Saddam Hussein was the President of Iraq from 1979 until 2003. He was a leading member of the revolutionary Ba’ath Party and participated in the 1968 coup that brought the party to power.
As vice president under General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, Saddam created security forces through which he could controll conflicts between the government and the armed forces. Through the 1970s, Saddam strengthened his authority as Iraq’s economy grew rapidly.
As president, Saddam maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and Gulf War. During these conflicts, Saddam suppressed Shi’a and Kurdish movements seeking to overthrow the government or gain independence.
In 2003, the United States and its allies invaded Iraq, and Saddam lost his power. Captured on 13 December 2003, Saddam was brought to trial under the Iraqi interim government. He was found guilty the killing of Iraqi Shi’ites in 1982 and was sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam was executed on 30 December 2006.