Saddam Hussein had a dream—a nightmare, in fact—that started around 1991 (at the time he invaded Kuwait). In it, he faced a large serpent in a forest that he had his guards kill with a sword, the snake’s blood dabbed on Saddam’s clothes—the dream made such an impression on him that he had his personal physician Ala Bashir (also an artist who had major commissions in Iraq) paint the dream (as depicted).
The dream continued up until Saddam was executed by the Americans—he told his guard, Sean O’Shea, that he still dreamed that his guards, his American guards, killed the snake. So the whole scenario remained constant, albeit with the nationality of the guards swapped, right up to his death.
The snake is a dual symbol—best appreciated by the way it twines round the staff Asclepius, the medical-Hermetic staff. In certain Ancient Greek temples you slept the night in a room with snakes on the floor and were healed—so the snake can be both good and evil.
As Guénon observed, it stands for the ouroboros; the anima mundi—the primordial creation, chaos and order. For Jung, the snake was a typical dream image and it stood for the unconscious—the unacknowledged intuitional content from nature that needs to be integrated for the person to be whole. Its appearance is a call to bring what is kept in the dark to light in order to become whole—the process of creation, the anima mundi.
Saddam saw the snake in his dream as bad luck, he was glad it was killed—and he was dabbed by its blood. This is in line with the snake in its maleficent aspect (in the forest, like a witch—sinister). When the knight, St. George, kills the dragon he is dabbed with its blood and so learns to speak “the language of the birds”—it’s an initiation.
Saddam could not be described as a just ruler, but he was better than the alternative and had high aspirations for his country—he led the Iraqi branch of the Ba’ath Party, it means “Renaissance” in Arabic. Saddam aspired to oversee an Arab renaissance, specifically an Iraqi Arab renaissance.
The way Saddam carried on is really just how all Arab leaders carry on to one degree or another—it’s not Switzerland they’re governing, it’s the Middle East. The leaders who followed him have been no better and, in fact, Iraq has been in a state of civil war, to one extent or another, since he was deposed—civil war is the greatest political evil, greater even than tyranny. So don’t be so quick to cast Saddam as “evil”.
The snake he fought, in line with the dream’s first occurrence in 1991, was Zionist imperialism (and its puppet in Middle East affairs, the United States)—atheistic and Satanic, bent on the erection of a global slave state. That is the maleficent dragon Saddam sought to slay—commanded his guards, his people, to slay (as their leader). He failed, ultimately—hence the dream provoked great fear for him and his country was ruined.
Saddam was always chatty and conversational with his American guards—the fact his dream changed content reflects Saddam’s charisma; he sought to continue his mission through the Americans—perhaps he will yet succeed.