In 1980, Detroit gave Saddam Hussein a key to the city out of recognition of donations he made to local churches.
Hussein’s ties to the Motor City started in 1979 after Rev. Jacob Yasso of Chaldean Sacred Heart, a local school, congratulated the soon-to-be-dictator on his presidential win. Hussein thanked Yasso for his support by donating $250,000 to the school.
A year later, in 1980, the city awarded Hussein the key to the city. Yasso made a special trip to Baghdad to present the ruler with his award. Hussein ended up giving Yasso another $200,000 for more improvements to the school.
This was all possible because back in the 1980s the U.S. and the Hussein regime were allies against Iran. Tensions in the region threatened to throttle U.S. oil providers along the Persian Gulf. The U.S. responded to these threats by arming Hussein’s regime.