Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (April 28, 1937 – December 30, 2006) was the President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Ba'ath Party, which espoused secular pan-Arabism, economic modernization, and Arab socialism, Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to long-term power.
As vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, and at a time when many groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government, Saddam created security forces through which he tightly controlled conflict between the government and the armed forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam spearheaded Iraq's nationalization of the Western-owned Iraq Petroleum Company, which had long held a monopoly on the country's oil. Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatuses of government as Iraq's economy grew at a rapid pace.
As president, Saddam maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War of 1980 through 1988, and throughout the Persian Gulf War of 1991. During these conflicts, Saddam suppressed several movements, particularly Shi'a and Kurdish movements seeking to overthrow the government or gain independence, respectively. Whereas some Arabs venerated him for his aggressive stance against foreign intervention and for his support for the Palestinians, other Arabs and Western leaders vilified him as the force behind both a deadly attack on northern Iraq in 1988 and, two years later, an invasion of Kuwait to the south.
By 2003, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush perceived that Saddam remained sufficiently relevant and dangerous to be overthrown. In March of that year, the U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq, eventually deposing Saddam. Captured by U.S. forces on 13 December 2003, Saddam was brought to trial under the Iraqi interim government set up by U.S.-led forces. On 5 November 2006, he was convicted of charges related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites convicted of planning an assassination attempt against him, and was sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam was executed on 30 December 2006. By the time of his death, Saddam had become a prolific author. Among his works are multiple novels dealing with themes of romance, politics, and war.