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Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein was an Iraqi dictator, convicted war criminal, President of Iraq (1979-2003), and Vice President of Iraq (1968-1979).

Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Saddam Hussein al-Majid al-Tikriti

Date and place of birth: April 28, 1937, al-Awja, near Tikrit, Iraq *

Date, time, place and cause of death: December 30, 2006, at approximately 6:05 a.m., Camp Justice, Kadhimiya, Baghdad, Iraq (Executed - hanged)

Sons: Uday Hussein (b. June 18, 1964, al-Karch district, Baghdad, Iraq - d. July 22, 2003, at 1 p.m., Mosul, Iraq, in a firefight with U.S. forces after refusing to surrender)
Qusay Hussein (b. May 17, 1966, al-Karch district, Baghdad, Iraq - d. July 22, 2003, at 1 p.m., Mosul, Iraq, in a firefight with U.S. forces after refusing to surrender)

Daughters: Rana Hussein, Raghad Hussein, and Hala Hussein

Father: Hussein 'Abd al-Majid
Mother: Subha Tulfah al-Mussallat

Burial site: al-Awja (a.k.a. Al-Auja or Al-Ouja), near Tikrit, Iraq

Error corrections or clarifications

* There is no authoritative time of birth for Saddam. Several conflicting times of birth are reported by various sources, including 8:55 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., but the fact remains, neither his date nor time of birth was ever officially recorded.

NOTE: Many sources report Saddam had a third son, Ali, by his second wife Samira Shabandar, however, Saddam's daughter Raghad, adamantly denies this. She reports that Ali is actually her son, not her father's.


Saddam helped plot and execute the 1968 coup that brought him to power. He acted as Vice President of Iraq (1968-1979), then President of Iraq (1979-2003).

His regime achieved incredible notoriety for ruthlessly crushing all opposition, as well as the routine and systematic torture and execution of political prisoners and enemies. His 1980 invasion of Iran sparked the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) that ended in stalemate. He then attacked his own people with poison gas in 1988, resulting in thousands of deaths. Saddam held the dubious distinction of appearing in the Guinness Book of World Records, under the heading, "Highest death toll from a chemical warfare attack." His record was for the greatest number of people killed (estimated to be approximately 4,000) in a single chemical weapons attack. His invasion and destruction of Kuwait in 1990, precipitated the Persian Gulf War in January of 1991. Under the leadership of Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, coalition forces--comprised of many nations, and led by the United States--suffered fewer than 200 deaths, with Iraq's casualties numbering in the tens of thousands. Iraqi forces were quickly defeated and ejected from Kuwait.

After frequently violating the terms of the Gulf War's cease fire, and repeatedly interfering with UN weapon inspection teams, the U.S. led an invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Iraqi government and military collapsed within three weeks, and most major fighting was over in about a month. Saddam was taken into custody in December of 2003 by U.S. forces, and went on trial for numerous war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other offenses.

In November of 2006, Saddam Hussein was convicted and sentenced to hang for crimes against humanity. Following the verdict, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Malki said, "The verdict placed on the heads of the former regime does not represent a verdict for any one person. It is a verdict on a whole dark era that has was unmatched in Iraq's history." The Iraqi prime minister went on to say, "This ruler has committed the most horrible crimes. He executed the best scientists, academics and thinkers. The execution could partially appease the victims and stop tears of the widows and the orphans who were banned from holding wakes and ordered to bury their loved ones secretly." He added, "The Iraqi martyrs have now the right to smile."

December 30th, 2006, the man who was long despised and mistrusted by much of the Arab world, was executed by hanging. He had ruled Iraq with ruthless, deadly force and led his people into three devastating wars. Saddam met his end at an Iraqi compound known as Camp Justice, in the northern Baghdad suburb of Kadhimiya.

Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein shortly after his capture
After his capture

Saddam Hussein in custody
Saddam in custody

The most in-depth of more than five dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile:
Republic of Fear: The Inside Story of Saddam's Iraq, by Samir al-Khalil (1989)
Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf, by Judith Miller and Laurie Mylroie (1990)
The Rape of Kuwait: The True Story of Iraqi Atrocities Against a Civilian Population, by Jean P. Sasson (1991)

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