SADDAM HUSSEIN

Saddam Hussein
President of Iraq

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*Saddam Hussein's life has been marked by violence. Beginning in the 1950's, Hussein was an active player in the coups and countercoups that took place in Iraq. He established Iraq's secret police force and has used it effectively to eliminate political opposition to Baath party rule. Soon after acceding to the Presidency, he invaded Iran and began a bloody war that killed untold thousands and ended in stalemate eight years later. He then turned his military against his own people, the rebellious Kurds, by indiscriminately dropping chemical weapons on civilians. In August of 1990, he once again flexed his military muscle by invading Kuwait and systematically destroying that country.

Saddam Hussein has also shown his tyrannical ways in his dealings with his own military. It has been reported that many of the commanders who survived his war with Iran were systematically purged and murdered to eliminate them as a political threat to his rule. He has surrounded himself with a cabinet that supports his every move and, it is belived, had shielded him from many of the facts regarding U.S. and Allied troop strength.

Hussein seemed to regard the war with the United States and Israel as a "destiny" he must fulfill. Although not regarded as a religious man, he took a more active interest in Islam during the war and called for a "holy war" against the Allied forces. In addition, he has a large ego common to many dictatorial leaders and defeating this may be more difficult than defeating his military forces.

Many consider Saddam Hussein to work best when under the greatest pressure. Given the condition of his military, the devastation of his economy and the state of civil war that existed in parts of his country, he was confronted with the difficult task of just staying in power after his crushing military defeat in the Gulf War. Many of the P.O.W.'s captured by the Americans stateded their total hatred for Hussein and these feelings are certain to be felt amongst some of the officers in his Army. A coup attempt or civil revolt was predicted. Many suspected that Hussein's death wass certain following the end of the war either at the hands of his own military in a coup or under fire from rebel forces. That was not to be the case, and wily Saddam Hussein continues in power to this day.


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