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Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr

General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr (1914 - 1982) was President of Iraq from 1968 to 1979.

A leading member of the Ba'ath Party he orchestrated the 1963 coup that overhthrew Iraq's military leader Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i. A few months later the Ba'athists were in turn deposed by another coup. In 1967 a third coup occurred and the Ba'athists returned to power, installing al-Bakr as Iraqi's fourth president.

Al-Bakr is best known for appointing Saddam Hussein as his Vice President. As the president got older, more and more authority was gradually delegated to Hussein, and by the mid 70's the vice president had established virtual de facto rule over the entire nation.

On July 16, 1979 the 65-year-old Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr stepped down and Saddam Hussein assumed the presidency in a move that was widely regarded as little more than a formality.