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My name is Saddam Hussein. I am President of Iraq, and I want to negotiate.
~ Saddam Hussein to U.S. troopers.

Saddam Hussein (April 28, 1937 - December 30, 2006) was the President of Iraq from 1979 until being overthrown in 2003. He is best known for his invasion of Kuwait for more oil and committing genocide against Iraq's Kurdish and Shi'a Muslim populations. The death total attributable to his regime ranges from 250,000 to 1 million. He is considered to have been one of the most brutal and authoritarian dictators of the modern era.

Early Life

Born Saddam which in Arabic means "one who confronts", he never knew his father who died just 6 months after he was born, and his 13 year old brother soon died of cancer. His mother had reportedly intended to abort him, but a Jewish couple convinced her otherwise. He then lived with his uncle until he was three, and his mother got remarried. Saddam got three brothers out of this marriage, and a father, but he treated him horribly (Saddam's father in law), and he ran away to his uncle in Baghdad again. Later he got an education at a nationalistic Iraqi high school, and went to law school for three years after which he dropped out to join the pan-Arab Ba'ath Party, which his uncle supported.

Apparently he was a secondary school teacher at this time. Later socialists and progressives were trying to rise to power, in fact in Egypt a pan-Arab had already gotten control. Now in Egypt, Libya, and Iraq monarchies were overthrown. In Iraq the military leader Abd al-Karim Qasim overthrew the government, and created himself a dictatorship. Saddam Hussein was part of the plot to assassinate him (which failed) due to the fact that his party disagreed with his view.

Hussein also expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

Rise to Power, Gulf War, and war on terrorism

Several years later his party overthrew Abd. Then Ba'ath leaders joined the cabinet, and Abdul Salam Arif was appointed president. Later however he got greedy and sent all Baathist leaders to jail for a few years. Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr lead a coup to overthrow Abdul in 1968, which was successful. Saddam Hussein was then appointed deputy of president Bakr.

Saddam was basically moving the country forward while Bakr was leading (somewhat). After moving up in rank several times Saddam was now the second most important person in the country. In 1979 Bakr decided to sign a treaty with Syria uniting the nations, but this would cause Saddam to lose a lot of power. He stressed and threatened Ahamd out of power, and was now the leader of Iraq. Soon after he gathered together 68 Ba'ath leaders who he called "disloyal to him", and killed 22. After a few months, hundreds of high-ranking officials in the Ba'ath Party were executed. After accusing Kurdish forces of allying with Iran, he ordered his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid to gas Kurdish forces in Northern Iraq. Iraqi Air Force helicopters rained chemical weapons – including mustard gas, Sarin, and VX nerve gas – upon scores of Kurdish villages, causing tens of thousands of Kurds as well as several Assyrians to die from suffocation and burning. The Anfal led to the destruction of thousands of villages, the deportation of thousands of Kurds to southern and central Iraq, and the deaths of over 100,000 Kurds.

In 1980 Saddam gave weapons and safe haven to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood seeking to overthrow another secular Ba'athist dictator, Hafez al-Assad, in neighboring Syria whose Alawite regime was allied with Shi'a Iran. This was the beginning of Saddam's support for international terrorism.

Saddam went to war with neighboring Iran in 1980, fearing that, in the aftermath of Ruhollah Khomeini's rise to power, he would rally Iraq's Shi'ite population against him. Although Iraq hoped to take advantage of Iran's post-revolutionary chaos, it made limited progress and was quickly repelled; Iran regained virtually all lost territory by June 1982. For the next six years, Iran was on the offensive until near the end of the war.

After many uprisings in southern Iraq by Shia as well as Marsh Arabs, Saddam ordered the marches around the Tigris and Euphrates to be drained, causing the marshes to become desert. Dams and canals were built to divert the rivers away from the marshlands. Thousands of Marsh Arabs either died due to the drought, killed, or displaced. By 2000, it was estimated that 90% of the marshes had disappeared. Although there have been efforts to reflood the marshes, the droughts still affect southern Iraq today. This was labeled as one of the worst environmental disasters in modern history.

There were a number of proxy forces—most notably the People's Mujahedin of Iran siding with Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdish militias of the KDP and PUK siding with Iran. The United States, Britain, Soviet Union, France, and most Arab countries provided political and logistic support for Iraq, while Iran was largely isolated. After eight years, war-weariness, economic problems, decreased morale, repeated Iranian military failures, recent Iraqi successes, Iraqi use of weapons of mass destruction, lack of international sympathy, and increased U.S.–Iran military tension all led to a ceasefire brokered by the United Nations in 1988.

In 1990, Saddam decided to invade Kuwait as he believed that Kuwait was historically a part of Iraq. Iraq now had one fifth of the worlds oil. Worried that Iraq would invade Saudi Arabia and then control twice as much oil, the United States led a coalition of 35 countries to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. George W. Bush declared an "axis of evil" (similar to WW2 axis forces) consisting of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. Saddam Hussein was accused by George W. Bush's Administration with making and possessing weapons of mass destruction and being linked to Al-Qaeda. After giving an ultimatum to leave Iraq or face invasion, the U.S. led coalition invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003, and Saddam was overthrown on April 9, with his statue's being toppled in Firdos Square. Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces in Tikrit, his hometown, on December 13, 2003 in an operation named "Red Dawn". In 2006 he was convicted of genocide and executed by hanging on December 30, 2006. However, with so many followers, the Iraq War continued until late 2011. However, the country went under civil war after.

Trivia

  • He allegedly wrote a copy of the Quran in his own blood.

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