English Hindi


Amir Amanullah Khan Award (Afghanistan)

Politics & War

Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein

• Saddam Hussein was born on April 28, 1937, in Tikrit, Iraq. His father, who was a shepherd, He never knew his father, Hussein ‘Abd al-Majid, who disappeared six months before Saddam was born.
• Shortly afterward, Saddam’s 13-year-old brother died of cancer. The infant Saddam was sent to the family of his maternal uncle Khairallah Talfah until he was three.
• His mother Subha Tulfah al-Mussallat remarried, and Saddam gained three half-brothers through this marriage. His stepfather, Ibrahim al-Hassan, treated Saddam harshly after his return.
• At about age 10, Saddam fled the family and returned to live in Baghdad with his uncle Kharaillah Talfah.


• Under the guidance of his uncle he attended a nationalistic high school in Baghdad. After secondary school Saddam studied at an Iraqi law school for three years, dropping out in 1957 at the age of 20 to join the revolutionary pan-Arab Ba’ath Party, of which his uncle was a
• The pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt profoundly influenced young Ba’athists like Saddam. The rise of Nasser foreshadowed a wave of revolutions throughout the Middle East in the 1950s and 1960s, with the collapse of the monarchies of Iraq, Egypt, and Libya.
• In 1958, a year after Saddam 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.


• however, the party turned against Qasim due to his refusal to join Gamal Abdel Nasser’s United Arab Republic. October 7, 1959, Saddam and other members of the Ba-ath Party attempted to assassinate Iraq’s then-president, Abd al-Karim Qasim, whose resistance to joining the nascent United Arab Republic and alliance with Iraq’s communist party had put him at odds with the Ba’athists.
• Qasim’s chauffeur was killed, and Qasim was shot several times, but survived. Saddam was shot in the leg. Several of the would-be assassins were caught, tried and executed, but Saddam and several others managed to escape to Syria, where Saddam stayed briefly before fleeing to Egypt, where he attended law school from 1960-1963.


• In 1963, when Qasim’s government was overthrown in the so-called Ramadan Revolution and Abdul Salam Arif became president.
• Saddam returned to Iraq, but he was arrested the following year as the result of in-fighting in the Ba’ath Party. While in prison, however, he remained involved in politics, and in 1966 was appointed deputy secretary of the Regional Command. Shortly thereafter he managed to escape prison, and in the years that followed, continued to strengthen his political
• In 1968, Saddam participated in a bloodless but successful Ba’athist coup to overthrow ABDUL REHMAN ARIF(PRESIDENT 1966-68) that resulted in Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr becoming Iraq’s president and Saddam his deputy.


• During al-Bakr’s presidency, Saddam proved himself to be an effective
and progressive politician, albeit a decidedly ruthless one. He did much to
modernize Iraq’s infrastructure, industry, and health-care system, and
raised social services, education, and farming subsidies to levels
unparalleled in other Arab countries in the region. He also nationalized
Iraq’s oil industry.
• During that same time, however, Saddam helped develop Iraq’s first
chemical weapons program and, to guard against coups, created a
powerful security apparatus, which included both Ba’athist paramilitary
groups and the People’s Army, and which frequently used torture, rape
and assassination to achieve its goals.
• The oil revenue benefited Saddam politically. In 1972, Saddam signed
a 15-year Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with the Soviet


• In 1976, Saddam rose to the position of general in the Iraqi armed
forces, and rapidly became the strongman of the government In
1979, when al-Bakr attempted to unite Iraq and Syria, in a move that
would have left Saddam effectively powerless, Saddam forced alBakr
to resign, and on July 16, 1979, Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq.
• Less than a week later, he called an assembly of the Ba’ath Party. During
the meeting, a list of 68 names was read out loud, and each person on the
list was promptly arrested and removed from the room. Of those 68, all
were tried and found guilty of treason and 22 were sentenced to death. By
early August 1979, hundreds of Saddam’s political foes had been executed.


• Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, Iraq faced the prospect of
régime change from two Shi’ite factions which aspired to model Iraq on its
neighbour Iran as a Shia theocracy.
• Saddam was notable for using terror against his own people. Saddam’s
regime brought about the deaths of at least 250,000 Iraqis and
committed war crimes in Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Human
Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued regular reports of
widespread imprisonment and torture.
• Relations between Iraq and Egypt violently ruptured in 1977, when the two nations broke relations with each other following Iraq’s criticism of
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s peace initiatives with Israel.


• In early 1979, Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown by
the Islamic Revolution, thus giving way to an Islamic republic led by the
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
• Saddam feared that radical Islamic ideas—hostile to his secular rule—
were rapidly spreading inside his country among the majority Shi’ite
population. During this period, Saddam Hussein publicly maintained that it
was in Iraq’s interest not to engage with Iran, and that it was in the
interests of both nations to maintain peaceful relations.
• Iraq invaded Iran, first attacking Mehrabad Airport of Tehran and then
entering the oil-rich Iranian land of Khuzestan,on 22 September 1980 and
declared it a new province of Iraq. With the support of the Arab states,
the United States, and Europe, and heavily financed by the Arab
states of the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein had become “the
defender of the Arab world” against a revolutionary Iran.


• During the conflict, these same fears would cause the international
community to essentially ignore Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, its
genocidal dealing with its Kurdish population and its burgeoning nuclear
program. On August 20, 1988, after years of intense conflict that left
hundreds of thousands dead on both sides, a ceasefire agreement
was finally reached.
• In a US bid to open full diplomatic relations with Iraq, the country was
removed from the US list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Saddam
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.
• Iraq successfully gained some military and financial aid, as well as
diplomatic and moral support, from the Soviet Union, China, France, and
the United States, which together feared the prospects of the expansion of
revolutionary Iran’s influence in the region
• Saddam turned his attention toward Iraq’s wealthy neighbor, Kuwait The end of the war with Iran served to deepen latent tensions between Iraq and Kuwait.
• Saddam urged the Kuwaitis to waive the Iraqi debt accumulated in the war, some $30 billion, but they refused Using the justification that it was a
historical part of Iraq, on August 2, 1990, Saddam ordered the invasion of
• The extent of Kuwaiti oil reserves also intensified tensions in the region. n 4 August an Iraqi-backed “Provisional Government of Free Kuwait” was proclaimed, but a total lack of legitimacy and support for it led to an 8 August announcement of a “merger” of the two countries.
• A UN Security Council resolution was promptly passed, imposing economic sanctions on Iraq and setting a deadline by which Iraqi forces must leave Kuwait.
When the January 15, 1991 deadline was ignored, a UN coalition force headed by the United States confronted Iraqi forces, and a mere six weeks later, had driven them from Kuwait. A ceasefire agreement was signed, the terms of which included
Iraq dismantling its germ and chemical weapons programs.
POST WAR PERIOD(Economic sanctions)
• On 9 December 1996, Saddam’s government accepted the Oil-for-Food
Programme that the UN had first offered in 1992.Iraq was under very
close surviellance.
• Also during the 1990s, President Bill Clinton maintained sanctions and
ordered air strikes in the “Iraqi no-fly zones” (Operation Desert Fox), in
the hope that Saddam would be overthrown by political enemies inside
• Western charges of Iraqi resistance to UN access to suspected weapons.
In 1998, further violations of the no-fly zones and Iraq’s alleged
continuation of its weapons programs led to further missile strikes on Iraq,
which would occur intermittently until February 2001.
• Iraq was suspected to have weapons of mass destruction. UN
inspections of suspected weapons sites in Iraq began, but little or no
evidence that such programs existed was ultimately found.
• Despite this, on March 20, 2003, under the pretense that Iraq did in fact have
a covert weapons program and that it was planning attacks, a U.S.-led
coalition invaded Iraq. Within weeks, the government and military had beentoppled, and on April 9, 2003, Baghdad fell. Saddam, however, managed to elude capture.
• Saddam was placed at the top of the “U.S. list of most-wanted Iraqis”. In
July 2003, his sons Uday and Qusay and 14-year-old grandson
Mustapha were killed in a three-hour gunfight with U.S. forces.


• 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.
• On 30 June 2004, Saddam Hussein, held in custody by U.S. forces at the
U.S. base “Camp Cropper”, along with 11 other senior Ba’athist leaders, were
handed over legally (though not physically) to the interim Iraqi government to stand trial for crimes against humanity and other offences.
• Saddam was hanged on the first day of Eid ul-Adha, 30 December 2006,
despite his wish to be shot (which he felt would be more dignified).The
execution was carried out at Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya, a neighborhood of northeast Baghdad.