of educated and manifestly knowledgeable ruminations of various aspects of Middle Eastern politics and international relations in the broadest sense." — davidroberts at The Gulf Blog
"Michael Collins Dunn, editor of the prestigious Middle East Journal, wrote an interesting 'Backgrounder' on the Berriane violence at his Middle East Institute Editor’s Blog. It is a strong piece, but imperfect (as all things are) . . ." — kal, The Moor Next Door This great video of Nasser posted on Michael Collins Dunn’s blog (which is one of my favorites incidentally) ... — Qifa Nabki