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Struggle for Iraq
Click on the events below to read about Iraq's history
Saddam's rise:
Iran-Iraq war:
Gulf War:
1990 - 1991
Second war:
Young activist
Hardline deputy
War breaks out
Israeli bombing
Chemical warfare
Western support
Truce and debt
Kuwait invasion
Desert Storm
Scud missiles
Civilian casualties
Ground war
Iraqi ceasefire
After the war
No-fly zones
Desert Fox
Inspectors barred
US-led invasion
Saddam captured
Iraq in turmoil
Trial of Saddam

From beginnings as a young activist, Saddam Hussein rose to become a highly controlling deputy to the Iraqi president.

In 1957, Saddam Hussein, a youth from a village near Tikrit in the north of Iraq, joined the fledgling Iraqi Baath Party which expounded a socialist brand of pan-Arab nationalism.

Britain had administered Iraq under a League of Nations mandate from 1920 to 1932 and exercised strong political and military influence long afterwards. Anti-Western sentiment was strong.

The young Saddam Hussein was involved in an unsuccessful plot to assassinate Brigadier Abdel Karim Qasim, who overthrew the British-installed Iraqi monarchy in 1958.

Saddam Hussein fled to Egypt after the plot against Brigadier Qasim failed, then returned when the Baath party staged a coup in 1963 - only to be jailed within months when Brigadier Qasim's former ally, Col Abd-al-Salam Muhammad Arif, seized power from the Baathists.

But Saddam Hussein escaped in 1966 and was elected assistant general secretary of the party, which then staged a successful coup in 1968.

General Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr, also from Tikrit and a relative of the 31 year-old Saddam Hussein, took power.

The two worked closely together and became the dominant force in the Baath party, with Saddam Hussein gradually outstripping the president's leadership.

Saddam Hussein with his family
Saddam Husseinís family are from Tikrit

Map showing Tikrit and Baghdad


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