Profession: Iraqi President and Dictator
Why Famous: A member of the Ba'ath political party, he was instrumental in its rise to power in Iraq in 1968. Throughout the 1970s he consolidated his power in the country, before formally taking over in 1979. His policies espoused a mixture of Arab nationalism and socialism.
Hussein's dictatorship was exceptionally brutal, with the total number of deaths from purges and genocide conservatively estimated at a quarter of a million people. In 1980 he invaded neighboring Iran which started an ruinous eight-year war that led to no border changes and hundreds of thousands of war dead on both sides. In 1990 he started the Gulf War by invading and annexing Kuwait before being removed by an international coalition led by the United States.
Through the 1990s Iraq suffered from UN sanctions and isolation. Beginning in the early 2000s under the presidency of George W. Bush, Hussein was accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction and was deposed in a 2003 invasion. Though no weapons were found, he was tried of crimes against humanity and executed in 2006.
- 1963-05-05 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (26) weds teacher Sajida Talfah (26)
- 1979-07-16 Premier/pres al-Bakr of Iraq is succeeded by Saddam Hussein
- 1979-08-08 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein executes 22 political opponents
- 1980-09-30 Iran rejects a truce call from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
- 1980-11-09 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein declares holy war against Iran
- 1986-08-02 Saddam Hussein offers peace in open letter to Iran
- 1990-08-12 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein says he is ready to resolve Gulf crisis if Israel withdraws from occupied territories
- 1990-08-29 Saddam Hussein declares America can't beat Iraq
- 1990-09-05 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein urges Arabs to rise against the West
- 1990-09-21 Reports that US refinery problems will lead to a loss in capacity and aggressive remarks by Saddam Hussein send crude prices to new highs
- 1990-09-24 Saddam Hussein states his willingness to strike first and his intention to damage oil fields in the region if Iraq does strike
- 1990-09-25 Saddam Hussein warns that US will repeat Vietnam experience
- 1990-10-01 Saddam Hussein says he may be willing to negotiate the occupation of Kuwait and would consider foreign participation in negotiations
- 1990-10-09 Saddam Hussein threatens to hit Israel with a new missile
- 1990-11-01 Rhetoric escalates as George Bush likens Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler
- 1990-11-20 Saddam Hussein announces plans to release German hostages
- 1990-11-30 US President George H. W. Bush offers to send Secretary of State James Baker to Baghdad to meet with Saddam Hussein
- 1990-12-06 Saddam Hussein announces release of all foreign hostages
- 1990-12-07 Iraqi parliment endorses Saddam Hussein's decision to free hostages
- 1990-12-24 Saddam Hussein says Israel will be Iraq's 1st target
- 1991-01-07 Saddam Hussein prepares his troops for what he says will be a long violent war against the US
- 1991-01-13 UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar meets with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
- 2002-11-08 Iraq disarmament crisis: UN Security Council under Resolution 1441 unanimously approves a resolution on Iraq, forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm or face "serious consequences"
- 2002-11-16 Iraqi President Saddam Hussein says that he had to accept UN Resolution 1441 because the United States and Israel had shown their "claws and teeth" and declared unitlateral war on the Iraqi people
- 2003-04-07 U.S. troops capture Baghdad; Saddam Hussein's regime falls two days later.
- 2003-12-13 Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit, during Operation Red Dawn by US forces
- 2003-12-14 President George W. Bush announces the capture of Saddam Hussein.
- 2005-10-19 Saddam Hussein goes on trial in Baghdad for crimes against humanity
- 2006-11-05 Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, and his co-defendants Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar are sentenced to death in the al-Dujail trial for the role in the massacre of the 148 Shi'as in 1982.