Saddam Hussein Fast Facts

CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the life of the late former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Birth date: April 28, 1937

Death date: December 30, 2006

Birth place: Tikrit, Iraq

Birth name: Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti

Father: Hussein Abid al-Majid

Mother: Subha Tulfah al-Musallat

Marriages: Nidal al-Hamdani (1990-December 30, 2006, his death); Samira al Shahbandar (1986-December 30, 2006, his death); Sajida Khairallah Talfah (1963-December 30, 2006, his death)

Children: with Samira al Shahbandar: Ali; with Sajida Khairallah Talfah: Uday; Qusay; Hala; Rana; Raghad

Religion: Sunni Muslim

Education: University of Baghdad College of Law, 1968

Other Facts:
Hussein was raised by his mother, her second husband Ibrahim al-Hassan and her brother Khairallah Talfah.

Hussein’s first wife, Sajida, was his first cousin, the daughter of his maternal uncle Khairallah Talfah.

Many of Hussein’s family members were part of his regime: Brother-in-law Brig. General Adnan Khairallah was Minister of Defense. Sons-in-law General Hussein Kamel, husband to Raghad Hussein, led Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program and his brother, Colonel Saddam Kamel, husband to Rana Hussein, was in charge of the presidential security forces. Eldest son Uday was head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee and younger son Qusay was head of the Internal Security Forces. And half-brother Busho Ibrahim was the Deputy Minister of Justice.

1956 - Takes part in an unsuccessful coup to overthrow King Faisal II and Prime Minister Nuri as-Said.

1957 - Hussein formally joins the Baath Socialist Party.

July 14, 1958 - King Faisal is killed in a coup led by Abdul Karim Kassem.

October 1959 - Hussein and others attack the motorcade of Abdul Karim Kassem. The assassination attempt fails and most of the attackers are killed. Hussein escapes and flees to Syria. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser hears of Hussein’s exploits and arranges for him to travel to Cairo.

February 8, 1963 - Kassem is overthrown and executed, and the Baath Party takes over. Hussein returns from Cairo. The new Baath government is overthrown before the end of the year.

1964-1967 - Is arrested and imprisoned after a change in government. He later escapes.

July 17, 1968 - In a bloodless coup, Major General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr of the Baath party becomes Iraq’s new president. Hussein becomes secretary and acting deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council.

1973 - Hussein is promoted to lieutenant general.

March 6, 1975 - Hussein and Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran sign a treaty. Iraq gives up claims to the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, while Iran agrees to end its support of the independence seeking Kurds.

1976 - Is promoted to general.

October 1978 - At the Shah’s insistence, Hussein expels Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini from Iraq. Khomeini had been in exile in Iraq since 1965.

July 16, 1979 - Hussein becomes the fifth president of Iraq with the retirement of President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr.

1979 - Hussein expels 40,000 Shiite Muslims and orders the execution of Ayatollah Mohammed al-Bakr Sadr, an ally of Ayatollah Khomeini, in response to Khomeini’s call for the overthrow of the mostly Sunni Muslim Baathist regime.

September 22, 1980 - Iraq launches an air attack against Iran. The war ends in a stalemate in 1988, with approximately one million deaths.

1982 - Hussein orders the destruction of Dujail, a village in northern Iraq, leading to the deaths of over 140 people.

March 16, 1988 - Hussein orders a poison gas attack on Kurds in Halabja in northern Iraq. More than 5,000 people are killed.

August 2, 1990 - Iraq invades Kuwait, the beginning of the Persian Gulf War.

January 17, 1991-February 28, 1991 - US and coalition forces launch Operation Desert Storm to free Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. The operation is successful, but Hussein remains in power.

October 15, 1995 - Hussein is re-elected president.

December 16, 1998 - Great Britain and the United States launch air strikes against Iraq. The attack, called Operation Desert Fox, is in response to Iraq’s refusal to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

January 29, 2002 - US president George W. Bush delivers the State of the Union address and describes Iraq as part of an “axis of evil.”

September 19, 2002 - Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri delivers a letter to the UN from Hussein stating that Iraq has no chemical, nuclear, or biological weapons.

October 15, 2002 - Hussein is re-elected to a seven-year term with 100% of the Iraqi vote, according to the Iraqi government.

November 2002 - The UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1441, outlining strict new weapons inspections and threatening “serious consequences” if Iraq fails to comply. Iraq agrees and within weeks inspectors arrive.

February 26, 2003 - CBS airs Dan Rather’s interview with Hussein on “60 Minutes II,” in which he offers to debate President Bush on a live global satellite broadcast.

March 19, 2003 - The second Gulf War begins, code named Operation Iraqi Freedom.

December 13 2003 - Hussein is captured in a cellar, or ‘spider hole’ at a farmhouse in Tikrit between 8:00-8:30 pm Iraqi time (12:00-12:30 pm EST), as a part of “Operation Red Dawn”.

July 1, 2004 - Hussein makes his first appearance in court at his arraignment and is charged with a variety of crimes, including the invasion of Kuwait and the gassing of the Kurds. He pleads innocent.

July 17, 2005 - The Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) files the first criminal charges against him, for the 1982 massacre in Dujail.

October 19, 2005 - Hussein’s trial begins in Baghdad.

July 23, 2006 - Hussein is hospitalized after suffering from the effects of a hunger strike, launched in protest of his ongoing trial.

November 5, 2006 - Hussein is convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for the Dujail massacre. Per Iraqi law there is an automatic appeal to every death sentence.

December 26, 2006 - An appellate chamber of the Iraqi High Tribunal upholds the death sentence. By Iraqi law the execution must take place within 30 days.

December 30, 2006 - Hussein is hanged in Baghdad a few minutes after 6 am (December 29, 10 pm EST). He is buried near Tikrit, Iraq on December 31st.