November 2, 2011
George Mason University
Presented by the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, Middle East Studies Program, and the Working Group on Displaced Populations
A talk by leading scholar Joseph Sassoon, whose latest book focuses on the intricacies of Saddam Hussein's iron grip over Iraq.
The Ba'th Party came to power in 1968 and remained for thirty-five years, until the 2003 US invasion. Under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, who became president of Iraq in 1979, a powerful authoritarian regime was created based on a system of violence and an extraordinary surveillance network, as well as reward schemes and incentives for supporters of the party. The true horrors of this regime have been exposed for the first time through a massive archive of government documents captured by the United States after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It is these documents that form the basis of an extraordinarily revealing book and that have been translated and analyzed by Joseph Sassoon, an Iraqi-born and seasoned commentator on the Middle East. They uncover the secrets of the innermost workings of Hussein's Revolutionary Command Council, how the party was structured, how it operated via its network of informers, and how the system of rewards functioned. Saddam Hussein's authority was dominant. His decision was final, whether arbitrating the promotion of a junior official or the death of a rival or a member of his family.
Forum on Muslim and Arab Affairs
FAMA is the research arm of the Arab Studies Institute.