Saddam Hussein: the Rise and Fall of a Dictator

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Saddam Hussein was director of Iraq but he considered himself president and he was born in Tikrit Iraq on April 28, 1937, and his birth name is Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti. His parents are Hussein Abid al-Majid and Subha Tulfah al-Mussallat (The mother). He was married to three women named Nidal al-Hamdani, Samira al Shahbandar, and Sajida Khairallah Talfah. He had five children named Uday, Qusay, Hala, Rana; and Raghad.

His religion is Sunni Muslim; he went to University of Baghdad College of Law in the year of 1968. Hussein was raised by his mother, her second husband Ibrahim al-Hassan and her brother Khairallah Talfah.because his father was a peasant and he never met him his father either died or disappeared. Hussein's first wife, Sajida, was also his first cousin also,the daughter of his maternal uncle Khairallah Talfah.Almost his whole family were a part of his regime. Some of their names are his

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Brother-in-law Brig. General Adnan Khairallah as the Minister of Defense.His Sons-in-law General Hussein Kamel, husband to his daughter Raghad Hussein, led Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program and his brother, Colonel Saddam Kamel, husband to his daughter Rana Hussein; he had to take care of the presidential security forces. His oldest son Uday was head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee and his younger son Qusay had the power of being the head leader of the Internal Security Forces. His half-brother Busho Ibrahim has the power of Deputy Minister of Justice.

Where and when:

From 1980-1988, Saddam led Iraq in a war against Iran which ended in a standstill Also during the 1980s, Saddam used some chemical weapons against Kurds within Iraq, including he gassed the Kurdish town in March 1988.In 1990, Saddam tried to get his men to take/invade Kuwait but the United States defended Kuwait in the Persian Gulf War. On March 19, 2003, the United States attacked Iraq and during the battle Saddam fled like a coward to Baghdad.

Why and how: Saddam was raised in an abusive environment so he wanted to cause violence around him and to people. Well, he went by the name of President and insisted that he was a fairly elected leader even though he was really only the director. He didn't give human rights to people and his religion was the most brutal. I believe that he was this way because of how he had to grow up with no mercy. Over the course of his time having power and he was responsible for strengthening his political party, the Ba’ath by only allowing them to run and participate in the political process. The Ba’ath was only 8% of the nation, yet they were 100% in charge of the political system. If there was dissent, Saddam would crush it. For those who disagreed with his own Islamic religious beliefs, he would destroy their holy signs. Islam is home to many different schools of thoughts and beliefs; not all Muslims believe the same, there are many different groups and factions within Islam. Saddam did not have mutual respect for those other parties that differed from his own and made the decision to suppress, destroy, and execute those who disagreed with his political and religious philosophies.

His death toll was incredibly high. It has been estimated by human rights advocates that nearly 250,000 Iraqis were executed due to Saddam’s brutal regime. The man was a killer as does well as a tyrant, for in 1983, Saddam Hussein authorized the use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish people. The Kurds had been involved in an uprising to break out of the Iraqi control. Saddam did not tolerate their campaign and made the order to utilize deadly chemical weapons on the Kurds. But the chemical attack had not targeted armed militants, it had targeted in the city of Halabja. Over 10,000 people, mostly innocents, were completely slaughtered by the chemical attacks. Such brutality showed Saddam’s lack of humanity and his lack of common decency. This, to this day, remains as the single largest use of chemical weapons against a civilian population. Saddam Hussein was incredibly vain and egotistical as well. He firmly made certain that his image was everywhere, putting thousands of images of himself all over Iraq for the people to see and revere. One such propaganda piece was statues of himself that he had placed all over Iraq. Later on, these statues would be toppled in the Iraq war. He was a man who preferred to be seen as anything people wanted to see. To those who from the West his suits showed that he had a Western sensibility about him. To those who wanted to see him as a local, he made certain that enough images of him in traditional Muslim garb were seen. His vanity and ego were unrivaled. The highlight of Saddam’s vanity can be seen in the elections that he would allow. Saddam would have elections for president, and the curious thing about these elections is that there was always 100% turnout. Not only did everyone show up to vote, but they all would also vote only for Saddam. That’s right, in Iraq, Saddam was the only president with a 100% approval rating and 100% election rating. Saddam’s brutality did not simply stay within his own country either. In 1990, he made the decision to invade Kuwait. This action to invade Kuwait was motivated by his desire to seize control of their assets, including oil fields that were nearby. He seized Kuwait and declared Kuwait to no longer be its own independent nation; it was to be the 13th principality of Iraq. This caused international conflict across the board and he was swiftly condemned by North America and her allies. Saudi Arabia, worried that Saddam Hussein would come after them next, enlisted the help of the United States to fight back. This started a military conflict that was known as Desert Storm. Desert Storm was a short war, lasting only from 1990 to 1991 with the United States making concentrated efforts to attack and liberate Kuwait. An extensive bombing campaign precipitated their invasion and with boots on the ground, the military action didn’t last terribly long. Eventually, the United States was successful in liberating Kuwait, but Saddam Hussein was not deposed. After Desert Storm, relationships between Saddam and the United States were tense. The liberation of Kuwait had caused a new level of energy to seize the people who were being oppressed by Saddam and they began actively working against his regime. This only intensified Saddam’s grip on the country. Despite the United States encouragement for the Iraqis to overthrow Saddam, it was apparent that Saddam was still well in control. The man had delusions of grandeur; he believed that he was destined by God to be the leader of Iraq forever.

Those delusions were threatened when the United States encountered September 11, 2001. On the fateful day of 9/11, America was attacked by radical terrorists from Al Qaeda. This terrorist attack led to an increased desire for security in the United States, and they began to question what Saddam Hussein’s military capabilities were. It had been believed that Saddam had tons of weapons of mass destruction. This became a hot button amongst the entire Western world. The United Nations demanded access to Saddam Hussein in order to see the weapons of mass destruction. The United States made a push for aggression, stating that they believed that Saddam had the capability for chemical and nuclear attacks that could cause serious damage to the free world. In a post 9/11 society, the last thing anyone wanted to deal with was an unstable dictator with control of serious weapons. The terrorist attack on the Twin Towers had left the world feeling vulnerable and devastated; the idea of Saddam Hussein supporting terrorists or even engaging in terrorism on a national or international level caused for the Bush administration to begin to focus on disarming him. So, the United Nations gave Saddam an ultimatum: allow us to inspect you or face consequences. Saddam opened up his doors and allowed for inspectors to check for weapons of mass destruction. Nothing was found. Regardless of this fact, the narrative that Saddam was in the middle of trying to obtain high powered weapons that could be used on a massive scale became the narrative within the United States of America. President Bush repeatedly made the case for moving in and forcing the Iraqi government to disarm. In 2003, the decision was made and Congress voted to go to war in Iraq. The stated objective was to forcibly disarm and overthrow Saddam Hussein’s rule. Essentially the United States had made the decision to invade Iraq and replace the regime with a democratic regime. Saddam Hussein was not swayed by their attack. The decision to invade Iraq to him was nothing more than defiance against his own supremacy. He tried to stand defiant, even as tanks rolled into Baghdad. Iraq was quickly overtaken and Saddam Hussein vanished for a time. Eight months passed as Saddam went into exile trying to evade capture at all costs.

Yet he was captured eight months after the invasion of Iraq had been started. He was captured in what was known as Operation Red Dawn. Operation Red Dawn, named after the film, by the way, consisted of a military team that was searching for him in a farmhouse area near the small town of ad-Dawr. Where was this powerful, brutal dictator found? Hiding in the hole in the ground, camouflaged. Pulled from his spider hole, Saddam Hussein, the Butcher of Baghdad was found disgraced, covered in dirt, ragged and prepared to negotiate for his life.

There would be no negotiation for Saddam Hussein’s life, however. For a man of such cruelty and brutality, he would only face a trial in the interim government that had been established by the Iraqi courts. So much so was his delusion that when he was referred to as the former president by an Iraqi judge, he was quick to correct the judge stating that he is the current president. Saddam Hussein believed that he was immune to prosecution because the laws stated that he was immune to being put to trial.

Regardless of his own beliefs, the trials would continue forward. A tribunal had been put together to oversee the judgment of Saddam Hussein. He was brought up by the Iraqi people for many different crimes. His crimes against humanity included things such as the actions against the Kurdish people. It was believed that had participated in genocide due to the fact that during his reign he had eliminated between 50,000 to 100,000 Kurds. Such brutality warranted the death penalty. And so, the trials began. Saddam had not been a repentant man, even in the throes of facing his own execution. The diplomats and political allies who had visited him in prison were quick to hear that he had no remorse for his choices. He greatly believed that he had been doing the right thing and was even so far as to brag about his influence and control. He had been extremely hostile in court. Constantly getting into argument with the judges, refusing to recognize the authority of the court and consistently arguing for his own sovereignty, Saddam Hussein more or less was convinced that he did not need to defend himself for his actions. Ultimately he was charged in the death of 148 Shiites that had occurred very early on in his career. He maintained his innocence, he maintained that he did nothing wrong and he also maintained that he was the rightful leader of Iraq. He tried to argue that the court was rigged, that Bush was the main prosecutor of this court and that this was nothing more than America’s way of getting control over the Iraqi people.

At the time of his death, he was being tried for genocide in the killings of up to 100,000 Kurds during the 1988 Anfal campaign against Kurdish rebels -- a campaign that included the use of poison gas against Kurdish towns in northern Iraq.

Saddam was being looked for/tracked down after the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in March with the goal of overthrowing his regime. The Bush administration and Britain claimed Iraq was harboring weapons of mass destruction and considered a threat to their national security. After the invasion, Saddam went missing from public eyes, only rising in tapes released to Arab television networks. He joined the Baʿth Party in 1957. In 1959 he was involved in an unsuccessful attempt by Baʿthists to assassinate/kill the Iraqi prime minister, who was Abd al-Karīm Qāsim; Saddam was harmed and injured in the attempt and escaped first to Syria and then to Egypt. He went to Cairo Law School (1962–63) and continued his education at Baghdad Law College after the Baʿthists took his power in Iraq in 1963. The Baʿthists were overthrown that same year and Saddam spent many years in prison in Iraq. He escaped, becoming a leader of the Baʿth Party, and was the one who brought the party back to power in 1968. Saddam held power in Iraq along with the head of state, Pres. Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr, and in 1972 he directed the nationalization of Iraq’s oil industry. Saddam began to have more control and access of the government in 1979 and became president upon Bakr’s department He then became chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council and prime minister and many other positions He used an extensive police establishment that was kept a secret to suppress any internal opposition to his rule, and he made himself head of an extensive personality cult among the Iraqi public. His goals as president were to supplant Egypt as leader of the Arab world and to achieve the rule as leader of the Persian Gulf.

Saddam launched an attack on the Iran’s oil fields in September 1980, but the campaign was erased down in a war of attrition. The cost of the war and the interruption of Iraq’s oil exports caused Saddam to scale down his ambitious programs for economic development. The Iran-Iraq War dragged on in a stalemate until 1988, when both countries accepted a cease-fire that ended the fighting. Despite the large foreign debt with which Iraq found itself saddled by war’s end, Saddam continued to build up his armed forces.

What bad things were done:

He repeatedly beat, torture, and sexually harass his people. They forced the women to take their clothes off and they handcuffed them and they beat them with cables. Even though he said Iraq women were the most glorious in his eyes. They only ate bread but barely could because of the pain. Pregnant women were handcuffed even as they gave birth and guards stopped other women from helping one woman give birth, even when the baby was stuck between her legs. They brought men to the women's room and ask them to bark like dogs. That’s messed up how they treated them. He killed lots of people; he killed about 50,000-100,000 people.

In October 2005 Saddam went on trial before the Iraqi High Tribunal, a panel court established to try officials of the former Iraqi government. He and several co-defendants were charged with the killing of 148 townspeople in Al-Dujail, a mainly Shīʿite town, in 1982. Throughout the nine-month trial, Saddam interrupted the proceedings with angry outbursts, claiming that the tribunal was a sham and that U.S. interests were behind it. The tribunal finally adjourned in July 2006 and handed down its verdicts in November. Saddam was convicted of crimes against humanity—including willful killing, illegal imprisonment, deportation, and torture—and was sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam’s half-brother (an intelligence officer) and Iraq’s former chief judge were also sentenced to death. Days after an Iraqi court upheld his sentence in December 2006, Saddam was executed. The execution created a new schism in Sunni-Shiite relations. Aside from the leaked video, the government of the–Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made another fateful mistake: it executed Hussein at the start of Eid al-Adha, one of the two holiest Muslim holidays. Typically, Middle Eastern regimes pardon prisoners around the holiday. By refusing to delay the execution, Maliki added another insult to the Sunni world. Hussein’s execution cemented his status as a Sunni and Arab nationalist martyr.

Nine years later, he remains an important symbol for Iraq’s disillusioned Sunni Arab minority. His legacy as a supposedly strong leader, who kept Iraq together, by brutal force, also reverberates for Sunnis in the wider Middle East, which is wracked by sectarian conflict and stalled revolutions. In the early morning, they brought him to the platform where he was sentenced to die. With a rope around his neck, he began to boldly call for resistance to American influence and for the triumph of the Muslim State. He had refused to wear a hood, choosing instead to use his last moments uttering his prayers. In a swift motion, the platform beneath his feet opened and the long, brutal reign of Saddam Hussein ended forever.

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