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  • Iraq Special Report

  • Saddam Hussein: Life and Times
    Apr. 28, 1937
    1947
    1952
    1957
    1959
    1962
    1963
    1968
    1979
    Sept. 1980 Late 1980s
    Aug. 1990
    Aug. 1990
    Jan.-Feb. 1991
    March 1991
    Aug. 1995
    Sept. 1996
    Dec. 1996
    Dec. 1997

    Hussein rises to power ABANDONED
    AS A CHILD
    Born to an impoverished farm family in the Tikrit region, north of Baghdad. Father leaves before his birth; receives first name that can be translated as "He who confronts."
    LEAVES HOME
    At age 10, leaves mother and abusive stepfather to live with uncle Khairullah Tulfah, a devout Sunni Muslim who would later be governor of Baghdad, and author of the pamphlet "Three Whom God Should Not Have Created: Persians, Jews and Flies."

    HIS IDOL
    Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser topples his country's British-installed monarchy, and becomes a hero and political inspiration to 15-year-old Saddam Hussein.
    ASSASSIN IN
    TRAINING
    At age 20, joins Baath (Renaissance) Party, foes of European colonialism who hope to form a single Arab socialist state. Saddam Hussein kills a communist activist, his brother-in-law.
    BOTCHES MURDER
    Fails in attempt to assassinate Iraqi prime minister Abdul Kassem. Wounded, he disguises himself as a woman and flees to Syria on a donkey.
    BEFRIENDS NASSER
    Through friendship with Egyptian President Gamal Nasser, enrolls in Cairo law school.
    RISES TO POWER
    Returns to Baghdad to run Baathist torture center. Baath regime falls; he begins to build a secret police force and starts the rise to party leadership. Weds first cousin, Sajida Khayrallah, in arranged marriage; they have five children.
    LEADS REVOLT
    Escapes from brief imprisonment. Leads an underground revolt that restores Baaths to power.

    IDEOLOGY

    BECOMES PRESIDENT
    Hussein becomes President Stages coup to oust Iraqi president Gen. Ahmed Hassan Bakr, a distant relative who aided Saddam Hussein's political rise. Bakr is placed under house arrest. Saddam Hussein becomes president, and elevates many close family members to power.

    'THE SOLE POWER'

    INVADES IRAN
    Sends troops to neighboring Iran, beginning an eight-year war that ends in a stalemate.
    TAKES MISTRESS
    Takes up with Samira Shahbandar, a flight attendant then married to an Iraqi Airlines official. When Saddam Hussein's father-in-law objects, he is stripped of his property. Other dissenting friends and family members are wounded or die mysteriously.

    MARCHES INTO KUWAIT
    Invades Kuwait.

    A BELLIGERENT NEIGHBOR

    DEFIED
    Hussein defied by Arab neighbors Arab League defects to American coalition, sending troops to help U.S. defend Saudi Arabia from Iraq.

    ISOLATION

    LOSES GULF WAR
    U.S.-led international alliance drives Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait.
     PURGES
    CRUSHES REBELLIONS
    Rebellion of Shiites in southern Iraq spreads to Kurdish areas in the north. Saddam Hussein crushes the rebels; U.S. does not intervene.
    ORDERS MURDERS
    Two daughters and sons-in-law defect to Jordan, but later return to Iraq on promises of forgiveness. Saddam Hussein has the men killed; his wife protests bitterly, and is placed under house arrest.

    FATHER FIGURE?

    SURVIVES CIA EFFORTS
    The Washington Post uncovers an anti-Saddam operation by the CIA that cost $100 million but did not achieve its goal: to help Iraqi resisters in the overthrow of the Saddam regime.
    SON ATTACKED
    Uday Hussein, 32, eldest son and heir-apparent, is gravely wounded by two gunmen close to Iraqi intelligence headquarters. A purge follows; hundreds are executed and thousands arrested, but identity of gunmen remains unknown.
    REMAINS IN CONTROL
    Hussein poster
    CIA reports that Iraqi armies have shrunk by half since 1991. Saddam Hussein is considered vulnerable, but is still in control.

    Produced by Gayle Worland

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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