Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti born April 28, 1937 – December 30, 2006)was the President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003.
A leading member of the revolutionary Ba’ath Party, which espoused secular pan-Arabism, economic modernization, and Arab socialism, Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to long-term power. As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, Saddam tightly controlled conflict between the government and the armed forces—at a time when many other groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government—by creating repressive security forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam spearheaded Iraq’s nationalization of the Western-owned Iraq Petroleum Company, which had long held a monopoly on the country’s oil. Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatuses of government as Iraq’s economy grew at a rapid pace.
As president, Saddam maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War (1980–1988) and the first Persian Gulf War (1991). During these conflicts, Saddam repressed movements he considered threatening to the stability of Iraq, particularly Shi’a and Kurdish movements seeking to overthrow the government or gain independence, respectively. Whereas some Arabs looked upon him as a hero for his aggressive stance against foreign intervention and for his support for the Palestinians, many Arabs and western leaders vilified him for his murdering of the Kurdish people of the north and his invasion of Kuwait. Saddam was deposed by the U.S. and its allies during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Captured by U.S. forces on 13 December 2003, Saddam was brought to trial under the Iraqi interim government set up by U.S.-led forces. On 5 November 2006, he was convicted of charges related to the executions of 148 Iraqi Shi’ites suspected of planning an assassination attempt against him, and was sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam was executed on 30 December 2006.
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