This question has, as far as I know, stumped several of my professors, as well as their own colleagues. Enter: The Teeming Millions.
Why is Sadaam Hussein constantly referred to as “Sadaam” in the newspaper? That’s not proper! You don’t call people by their first name in the paper! I’ve seen “Sadaam” and “Hussein” used interchangably.
Is it a cultural thing? Any thoughts?
It’s Saddam, and everyone calls him that.
Traditionally, an Arab male’s full name consists of his first name, followed by his father’s first name and then his grandfather’s. Using this formula, the Iraqi President’s name is Saddam Hussein abd al-Majid.
However, Iraq abolished all surnames when Saddam came to power, possibly because an increasing number of people in power shared the name ‘al-Takriti’, indicating they all sprang from Saddam’s home town.
Calling him “Mr Hussein” would be like calling the U.S. president “Mr. W.”