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Tracking Saddam

Saddam Hussein was dictator of Iraq from 1979 until 2003, when his regime was overthrown by a United States-led invasion. Hussein had joined the revolutionary Ba?ath party while he was a university student. He launched his political career in 1958 by assassinating a supporter of Iraqi ruler Abdul-Karim Qassim.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 01:05 IST

Saddam Hussein was dictator of Iraq from 1979 until 2003, when his regime was overthrown by a United States-led invasion. Hussein had joined the revolutionary Ba’ath party while he was a university student. He launched his political career in 1958 by assassinating a supporter of Iraqi ruler Abdul-Karim Qassim.

Saddam rose in the ranks after a Ba’ath coup, and by 1979 he was Iraq’s president and de facto dictator. He led Iraq through a decade-long war with Iran, and in August of 1990 his forces invaded the neighboring country of Kuwait. A US-led alliance organised by George Bush (Senior) ran Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in the Gulf War, which ended in February of 1991 with Saddam still in power.

In 2002 Hussein came under renewed pressure from George W. Bush, the son of the earlier US President. In March, 2003, Hussein’s regime was overthrown by an invasion of US and British forces. Hussein disappeared, but US forces captured him on December 13, 2003 from a small underground pit on a farm near Tikrit.

Late in 2005, he went on trial in Iraq for the 1982 deaths of over 140 men in the town of Dujail. Before the 1991 Gulf War, Hussein threatened that if international forces led by the United States attacked Iraq, it would be ‘The mother of all wars’ giving rise to a multi-purpose catchphrase!

The US effort in the Gulf War was directed by the senior George Bush and the chairman of the joint chief of US staff, Colin Powell; Powell later became Secretary of State under Bush’s son George W. Bush’s presidency. Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay were killed by US forces in the northern town of Mosul in July, 2003.

First Published: Feb 20, 2006 01:05 IST