invasion of Kuwait
In July 1979 the president, Ahmed Hasan Al-Bakr, was replaced by Saddam Hussein, his vice president, chosen successor, and the true ruler of Iraq. Saddam then assumed both of the vacated offices and purged political rivals in order to assure his position.
Once more the political situation flared into hostilities with Iran. On September 17, 1980 Saddam declares the Iraqi/Iranian borders agreement (Algiers Agreement) null and void, claiming the whole of Shatt el-Arab back to Iraq.
The Iran-Iraq War, which began 5 days later on September 22, 1980, lasted for eight years and had a crippling effect on the economy of both countries; in which after eight years of war no territory had been gained by either side but an estimated one million lives had been lost.
The Iran-Iraq War was then in its eighth year, when on Wednesday 16th March 1988, Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, who led the campaigns against the Iraqi Kurds in the late eighties, orchestrated a genocide, by attacking Halabja, a predominantly Iraqi Kurdish village in northeastern Iraq near the front lines with Iran, with mustard gas and nerve agents.
Estimates vary, but according to Human Rights Watch up to 5,000 people were killed. The raid was over in minutes. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against his own people. Halabja was in perpetual revolt against the regime of Saddam Hussein, and its inhabitants were mostly supporters of the peshmerga, the Kurdish fighters whose name means "those who face death." Attempts by the United States Congress in 1988 to impose sanctions on Iraq were stifled by the Reagan and Bush Administrations.