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Saddam Hussein's Ba'th Party
Inside an Authoritarian Regime


  • Date Published: February 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521149150

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About the Authors
  • 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 this extraordinarily revealing book and that have been translated and analyzed by Joseph Sassoon, an Iraqi-born scholar 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.

    • The insider story of Saddam Hussein's Iraq told through a massive archive of state documents seized after the American invasion
    • Reveals the horrors of Hussein's authoritarian state and the surveillance network he created
    • Translated and analysed by an Iraqi historian with a deep knowledge of the field and his country of origin
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Sassoon's writing is calm and deliberate.' The Times Literary Supplement

    'In Saddam Hussein's Ba'th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime, Joseph Sassoon has worked his way through the meticulous records in the archives to put together what is a fascinating portrait of the regime, explaining how the Ba'th Party was organized, its relationship with the army, the security organizations, the personality cult around Saddam, and how the regime extended its control over all aspects of life in Iraq.' Emma Sky, International Affairs

    'In this well-written and extensively researched volume, Joseph Sassoon … provides critical insights into the functioning of the Ba'thist party and regime. Deftly analyzing the party's internal structure, intelligence organizations, and relationship with the military, as well as Saddam's personality cult, patterns of control and resistance, and bureaucracy and civil life under the Ba'th, [he] weaves a fascinating narrative of social control and repression.' Eric Davis, Perspectives on Politics

    '… an impressively researched and perceptive book.' Weldon C. Matthews, Arab Studies Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521149150
    • length: 338 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 16 b/w illus. 1 map 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The rise of the Ba'th party
    2. Party structure and organization
    3. The Ba'th party branches
    4. Security organizations during the Ba'th era
    5. The Ba'th and the army
    6. The personality cult of Saddam Hussein
    7. Control and resistance
    8. Bureaucracy and civil life under the Ba'th.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Iraq and Syria in the Twentieth Century
    • Islam and Middle East Politics
    • Religion and Politics: Iran, Iraq and Lebanon
  • Author

    Joseph Sassoon, Georgetown University, Washington DC
    Joseph Sassoon is Adjunct Professor at the Center for Contemporary Arabic Studies at Georgetown University. He is the author of numerous books including Economic Policy in Iraq, 1932–1950 (1987) and The Iraqi Refugees: The New Crisis in the Middle East (2009).

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