Saddam Hussein born on April 28, 1937 and died on December 30, 2006, was the President of Iraq from July 16, 1979, until April 9, 2003.
A leading member of the revolutionary Ba'ath Party, which espoused secular pan-Arabism, economic modernization, and socialism, Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to long-term power. As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, Saddam tightly controlled conflict between the government and the armed forces — at a time when many other groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government — by creating repressive security forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam spearheaded Iraq's nationalization of the Western-owned Iraq Petroleum Company, which had long held a monopoly on the country's oil. Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatuses of government as Iraq's economy grew at a rapid pace.
As president, Saddam maintained power through the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and the first Persian Gulf War (1991). During these conflicts, Saddam repressed movements he deemed threatening to the stability of Iraq, particularly Shi'a and Kurdish movements seeking to overthrow the government or gain independence, respectively. While he remained a popular hero among many disaffected Arabs everywhere for standing up to the West and for his support for the Palestinians, U.S. leaders continued to view Saddam with deep suspicion following the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Saddam was deposed by the U.S. and its allies during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Captured by U.S. forces on December 13, 2003, Saddam was brought to trial under the Iraqi interim government set up by U.S.-led forces. On November 5, 2006, he was convicted of charges related to the executions of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites suspected of planning an assassination attempt against him, and was sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam was executed on December 30, 2006.