Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti
1.86 m or 6feet 1inches
Saddam Hussein was the fifth president of Iraq, ruling from 1979 until 2003. Born in Al-Awja near Tikrit in Iraq in 1937 to a family of shepherds Saddam never knew his father was badly treated by his step-father leading to Saddam fleeing the family home at the age of 10, and moving to Baghdad to live with his uncle.
He attended high school and went on to study law for three years at university in Iraq, but left in 1957 to join the Baath Party working as a teacher to support himself. In 1963, army officers with Baathist links took part in a military coup. The Baathist leaders including Saddam were made cabinet ministers, but were later removed from office and imprisoned.
Saddam escaped prison and helped to overthrow the government again, and was then made deputy to the new president, Abdul Rahman Arif. Saddam was a progressive politician and worked towards uniting the socially and economically fractured country. Iraq had vast oil reserves, and Saddam seized control of the international oil companies based in Iraq leading to huge increases in world oil prices.
With the money generated Saddam introduced free schooling and medical care to Iraq, including a new UN award winning public health care system. Infrastructure in Iraq was modernized, and electricity was brought to every city in the country. Saddam began developing a chemical weapons program. He also signed a cooperation treaty with the Soviet Union in 1973.
By 1976, Saddam had risen to the rank of general in the Iraqi army, and used his position to slowly take over as de facto president until he formally came to power in 1979. To consolidate his position as president, Saddam claimed that 68 members of the Baath Party were guilty of treason, and had 22 executed, and the rest imprisoned.
Saddam had now established himself as president, and with financial and military help from Europe and the United States he invaded Iran in 1980. The war lasted eight years, and ended in stalemate with neither side gaining significant territory or resources, and left both countries in desperate financial trouble.
Saddam also launched genocidal and suppression campaigns against the Kurdish and opposition population using poison gas in military attacks, which reportedly led to the death of up to a millions of Iraqis. Saddam urged neighboring Kuwait to forgive the $30 billion debt that had accumulated during the war.
But Kuwait refused, so Saddam invaded the country on the 2nd of August, 1990. Despite several attempts at diplomatic resolutions, in 1991, a US-led Coalition led a groundforce to remove Saddam’s army from Kuwait and then occupied Southern Iraq. This conflict became known as the Gulf War. Tensions remained high after the war, and any uprisings in Iraq were brutally suppressed by Saddam’s regime.
Iraq remained under UN sanctions causing great hardship in the country. Saddam continued to violate the terms of the Gulf War ceasefire, leading to several US and British air strikes throughout the 1990s. Saddam was interviewed in Iraq in 2003 for US broadcaster CBS News, denying he had any weapons of mass destruction.
A little under a month later, a US led coalition invaded Iraq and the government collapsed and Saddam disappeared. On the 13th of December 2003 Saddam was captured in a farmhouse near Tikrit and put on trial for crimes against humanity. He was found guilty and sentenced to death and was hanged on the 30th of December 2006.