Friday, October 21, 2011

Saddam Hussein

President of Iraq
Born on          28 April 1937
Born in            Al- Awja, Tikrit
Died on          30 December 2006

Saddam Hussein was the 5th President of Iraq and a member of the Revolutionary Ba'ath Party, which held a long term power in the country. As President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein accelerated the country's ride to a fast growing economy and espoused the policies of secular leadership and modernization. Saddam maintained power while controlling the government and repressing any movement he considered intimidating to the country or his empire. Venerated as a hero for his aggressive stand against foreign intrusion in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was praised for his support to Palestinians, though his image remained suspicious in the view of Western countries particularly the United States. The American government held him responsible for the Gulf War and intensifying nuclear threat in the world and chose a more viable option to war with Iraq rather than negotiate with its adamant president. Invasion of Iraq in 2003, led to the arrest of Saddam Hussein and downfall of his government. He was held in custody by the U.S. forces for his alleged crimes against humanity and following a long trail, was hung on 30 December 2006.

Childhood and Early Life
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was born on 28 April 1937 in Al-Awja near the Iraqi town Tikriti in a tribal shepherd’s family. While he never saw his father Abid al- Majid; whose whereabouts had been unknown long before his birth, his mother Subha Tulfa al- mussallat remarried to Ibrahim al-Hassan after Saddam’s elder brother died of cancer. Saddam was sent to Baghdad, to the family of his maternal uncle Khirallah Talfah, who was a militant Iraqi nationalist and a firm supporter of the Revolutionary pan-Arab Ba’ath Party. Saddam completed his secondary education from a nationalistic school in Baghdad and enrolled into an Iraqi law school. He studied law for three years before dropping out in 1957, and joined the revolutionary pan-Arab Ba’ath Party.

Early Political Activities
In year 1958, Saddam became involved in the United States backed assassination attempt of General Quassim, who, with the help of his army officers, had overthrown the government to form his own. Though the assassination attempt failed, the Ba’ath Party successfully overthrew Quassim in 1963 and Abdul Salam Arif was declared the President. After the failed assassination attempt Saddam fled to Cairo but was arrested in 1964 upon returning to Iraq. He escaped prison in 1967 and just after one year in 1968, Abdul Salam Arif was removed from the power, following which Saddam became the deputy of the new President Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr and deputy of the Revolutionary Command Council.

Economic development in Iraq
As the deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Saddam adopted a progressive and modern approach to address the county’s domestic issues. After taking power in 1968, unification of the country, which was divided on the basis of social, ethnic, religious and cultural conflicts, became his prime goal. Having seen the tension within the first Ba’athist government, Saddam ensured a stable power structure by employing strong measures to prevent rebellion coups and insurgency with in the party. Under his leadership Iraq saw the fastest growth of economy and infrastructure in the late 1960’s, which was a result of the measures taken by Saddam for welfare and development of the state.

Saddam’s government promoted women education and campaigned for the compulsory free education in Iraq, which was an added support to the building of a strong nation. The government widely progressed in building roads, promoting mining and developing the infrastructure of Iraq. Its support to farmers, soldiers and people living in the rural areas contributed to the production and thus to an increased revenue. In the light of the revolutionary growth of Iraq Saddam was honored with an award from the Unites Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Presidency of Iraq
By 1976, Saddam had been promoted to the position of general in the Iraqi armed forces and was formally elected to the Presidency on 16 July 1979. His Presidency was marked by social and economical reforms that led to freedom and employment of women in Iraq. Furthermore, contrary to the conservative Islamic Countries, his western-style legal system made Iraq the only country in the gulf region not ruled by the ‘Sharia’ (The traditional Islamic Law).

While adopting a diplomatic policy in foreign affairs, Initially Iraq maintained cordial relations with its neighboring countries and signed a pact with the Soviet Union in 1972. Iraq launched its first nuclear reactor in 1980 with French assistance, who had become their new ally in trade and politics. Though its relations with Iran had become worse after Iraqi bombing on Iran, Saddam successfully persuaded it to sign the 1975 treaty.

Saddam’s presidency marked its presence with a series of wars with its neighboring Gulf countries, namely Kuwait and Iran, which put him against the western countries forcing them to end their coalition with Iraq. Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 proved to be a disastrous step for its President Saddam Hussein, who was defeated by an alliance of American and British troops forcing him to evacuate the country in 1991.

Invasion of Iraq
After The Gulf War, Saddam’s government continued to violate the terms of cease-fire by developing nuclear weapons and storing prohibited material and thus, worsened the already tensed relations between Iraq and the United States putting him as a threat to the international peace and stability. The terrorist attack on America in September 2001 added fuel to the fire making America determined to repress the widespread terrorist activities mushrooming in the Middle East. The U. S. President Bush, who had indicted Iraqi government for developing mass destruction nuclear weapon, sent American’s troops in Iraq after all his prior warnings failed to elicit any positive response from Saddam Hussein. In less than a month of Iraqi invasion on 20 March 2003, an incompetent Iraqi force surrendered and Baghdad was captured by U.S. forces on 9 April, while Saddam succeeded to escape. His whereabouts could not be identified until 14 December 2003, when U.S. authority announced in a sensational report that he had been captured from a farmhouse in Ad-Dawr near Tikrit.

Trial and Execution
On 30 June 2004, Saddam Hussein, along with other Baathist Party leaders, was handed over to the Interim Iraqi government to proceed with the trial for his alleged crimes against humanity. Other charges against him include several killings (presumably to attain power), crimes against Shiite population in Iraq, torture of women and children and other similar offences. The trial went on for more than 2 years until November 5, 2006, when Saddam Hussein was declared guilty and was sentenced to death by hanging.

Despite his wish to be shot, Saddam was hung on 30 December 2006, at the “Camp Justice”, an Iraqi army base in Kadhimiya. An official video tape showing his execution, in which Saddam Hussein is being taunted by the captors,   caused a number of controversies ; giving a clue to an incorrect and undignified death of the former President. He was buried at Al-Ajwa, his birthplace at Tikrit.

Soon after his death, his last letter addressed to his nation was released by his lawyer. The letter drafted by Saddam himself, called on its people to maintain peace and stability in the country. The letter in which he maintains himself as a faithful and honest to his countrymen and nation, an overwhelmed Saddam expressed his wish to see his nation grow and move ahead, while calling them on to forgive the unjust nations who had denied him justice and a fair trial.

Marriages and Family
Saddam had two official marriages and five children including three daughters. His first wife Sajida Talfah was the daughter of his Uncle Khaitallah Talfah, whom he married in 1963 in Egypt, during his exile. He had five children from this marriage; two sons Uday Hussein and Qusay Hussein, and three daughters Raghad Hussein, Rana Hussein and Hala Hussein. The both of his sons were killed in a gun battle with the U.S. force in Mosul along with Qasay’s oldest son Mustapha, while his daughters- along with their children- took shelter in Jordan after the war.

 Saddam married his second wife Samira Shahbandar in 1993 and is believed to have a child Ali from this marriage, though it is not confirmed by the family members of Hussein. Samira fled to Beirut, Lebanon after the war and her current whereabouts are unknown.

1937- Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was born on 28 April 1937.
1958- Saddam became involved in the failed assassination attempt of General Quassim.
1963- Ba’ath Party successfully overthrew Quassim in 1963.
1963- He married his first wife Sajida Talfah in 1963 in Egypt.
1964- Saddam fled to Cairo but was arrested in 1964 for his role in the assassination attempt.
1967- He escaped prison in 1967.
1968- Abdul Salam Arif was removed from the power.
1968- Saddam became the deputy of the new President Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr and deputy of the Revolutionary Command Council.
1976- Saddam was promoted to the position of general in the Iraqi armed force.
1972- He signed a pact with the Soviet Union in 1972.
1975- Saddam signed the 1975 treaty with Iran.
1789- He became the President of Iraq on 16 July 1979.
1990- Iraqi invasion of Kuwait took place in 1990.
1991- Iraqi troops evacuated Kuwait in 1991.
1993- Saddam married his second wife Samira Shahbandar in 1993.
2003- Iraq was invaded by the U. S. force on 20 March 2003.
2003- U.S. authority captured Saddam Hussein from a farmhouse in Ad-Dawr near Tikrit.
2004- Saddam Hussein was handed over to the Interim Iraqi government on 30 June.
2006- Saddam Hussein was declared guilty on November 5.
2006- Saddam was hung on 30 December 2006.