Timeline: Saddam’s life

Saddam Hussein was born in April 1937 in the village of Tikrit in central Iraq.

saddam speech

Saddam in exile in Egypt [AFP]

April 1937: Saddam Hussein is born in the village of Tikrit in central Iraq.


October 1956: Saddam joins the Baath party.

October 1959: He takes part in an assassination attempt against Iraq’s ruler, General Abdul Karim Qassem. He flees Iraq and spends four years in exile in Egypt.


February 1963: He returns to Baghdad after the Baath party comes to power in a military coup. The Baathists are defeated nine months later. Saddam is jailed and elected – while in prison – as the Baath party deputy secretary-general.


July 1968: The Baath party seizes power from Abdul Mohammed Aref. Saddam is the party’s number two.


March 1975: He signs a border agreement with Shah of Iran. The latter then supported Kurdish rebellions.


July 1979: Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr steps down and Saddam becomes president.


September 1980: War starts between Iraq and Iran. Iraq is backed by the US during the eight-year war, in which a million people die.


March 1988: The Iraqi army bombs Halabjah and gases 5,000 Kurdish villagers.


August 1988: A ceasefire is signed between Iran and Iraq.


August 1990: Saddam invades and annexes Kuwait.


Saddam brandishing an assault rifle during a
visit to villages in northern Iraq [AFP]

January 1991: US-led operation “desert storm” drives the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.


October 1995: Saddam wins a presidential referendum, official figures giving him more than 99 per cent of the votes.


September 2001: George Bush, the US president, calls Iraq “a rogue state”.


October 2002: Saddam wins 100 per cent of votes in another presidential referendum.


December 2002: He apologises for invading Kuwait. Kuwait does not accept the apology.


February 2003: Saddam denies being in possession of any chemical or nuclear weapons and denies that he has any links with al-Qaeda.


20 March 2003: A US-led coalition invades Iraq, despite not securing a UN resolution authorising it to do so.


9 April 2003: US troops enter Baghdad.


Saddam as a young member of the
Baath Party [AFP]

22 July 2003: Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam’s sons, are killed by US troops in a raid on a house in Mosul.


13 December 2003: US officials announce the capture of Saddam.



19 October 2005: Start of Saddam’s trial for the 1982 killing of 148 Shia men in Dujail after a failed assassination attempt on the president.


21 August 2006: Start of the Anfal. Saddam is accused of killing thousands of Kurdish civilians in 1988.


5 November 2006: Saddam is found guilty and sentenced to death for crimes against humanity.


26 December 2006: The Iraqi court of appeal upholds the death sentence against Saddam.

Source: Al Jazeera