Terrorism's War with America: A History

By Dennis Piszkiewicz | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

Saddam Hussein

Iraq was both a sponsor and a practitioner of terrorism. Its principal victims have been its own people and those of neighboring states. The primary beneficiary of its terror has been Iraq’s autocratic ruler, Saddam Hussein, who—as long as his regime lasted—held in his grip the power and diminishing wealth of a nation in isolation and under siege.

As a youth, Saddam Hussein was a malcontent with little education and few prospects, but with great ambitions. He had joined Iraq’s Baath political party, a radical nationalist group with about three hundred members that had ambitions that matched Saddam’s. It planned to seize power in Iraq after assassinating General Abdul Kareem el-Kassem, who himself had come to power after the murder of King Faisal II. In 1959, when he was twenty-two, Saddam joined a Baath assassination team that attacked General Kassem’s car. They killed Kassem’s driver, seriously wounded one of Kassem’s aides, and inflicted injuries on Kassem that kept him in the hospital for a month. Saddam is reported to have received a leg wound as a result of fire returned by Kassem’s guards.

Saddam spent the next four years in Cairo, where he finished high school and began studying law. He returned to Baghdad in February 1963, after army officers belonging to the Baath Party assassinated Kassem and seized control of the government. Nine months later, another army group kicked out the Baaths, and Saddam found himself in prison. He escaped in 1966 but managed to be on hand in 1968 when the Baaths again seized power. Saddam became deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Council with responsibility for internal security. For the next eleven years, he dealt

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Terrorism's War with America: A History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chapter 1 - Skyjackers 1
  • Chapter 2 - Who Are the Terrorists? 9
  • Chapter 3 - Nationalists, Communists, and Insurgents 15
  • Chapter 4 - The Palestine Liberation Organization and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine 21
  • Chapter 5 - The Holy War 37
  • Chapter 6 - Reagan Takes on Terrorism 43
  • Chapter 7 - Muammar Qaddafi 61
  • Chapter 8 - Saddam Hussein 71
  • Chapter 9 - The Blind Sheikh and the Mastermind of Terror 83
  • Chapter 10 - America in Retreat 99
  • Chapter 11 - Osama Bin Laden 107
  • Chapter 12 - Al Qaeda’s War 113
  • Chapter 13 - The Past and the Future 127
  • Epilogue 137
  • Appendix 1 141
  • Appendix 2 145
  • Appendix 3 147
  • Appendix 4 165
  • Selected Bibliography 191
  • Index 195
  • About the Author 203
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