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Biography of Saddam Hussein of Tikrit
Durring the Years 1937 - 1991

Note to our website visitors: This is an "open" chronology of Saddam Hussein's regime. Please e-mail us any additions, corrections and comments, with references if possible. We hope to expand the chronology with your help.

Part I: Early Beginnings to the Presidency
  • April 28, 1937 is the declared birth date of Saddam Hussein in the village of Ouja, near Tikrit in northern Iraq. He is born of a poor landless peasant family. His father dies, or disappears, before Saddam is born. He is sent to live with his maternal uncle, Khairallah Talfah, who influenced Saddam's life tremendously. Several reports link Saddam to the murders of a school teacher and/or a cousin during these early years.
  • 1957Saddam joins the Ba'th party at the age of 20. Also in this year Saddam was denied admission to the prestigious Baghdad Military Academy (probably because he had not finished high school), a humiliating blow that dishonors him vis-à-vis his military counterparts. (Later, in 1976, President Bakr confers on him the rank of General.)

  • 1959 Complicity in an assassination attempt against Abdul Karim Qasim, Prime Minister of Iraq after the 1958 revolution. He flees to Egypt, where he spends the next four years and completes high school.

  • February 1963-November 1963First Ba'th regime in Iraq. Saddam, a mid-level operative, takes no part in the coup. After the collapse of the Ba'th regime in November 1963, Saddam takes charge of organizing a Ba'th security organ, "Jihaz Haneen." This becomes the core of the dreaded security apparatus after 1968.

  • July 17-30 1968The 2nd Ba'th regime takes over. A bloodless coup by senior Arab Nationalist officers and retired Ba'thist officers overthrows the regime of President Abd al-Rahman Aref. Saddam is the Deputy Secretary-General of the Ba'th party at the time, but plays a minor role in the coup. Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr, a relative of Saddam, becomes president and chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC).

  • July 30, 1968 Saddam carries out a plot to oust the rival faction (Arab Nationalist officers) in the coup. Among others, minister of Defense Ibrahim Dawood is "sent" to Jordan and Prime Minister Abd al-Razzah Nayif is "sent" to Morocco.

  • Fall of 1968 beginning of purges to remove all non-Ba'thists from posts within state institutions. Saddam engages in purifying the government and society of potential dissidents. The higher echelons of the military and the government deemed disloyal are sent into retirement, imprisoned, tortured, or executed. Members of non-Ba'th political parties and non-Arabs are accused of crimes and executed or deported.

  • November 1969 President al-Bakr, Saddam's kinsman, appoints Saddam Deputy Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and Vice-President. He controls the internal security and intelligence organs and is the driving force behind the regime.

  • November 1968 Nasir al-Hani, former Foreign Minister and co-plotter of the 17 July, 1968 coup is abducted from his home under the pretext that President Bakr wanted to consult with him. A few days later his body is discovered dumped in a ditch.

  • January 1969 17 alleged "spies" (including 13 Jews) are hanged in Liberation Square.

  • August 8, 1969 Kurdish village of Dakan in Mosul governorate is site of a massacre performed by the army.

  • October 1969 Abd al-Rahman al-Bazzaz, former prime minister, is imprisoned on charges of being a Zionist agent. Tortured and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

  • March 1970Hundreds of Communists are arrested and tortured.

  • October 15, 1970 Hardan al-Tikriti, Minister of defense, Deputy Premier, and former member of the RCC, is dismissed from all his functions. Assassinated in Kuwait on March 30, 1971.

  • March 11, 1970 An "autonomy agreement" is concluded between the Kurds, under Mulla Mustafa Barzani, and the central government, but was never implemented.

  • September 1971 Failed assassination attempt on Mulla Mustapha Barzani, the Kurdish leader. Several other people are killed in the attempt.

  • September 28, 1971 Abd al-Karim al-Shaikhli, Foreign Minister and member of RCC is dismissed, appointed to a position at the UN. Later assassinated.

  • 1972 1st wave of deportations of Iraqi Arabs, Turkoman and Kurdish families, stripped of their citizenship and sent to Iran.

  • July 8, 1973 The Chief of Internal Security, Nadhim Kzar, is executed along with 35 other after reports a coup and conspiracy.

  • 1974-1975 War against the Kurds ignites again. Phosphorous shells are reportedly used against the Kurds.

  • March 1974 The Kurdish towns of Zakho and Qala'at Diza are razed to the ground. 8,000 Kurds disappear from the village of Barzan.

  • December 1974 5 Shi'a 'ulama are executed.

  • 6 March 1975 Saddam signs Algiers Accord with the Shah of Iran. The Accord defines border with Iran and ends Iranian support for Kurds.

  • March-April 1975 Major exodus of Kurds to Iran, including departure of leader, Mulla Mustapha Barzani.

  • February 1977 Beginning of mass deportations to Iran of Iraqi Shi'a, confiscation of their property and "disappearance" of sons. Estimated that by early 80's, 200,000 Iraqis are deported to Iran and stripped of nationality and property.

  • 1975-1979 President Bakr remains the head of State, but his power is virtually reduced to a figurehead while Saddam controls in the president's shadow.

  • February/March 1977 Eight Shi'a dignitaries, 5 clergy and 3 laymen are executed. Mass purges of Shi'a suspected of belonging to the Da'wa Party.

  • 1978-79 The regime eliminates an estimated 7,000 Iraqi Communists.

  • October 1978 Ayatollah Khomeini, exiled by the Shah and living in Najaf, is expelled from Iraq.

  • May 1979 All Communist party offices are closed down in all provinces.

Part II: Presidency to the Gulf War (1979-1991)

  • On July 16, 1979 At the age of 42, Saddam forces Al-Bakr to retire and is sworn in as President of the Republic of Iraq. President Bakr officially steps down. Saddam now holds the posts of President of the Republic, Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Secretary-General of the Ba'th Party Regional Command, Prime Minister, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Saddam grants himself a Staff Field Marshal army rank.

  • July 15-August 8, 1979 In order to consolidate his power, Saddam embarks on a purge, reminiscent of Stalin, in which party members are accused of being involved in a Syrian plot to place Iraq under Syrian hegemony and remove Iraq's leadership. By the end of the purge, hundreds of top ranking Ba'thists and army officers are executed, including five members of the RCC.

  • April 1980 Revolutionary Command Council bans the Da'wa Party and membership in its ranks becomes a capital crime punishable by death.

  • April 1980 Leading Shi'a cleric Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr and his sister Bint al-Huda are executed.

  • On September 22, 1980five days after Saddam Saddam publicly tears up the 1975 Algiers Accord with Iran and denounces "the frequent and blatant Iranian violation of Iraqi sovereignty", the Iraqi Air Force bombs Iranian airfields and Iraqi forces invade Iran.

  • In 1982, former President Bakr dies mysteriously. It is widely suspected that Saddam is involved.

  • June 1982 Riyadh Ibrahim, Minister of Health and Shafiq 'Abd al-Jabbar Kamali, ex-RCC member, are executed.

  • 1987-1988 Saddam launches the Anfal campaign against the Kurds, in which some 180,000 "disappear." 4,000 villages are razed. Depopulation of large areas of eastern Kurdistan.

  • March 1988 The Kurdish town of Halabja is gassed. 5,000 people perish, 10,000 suffer injuries.

  • August 1988 A number of Kurdish villages on Turkish borders are gassed. Thousands of casualties.

  • August 1988. Ceasefire declared between Iraq and Iran, ending the 8-year war. The war is estimated to have caused one million casualties including 250,000 Iraqi dead.

  • May 1989 Adnan Khayrallah, Saddam's cousin, brother-in-law, popular army officer and Defense Minister, dies in a helicopter crash widely believed to be engineered by Saddam.

  • March 1990 British journalist Farzad Bazoft is executed on charges of espionage. International indignation brings attention to the brutality of Saddam regime.

  • August 2, 1990Iraqi troops cross into Kuwait and occupy the country, ejecting the Kuwaiti government.

  • August 28, 1990 Kuwait officially becomes the 19th province of Iraq.

  • January 17, 1991 Allied planes begin bombing Iraq.




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