What was the nature of Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq?

  • Created by: ASesay
  • Created on: 29-04-16 12:46

Saddam's rule of Iraq (General)

When did Saddam Hussein come to power and how did he rule? 

Saddam came to power in July 1979 and he ruled as a dictator. This was the same as his political hero Stalin. Saddam closely followed many aspects of Stalin's method of governing.

What was the nature of Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq?

  •  Purges and terror
  • Waging war on his own people
  • Personality cult
  • Modernisation
  • Military expansion
  • Totalitarianism
1 of 8

Purges and terror

  • Once in power, Saddam began to deal with those who questioned the way he had gained power
  • Hundreds of party members and military officers were removed from their positions, with many being executed
  • False accusations, arrests, torture and trials became a regular feature of Saddam's rule by terror and in most instances the accused received lengthy prison sentences or were executed

EXAMPLE:

Mashhadi, the Secretary General of the RCC questioned the validity of Saddam's appointment
- he was relieved of his duties
- brought before senior Baath party members on 22 July 1979
- he gave a detailed fabricated confession of crimes against the state and named 66 alleged co-conspirators
- at a special court, 55 were found guilty and were either sentenced to death (22) or given prison sentences (33)

2 of 8

Waging war on his own people

  • Saddam aimed to unify the state of Iraq but it was difficult because if the differences within the population with 20% Kurds and 60% Shiites
  • Shiites were hostile to the Sunni-dominated regime
  • The Kurds in the oil-rich north wanted independence
  • He destroyed half of Kurdistan's villages and towns, killed thousands of Kurds using mustard gas and cyanide, and displaced more than a million people
  • Many fled to Iran or Turkey while others were housed in concentration camps in the Iraqi desert
  • In 1991 Saddam took action against the Shiites. The Republican Huard carried out arrests and summary executions.
  • Civilians were used as human shields, fastened onto the front of tanks
  • Women and children were shot on sight
  • In the south-east of Iraq Saddam wanted to destroy the marshes to enable a new waterway to be constructed - the Marsh Arabs were victims of chemical weapon attacks or were starved to death
3 of 8

Personality cult

  • Saddam realised that to survive long-term he needed to move away from fear and terror
  • To sustain his dictatorship he needed to cultivate popularity and make the Iraqi people love him
  • Saddam set out to cultivate an image of a father-style leader
  • This was achieved by:
    - establishing a permanent exhibition about himself in Baghdad
    - featuring his life through the press
    - glorifying himself through articles in newspapers and on TV
    - having songs written in praise of him
    - renaming roads after himself
    - commissioning statues, murals and paintings
4 of 8

Modernisation

  • Saddam carried out an extensive modernization programme from Iraq's massive oil revenues
  • Wages roses, taxes were cut and basic foodstuffs were subsidised
  • Electricity was supplied to even remote villages
  • Heavy industry developed including steel, petrochemicals and coal
  • A countrywide network of oil pipelines were built
  • A new radio and TV network was established allowing the spread of government propaganda
  • Major building programmes began for schools, houses and hospitals
  • Major campaign to end adult illiteracy was introduced
  • Hospital treatment was made free
5 of 8

Military expansion

  • Iraq became a major military power, with Soviet Russia providing most supplies
  • Additional supplies came from many European states
  • Saddam purchased tanks, planes, helicopters, surface-to-air missiles and electronic equipment
  • By mid 1979, he had constructed his first chemical warfare plant was soon producing chemical weapons, including agents such as anthrax
6 of 8

Totalitarianism

  • Saddam achieved absolute power in Iraq
  • He and the Baath party control every aspect of life
  • Children at school and young adults in the Baath youth organisation were brainwashed as they introduced the idea of a glorious leader
  • Censorship ensured critical views of Saddam were never heard or read
  • It was a capital offense to criticise the government
  • The law courts were under Saddam 's influence, and all economic production was geared to the needs of the state
  • Membership of the Baath Party was essential if a career in public office was to be followed
  • Even though the economy was a mixture of state and privately owned businesses, ALL production was geared towards the needs of the state
  • Special courts run by the President's office delivered verdicts of which Saddam would have approved
  • Membership of the Baath Party was essential for a public career in the army and civil service or for admission to a uni or college of higher education
7 of 8

Saddam Hussein's use of relatives in his regime

Khairallah Tulfah:Uncle and father-in-law; Mayor of Baghdad
Adnan Khairallah: First cousin; Member of RCC; Defence Minister
Hussein Kamil Majid: Second cousin; Son-in-law; Minister of Industry and Military Industry
Hisham Hassan Majid: First cousin; Governor of Babil Province
Ali Hassan Majid: First cousin; Minister of Local government; Defence minister; Interior Minister; Head of Party Intelligence (Makhabarat)
Barzan Ibrahim: Half-brother; Head of Makhabarat; Ambassador to the UN
Wathban Ibrahim: Half-brother; Governor of Salah al-Din; Head of Sate Internal Security
Sibawi Ibrahim: Half-brother; Deputy Chief of Police; Head of Makhabarat
Izzal Ibrahim: His son's father-in-law; Vice Chairman of the RCC
Uday Hussein: Eldest son; Head of Iraqi Olympic Committee;Head of Iraqi Soccer Federation

8 of 8

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Why did the events in the Gulf matter, c.1970-2000? resources »