Saddam Hussein is the current Iraqi president and has caused major problems in recent Middle Eastern history. He was born on April 28, 1937 in the Tikrit District of Iraq. Hussein attended the University of Cairo Law in 1962 and obtained a law degree in 1971 at the University of Baghdad. He earned the rank of Lt. General of the Iraqi armed forces and served his country their from 1973 to 1976 when he attained the rank of General. Hussein has had a very dark past. In 1959 he participated in the assassination of Iraqi leader Abdul Karim Kessem. He joined the Ba'ath party in 1957 and in 1968 Hussein organized the militia used to, in a bloodless coup, bring the Ba'ath party to power in Iraq. He became president and prime minister of Iraq in 1979. He then used the oil wealth of the nation to mold Iraq into a major military power in the Middle East. He since has led his country into the Iran-Iraq War of 1980 and the Persian Gulf War of 1991, both of which were about Iraq's wanting to gain control of another country's oil fields. Hussein currently still poses a threat to the Middle East's attempt for peace.