Comical Ali / Baghdad Bob

Comical Ali / Baghdad Bob

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Baghdad Bob or Comical Ali are two nicknames that were given to former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf[4] due to his colorful manner of speech and demeanor in his daily briefings during the Second Gulf War. The briefings were marked with propaganda or misinformation in order to boost the morale of Iraqi troops, which drew the attention of international media.


The nickname “Baghdad Bob” was bestowed upon al-Sahhaf as early as April 2003, after foreign news media stationed in Iraq began watching his exaggerated but enthusiastic news briefs.[19] The nickname was a nod to two others given to similar propagandists in other wars: Hanoi Hannah[20], given to radio personality Trịnh Thị Ngọ during the Vietnam War, and Seoul City Sue[21], given to Methodist missional Anna Wallis Suh during the Korean War. While “Baghdad Bob” was used mostly by American news media, al-Sahhaf was given the nickname “Comical Ali” in the UK as a play on the nickname of Ali Hassan al-Majid, Iraq’s Interior Minister during the Persian Gulf War, “Chemical Ali.”


On April 3rd, 2003,[6] was registered, offering a humorous spin on al-Sahhaf’s commentary, as well as t-shirts and bobble head dolls of the Minister for sale. In just under two months, the site saw more than 145,000 hits. A week later, the Center for Individual Freedom[13] compiled a series of absurd quotations from al-Sahhaf’s briefings, including his assertion that Americans never invaded Baghdad and denial of rumors that Iraqi soldiers were surrendering. Around the same time, the single serving site We Love The Iraqi Information Minister launched, providing a list of his strange quotes as well as photoshopped images of al-Sahhaf in historical (shown below, left) and fictional (shown below, right) war settings.[1]

In May 2003, Sky News[8] in the UK compiled a series of the Minister’s most humorous quotes. The same month, his position was dissolved under CPA Order 2[2], which disbanded Iraqi military, security and intelligence groups. On June 25th of that year, al-Sahhaf was briefly detained by US troops[23] and shortly thereafter, he appeared in interviews with two Arab television networks during which he asserted that his information came from “authentic sources” and he stood by everything he said.[10] In December 2009, a Facebook fan page for Baghdad Bob[3] was created, but was abandoned in August 2012. A handful of advice animal style image macros under both of al-Sahhaf’s nicknames have been shared on Memegenerator[5][7] and Quickmeme[15], with more than 800 instances among them, many with captions disputing a known fact or commonly held idea.

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External References

[1]We Love the Iraqi Information Minister – M.S.S. Throughout History

[2]Wikipedia – CPA Order Number 2

[3]Facebook – Baghdad Bob

[4]Wikipedia – Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf

[5]Meme Generator – Baghdad Bob

[6] – Archive from May 2003

[7]Meme Generator – Comical Ali

[8]Sky News – The Best Of ‘Comical Ali’ May 2nd, 2003

[9]Daily Mail – Comical Ali at No 10? Undated

[10]The Telegraph – Comical Ali has no regrets June 28th, 2003

[11] – Political Humor: Baghdad Bob

[12]Daniel Pipes – Has Baghdad Bob Moved to Tehran? July 19th, 2012

[13]CFIFThe Collected Quotations of “Baghdad Bob,” Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf: The Iraqi Minister of DisInformation April 10th, 2003

[14]Post-Gazette –
What if Baghdad Bob was right all along?
December 8th, 2006

[15]Quickmeme – Baghdad Bob

[16] – Home

[17]NBC World News – Iraq War 10 Years Later: Where Are They Now? Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf (‘Baghdad Bob’) March 19th, 2012

[18]Musings on Iraq – Understanding Saddam’s Information Minister “Baghdad Bob"

[19]USA Today – Saddam’s spokesman staying on message

[20]Wikipedia – Hanoi Hannah

[21]Wikipedia – Seoul City Sue

[22]We Love The Iraqi Information Minister – Home

[23]Fox News –

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