Transformation Power At Any Cost!

I was a General in the Iraqi Air Force,starting my training in 1958. I first met Saddam Hussein in 1965 when my wife was teaching English at a school. I went to pick her up. I gave a lady a ride; it was Saddam’s wife. She introduced Saddam to me. He was walking; he didn’t have a car, so I gave him a ride, too. He came to power in 1968, as “Number Two”. He took over July 17, 1979. When he took over the power, I was already a general. Up to 1986, I was a general with Saddam. He used to take advice from me. Sometimes, I would meet with Saddam 2-3 times a day. At that time, Iraq was at war with Iran. In 1986, I left the Air Force because I was the only general who didn’t join the Ba-ath Party of Saddam Hussein. I was not Arab or Islam, so that did not fit me. I was a Christian Believer, and I continue to be a Christian Believer. So they “retired” me in 1986. I stood by my faith, so I did not want to change to the Ba’ath Party.

As an Assyrian, I have always been a Christian, but I haven’t always been “saved.” According to tradition, all Assyrians are Christian. And, if you are born to Assyrian parents then you are automatically considered Christian yourself. You don’t need to confess your sinful nature or receive Christ into your heart.

But, these misconceptions changed when a pastor from America preached at my church one day in 1986, proclaiming the urgent need for everyone to accept Christ, personally. Thank God, I responded!

Despite disapproving eyes, I was one of a handful of people who walked the aisle to the front of the altar that day to announce myself a sinner to the world and to declare my desperate need for a savior. My act of kneeling at the altar in front of an American pastor bothered many, but I didn’t care.

I knew I needed God’s transformation power at any cost.
I had to confront long-standing tradition to discover it. I was born into an orthodox Christian church—the Assyrian Ancient Church of the East—and a very limiting, liturgical style of worship. When I married my wife Esther in 1966, I began going to my wife’s church, the National Evangelical Church of Baghdad and there, I gained a sense of freedom I never had before. However, few Assyrians in the church understood the concept of a personal relationship with Christ.

God’s spirit caught hold of me and convicted me of my personal failings and need for a Savior. The pastor’s altar call tugged at my heart and although a man of high reputation, I responded to it. After this time, many in the Evangelical Church in Iraq began to desire this same personal relationship with Christ. A rebirth began, and Christ’s message started to reach more Iraqis.

On August 2, 1990, when Saddam invaded Kuwait, I was the first officer to be recalled back into active duty. I was in Baghdad in the huge, underground Operations Compound around 1 o’clock in the morning. There is only one apartment in this operations compound. It was specially built for the Supreme Commander (Saddam). It was Saddam’s bedroom, if he showed up. The Air Force Commander (my former student) asked me to stay in Saddam’s apartment. He was the Officer of the Day. At 1 am I went to the apartment to sleep.

I thought the deadline of the United Nations was 1:15 a.m. But nothing happened then, so we thought that we would sleep okay. At 2:30 a.m., I woke up. I did not know what woke me up this time. I walked 17 seconds to the main operations’ bunker through a corridor to the electronics’ room. All of a sudden, the earth started shaking! I knew it was a big attack. The electricity and radio went off. I looked back from where I came, the apartment. I went back and forced the door open. I looked on my bed (Saddam’s bed). There was a huge concrete block that had fallen from the ceiling. The bed was flattened out on the ground.

I immediately said, “Thank you, Jesus, its’ only You who told me to get out of here!” The missile had been fired from a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea. It was the Lord who woke me up! Nothing else! Jesus protected me from the missile attack on the bedroom of the operations’ bunker! I told Saddam earlier, “The Americans ARE going to attack us. The American airplanes can enter our air space and attack the targets.” He made me responsible for the prisoners of war.

I want to make this very clear…Saddam Hussein hid weapons of mass destruction! That is: biological, chemical, and nuclear he was trying to do. In 1981, the nuclear program was destroyed by F-16’s of the Israelis. They were afraid he might us it against them. Saddam continued the programs for biological and chemical; and he also continued to do something for the nuclear program. These weapons were used against our nation. They were used against Kurds in the north where many, many thousands were killed.

Some weapons of mass destruction were destroyed by the American air strikes in 1991. Some were destroyed by United Nations’ inspectors. Some were destroyed even by Saddam himself, to show them to the inspectors, that he was finished. But that was not everything. He managed to hide these weapons up to year 2002 when he realized the Americans were coming.

A natural disaster happened in Syria in the Zeyzoun area. There was a massive flood in that area of Syria, because a dam broke. Saddam took the advantage of that natural disaster and he decided to send the WMD to Syria. All the weapons of mass destruction were gone to Syria by air by a 747 and a 737. They were converted to cargo airplanes from a regular passenger civilian plane. The pilots and the captains who flew the airplanes told me about this. They were also interviewed by the United States government. The pilots did not see the passengers. They saw the yellow barrels. Under the cover of night, Saddam’s troops pulled all the seats out of the civilian airplanes. These yellow barrels with skulls (indicating poison) were on the airplanes. These airplanes flew from Baghdad to Damascus direct. The Republican Guards, in a very secret way, delivered the WMD to the airplanes. These airplanes were regular passenger airplanes. These planes were normally going to and from Syria, because they were civilian airplanes, so they were not under the close scrutiny like the military aircraft were.

For more than 40 years the people of Iraq have been beaten down, oppressed, robbed, brutalized, and stripped of their resources and power by a tyrant. We were all victimized by a despot who would stop at nothing to enrich and empower himself. Now that we have a new government, a new constitution, and a new opportunity to join the community of nations, we have to look forward to what is next. With God’s help, perhaps we can even regain some of what we’ve lost.

After the liberation of Iraq in 2003, Americans should be very proud of their armed forces for what they have done. They have liberated 27 million Iraqis. These 27 million Iraqis were living under a dictator regime. The most beautiful thing is the elections. 71% took part in the free elections. The Iraqis selected 275 members for the Parliament.

Of course, everybody is sad for the sacrifices and those who have lost their loved ones. It is not easy. It is very difficult. I bow in front of the mothers and fathers who have lost their loved ones to liberate my country. But, believe me, what America did was a great job; and this great nation has done something that nobody could do, and first, they have liberated the country; second, they have defended themselves from far away. If Saddam was still in power, the weapons of mass destruction would come to America. On secret tapes, I heard Saddam saying that a bottle of germs from the biological …could be taken to Washington, put in some water, “We could kill 100,000 people!” Just imagine. There are thousands of ways to bring a bottle into the United States. I know Saddam Hussein and his intention. I know his hatred. I know his revenge. I know how he used to think. Only God knows what this man was going to do.

The decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do. It was done at the right time and, I believe, in the right way. If one only hears what the news media say about the situation in Iraq, one would probably get the impression that nothing is going right and that the decision to use military force was a bad one. But this is not true. Many things are going well now, but I’ve never heard anyone on the evening news in America saying that the new government is doing well.

Yes, there’s still an insurgency, and yes, there are still people willing to blow themselves up for religious and political causes. But freedom and democracy are very powerful incentives, and the people are beginning to discover that freedom is something worth living for, too.

After Iraq’s liberation in 2003, Christianity seemed poised for explosive growth. But, sadly, many Christians began to leave Iraq instead, driven out by immense persecution from extremist Muslims. In fact, at least half a million Christians have left since the Iraqi liberation, most escaping to Syria, Turkey, and Jordan. At present, the only areas experiencing an increase in Christian church planting are the Kurdish in the north.

I now sense a sort of spiritual captivity in Iraq and I remember back to the time in which I fully surrendered my heart to Christ many years ago. I want all Iraqis to have this same freedom of worship and to experience Christ’s life-changing love and power without fear of persecution. I want them free of their chains and to have what I have now—a real and personal relationship with the only one who can forgive sin and transform lives—Jesus Christ!

In 1991, Georges was elected deputy president of the Iraqi Evangelical Association. In 1995, he was elected president. In 1996, for the first time, he was able to bring all Iraqi Evangelical churches under one umbrella to further strengthen this body of believers.

For more information or to buy General Sada’s book, SADDAM’S SECRETS, go to Amazon.

Please continue to pray for Iraq in your prayer time, together we will see more God’s power manifest to transform Iraq.