Hussein, Saddam

Hussein, Saddam

Hussein, Saddam, 1937-2006, Iraqi political leader. A member of the Ba'ath party, he fled Iraq after participating (1959) in an assassination attempt on the country's prime minister; in Egypt he attended law school. Returning to Iraq in 1963 after the Ba'athists briefly came to power, he played a significant role in the 1968 revolution that secured Ba'ath hegemony. Hussein held key economic and political posts before becoming Iraq's president in 1979.

As president, he focused on strengthening the Iraqi oil industry and military and gaining a greater foothold in the Arab world while using brutal measures to maintain his power. In 1980 he escalated a long-standing dispute with Iran over the Shatt al Arab waterway into a full-scale war (see Iran-Iraq War) lasting eight years. On Aug. 2, 1990, Hussein ordered an Iraqi invasion of neighboring Kuwait; however, Iraq was forced out in early 1991 by an international military coalition (see Iraq; Persian Gulf War).

Following the war, Hussein weathered a Kurdish rebellion in the north and quelled a Shiite insurrection in the south, while his country suffered the effects of international economic sanctions. Hussein's resistance to UN-supervised weapons inspections imposed as part of the conditions for ending the Gulf War led to U.S. and British bombing raids against Iraq beginning in 1998. With the threat of war with the U.S. and Britain looming in 2002, Iraq agreed to let UN inspectors return, but the failure of Iraq to cooperate fully with the United Nations led to a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in Mar., 2003. In a little less than a month Anglo-American forces ended Hussein's control over nearly all Iraq, although guerrillas continued to mount attacks in the following months. Hussein survived the invasion, but was not captured until Dec., 2003.

In 2004 he was transferred to Iraqi legal custody and arraigned on charges stemming from his presidency. The Iraqi government put Hussein on trial in 2005 for crimes against humanity, for ordering the execution of 143 men in the Shiite village of Dujail following an assassination attempt on him there in 1982. In 2006, charges of genocide, resulting from the anti-Kurd Anfal campaign in the late 1980s, also were brought against him. Hussein was convicted and sentenced to death in the Dujail case in Nov., 2006; after an unsuccessful appeal he was hanged in Dec., 2006.

Sharif Ali Bin al-Hussein (Arabic: الشريف علي بن الحسين) was born in 1956, in Baghdad, Iraq, as a member of the Hashemite House. He is currently a pretender to the Iraqi throne and the leader of the Iraqi Constitutional Monarchy political party. Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein claims to be the legitimate heir to the position of King of Iraq, based on his relationship to the last monarch, the late King Faisal II.

Early life

After the loss of Mecca, Sharif Ali's parents settled in Iraq where Badia's sister was queen consort. He was born in Iraq and his maternal first cousin was Faisal II of Iraq, the last king of Iraq.

On July 14, 1958, when Colonel Abdul Karim Qassim took control of the Kingdom of Iraq by a coup d'état, the royal family was ordered to leave the palace in Baghdad: King Faisal II; Crown Prince 'Abd al-Ilah; Princess Hiyam, Abdul Ilah's wife; Princess Nafeesa, Abdul Ilah’s mother, Princess Abadiya, the king’s aunt; and several servants. When all of them arrived in the courtyard they were told to turn towards the palace wall, and were all shot down by Captain Abdus Sattar As Sab’ a member of the coup led by Colonel Abdul Karim Qassim. Nuri as-Said the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Iraq was killed by supporters of Colonel Abdul Karim Qassim on July 15, 1958.

Ali bin al-Hussein's mother Princess Badia, the daughter of King Ali and aunt of King Faisal II, her husband Sharif al-Hussein bin Ali, and their three children spent a month in the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Baghdad. The coup leaders insisted that they leave Iraq and travel to Egypt on ordinary passports. For a while they lived in Lebanon, finally residing in London where Ali bin al-Hussein built up a successful career in investment banking.


He earned his high school diploma from Broummana High School in Lebanon and an MA in economics from a university in the United Kingdom.

Political movement

Ali bin Al-Hussein remained an opponent of the rule of Saddam Hussein. In 1991, he quit his job managing investment funds and became a member of the Iraqi National Congress which had the purpose of fomenting the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

On October 28 2003, Sharif Ali Bin al-Hussein representing the Iraqi National Conference Bloc met Syria's Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa in Damascus. They agreed on points of views that were similar including ending the occupation and forming the Iraqi government in such a way that both satisfied the Iraqi people's aspirations and maintained Iraqi unity.

He has succeeded in establishing himself as claimant in the international press, however his party obtained only 0.16% of the popular vote in the 2005 election. He has stated that the reason for the low turnout for his party was due to voter intimidation and lack of information. He claims his party was not able to get information out to the wider population including rural areas.


  • He was awarded the Royal Order of the Drum by Kigeli V, the former king of Rwanda for his goal of establishing a way out of Iraq’s political crisis and of ending the tragic ordeal of a people who lived under terror and tyranny.


  • "It would have been the perfect transition from dictatorship to democracy," he said. "It would have been a way to unite the country around a figure whose history transcended sect and ethnicity." In 2003, Sharif Ali bin al-Hussein said, he pressed American officials to bring him in as soon as Saddam Hussein fell.
  • "I don't believe there is a military solution right now in Iraq for either side, for the Americans or the insurgents," he said. "We must start with negotiations."
  • "The majority of the people welcome the return of the monarchy because they believe that the monarchy is the system that will guarantee the reunification of Iraqi society"
  • "We should not open chapters of revenge, but we should open a chapter of justice"
  • "There is no risk of a breakup of Iraq. There is no risk of a civil war."

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