Saddam �i consolidase puterea �ntr-o �ar� cu tensiuni profunde. Mult �nainte de Saddam, Irakul era �mp�r�it �n linii sociale, etnice, economice �i religioase: musulman Sunnit-musulman �iit, Arab-Kurd, �ef tribal-negustor or�ean, nomad-��ran. Deci, o conducere stabil� �ntr-o �ar� �mp�r�it� dup� fac�ionalism politic �i conflict necesit� condi�ii de via�� mai bune. Saddam s-a preocupat personal de modernizarea Irakului, la centrul c�ruia st�tea petrolul. Iat� c�teva din programele sale:
exproprierea companiilor occidentale pe 1 iunie 1972. (not�: odat� ce pre�urile petrolului au crescut �n urma crizei din 1973, Saddam a putut s� foloseasc� profiturile cresc�nde pentru �i mai multe programe de modernizare);
"Campania na�ional� pentru eradicarea analfabetismului" �i campania pentru "�colarizare obligatorie gratuit� �n Irak";
ini�ializarea �colariz�rii gratuite �i spitaliz�rii gratuite de c�tre guvern (�n mare parte sub recomand�rile lui Saddam);
o revolu�ie �n industriile de energie �i �n servicii publice, �n urma c�rora electricitatea a fost adus� �n fiecare ora� din Irak;
reforma agricol� �mp�r�ea domeniile de�in�torilor de p�m�nt ��ranilor;
creerea cooperativelor (pentru a preveni ce se �nt�mplase �n URSS �n perioada stalinist� sau �n China maoist�) pentru antrenarea ��ranilor necalifica�i;
dublarea cheltuielilor pentru agricultur� �ntre 1974-1975;
condi�ii mai bune de via�� pentru ��rani;
Saddam consolidated power in a nation riddled with profound tensions. Long before Saddam, Iraq had been split along social, ethnic, religious, and economic fault lines: Sunni Islam Sunni versus Shi'a Islam Shi'ite, Arab versus Kurds Kurd, tribal chief versus urban merchant, nomad versus peasant. Stable rule in a country rife with actionalism required the improvement of living standards. Saddam moved up the ranks in the new government by aiding attempts to strengthen and unify the Ba'ath party and taking a leading role in addressing the country's major domestic problems and expanding the party's following.
Saddam actively fostered the modernization of the Iraqi economy along with the creation of a strong security apparatus to prevent coups within the power structure and insurrections apart from it. Ever concerned with broadening his base of support among the diverse elements of Iraqi society and mobilizing mass support, he closely followed the administration of state welfare and development programs.
At the center of this strategy was Iraq's oil. On June 1, 1972, Saddam oversaw the seizure of international oil interests, which, at the time, had a monopoly on the country's oil. A year later, world oil prices rose dramatically as a result of the 1973 energy crisis, and skyrocketing revenues enabled Saddam to expand his agenda.
Within just a few years, Iraq was providing social services that were unprecedented among Middle Eastern countries. Saddam established and controlled the "National Campaign for the Eradication of Illiteracy" and the campaign for "Compulsory Free Education in Iraq," and largely under his auspices, the government established universal free schooling up to the highest education levels; hundreds of thousands learned to read in the years following the initiation of the program. The government also supported families of soldiers, granted free hospitalization to everyone, and gave subsidies to farmers. Iraq created one of the most modernized public-health systems in the Middle East, earning Saddam an award from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
To diversify the largely oil-based economy of Iraq|economy, Saddam implemented a national infrastructure campaign that made great progress in building roads, promoting mining, and developing other industries. The campaign revolutionized Iraq's energy industries. Electricity was brought to nearly every city in Iraq, and many outlying areas.
Before the 1970s, most of Iraq's people lived in the countryside, where Saddam himself was born and raised, and roughly two-thirds were peasants. But this number would decrease quickly during the 1970s as the country invested much of its oil profits into industrial expansion.
Nevertheless, Saddam focused intensely on fostering loyalty to the Ba'athist government in the rural areas. After nationalizing foreign oil interests, Saddam supervised the modernization of the countryside, mechanizing [[agriculture]] on a large scale, and distributing land to peasant farmers.<ref name="ref6">Khadduri, Majid. ''Socialist Iraq''. The Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C., 1978.</ref> The Ba'athists established farm cooperatives, in which profits were distributed according to the labors of the individual and the unskilled were trained. The government's commitment to agrarian reform was demonstrated by the doubling of expenditures for agricultural development in 1974-1975. Moreover, agrarian reform in Iraq improved the living standard of the peasantry and increased production, though not to the levels Saddam had hoped for.
Saddam became personally associated with Ba'athist welfare and economic development programs in the eyes of many Iraqis, widening his appeal both within his traditional base and among new sectors of the population.