War with the West



In the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war, faced with a disrupted society and a debt-ridden economy, Saddam Hussein strove to achieve a balance between constructive reform and characteristic authoritarian control. As a way of flushing out political opposition within the country, he offered an amnesty to domestic dissidents; at the same time he invited political offenders outside Iraq to return home. In late 1988 Saddam launched ‘what seemed an Iraqi perestroika’.1 A new constitution was promised and also a range of economic reforms that would relax the Ba’athist grip on the nation. There was even the prospect of a new electoral law that would allow the emergence of a multi-party system, and Information Minister Latif Jasim commented that a free press was now a matter of ‘paramount interest’. Saddam also tried to build on what he declared as the Iraqi victory over Iran, a supposed triumph that had — according to Saddam — established the Iraqi leadership of the Arab world.


Saudi Arabia Security Council Arab World World Order Foreign Minister 
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© Geoff Simons 1994

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