Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's spokesman Rafid Jaboori has resigned over a video showing him singing the praises of dictator Saddam Hussein more than a decade ago, he said Saturday.
Twelve years after Saddam was overthrown by the US-led invasion, many Iraqis still despise him for the abuses committed by his Baath party regime.
“I didn’t want to further embarrass the prime minister’s office… so I requested I be relieved and that was done,” Jaboori said in a post on his personal Facebook page.
Jaboori — a former BBC journalist who became Abadi’s spokesman less than six months ago — confirmed to AFP that he had resigned.
In a video that has been widely circulated online in recent days, Jaboori performs a song that describes the dictator, who has since been executed, as the “sword of righteousness against wrong,” and says: “O Saddam Hussein, your enemies all fall and you remain.”
The video is interspersed with images including of Saddam standing in front of crowds, holding a sword and riding a white horse in a parade.
On Friday, Jaboori posted a statement on his official Facebook page that confirmed that he sang the song “more than 15 years ago,” saying that “I had to meet the requirements of living at that time”.
“I was young then and lacked wisdom, but even at that time, I was not a member of the Baath party, and I am not a Baathist now,” he said.