Tariq Aziz or Tareq Aziz (Arabic: طارق عزيز; Ṭāriq ʿAzīz; Syriac: ܜܪܩ ܥܙܝܙ ) né: Mikhail Yuhanna (Arabic: ميخائيل يوحنا; Mīḫāʾīl Yūḥannā) born April 28, 1936) was the Foreign Minister (1983 – 1991) and Deputy Prime Minister (1979 – 2003) of Iraq and a close advisor of former President Saddam Hussein. Their association began in the 1950s when both were activists for the then-banned Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party.
Because of security concerns, Saddam rarely left Iraq, so Aziz would often represent Iraq at high-level diplomatic summits. What the United States wanted, he averred, was not "regime change" in Iraq but rather "region change". He summed up the Bush Administration's reasons for war against Iraq tersely: "oil and Israel."
After surrendering to American forces on April 24, 2003, Aziz has been held in prison, first by American forces and subsequently by the Iraqi government. He is currently in prison in Camp Cropper in western Baghdad. He was acquitted of some charges on March 1, 2009 following a trial, but was sentenced to 15 years on March 11, 2009 for the executions of 42 merchants found guilty of profiteering in 1992 and another 7 years for relocating Kurds. It was reported on 17 January 2010 that he had suffered a stroke while in prison and had been transferred to hospital. On August 5, 2010, The Guardian released his first face-to-face interview since his surrender. On October 26, 2010, he was sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal, and this has sparked regional and international condemnation from Iraqi Bishops and other Iraqis, the Vatican, the United Nations, and the human rights organization Amnesty International, as well as various governments around the world, such as those of the European Union, Greece, and Russia. On October 28, 2010, it was reported that Tariq Aziz, as well as 25 fellow prison inmates, had begun a hunger strike to protest the fact that they could not receive their once-monthly visit from friends and relatives, which was normally set for the last Friday of each month.