Gaddafi vs Saddam
Saddam and Gaddafi are two autocratic rulers of our times who had an iron grip over their countries and their people. Saddam was the President of Iraq while Gaddafi was the unofficial ruler of Libya. The reason why the two autocratic rulers of two different countries are being spoken of in the same breath is because of the same tragic end both of them met. While US invaded Iraq and capture Saddam alive and later hanged him, Gaddafi was killed brutally by his own people who revolted against his tyrannical rule. There are many differences between Saddam and Gaddafi, which will be discussed in this article.
Colonel Gaddafi was the ruler of Libya from 1969 till his death in 2011. He was a junior officer in the army when he took over the reign of the country after a bloodless coup to depose the then King Idris. He controlled the African country for 42 long years with a firmness that is rarely seen. He was a popular leader for long, and after serving as the Prime Minister for 8 years, he stepped down from power and since 1977 had been controlling the nation without a post. Gaddafi accepted a small promotion from Captain to Colonel unlike other dictators who assumed the title of General after taking over power in their countries. Under his regime, Libya became the richest African state with the highest per capita income in the continent though the people remained poor and unemployment slowly kept creeping up. Oil in Libya played a big role in the prosperity of the nation.
The west never had problems with Gaddafi as long as he supplied oil on a regular basis. It was in the 80’s that Gaddafi started a program to develop chemical weapons and went to war with several countries. This made the west angry and the UN called Libya an outcast among nations.
While Gaddafi supported liberation movements, he is also credited with sponsoring rebel movements in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone. Because of these confusing policies, the west could not understand the real nature of Gaddafi. Slowly, his regime came to be implicated in terrorist movements. He was also held responsible for killings in Munich Olympics. It was in the 80’s during Reagan era that tension between Libya and west reached its peak, and he was terms as a mad dog of Middle East.
Libya had to face economic sanctions from the west all of 90’s, because of suspected role in Lockerbie bombings that saw 270 people being killed in mid air in a Pan Am airplane. It was in 2003 when Saddam was captured that Gaddafi confessed of an active program of weapons of mass destruction, and pledged to allow UN inspectors to come and dismantle them. It was in the beginning of 2011 that voices of dissent became prominent and protests against his rule intensified. Revolts against regimes in Egypt and Tunisia led to a similar revolt in Libya that culminated in rebels capturing and killing Gaddafi on October 20, 2011.
Saddam was a member of Iraqi Baath Party that staged a bloodless coup in 1968 to catapult him to power. He became the 5th President of Iraq and remained in power till the time of his arrest by US troops in 2003. Saddam nationalized banks and put Sunnis in position of power to cement his authority (he was a Sunni). From 1980-1988, Iraq was at war with Iran, and Saddam also had to suppress Kurdish and Shia revolts. He came into the international limelight because of the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Gulf War of 1991 under US leadership freed Kuwait from Iraq but Saddam remained at the helm of affairs in Iraq.
Saddam was a popular leader in Iraq, but in 2003, US decided to invade Iraq suspecting Iraq to be involved in a program of weapons of mass destruction. He was captured in December 2003 and convicted of a charge of killing 148 Shia people. Finally, on 30 December 2006, Saddam was executed by US.
What is the difference between Gaddafi and Saddam?
• Gaddafi died at the hands of his own men while Saddam died through execution by US.
• Gaddafi ruled without a post while Saddam was the President till he was captured.
• Saddam was suspected of continuing a program of weapons of mass destruction while Gaddafi accepted such a program and agreed to abolish it after Saddam was arrested in 2003.
• Gaddafi engaged with the west easily and frequently while Saddam was not in the good books of US.
• It was the involvement of Libya in Lockerbie bombings that made Gaddafi a villain in the eyes of the west.