Hungry For Hegemony Saddam Hussein And The Us Moden History Essay

1809 words - 8 pages

As a nation with an extensive history of corruption, violence and tyranny, Iraq has undergone immense periods of social change and progression, at the hands if its various political leaders and influences particularly throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Recognised as the instigator for various international wars and conflicts, the actions of 5th Iraqi president Saddam Hussein have been condemned worldwide, and his involvement regarding The Gulf War of 1991 brought [his] name to the forefront of Western thinking, throughout the Middle East region. The political relationship between Iraq and the US had never been strong, and from 1991 onwards any political links between the two countries evaporated because of both US and Hussein policies. As a result, the US invaded to removed Saddam in 2003, creating the worst US war since Vietnam.

Elected as president in 1979, Saddam Hussein was considered a violent and brutal leader by both the Iraqi public, and by other world powers. His goals as the president of Iraq were simple; to suppress any internal opposition of his rule, and to achieve hegemony or total dominance, over the Persian Gulf[footnoteRef:1], using violence and tyranny where he deemed necessary. He rose to power following the deposition of former president Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and had a strong background in politics due to both his father and uncle being representatives of local government.[footnoteRef:2] Saddam remained in office for 24 years before his execution on the 9th of April in 2003[footnoteRef:3]. Despite his lethal capabilities, Iraq needed a strong leader, and they saw this is Hussein. Whilst the belief that Saddam was a viscous dictator was present, many also believed that he was the only man capable of defying and challenging Israel and the West; a symbol of Arab steadfastness in the face of Western aggression.[footnoteRef:4] [1: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Saddam Hussein: President of Iraq, 2016 [website]] [2: Wikipedia, Saddam Hussein, (undated) [website]] [3: ibid] [4: BBC News, Decision Making and Diplomacy – Saddam Hussein: His Rise to Power, 2001 [website]]

The few years leading up to 1979 were crucial, in terms of Hussein’s ride to power, as he proved himself as a dictator, who [was] ready to sacrifice his country, if he can remain on his throne in Baghdad.[footnoteRef:5] Hussein’s presidency began well, and within the first few under his rule, Iraq saw multiple successes, including improved public education and health departments, and well as an overall improvement in living conditions, all on the back of high oil prices.[footnoteRef:6] [5: ibid] [6: Kathleen Moore, Iraq: The Rise and Fall of Saddam Hussein, 2003 [website]]

Throughout the Cold War, Iraq had been an ally of the Soviet Union – the ultimate enemy of the United States.[footnoteRef:7]. US powers generally disliked Iraq and their diplomacy, based off their ongoing support for many Arab and Palestinian extremist militant groups....

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