I Knew Saddam Hussein

Al Jazeera speaks to those who knew the former Iraqi president.

Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president, was executed on December 30, 2006. His death, like his life, was filled with controversy.

Saddam Hussein was born into humble beginnings, but his straightforward, brutal efficiency eventually propelled him to power.

By 1979 he had absolute control of Iraq, and had become a prominent figure on the world stage.

Saddam during his trial in 2006

In the 1980’s he formed an alliance of sorts with the US and with their support and encouragement, instigated a war with Iran.

But that alliance was short lived and in 1990, after Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, his powerful American friends deserted and turned against him. 

The US launched attacks against him, which over the course of 15 years and two wars, led to his downfall and the destruction of Iraq.

I Knew Saddam talks to Saddam’s supporters and his critics, revealing a life that in many ways has changed the way the Middle East is seen by others, and by itself.

“Saddam gave us a lot of things. The development of the country … but I think what he took away from us in the meantime, was our very souls. We got into a stage where we were fearing each other, where husbands and wives didn’t talk to each other, where parents were afraid to express anything in front of their kids because the teachers often asked the kids, ‘what does daddy think of uncle Saddam? What does your mummy think of uncle Saddam?.’ And there are horror stories of parents being executed because of the child,” Zainab Salbi, Women for Women International.

I Knew Saddam was first broadcast on Al Jazeera English in 2007.