Iraqi 25-dinar note bearing his image, with vignette depicting the
Battle of Qadisyyah
Currency, unsigned, 6½x2¾. Iraqi paper currency, a 25-dinar note,
dating from the Saddam Hussein era and bearing his image in uniform. Vignette
depicts the Battle of Qadisyyah (636), at which Arab Moslems defeated the
Persians, paving the way for the spread of Islam in Iraq and soon after Iran. On
verso are several lines of text in Arabic, below a large question mark.
Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) was President of Iraq from 1979-2003.
He had risen to power through the Ba'ath Party, which advocated Arab nationalism
and socialism, and took power in Iraq in 1968. As Vice President in the 1970s,
Saddam built and controlled the security apparatus, the key to his ruthless
dictatorship in the following decades. While consolidating his power at home,
and suppressing dissent with force, Saddam pursued an expansionist foreign
policy, invading revolutionary Iran in 1980. The Iran-Iraq War
(1980-1988) went well for Iraq at first, but the tide of battle turned, and
Iraq was forced to withdraw to its previous borders. Despite the nation's oil
revenue, Iraq was nearly bankrupt after Saddam's war and lavish arms purchases,
and in 1990 the dictator settled on a new and apparently easy target: oil-rich
but virtually defenseless neighbor Kuwait. Again, Saddam had miscalculated, a
broad coalition built through the efforts of US President Bush expelled Iraq
from Kuwait and crushed a large portion of the Iraqi army. Saddam remained
in power, however, despite no-fly zones and other restrictions on his freedom of
action. In March 2003, claiming that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction
and was in league with terrorism, President George W. Bush sent US and allied
forces into Iraq again, this time overthrowing Saddam's regime. Replacing
Saddam's dictatorship with a stable new order has proven difficult, but the man
himself was captured in December 2003, tried, and executed in December
2006. Fine condition.
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