it's good to be king!
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki sat in a gilded chair Tuesday at the start of the three-day Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice.
He rose to greet his guests in a newly furbished palace, built under the late dictator Saddam Hussein.
Politicians came in their elegant dark suits; sheiks approached in their brown robes; generals marched in crisp uniforms, emblazoned with swords and epaulets. All kissed him twice on both cheeks. And Maliki smiled and whispered into their ears, or chuckled.
On previous holidays, he received guests at his office. But his government has completed renovation of one of Hussein's palaces in central Baghdad, so this holiday he greeted dignitaries in a giant reception room, with calligraphy etched on wood partitions.
Maliki sat by a member of his Islamic Dawa Party, who had been tortured under Hussein's regime. The elderly man watched proudly as his successors occupied one of their vanished oppressor's ornate residences, renamed the General Command Palace.