We already brought you part one of our list of 15 things you probably didn’t know about Saddam Hussein, and now we’re back with part two! Check out eight more fascinating facts about one of our history’s most deplorable people. Who knows – you might learn something new!
Number Eight: The United States Helped Him Defeat Iran. Throughout the 1980s, the Iran-Iraq War was raging. The United States decided to provide Hussein and his regime with weapons and aid because he was essentially seen as the lesser of two evils. Interestingly, the same weaponry and aid used to help Hussein was then used against the United States during the first Gulf War and the Iraq War.
Number Seven: His Cousin Was a Major Player. Hussein’s cousin was Ali Hassan Al-Majid, who was later nicknamed “Chemical Ali.” Chemical Ali got his name by using chemical weapons to kill more than 180,000 Kurds. The kinds of chemical warfare he used include sarin, tabun, mustard gas, and VX.
Number Six: Under His Reign, Men Could Kill Women Without Consequence. In the 1970s, Hussein passed a law into Iraq that allowed any man to kill a woman without any fear of punishment – with one stipulation. That stipulation was that the man had to be able to prove that he killed the woman in defense of his family’s honor. However, considering the phrase “family honor” was never defined, this caused a lot of trouble.
Number Five: He Proposed a Live Debate Against George W. Bush. Weeks before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Hussein tried to prevent the impending war by proposing a live debate with president at the time George W. Bush. However, Bush obviously did not accept the proposal, and the United States did end up invading Iraq.
Number Four: His Government Donated to Poor Americans. In 2001, Hussein’s Iraqi government announced that $94 million would be donated to poor Americans. Apparently, Hussein wanted to aid Americans in poverty in the same way he had helped poor Palestinians.
Number Three: He Didn’t Convert to Islam Until the Late 1990s. Hussein was very publicly criticized by the Arab world for his lack of faith. Because of this, he finally converted to Islam by the end of the 1990s.
Number Two: He Received a UNESCO Award. Yes, that’s right. Hussein was awarded a UNESCO award for his efforts to raise the standard of living in Iraq.
Number One: He Went on a Hunger Strike. During his trial, Hussein had to be hospitalized because he was suffering from malnutrition due to a hunger strike. He launched the strike because he believed what the courts were doing to him was illegal.