By the late s the Baa'th regime enjoyed a widespread following among the working classes, and the party was firmly unified around its second-in-command. Hussein, cigar in hand, appeared on television almost nightly, belittling American forces to small groups of Republican Guard commanders.
On 1 JuneSaddam oversaw the seizure of international oil interests, which, at the time, dominated the country's oil sector. Hussein is elected a member of the Ba'ath Party leadership.
On November 5,Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Each of his 20 palaces was kept fully staffed, with meals prepared daily as if he were in residence to disguise his whereabouts. The majority of its members were either educated professionals or students, and Saddam fit the bill.
He wanted them to write off his war debts. During that same time, however, Saddam helped develop Iraq's first chemical weapons program and, to guard against coups, created a powerful security apparatus, which included both Ba'athist paramilitary groups and the People's Army, and which frequently used torture, rape and assassination to achieve its goals.
Saddam established and controlled the "National Campaign for the Eradication of Illiteracy" and the campaign for "Compulsory Free Education in Iraq," and largely under his auspices, the government established universal free schooling up to the highest education levels; hundreds of thousands learned to read in the years following the initiation of the program.
He soon became the architect of Iraq's foreign policy and represented the nation in all diplomatic situations.
However, the crackdown on Iraqi Communists and a shift of trade toward the West strained Iraqi relations with the Soviet Union; Iraq then took on a more Western orientation until the Gulf War in Shortly after U.