Saddam Hussein Chronology

Courtesy of

April 28, 1937saddam-general

Born in the poor al-Awja village near Tikrit, 150 km north of
Baghdad. His stepfather used to beat him often when he was a child.

October 1956 – Joins uprising against pro-British monarchy and becomes a militant of the Baath (“Rebirth”) Party.

October 1959 – A year after the overthrow of the monarchy, takes part in a failed attempt to kill Prime Minister Abdel-Karim Kassem. Flees abroad and lives in exile in
Cairo for four years.February 1963 – Returns to
Baghdad when the Baath Party seizes power in a coup. Nine months later Baathists are overthrown and he is caught and jailed. Elected deputy secretary-general of the party while in prison.

 July 1968 – Saddam helps plot the coup that puts the Baath Party back in power, deposing President Abdul-Rahman Aref. He is now the party’s no.2 after General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr.

 March 1975 – As vice-president of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), he signs an agreement with the Shah of Persia to ends support for an Iraqi Kurdish revolt, causing its collapse.

 July 16, 1979 – Takes power after President Ahmed Hassan al -Bakr steps aside. He assumes the posts of prime minister, president of the RCC and supreme commander of the armed forces. Accuses hundreds of top politicians of the Baath party of betrayal and has them executed. During his 30 years of power, his name will feature in mosques, airports, neighbourhoods and cities. In schools, songs extolling him will be taught. His statues will be placed at the entrance of every village and his photo put up in every public office and private home. 

September 22, 1980 – Self-styled leader of the Arab world, he launches war on the
Iran of the Islamic Revolution. It will last eight years, claiming 200,000 lives and leaving hundreds of thousands injured. March 16, 1988 – Iraqi forces launch chemical attack on Kurdish town of
Halabja, killing about 5,000 people.August 20, 1988 – A ceasefire is officially declared in the Iran-Iraq war. The campaign against Kurds continues. The war has emptied state coffers and leaves a debt of more than 70 billion dollars owed to other Arab states. Saddam starts thinking about how he can increase oil income.

August 2, 1990 – Launches invasion of and annexes
Kuwait, accusing it of keeping oil prices down. The UN Security Council decides to impose sanctions on
Iraq, which remain in force even after Saddam is thrown out of
Kuwait, leading to the collapse of the economy and internal power struggles.

January 17, 1991 – The United States and other countries commence air attacks on
Iraq and occupied
Kuwait. The “Gulf War” ends on 28 February with the eviction of Iraqi forces from
Kuwait. The bombardments devastate the infrastructure of the country and massacre frontline Iraqi troops (it is estimated that 150,000 were killed in a few weeks). While retreating, the soldiers set fire to oil wells causing an ecological disaster. Encouraged by the defeat of the army, Shiites revolt in southern
Iraq. But western powers do not intervene and Saddam suppresses the uprising. Then he attacks the Kurd rebels in the north, forcing millions of people to flee to the freezing mountains. Western forces intervene to protect the fugitives through air controls that prevent the soldiers’ advance.

August 1995 – The husbands of his two younger daughters leave and go into exile. Six months later they accept an amnesty and return to
Iraq. Within days, their wives divorce them and both are killed in a shootout.

October 15, 1995 – Saddam wins a presidential referendum and is elected unopposed with more than 99% of the vote.

2000 – Newly elected US president George W. Bush steps up pressure against Saddam.
Washington calls more and more persistently for “regime change”. After the attack of 11 September 2001,
Iraq will be included among the “States scoundrel”.

October 15, 2002 – New presidential election: official results show Saddam wins 100% of votes.

November 2002 – UN inspectors return to
Iraq to search for banned weapons. The country destroys some missiles and says it has neutralised anthrax reserves. Inspector Hans Blix concludes that
Iraq has collaborated and that there is no evidence of new armament programmes but he fails to convince the
United States and
Great Britain.

December 7, 2002 – Saddam apologises for invasion of
Kuwait but blames the country’s government.
Kuwait rejects the apology. February 2003 – In first interview in more than a decade, Saddam denies
Baghdad has any banned weapons or links to al Qaeda.

March 20, 2003 – The forces of the
United States and other countries launch war against

April 9, 2003 – US forces take
Baghdad and put an end to Saddam’s three-decade rule. The dictator disappears. July 22, 2003 – Saddam’s two sons, Uday and Qusay, killed in by US soldiers in shootout in
Mosul.December 14, 2003 – Saddam is captured. A good part of
Iraq celebrates the news but violent protests break out in the area known as the “Sunni triangle”.

June 30, 2004 – Saddam is handed over to the Iraqi authorities after the ad interim government of prime minister Iyad Allawi is appointed.

October 19, 2005 – Trial opens with Saddam charged with crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 Shiites in Dujail in 1982 after an assassination attempt against him. He pleads “not guilty”. He will persist in questioning the legality of the trial, saying it is led by the “invasion forces”.

August 2006 – Trial starts on charges of war crimes in the “Anfal” campaign that killed tens of thousands of Kurdish villagers in 1988.November 5, 2006 – A court in
Baghdad finds Saddam guilty of crimes against humanity and sentences him to hang for the deaths of 148 Shiites in Dujail. His stepbrother and former head of the secret police, Barzan al-Tikriti, and the former chief justice of the

Revolutionary Court

, Hamed al-Bandar, are also condemned.

December 26, 2006 – An Iraqi appeals court confirms the death sentence.December 30, 2006 – Death sentence is carried out at dawn. saddam-funeral


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