Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (/hsen/; Arabic: addm usayn Abd al-Mad al-Tikrt;[a] 28 April 1937[b] 30 December 2006) was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization the Iraqi Ba'ath Partywhich espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and socialismSaddam played a key role in the 1968 coup (later referred to as the 17 July Revolution) that brought the party to power in Iraq.
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 conflicts between the government and the armed forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalized oil and other industries. The state-owned banks were put under his control, leaving the system eventually insolvent mostly due to the IranIraq War, the Gulf War, and UN sanctions. Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatus of government as oil money helped Iraq's economy to grow at a rapid pace. Positions of power in the country were mostly filled with Sunni Arabs, a minority that made up only a fifth of the population.