Saddam Hussein was an Iraqi politician and revolutionary who was the fifth president of Iraq, from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003.
98 Facts About Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein served as prime minister of Iraq, first from 16 July 1979 until 23 March 1991, and later from 29 May 1994 to 9 April 2003.
Saddam Hussein was a leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization, the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.
Saddam Hussein joined the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in 1957, and the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party, and its regional organization, the Iraqi Ba'ath Party.
Saddam Hussein nationalised the Iraq Petroleum Company, diversifying the Iraqi economy.
Later, Saddam Hussein accused its ally Kuwait of slant-drilling Iraqi oil fields and occupied Kuwait, initiating the Gulf War.
Saddam Hussein suppressed the 1991 Iraqi uprisings of the Kurds and Shia Muslims, which sought to gain independence or overthrow the government.
Saddam Hussein's rule was marked by numerous human rights abuses, including an estimated 250,000 arbitrary killings.
In 2003, the United States and its allies invaded Iraq, falsely accusing Saddam Hussein of developing weapons of mass destruction and of having ties with al-Qaeda.
The Ba'ath Party was banned and Saddam Hussein went into hiding.
On 5 November 2006, Saddam Hussein was convicted by an Iraqi court of crimes against humanity related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'a and sentenced to death by hanging.
Saddam Hussein was born on 28 April 1937 in al-Awja, a small village near Tikrit.
Saddam Hussein's mother remarried, and Saddam gained three half-brothers through this marriage.
At around the age of 10, Saddam Hussein fled the family and returned to live in Baghdad with his uncle Khairallah Talfah, who became a fatherly figure to Saddam Hussein.
Talfah, the father of Saddam Hussein's future wife, was a devout Sunni Muslim and a veteran of the 1941 Anglo-Iraqi War between Iraqi nationalists and the United Kingdom, which remained a major colonial power in the region.
In 1958, a year after Saddam Hussein had joined the Ba'ath party, army officers led by General Abd al-Karim Qasim overthrew Faisal II of Iraq in the 14 July Revolution.
Saddam Hussein moved from Syria to Egypt itself in February 1960, and he continued to live there until 1963, graduating from high school in 1961 and unsuccessfully pursuing a law degree at Cairo Law School.
Unlike during the Qasim years, Saddam Hussein remained in Iraq following Arif's anti-Ba'athist purge in November 1963, and became involved in planning to assassinate Arif.
Saddam Hussein was arrested in October 1964 and served approximately two years in prison before escaping in 1966.
In September 1966, Saddam Hussein initiated an extraordinary challenge to Syrian domination of the Ba'ath Party in response to the Marxist takeover of the Syrian Ba'ath earlier that year, resulting in the Party's formalized split into two separate factions.
Saddam Hussein then created a Ba'athist security service, which he alone controlled.
In July 1968, Saddam Hussein participated in a bloodless coup led by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr that overthrew Abdul Rahman Arif,.
Al-Bakr was named president and Saddam Hussein was named his deputy, and deputy chairman of the Ba'athist Revolutionary Command Council.
Al-Bakr was the older and more prestigious of the two, but by 1969 Saddam Hussein clearly had become the moving force behind the party.
Long before Saddam Hussein, Iraq had been split along social, ethnic, religious, and economic fault lines: Sunni versus Shi'ite, Arab versus Kurd, tribal chief versus urban merchant, nomad versus peasant.
The desire for stable rule in a country rife with factionalism led Saddam Hussein to pursue both massive repression and the improvement of living standards.
Saddam Hussein actively fostered the modernization of the Iraqi economy along with the creation of a strong security apparatus to prevent coups within the power structure and insurrections apart from it.
On 1 June 1972, Saddam Hussein oversaw the seizure of international oil interests, which, at the time, dominated the country's oil sector.
Saddam Hussein established and controlled the "National Campaign for the Eradication of Illiteracy" and the campaign for "Compulsory Free Education in Iraq," and largely under his auspices, the government established universal free schooling up to the highest education levels; hundreds of thousands learned to read in the years following the initiation of the program.
Saddam Hussein implemented a national infrastructure campaign that made great progress in building roads, promoting mining, and developing other industries.
Saddam Hussein nationalised independent banks, eventually leaving the banking system insolvent due to inflation and bad loans.
Saddam Hussein had a good instinct for what the "Arab street" demanded, following the decline in Egyptian leadership brought about by the trauma of Israel's six-day victory in the 1967 war, the death of the pan-Arabist hero, Gamal Abdul Nasser, in 1970, and the "traitorous" drive by his successor, Anwar Sadat, to sue for peace with the Jewish state.
Saddam Hussein's self-aggrandizing propaganda, with himself posing as the defender of Arabism against Jewish or Persian intruders, was heavy-handed, but consistent as a drumbeat.
In 1972, Saddam Hussein signed a 15-year Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet Union.
Saddam Hussein focused on fostering loyalty to the Ba'athists in the rural areas.
In 1976, Saddam Hussein rose to the position of general in the Iraqi armed forces, and rapidly became the strongman of the government.
Saddam Hussein soon became the architect of Iraq's foreign policy and represented the nation in all diplomatic situations.
Saddam Hussein was the de facto leader of Iraq some years before he formally came to power in 1979.
Saddam Hussein slowly began to consolidate his power over Iraq's government and the Ba'ath party.
Relationships with fellow party members were carefully cultivated, and Saddam Hussein soon accumulated a powerful circle of support within the party.
Saddam Hussein forced the ailing al-Bakr to resign on 16 July 1979, and formally assumed the presidency.
Saddam Hussein convened an assembly of Ba'ath party leaders on 22 July 1979.
Saddam Hussein was notable for using terror against his own people.
Conversely, Saddam Hussein used Iraq's oil wealth to develop an extensive patronage system for the regime's supporters.
Saddam Hussein believed that the recognition of the ancient Mesopotamian origins and heritage of Iraqi Arabs was complementary to supporting Arab nationalism.
Saddam Hussein had thousands of portraits, posters, statues and murals erected in his honor all over Iraq.
Saddam Hussein conducted two show elections, in 1995 and 2002.
Saddam Hussein erected statues around the country, which Iraqis toppled after his fall.
Saddam Hussein enjoyed a close relationship with Russian intelligence agent Yevgeny Primakov that dated back to the 1960s; Primakov may have helped Saddam Hussein to stay in power in 1991.
Several Iraqi leaders, Lebanese arms merchant Sarkis Soghanalian and others have claimed that Saddam Hussein financed Chirac's party.
In foreign affairs, Saddam Hussein sought to have Iraq play a leading role in the Middle East.
Saddam Hussein made a state visit to France in 1975, cementing close ties with some French business and ruling political circles.
In 1975 Saddam Hussein negotiated an accord with Iran that contained Iraqi concessions on border disputes.
Saddam Hussein led Arab opposition to the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel.
Saddam Hussein initiated Iraq's nuclear enrichment project in the 1980s, with French assistance.
Saddam Hussein did negotiate an agreement in 1970 with separatist Kurdish leaders, giving them autonomy, but the agreement broke down.
At this point, Saddam Hussein asked his ministers for candid advice.
Saddam Hussein reached out to other Arab governments for cash and political support during the war, particularly after Iraq's oil industry severely suffered at the hands of the Iranian navy in the Persian Gulf.
Saddam Hussein borrowed tens of billions of dollars from other Arab states and a few billions from elsewhere during the 1980s to fight Iran, mainly to prevent the expansion of Shi'a radicalism.
The Al-Anfal Campaign was a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish people in Kurdish regions of Iraq led by the government of Saddam Hussein and headed by Ali Hassan al-Majid.
Saddam Hussein urged the Kuwaitis to waive the Iraqi debt accumulated in the war, some $30 billion, but they refused.
Saddam Hussein pushed oil-exporting countries to raise oil prices by cutting back production; Kuwait refused, then led the opposition in OPEC to the cuts that Saddam Hussein had requested.
Saddam Hussein had consistently argued that Kuwait had historically been an integral part of Iraq, and had only come into being as a result of interference from the British government; echoing a belief that Iraqi nationalists had supported for the past fifty years.
Saddam Hussein still had an experienced and well-equipped army, which he used to influence regional affairs.
On 2 August 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, initially claiming assistance to "Kuwaiti revolutionaries," thus sparking an international crisis.
Cooperation between the US and the Soviet Union made possible the passage of resolutions in the United Nations Security Council giving Iraq a deadline to leave Kuwait and approving the use of force if Saddam Hussein did not comply with the timetable.
Saddam Hussein's officers looted Kuwait, stripping even the marble from its palaces to move it to Saddam Hussein's own palace.
Saddam Hussein publicly claimed victory at the end of the war.
The US, which had urged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein, did nothing to assist the rebellions.
Saddam Hussein, having survived the immediate crisis in the wake of defeat, was left firmly in control of Iraq, although the country never recovered either economically or militarily from the Gulf War.
Saddam Hussein routinely cited his survival as "proof" that Iraq had in fact won the war against the US.
Saddam Hussein might be wrong, but it is not America who should correct him.
Some elements of Sharia law were re-introduced, and the phrase "Allahu Akbar", in Saddam Hussein's handwriting, was added to the national flag.
Saddam Hussein commissioned the production of a "Blood Qur'an," written using 27 litres of his own blood, to thank God for saving him from various dangers and conspiracies.
On 9 December 1996, Saddam Hussein's government accepted the Oil-for-Food Programme that the UN had first offered in 1992.
US officials continued to accuse Saddam Hussein of violating the terms of the Gulf War's cease fire, by developing weapons of mass destruction and other banned weaponry, and violating the UN-imposed sanctions.
Also during the 1990s, President Bill Clinton maintained sanctions and ordered air strikes in the "Iraqi no-fly zones", in the hope that Saddam Hussein would be overthrown by political enemies inside Iraq.
Many members of the international community, especially the US, continued to view Saddam Hussein as a bellicose tyrant who was a threat to the stability of the region.
Saddam Hussein expressed a wish to have a live televised debate with George W Bush, which was declined.
Saddam Hussein later told an FBI interviewer that he once left open the possibility that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction in order to appear strong against Iran.
The resistance of the much-weakened Iraqi Army either crumbled or shifted to guerrilla tactics, and it appeared that Saddam Hussein had lost control of Iraq.
Saddam Hussein was last seen in a video which purported to show him in the Baghdad suburbs surrounded by supporters.
Various sightings of Saddam Hussein were reported in the weeks following the war, but none were authenticated.
At various times Saddam Hussein released audio tapes promoting popular resistance to his ousting.
On 13 December 2003, in Operation Red Dawn, Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces after being found hiding in a hole in the ground near a farmhouse in ad-Dawr, near Tikrit.
Saddam Hussein was shown with a full beard and hair longer than his familiar appearance.
Saddam Hussein was described by US officials as being in good health.
British tabloid newspaper The Sun posted a picture of Saddam Hussein wearing white briefs on the front cover of a newspaper.
The nickname and the garden are among the details about the former Iraqi leader that emerged during a March 2008 tour of the Baghdad prison and cell where Saddam Hussein slept, bathed, and kept a journal and wrote poetry in the final days before his execution; he was concerned to ensure his legacy and how the history would be told.
On 30 June 2004, Saddam Hussein, held in custody by US forces at the US base "Camp Cropper," along with 11 other senior Ba'athist leaders, was handed over to the interim Iraqi government to stand trial for crimes against humanity and other offences.
On 5 November 2006, Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging.
Saddam Hussein was hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, 30 December 2006, despite his wish to be executed by firing squad.
The accounts of the two witnesses are contradictory as Haddad describes Saddam Hussein as being strong in his final moments whereas al-Rubaie says Saddam Hussein was clearly afraid.
Saddam Hussein recited the shahada one and a half times, as while he was about to say 'Muhammad' on the second shahada, the trapdoor opened, cutting him off mid-sentence.
Not long before the execution, Saddam Hussein's lawyers released his last letter.
Saddam Hussein was buried at his birthplace of Al-Awja in Tikrit, Iraq, on 31 December 2006.
Saddam Hussein's tomb was reported to have been destroyed in March 2015.
In return, Yasso said that Saddam Hussein donated US$250,000 to his church, which is made up of at least 1,200 families of Middle Eastern descent.