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Saddām Hussein ʻAbd al-Majid al-Tikrītī (Often spelled Husayn or Hussain; Arabic صدام حسين عبدالمجيد التكريتي; born April 28, 1937 1) was President of Iraq from 1979 to 2003.
A rising star in the revolutionary Ba'ath Party, which espoused secular pan-Arabism, economic modernization, and socialism, Saddam (see 2 regarding names) played a key role in the bloodless 1968 coup that brought the party to power. As vice president under the frail and elderly General Ahmed Bakr, Saddam tightly controlled conflict between government departments and the armed forces at a time when many organizations were considered capable of overthrowing the government by forging a repressive security apparatus. Meanwhile, Iraq's economy grew at a rapid pace in the 1970s. 3
As president, he developed a pervasive personality cult, ran an authoritarian government, and maintained power through the devastating Iran-Iraq War (19801988) and the first Persian Gulf War (1991), which both corresponded with a sharp decline in living standards and the human rights situation. Saddam Hussein's government, in particular, engaged in hard repression of movements that it deemed threatened his rule, as well as of ethnic groups that sought independence or autonomy.
While he remained a popular hero among many disaffected Arabs for standing up to the West and for his staunch support for the Palestinians,4 the United States continued to view Saddam with deep suspicion following the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Saddam was deposed by the U.S. and its allies during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Captured by U.S. forces on December 13, 2003, he will stand trial under the new Iraqi government set up by U.S.-led forces. Contents [showhide]
2 Rise in the Ba'ath party
3 Consolidation of power
3.1 Saddam's consolidation of power and the modernization of Iraq 3.2 Succession
4 Saddam Hussein as a secular leader
5 Foreign affairs
5.1 The IranIraq War
5.2 Tensions with Kuwait
6 The Persian Gulf War
6.1 Postwar aftermath
8 2003 invasion of Iraq
8.1 Pursuit and capture
12 Related articles
13 External links
Saddam Hussein was born in the village of Al-Awja, in the Tikrit district of Iraq, to a family of sheep-herders. His mother named her newborn "Saddam," which in Arabic means "one who confronts." He never knew his father, Hussein 'Abd al-Majid, who died or disappeared five months before Saddam was born. Shortly afterwards, Saddam's twelve-year-old brother died of cancer, leaving his mother severely depressed in the final months of the pregnancy. She attempted both to abort Saddam and kill herself and refused to care for her new child when he was born. The infant Saddam was sent to the family of his maternal uncle, Khairallah Tulfah, until he was three.5
His mother, Subha Tulfah al-Mussallat, remarried, and Saddam gained three half-brothers through this marriage. His stepfather, Ibrahim al-Hassan, treated Saddam Hussein harshly after his return. He was abusive and forced the young boy to steal chickens and sheep for resale.
At the age of ten, he fled the family to return to live with his uncle, who was a devout Sunni Muslim, in Baghdad. Later in his life, relatives from his native Tikrit would become some of his most influential and powerful advisors and supporters. According to Saddam, he learned many things from his uncle, especially the lesson that he should never back down from his enemies, no matter how superior their numbers or capabilities. Under the guidance of his uncle, he attended a nationalistic secondary school in Baghdad. In 1957, at age 20, Saddam joined the revolutionary...