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Fifth president of Iraq, from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. Leading member of the Ba'ath Party, a revolutionary group that espouses a mix of Arab socialism and Arab nationalism. Long before Saddam, Iraq had been split along social, ethnic, religious, and economic fault lines: Sunni versus Shi'ite, Arab versus Kurd, tribal chief versus urban merchant, and nomad versus peasant. When Saddam came to power, he worked on fixing it and modernizing Iraq. Unfortunately, his way of fixing it involved being as brutal as possible. Over the next three decades, Saddam would proceed to modernize the Iraqi economy, but also order brutal persecution against ethnic minorities, particularly against the Kurds, who he ordered to be exterminated with chemical weapons. Also famous for launching the 1991 Gulf War and the Iran-Iraq War. He was executed in 2006 by the new Iraqi government following a US and British invasion of Iraq.
Tropes that apply to him
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Averted. When he was captured, the soldiers who captured him noted that he did have a pistol, but didn't try to use it.
- Arch Enemy: George HW Bush
- Badass Mustache: Minus the badass.
- Big Bad: For a long time, he was seen as this in the Middle East. While he wasn't responsible for all the bad things going on in the Middle East, he did start two wars (and got toppled in a third) that involved hundreds of thousands of troops, and provided support to Egypt, Syria, and Jordan when they attacked Israel, meaning he did do a lot of bad in the region.
- Curb Stomp Battle: He got handed two: both times he went to war with the western powers, particularly the USA.
- Elite Mooks: His Republican Guard units, while they were better trained and equipped (not to mention better paid) and more loyal than his army of conscripts, were still no match for the forces of NATO and the Arab League during the 1991 Gulf War.
- Gas Mask Mooks: Due to his tendency to use chemical weapons against his enemies and sometimes his own population, many of his soldiers wore this.
- General Failure: He was a notoriously incompetent general in all of the wars he was involved in.
- Karmic Death
- Kick the Dog: His absolutely horrifying campaigns against the Kurds.
- Politically-Incorrect Villain
- President Evil
- The War on Terror: Not involved in it much himself, but was the leader of Iraq at the time of its invasion, and his overthrow was tied to it.
- What Could Have Been: It's often debated whether the messy US war in Iraq throughout the 2000s could have been avoided if George HW Bush had chosen to overthrow Hussein at the end of the Gulf War in 1991.