~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association History Project ~
Saddam Hussein
"The Butcher of Baghdad"

28 April 1937 ~ 30 December 2006
Baath Party Flag
     "As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist, he is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational arts, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he's a great military man, I want you to know that." GEN Norman H. Schwarzkopf,Commanding General Coalition Forces- Iraq, U.S. Army, Retired

     Saddam Hussein was dictator of Iraq from 1979 until 2003, when his regime was overthrown by a coalition of forces led by the United States.

     He was born in the village of Uja, near Tikrit on 28 April 1937. His father died or disappeared before he was born. In 1957 Saddam joined the radical, secular nationalist Baath Party at age 20.

     In 1959 He fled Iraq for Cairo, Egypt, after taking part in an attempt to assassinate the country's ruler, Gen. Abdul-Karim Kassim, and was sentenced to death in absentia. Saddam returned to Iraq in 1963 after the Baath Party overthrew Gen. Kassim, but then was imprisoned after the Baath leadership was ousted. In 1967 he escaped and took charge of the underground Baath Party's secret internal security organization.

Saddam and GEN al-Bakr 1978

     In July 1968 the Baath Party returned to power under the leadership of GEN Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, who appointed Saddam, his distant cousin, as his deputy. Saddam directed the purge of key party figures, deported thousands of Shiites of Iranian origin and supervised the state takeover of Iraq's oil industry and land reform.

Ever ambitious, in 1979 Saddam forced GEN al-Bakr to resign. Hundreds of Baath and military officials were executed in the purge.

     On 22 September 1980 Iraqi forces invaded neighboring Iran, launching an eight-year war that ended in a stalemate. The conflict costs hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides and devastates Saddam's plans to transform Iraq into a developed, prosperous secular/socialist country. It was during the Iraq/Iran war that Hussein used chemical weapons against the Iranian forces. During the war the U.S., hoping to degrade Iranian power and radical Islamic influence in the region, provided secular Iraq with military aid.

     In 1982 Shiite guerrillas ambushed Saddam's convoy in Dujail, but he escaped. He ordered the torture and murder of approximately 150 Shiites in the wake of the assassination attempt.

    In 1987 Saddam launched his "Anfal" campaign against Iraqi Kurdish rebels in the northern provence's, during which tens of thousands, many of them civilians, are killed. During the campaign he used chemical weapons against the Kurdish village of Halabja.

     Hussein had his eyes on the rich Kuwaiti oil fields and port facilities. Using an old regional border dispute as justification, on 2 August 1990 he declared that Kuwait is a state of Iraq and invades the country with several armored and infantry divisions easily seizing the country.

    United Nations and regional diplomacy fails to convince Saddam to withdraw his forces, and after repeated U.S. warnings, in January 1991 a U.S.-led coalition came to the defense of Kuwait. After a lengthily air attack, ground forces pushed the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait and back to Baghdad within several days. To end the conflict Iraq agreed to restrictions and allied oversight on the use of its military air assets to prevent retaliation against the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south.

Saddam rallies his troops in Kuwait
Saddam 1998

     Throughout the 1990's Saddam disregards the restrictions and carried out a ground campaign against the Kurds and Shiites slaughtering thousands in retribution for their support of the U.S. lead coalition. Saddam's regime used light chemical weapons against Iraqi people in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala to crush the popular uprising of March 1991 which followed the defeat of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait.

     After crushing the uprising, a large number of people took sanctuary in the Marshes of Southern Iraq. In 1993 Saddam's regime drained the marshes destroying the southern economy, and used chemical weapons against the people in orders to crush the resistance forces and their local supporters.

Saddam also ignored several dozen United Nations mandates, many involved his development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

     In August 2001, Amnesty International reported that Saddam Hussein has the world's worst record for numbers of persons who have disappeared and remain unaccounted for.

     The Iraqi Government continued to ignore the more than 16,000 cases conveyed to it in 1994 and 1995 by the U.N,, as well as requests from the governments of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to account for the whereabouts of those who had disappeared during Iraq's 1990-91 occupation of Kuwait, and from Iran regarding the whereabouts of prisoners of war that Iraq captured in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. Iran reported that the Iraqi Government still has not accounted for 5,000 Iranian POW's.

     In a December 2001 report to the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-General criticized the Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Government's refusal to cooperate with the U.N. on the issue of the missing coalition POWs/MIA's and citizens of Kuwait.

     An oil for food program managed by the United Nations resulted in the illegal enrichment of many of the UN officials delegated to manage it, including the son of its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The countries of France, Germany and Russia also secretly disregard the UN sanctioned trade embargo established under the program and sent weapons and equipment to Iraq. They were paid with oil-for-food funds that were meant to assist the Iraqi people. Saddam himself diverted billions of dollars intended for the care of Iraqi people, via the illegal trade, to the construction of lavish palaces and the upgrading of his military. The Iraqi infrastructure fell into further disrepair in those areas he deems disloyal to the Baath party and his rule.

Saddam and his sons Uday (left) and Qusay (right).

     After repeated diplomatic attempts to convince Saddam to conform to the U.S. mandates, on 20 March 2003 President George W. Bush ordered another U.S.-led coalition of forces to again invaded Iraq.

    Within three weeks of devastating air and ground attacks, Iraq's army collapsed and Baghdad fell. Saddam, who had previously refused several offers by President Bush to allow him to seek political exile for himself and his family in several countries that offered him sanctuary, went underground and fled to his northern homeland.

     In July Saddam's Sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in a gun battle with U.S. troops in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

     Uday Hussein was also a butcher in his own right. He was responsible for hundreds of rapes and murder of Iraqi women who were randomly kidnapped from the street for his sexual pleasure, and for entertainment he often had members of the Baath Party opposition tied up and thrown to their deaths from the roof of his building.

    Qusay Hussein was Saddams heir apparent. He kept a low profile but is believed to be an instrumental subordinate in  many political assassinations, and several of the major attacks on the villages of Iraq opposition to his father and the Baath Party.

     On 13 December U.S. soldiers discover a bearded and disheveled Saddam hiding in an underground bunker in Adwar, a village south of Tikrit.

After capture 2003

     October 19, 2005 a defiant Saddam Hussein and seven other former Baath party officials go on trial before an Iraqi court for the 1982 Dujail murder of 150 civilians.

     August 21, 2006 Saddam and seven co-defendants go on trial in a new case, for the 1987 "Anfal" campaign against the Kurds.

     5 November 2006 Saddam was convicted by the Iraqi court of "Crimes Against Humanity" (murder, torture and forced deportation) on the charges from the 1982 Dujail murders, and sentenced to death by hanging. The automatic appeal was denied by the Iraqi court weeks later.

     On 30 December 2006 Saddam Hussein was hanged by Iraqi officials at the 5th Division intelligence office in Qadhimiya, outside the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Use Your Browser Button To Return