Saddam Hussein was born in Apr 28, 1937 in Tirkit, this place is 100 miles away from Baghdad. When he became a teenager he moved to Baghdad and joined the now-infamous Baath party, after many years he led this party. So through this party he participated in many coup attempts. It helped him to install his cousin as a dictator of Iraq in July, 1968. After 11 years Saddam Hussein became dictator of Iraq on July 16, 1979.
Saddam Hussein as a dictator:
The Iran-Iraq war:
In September 1980 Iraq invaded Iran. President Saddam Hussein had many motives for the attack. Such as,
- Saddam Hussein was afraid of terrorists entering into Iraq and joining with the Shia Muslims of Iraq which might lead to the terrorists overthrowing the government.
- Saddam Hussein claimed that the Iranian border province Khuzestan belong to Iraq.
- Shatt-el-Arab waterway is an important outlet for the oil exports of Iran and Iraq. This waterway originally belonged to Iraq but 5 years prior to the Iran-Iraq war Iran forced Iraq to share the waterway with them.
Saddam thought that the Iranian forces are weak and he expected the quick victory. But soon became clear he had miscalculated about the Iran forces badly. Iraq forces are much stronger with Soviet tanks, helicopter, missiles and some British and American weapons. But the Iranian revolutionaries are inspired by their religion and ready to die for the country. Iran also gets the modern equipment from China and North Korea.
This war created many international problems and threatened peace in the entire Arab world. Because of the Iraq’s attacks on Iran’s oil exports Iran was not able supply oil to the western countries. An Islamic conference was held in Kuwait in Jan, 1987. But Iran’s leader refused to attend it. So the war entered a terrible phase during the latter part of 1987. When the both sides began to bombard each other’s capital cities Tehran and Baghdad, thousands of civilians were killed.
The UN was involved, talked to both sides and due to this the war came to an end.
The Gulf war:
Saddam had accepted the peace terms at the end of the Iran-Iraq war, but after this his force immediately invaded the neighbouring state of Kuwait in August 1990. His real motive was to get the oil wealth from Kuwait and for this he claimed that the Kuwait was historically part of Iraq. He didn’t expect any action from USA and the European countries.
But US President Bush took action to remove the Iraqis from Kuwait. UN imposed sanctions on Iraq’s oil exports as they are the main source of Iraq’s income. UN ordered Saddam Hussein to remove his troops by 15 January, 1991. UN army was formed comprising troops from thirty countries who contributed with troops, armaments and cash. Operation Desert Storm was launched on 15th January after Saddam refused to withdraw his troops.
First the UN army attacked Baghdad with a series of bomb blast which killed a number of civilians. From 24th February, the UN army attacked the Iraqi army and within 4 days the Iraqi army was removed from Kuwait and Saddam accepted defeat. In this war, Iraq lost nearly 90,000 troops.
The great power’s primary concern was not with international justice and moral questions of right or wrong, but with their self-interest. They took action against Saddam because they thought that he was threatening their oil supplies. After the gulf war one of the most brutal dictators of the century, Saddam Hussein was allowed to remain in power because the great powers thought that his survival was the most prudent way of keeping Iraq united and the region stable.
The downfall of Saddam Hussein:
After his defeat in the gulf war Saddam Hussein was allowed to remain in power. He crushed the uprising of Kurds in the north and Shia Muslims in the south. He had already used the chemical weapons against Iran and Kurds. Well advanced nuclear weapons programme was incorporated by Iraq in 1995. The US and UK were afraid of the chaos that may follow if Saddam Hussein was ousted from power but still they placed the UN trade sanctions on Iraq.
However, these sanctions ensure that Saddam allowed inspections of his nuclear sides by members of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This commission discovered Iraqis had all the components necessary to manufacture nuclear weapons. In 1998 the IAEA team destroyed all Saddam’s nuclear sites. That time there was no talk of removing Saddam from power.
The USA and UK war prepared to attack Iraq in 2002 and the signals for the same was given by president bush’s address in which he referred to Iraq as a rogue state. US had become over confident with its success in Afghanistan and thus gave some justification to invade Iraq like that it had chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and that it was supporting terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and thus a regime change was necessary but most of the people in western countries were not enthusiastic about a war as they felt UN should be given more time to complete its search for weapons of mass destruction.
US president Bush in view of the opposition expressed by France and Germany gave more time to the UN officials to carry out their search UN officials reported that Saddam was complying with the limits imposed but US termed it as a delaying strategy and went about to invade Iraq after giving a 48 hour ultimatum to Saddam to leave the country.
In the course of the invasion 15,000 Iraqis were killed out of which 5000 were civilians there was international condemnation especially in the Arab countries which felt that peace would effected in the region. In April US troops captured Baghdad and on 9th April it was announced that Saddam’s 24 year dictatorship was over. Saddam disappeared but was captured in December, 2003. No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq after the invasion.
- Lowe Norman, Mastering modern World history, 5th edition, Macmillan publishers, 2013.
- Colvocoressi peter, World politics 1945-2000, Dorling Kindersley pvt Ltd, 2008.
- J. A. S. Grenville, a History of the world (From the 20th to the 21st century), 5th edition, Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis, Group, 2005.