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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

As deputy to the ailing General Bakr, Saddam Hussein instituted widespread reforms and built up a ruthless security apparatus.

The two leaders' early moves caused concern in the West.

In 1972, at the height of the Cold War, Iraq signed a 15-year treaty with the Soviet Union.

It also nationalised the Iraqi Petroleum Company, which had been set up under British administration and was pumping cheap oil to the West.

Soaring oil revenues resulting from the 1973 oil crisis were invested in industry, education and healthcare, raising Iraq's standard of living to one of the highest in the Arab world.

In 1974, Kurds in the north funded by the US-backed Shah of Iran rebelled.

The conflict pushed Baghdad to the negotiating table, where Iraq agreed to share control of the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway with Iran.

The Shah cut off the Kurds' funds and the Iraqi regime put down their uprising.

Saddam Hussein extended his grip on power, stationing relatives and allies in key government and business roles.

In 1978, membership of opposition parties became punishable by death.

The following year, Saddam Hussein forced General Bakr's resignation - officially due to ill health - and assumed the presidency.

He executed dozens of his rivals within days of taking power.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein meets Yasser Arafat, then leader of the Palestinian
Saddam with Yasser Arafat in 1979

Saddam Hussein in 1975

Saddam Hussein put his relatives
in positions of power


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