As is often the case, national alignments can change rapidly. During the 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq War, the United States considered Saddam Hussein to be a friend and assisted him with loans . During the 1990s, however, after Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait Hussein was considered one of America's greatest enemies.
He was one of the few modern leaders who used WMDs, specifically chemical weapons, in war; and was the instigator of at least two wars: the Iran-Iraq War during the 1980s and Iraq's August, 1990, invasion of Kuwait.
In 2003 a "coalition of the willing" invaded Iraq to force a change of regime from Saddam's Ba'athist party to a constitutional liberal democracy. A further aim was to break the alliance between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, though this link has never been proven. .
Captured by U.S. forces on December 13, 2003, Saddam was brought to trial under the Iraqi interim government set up by U.S.-led forces. On November 5 2006, he was convicted of charges related to the executions of 148 Iraqi Shi'ites suspected of planning an assassination attempt against him, and was sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam was executed on December 30, 2006. Interestingly, the name "Saddam" means "one who confronts".[Citation Needed]