Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003.
A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organisation Ba'ath Party – Iraq Region—which espoused ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism—Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to power in Iraq.
As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and at a time when many groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government, Saddam created security forces through which he tightly controlled conflict between the government and the armed forces.
In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalized oil and other industries.
The state-owned banks were put under his control, leaving the system eventually insolvent mostly due to the Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War, and UN sanctions.
Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatuses of government as oil money helped Iraq's economy to grow at a rapid pace.
By Mohamed Chebaro*
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