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Saddam Hussein was president of Iraq for more than two decades and is seen as a figurehead of the country's military conflicts with Iran and the United States.
Saddam Hussein was the president of Iraq for 24 years beginning in 1979. As leader of the Iraq he suppressed minorities and fought a war with Iran. He was captured by American forces during their invasion of Iraq in 2003 and executed.
A World War II veteran, George H.W. Bush served as Vice President for two terms before being elected President of the United States in 1988.
A short biography of George W. Bush who started out as governor of Texas in 1994 and then became president in 2000. From his handling of 9/11 to the Iraq War, Bush is considered one of the most polarizing presidents of the modern era.
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Born on April 28, 1937, in Tikrit, Iraq, Saddam Hussein was a secularist who rose through the Baath political party to assume a dictatorial presidency. Under his rule, segments of the populace enjoyed the benefits of oil wealth, while those in opposition faced torture and execution. After military conflicts with U.S.-led armed forces, Hussein was captured in 2003. He was later executed.
Saddam Hussein was born on April 28, 1937, in Tikrit, Iraq. His father, who was a shepherd, disappeared several months before Saddam was born. A few months later, Saddam's older brother died of cancer. When Saddam was born, his mother, severely depressed by her oldest son's death and the disappearance of her husband, was unable to effectively care for Saddam, and at age 3 he was sent to Baghdad to live with his uncle, Khairallah Talfah. Years later, Saddam would return to Al-Awja to live with his mother, but after suffering abuse at the hand of his stepfather, he fled to Baghdad to again live with Talfah, a devout Sunni Muslim and ardent Arab nationalist whose politics would have a profound influence on the young Saddam.
After attending the nationalistic al-Karh Secondary School in Baghdad, in 1957, at age 20, Saddam joined the Ba'ath Party, whose ultimate ideological aim was the unity of Arab states in the Middle East. On October 7, 1959, Saddam and other members of the Ba-ath Party attempted to assassinate Iraq's then-president, Abd al-Karim Qasim, whose resistance to joining the nascent United Arab Republic and alliance with Iraq's communist party had put him at odds with the Ba'athists. During the assassination attempt, Qasim's chauffeur was killed, and Qasim was shot several times, but survived. Saddam was shot in the leg. Several of the would-be assassins were caught, tried and executed, but Saddam and several others managed to escape to Syria, where Saddam stayed briefly before fleeing to Egypt, where he attended law school.
In 1963, when Qasim's government was overthrown in the so-called Ramadan Revolution, Saddam returned to Iraq, but he was arrested the following year as the result of in-fighting in the Ba'ath Party. While in prison, however, he remained involved in politics, and in 1966 was appointed deputy secretary of the Regional Command. Shortly thereafter he managed to escape prison, and in the years that followed, continued to strengthen his political power.
In 1968, Saddam participated in a bloodless but successful Ba'athist coup that resulted in Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr becoming Iraq's president and Saddam his deputy. During al-Bakr’s presidency, Saddam proved himself to be an effective and progressive politician, albeit a decidedly ruthless one. He did much to modernize Iraq's infrastructure, industry, and health-care system, and raised social services, education, and farming subsidies to levels unparalleled in other Arab countries in the region. He also nationalized Iraq's oil industry, just before the energy crisis of 1973, which resulted in massive revenues for the nation.
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