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Saddam Hussein: a biography of the Iraqi dictator that was once an ally of the West

Updated on July 13, 2017

Saddam Hussein was one of the Middle East's most well-known dictators

There are many dictators throughout world history that have achieved notoriety and fame for their brutality. Saddam Hussein was one such person. This is not going to be a straight biography of the man but it will take a look at his career and ultimately what led to his downfall after almost a quarter century of ruling Iraq. Saddam Hussein was not always the president of Iraq from a young age. But beginning in the early 1960’s he would make his move into politics. It was in 1963 that Saddam would return to his home country following the fall of the government of Abdul Karim Kassem. This was known as the Ramadan Revolution. However, Saddam Hussein would be arrested because of fighting and dissent in the Ba’ath Party. But being in prison did not stop Saddam from being active in politics. In 1966, he was chosen as the deputy secretary of the Regional Command. He would eventually escape from prison.

A photo of Saddam Hussein in an army uniform

Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) was one o the Middle East's most brutal dictators yet he served a purpose for the Western countries for many years.
Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) was one o the Middle East's most brutal dictators yet he served a purpose for the Western countries for many years. | Source

Saddam Hussein's rise to power (1968-1979)

In 1968, Hussein took part in a successful coup that led to Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr becoming the president of Iraq while Saddam became his deputy. Saddam worked hard to modernize Iraq’s infrastructure, industry and its health care system. He also was able to raise farming, education, and social services subsidies to levels previously unseen in other Arab countries. Saddam was also responsible for nationalizing Iraq’s oil industry in 1973 just before the energy crisis. This led to a massive amount of revenue for the nation. However, in spite of these achievements, Saddam also developed the nation’s first chemical weapons program and created a police state which was responsible for torture, rape, and killings of political opponents. The US which frequently preaches about freedom and democracy was supporting a dictator who ruled his nation with an iron fist much like Islam Karimov, the current President of Uzbekistan.

President Saddam Hussein of Iraq (1979-2003)

Upon the resignation of al-Bakr, Saddam would become president of Iraq on July 16, 1979. Earlier that year, Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had been deposed and overthrown by the United States and the United Kingdom. In a bit of irony, these two Western nations as well as West Germany would assist Saddam. Saddam wasted no time in dealing with his opponents. By August 1979, hundreds of his opponents were said to have been executed. In that same year, Ayatollah Khomeini had come to power following a revolution in Iran. Saddam who was of the Sunni sect of Islam was afraid that Khomeini’s rise could lead to a Shiite uprising in Iraq. With the help of the United States and other Western nations, Saddam invaded Iran on September 22, 1980. Saddam’s army first approached and attacked the Mehrabad airport in Tehran followed by Khuzestan, a region that is rich in oil. The increasing influence of the regime in Tehran caused even Arab countries to act. It is said that the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and other nations in the Gulf provided around $80 billion in loans to finance the war[1] (Margolis). By 1982, Iraq was on its heels and looking for a way to end the war. However, Khomeini would have none of this and he wanted to make sure that Saddam would be deposed. Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranian troops and Kurdish forces. These weapons were developed and made using technology supplied by then West Germany and the United States during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. The US also supplied Saddam with satellite imagery showing deployments of Iranian troops. The conflict would last almost eight years until it finally ended on August 20, 1988. Saddam was known to have a sort of personality cult.

The war left Iraq seriously in debt so Saddam was looking for a way to repay Iraq’s war debt. He would start to focus on the tiny country of Kuwait. Saddam referred to Kuwait as a historical part of Iraq and made the terrible mistake of invading that country on August 2, 1990. Saddam would soon become the next person that would no longer be useful for the ambitions of the West much like the Shah had become many years earlier. The UN Security Council would soon pass a resolution demanding that Saddam withdraw his forces from Kuwait by January 15, 1991. When Saddam refused to do so, he was met with stiff opposition. A large coalition of nations got together to fight against Saddam’s army. In just six weeks, Saddam’s forces were defeated and crushed, forcing him to withdraw from Kuwait. This war was started by the West to destroy Iraq’s military capabilities and to get the Kurds and Shiites to start an uprising against Hussein. That was actually the stated intention. However, author Robin Wright once said that the issue really was about the oil, something that would become the focus of the second US war on Iraq many years later. A ceasefire agreement was signed so Iraq was responsible for dismantling its germ warfare and chemical weapons programs. Economic sanctions would be placed on Iraq following the end of the Persian Gulf War. It was Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who famously said that “the death of 500,000 Iraqis was a price worth paying.”[2] Saddam Hussein would still claim victory in the war. Then US President George H.W. Bush chose not to pursue Hussein and overthrow him, a move that has left many wondering why he did not do so. Bush mentioned later that US forces could have gone after him but that they would become an occupying power in a foreign country. Even back in 1994, Dick Cheney famously said that it would not be worth the loss of American lives to get rid of Hussein. Once an ally of the West, Saddam at this point in his life was criticized, ridiculed, and considered a devil. It is said that he refused to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors and during the presidency of Bill Clinton, the US and the UK engaged in air strikes in a four day period known as Operation Desert Fox in 1998. This incident did not reduce his popularity in the Arab world. Saddam was seen as the only leader in the region that was willing to challenge US foreign policy.


[1] From the chapter called Debacle in the Garden of Eden p. 220

[2] From the chapter called Debacle in the garden of Eden p.224

Saddam Hussein standing before many of his supporters

Source

Second Iraq War, Overthrow, and Execution

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, the US thought that Saddam might provide chemical or biological weapons to those opposed to US policy. The attacks on America gave the Bush Administration an excuse to go after Saddam and eliminate him. However, it has been proven that Saddam Hussein had absolutely no role in 9/11 and that he and Osama Bin Laden were enemies. Another important point worth mentioning is that the plans to invade Iraq were put in place well before 9/11 ever happened. And author Eric Margolis mentions this as well, saying that “the original plan for a US invasion of Iraq was developed and promoted in the late 1990s by a faction on the extreme right of the Republican Party which came together under the banner of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).”[3] On March 19, 2003, then President George W. Bush sent US troops into Iraq and the second conflict against Iraq began. On April 9, 2003, Baghdad fell to the coalition forces as Saddam’s statue was toppled and taken down. Hussein managed to evade the coalition forces until he was captured in December 2003 in an underground bunker near a farmhouse in Tikrit. He would be taken to a US base where he would be transferred to the Iraqi government authorities in June 2004. Saddam was put on trial and charged with crimes against humanity. On December 30, 2006, this brutal dictator that was once a staunch US ally and an enemy of the Islamic regime in Iran was executed by hanging on December 30, 2006 at the age of 69.

References

Margolis, Eric. American Raj: Liberation or Domination? Toronto: Key Porter Books Limited, 2008.


[3] Same chapter as above p.225

Why Saddam Hussein is the real winner of the war in Iraq

Author’s Note: this section of the essay on Saddam Hussein was composed several years ago but it is a detailed analysis of why Saddam Hussein is the real winner of the Iraq War and the fact that the US military has made a mess out of the Middle East. The US officially withdrew all combat troops out of Iraq in 2011.

Even though Saddam Hussein was executed at the end of 2006, he is now grinning except he is doing it in his grave. Saddam Hussein’s plan has worked out perfectly. Saddam knew his people very well. He knew that once the United States military entered Iraq, that they would be stuck there involved in a guerilla war. He knew that once those troops entered his country that they would be the target of a nationwide resistance movement. Saddam Hussein knew that his country would lose in a straight ahead one on one military battle with the world’s strongest military machine.

Once Saddam’s regime collapsed in April of 2003 and George W. Bush made his famous “Mission Accomplished” speech the next month, I don’t think he knew what the US troops were going to have to deal with next. Instead of getting cheers, flowers, hugs and kisses from the Iraqi population like they had been told, the US troops soon become involved in a nationwide resistance movement that has lasted over eight years. The troops had to and are still dealing with small arms fire, rocket attacks, roadside bombs and suicide attacks.

The US does not and will never have an answer for a resistance movement like this. Just as in Vietnam, the US troops may win the battles and still lose the war. You cannot pay money to the local population and silence them. Bribes will not result in the end of this war. The resistance will stop once the last US troops leave Iraq if they ever do. But as long as the US military remains in Iraq, the resistance will continue. It is just like a human body that needs a heart and blood to keep on functioning. Without the US troops in Iraq, the resistance to occupation cannot continue. As long as US troops remain in Iraq, they are giving strength to the dominant Shiite majority because the Shiites have recently started to attack and kill US forces. The whole population of Iraq has only one main goal. And that main goal is to expel all foreign forces from their country and regain control of Iraq. Many Iraqis now say that conditions were better off under Saddam Hussein. That is the biggest blow to the credibility of the United States which has made Iraq a worse place to live for the average Iraqi person. If only George W. Bush and his administration understood this fact, maybe they would never have committed the mistake of invading and occupying Iraq.

Saddam Hussein and all of his former government officials know exactly what is happening. The US military has been unable to deal with and totally stop a nationwide resistance movement and so it can be said that the real winner is Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein also was the one that told the truth about Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Those weapons were destroyed long ago and even former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter has even said this many times. George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were the people that were never telling the truth about Iraq’s weapons. They told all these lies and caused thousands of US troops to die and get injured for absolutely nothing except to make sure that oil companies can get access to Iraq’s oil.

Although Saddam is no longer alive, he is resting comfortably knowing that his objective is accomplished. Almost 5,000 official US soldiers have perished in Iraq, a country that was no threat to anyone and Saddam is smiling and grinning. And I’m saying 5,000 but the official number of dead and wounded US soldiers in this wrong war most likely greatly exceeds that number. However, the controlled US media wants to keep the casualty numbers low so the population does not panic.

If he were still alive and in control of Iraq, Iraq would be in better shape today. He never deserved what he got because killing leaders of other countries never leads to a peaceful outcome. It is obvious to anyone that really knows the history of the region that the United States military has lost in the Middle East.

An interesting video about the life, career, and downfall of Saddam Hussein

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