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CIA agent claims that ISIS wouldn't exist if Saddam Hussein was alive

On December 30, 2006, the news was dominated by the execution of Saddam Hussein. The dictator, who became the face of the Iraq War, was executed after being found guilty for crimes against humanity - specifically the murder of 148 Iraqis in Dujail in 192, which was performed in retribution after an attempt was made to assassinate him.

Despite the mass protests and outpouring of hostility toward the invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair and George Bush decided to go ahead with the operation, claiming that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction. However, thanks to the publishing of the Chilcot report, we now know that these claims were based upon lies.

Whether you agree with the war or not, there can be little argument against the claim that the removal of Saddam Hussein destabilised the Middle East.

Saddam Hussein Credit: Getty

According to one CIA agent who interrogated the dictator, there would be no ISIS if Saddam Hussein was still alive. John Nixon was one of the agents who was chosen to interrogate Hussein and he has some startling revelations about his character:

"I do not think the rise of an organisation like ISIS would be possible under Saddam. Yes, he was distracted by other pursuits near the end, but he very rarely took his eye off of regime security.

He did many things poorly, but he kept a tight lid on threats from religious extremists. You would not see the spread of Iranian influence throughout the region the way it has recently. Saddam's Iraq was the greatest hedge against Iran. When we removed him, we did Iran a big favor."

Saddam Hussein Credit: Getty

Nixon went on the even praise Hussein's character, with him saying that he was one of "the most fascinating individuals" that he had ever met:

"He could be funny, charming, polite, and self-deprecating at times," Nixon says. "He could also be rude, sarcastic, and downright scary at other times. He could size people up quickly and he was charismatic."

"He was also the most suspicious and secretive person I ever met. This made the interrogation so hard because you always felt he was lying."

William Bardenwerper, who was ordered to guard Hussein after he was captured, agree with Nixon:

"Saddam came across to the soldiers as a more complicated individual than he was often assumed to be in the West,"

Saddam Hussein Credit: Getty

"While he was most certainly guilty of countless crimes against humanity, he was more than the one-dimensional, almost cartoonish villain he was sometimes depicted as."

Nixon also revealed that Saddam was surprised by the reaction of the US towards Iraq after the 9/11 attack, with him saying that the dictator has misjudged what Bush's response would be.

"He thought that the 9/11 terrorist attacks would lead the US to reconsider its policy toward Iraq," says Nixon.

"Because he assumed that the US would see that America and Iraq had the same enemy: Sunni Islamic extremism. He assumed incorrectly. Saddam believed that the greatest threat to his regime came from Sunni extremists, not Iran, not the US."

Who knows how things would've turned out if Hussein had been kept alive. However, it says a lot when even those who were ordered to interrogate him and guard him are questioning the decisions made by the West in regards to the war.