1991-2003: The No-Fly Zones Main: Iraqi no-fly zones See also: United Nations Security Council Resolution 688, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Southern Focus, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch, Iraqi Kurdistan, Oil-for-Food Programme Following the 1991 Gulf War, the United Nations mandated that Iraqi chemical, biological, nuclear, and long range missile programs be verifiably halted and all such weapons verifiably destroyed. (Res. 687) U.N. weapons inspectors inside Iraq were able to verify the destruction of a large amount of WMD-material, but substantial issues remained unresolved after they left Iraq in 1998 due to the lack of cooperation by the Iraqi government.
Prior to the invasion, the United States and the United Kingdom (accompanied by France until 1998) had been engaged in a low-level conflict with Iraq, by enforcing the two Iraqi no-fly zones in the north and the south of the country. These zones were created following the Persian Gulf War. Iraqi air-defense installations repeatedly targeted American and British air patrols and were often engaged by the coalition aircraft shortly afterwards.
Approximately nine months after the 9/11 attacks, the United States initiated Operation Southern Focus as a change to its response strategy, by increasing the overall number of missions and selecting targets throughout the no-fly zones in order to disrupt the military command structure in Iraq. The weight of bombs dropped increased from none in March 2002 and 0.3 in April 2002 to between 8 and 14 tons per month in May-August, reaching a pre-war peak of 54.6 tons in September 2002.
2002-2003: Iraq Disarmament Crisis Main: Iraq disarmament crisis (Timeline) See also: Governments' pre-war positions on invasion of Iraq, Public relations preparations for 2003 invasion of Iraq, The UN Security Council and the Iraq war, American government position on invasion of Iraq, Legitimacy of the invasion, Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, The issue of Iraq's disarmament reached a crisis in 2002-2003, when U.S. President George W. Bush demanded a complete end to alleged Iraqi production and use of weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq comply with UN Resolutions requiring UN inspectors unfettered access to areas those inspectors thought might have weapons production facilities. Iraq had been banned by the United Nations from developing or possessing such weapons since the 1991 Gulf War. It was also required to permit inspections to confirm Iraqi compliance. Bush repeatedly backed demands for unfettered inspection and disarmament with threats of invasion.
Iraq reluctantly agreed to new inspections in late 2002. The inspectors didn't find any WMD stockpiles, but they did not view Iraqi declarations as credible either.
In early 2003, the United States, United Kingdom, and Spain proposed another resolution on Iraq, which they called the "eighteenth resolution" to give Iraq a deadline to comply with previous resolutions before a possible military intervention. This proposed resolution was subsequently withdrawn because not enough countries would have supported it. In particular, NATO members France and Germany, together with Russia, were opposed to a military intervention in Iraq, on the ground that it would be very risky, in terms of security, for the international community, and defended a diplomatic process of disarmament. On January 20, 2003, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin declared "...we believe that military intervention would be the worst solution".
In March 2003 the U.S. government announced that "diplomacy has failed" and that it would proceed with a coalition of allied countries, named "coalition of the willing", to rid Iraq of its alleged weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's disarmament was supported by a majority of Congress, who passed the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq on the 11 October 2002. This authorization was used by the Bush Administration as the legal basis for the United States to invade Iraq.
On September 16, 2004 Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations, speaking on the invasion, said, "I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal."
2003: Invasion Main articles: 2003 invasion of Iraq, 2003 Iraq war timeline, and List of people associated with the 2003 invasion of Iraq See also: Military operations of the Iraq War for a list of all Coalition operations for this period, Iraq War order of battle The 2003 invasion of Iraq began on March 20, under the U.S. codename "Operation Iraqi Freedom." The British military's codename for their participation in the invasion was called Operation Telic. The coalition forces cooperated with Kurdish peshmerga forces in the north. Approximately forty other nations, dubbed "coalition of the willing," also participated by providing equipment, services and security as well as special forces. The initial coalition military forces were roughly 300,900, of which 98% of whom were U.S. and British troops. The invasion, on March 20, 2003, marked the the beginning of the war.
April 2003: Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraq Survey Group Main articles: Coalition Provisional Authority, Iraq Survey Group, and Iraqi Governing Council See also: International Advisory and Monitoring Board, CPA Program Review Board, Development Fund for Iraq, Reconstruction of Iraq Shortly after the invasion, the multinational coalition created the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) سلطة الائتلاف الموحدة as a transitional government of Iraq until the establishment of a democratic government. Citing UN Security Council Resolution 1483 (2003), and the laws of war, the CPA vested itself with executive, legislative, and judicial authority over the Iraqi government from the period of the CPA's inception on April 21, 2003, until its dissolution on June 28, 2004.
The CPA was originally headed by Jay Garner, a former U.S. military officer, but his appointment lasted for only a brief time. After Garner resigned, President Bush appointed L. Paul Bremer as the head the CPA and he served until the CPA's dissolution in July 2004.
Another group created in the spring of 2003 was the Iraq Survey Group (ISG). This was a fact-finding mission sent by the multinational force in Iraq after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs developed by Iraq under the regime of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Its final report is commonly called the Duelfer Report. It consisted of a 1,400-member international team organized by The Pentagon and CIA to hunt for suspected stockpiles of WMD, such as chemical and biological agents, and any supporting research programs and infrastructure that could be used to develop WMD. The ISG has been unable to find these.
May 2003: "End of Major Combat"
Map of the Sunni TriangleMain article: Post-invasion Iraq, 2003–2006 Further information: U.S. list of most-wanted Iraqis On May 1, 2003, President Bush staged a dramatic visit to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln while the ship was a few miles west of San Diego. The Lincoln was on its way home to Everett, Washington from a long deployment which had included service in the Persian Gulf. The visit climaxed at sunset with his now well-known "Mission Accomplished" speech. In this nationally-televised speech, delivered before the sailors and airmen on the flight deck, Bush effectively declared victory due to the defeat of Iraq's conventional forces. However, Saddam Hussein remained at large and significant pockets of resistance remained.
After Bush's speech, the coalition military noticed a gradually increasing flurry of attacks on its troops in various regions, especially in the "Sunni Triangle". In the initial chaos after the fall of the Iraqi government, there was massive looting of infrastructure, including government buildings, official residences, museums, banks, and military depots. According to The Pentagon, 250,000 tons (of 650,000 tons total) of ordnance was looted, providing a significant source of ammunition for Iraqi insurgents. The insurgents were further helped by hundreds of weapons caches created by the conventional Iraqi army and Republican Guard beforehand.
Initially, the resistance largely stemmed from fedayeen and loyalists of Saddam Hussein or the Ba'ath Party, but soon religious radicals and Iraqis angered by the occupation contributed to the insurgency. The insurgents are generally known to the Coalition forces as "Anti-Iraqi Forces."
Most initial insurgency was concentrated in the Sunni Triangle, which includes Baghdad. The three provinces that had the highest number of attacks were Baghdad, Anbar, and Salah Ad Din. -Those 3 provinces account for 35% of the population, but are responsible for 73% of U.S. military deaths (as of December 5, 2006), and an even higher percentage of recent U.S. military deaths (about 80%). This resistance has been described as a type of guerrilla warfare. Insurgent tactics include mortars, missiles, suicide bombers, snipers (cf. Juba, the Baghdad Sniper), improvised explosive devices (IEDs), roadside bombs, car bombs, small arms fire (usually with assault rifles), and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), as well as sabotage against the oil, water, and electrical infrastructure.
American soldier and an Iraqi childPost-invasion Iraq coalition efforts commenced after the fall of the Hussein regime. The coalition nations, together with the United Nations, began to work to establish a stable democratic state capable of defending itself, holding itself together as well as overcoming insurgent attacks and internal divisions.
Meanwhile, coalition military forces launched several operations around the Tigris River peninsula and in the Sunni Triangle. A series of similar operations were launched throughout the summer in the Sunni Triangle. Toward the end of 2003, the intensity and pace of insurgent attacks began to increase. A sharp surge in guerrilla attacks ushered in an insurgent effort that was termed the "Ramadan Offensive", as it coincided with the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Coalition forces brought to bear the use of air power for the first time since the end of the invasion. Suspected ambush sites and mortar launching positions were struck from the air and with artillery fire. Surveillance of major routes, patrols, and raids on suspected insurgents were stepped up. In addition, two villages, including Saddam’s birthplace of al-Auja and the small town of Abu Hishma were wrapped in barbed wire and carefully monitored.
However, the failure to restore basic services to above pre-war levels, where over a decade of sanctions, bombing, corruption, and decaying infrastructure had left major cities functioning at much-reduced levels, also contributed to local anger at the IPA government headed by an executive council. On July 2, 2003, President Bush declared that American troops would remain in Iraq in spite of the attacks, challenging the insurgents with "My answer is, bring 'em on", a line the President later expressed misgivings about having used. In the summer of 2003, the multinational forces also focused on hunting down the remaining leaders of the former regime. On July 22, 2003, during a raid by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and soldiers from Task Force 20, Saddam Hussein's sons (Uday and Qusay) and one of his grandsons were killed. In all, over 300 top leaders of the former regime were killed or captured, as well as numerous lesser functionaries and military personnel.
December 2003: Saddam captured See also: Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal and Trial of Saddam Hussein In the wave of intelligence information fueling the raids on remaining Ba'ath Party members connected to insurgency, Saddam Hussein himself was captured on December 13, 2003 on a farm near Tikrit in Operation Red Dawn. The operation was conducted by the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division and members of Task Force 121.
With the capture of Saddam and a drop in the number of insurgent attacks, some concluded the multinational forces were prevailing in the fight against the insurgency. With the weather growing cooler, Coalition forces were able to operate in full armor which reduced their casualty rate. The provisional government began training the New Iraqi Security forces intended to defend the country, and the United States promised over $20 billion in reconstruction money in the form of credit against Iraq's future oil revenues. Of this, less than half a billion dollars had been spent in 10 months after it had been promised. Oil revenues were also used for rebuilding schools and for work on the electrical and refining infrastructure.
Shortly after the capture of Saddam, elements left out of the Coalition Provisional Authority began to agitate for elections and the formation of an Iraqi Interim Government. Most prominent among these was the Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani. The Coalition Provisional Authority opposed allowing democratic elections at this time, preferring instead to eventually hand-over power to the Interim Iraqi Government. Due to the internal fight for power in the new Iraqi government more insurgents stepped up their activities. The two most turbulent centers were the area around Fallujah and the poor Shia sections of cities from Baghdad (Sadr City) to Basra in the south.
2004: The Insurgency expands See also: Military operations of the Iraq War for a list of all Coalition operations for this period, 2004 in Iraq, Iraqi coalition counter-insurgency operations, History of Iraqi insurgency, United States occupation of Fallujah, Iraq Spring Fighting of 2004 The start of 2004 was marked by a relative lull in violence. Insurgent forces reorganized during this time, studying the multinational forces' tactics and planning a renewed offensive. Guerrilla attacks were less intense. However, in late 2004 foreign fighters from around the Middle East as well as al-Qaeda in Iraq (an affiliated al-Qaeda group), led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would help to drive the insurgency.
As the insurgent activity increased, there was a distinct change in targeting from the coalition forces towards the new Iraqi Security Forces, as hundreds of Iraqi civilians and police were killed over the next few months in a series of massive bombings. One hypothesis for these increased bombings is that the relevance of Saddam Hussein and his followers was diminishing in direct proportion to the influence of radical Islamists, both foreign and Iraqi. An organized Sunni insurgency, with deep roots and both nationalist and Islamist motivations, was becoming more powerful throughout Iraq. The Mahdi Army also began launching attacks on coalition targets in an attempt to seize control from Iraqi security forces. The southern and central portions of Iraq were beginning to erupt in urban guerrilla combat as multinational forces attempted to keep control and prepared for a counteroffensive.
The coalition and the Coalition Provisional Authority decided to face the growing insurgency with a pair of assaults: one on Fallujah, the center of the "Mohammed's Army of Al-Ansar", and another on Najaf, home of an important mosque that had become the focal point for the Mahdi Army and its activities.
The crowds mob the bridge on which two corpses are hangedOn March 31, 2004 - Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah ambushed a convoy containing four American private military contractors from Blackwater USA who were conducting delivery for food caterers ESS. The four armed contractors, Scott Helvenston, Jerko Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague, were dragged from their cars, beaten, and set ablaze. Their burned corpses were then dragged through the streets before being hung over a bridge crossing the Euphrates. Photos of the event were released to news agencies worldwide, causing a great deal of indignation and moral outrage in the United States, and prompting the announcement of a upcoming "pacification" of the city.
April 2004: The First Battle of Fallujah Main: First Battle of Fallujah See also: White phosphorus use in Iraq After this incident, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force began plans to re-establish a coalition presence in Fallujah. On April 4, the multinational forces began assaults to clear Fallujah of insurgents. On April 9, the multinational force allowed more than 70,000 women, children and elderly residents to leave the besieged city, reportedly also allowing males of military age to leave. Meanwhile, insurgents were taking advantage of the lull in combat to prepare defenses for a second assault. On April 10, the military declared a unilateral truce to allow for humanitarian supplies to enter Fallujah. Troops pulled back to the outskirts of the city; local leaders reciprocated the ceasefire, although lower-level intense fighting on both sides continued. During the assault, U.S. forces used white phosphorus as one of the weapons on the insurgents. This use of a chemical weapon attracted controversy.
When the Iraqi Governing Council protested against the U.S. assault to retake Fallujah, the U.S. military halted its efforts. In the April battle for Fallujah, Coalition troops killed about 600 insurgents and a number of civilians, while 40 Americans died and hundreds were wounded in a fierce battle. The Marines were ordered to stand-down and cordon off the city, maintaining a perimeter around Fallujah. A compromise was reached in order to ensure security within Fallujah itself by creating the local "Fallujah Brigade". While the Marines attacking had a clear advantage in ground firepower and air support, LtGen Conway decided to accept a truce and a deal which put a former Ba'athist general in complete charge of the town's security. The Fallujah Brigade's responsibility was to secure Fallujah and put a stop to insurgent mortar attacks on the nearby U.S. Marine bases. This compromise soon fell apart and insurgent attacks returned, causing Marine commanders to begin preparations for a second attack in the coming fall. By the end of the spring uprising, the cities of Fallujah, Samarra, Baquba, and Ramadi had been left under guerrilla control with coalition patrols in the cities at a minimum.
Early-mid 2004: The Shi'ite south Meanwhile, the fighting continued in the Shiite south, and Italian and Polish forces were having increasing difficulties retaining control over Nasiriya and Najaf. United States Marines were then shifted there to put down the overt rebellion and proceeded to rout Muqtada al-Sadr's Shiite militia. In all, April, May and early June saw more fighting. Over the next three months, the multinational forces took back the southern cities. Also, various insurgent leaders entered into negotiations with the provisional government to lay down arms and enter the political process.
June 2004: Iraqi Interim government and the Battle of Najaf Main article: Iraqi Interim Government On June 28, 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred the "sovereignty" of Iraq to a caretaker government, whose first act was to begin the trial of Saddam Hussein. However, fighting continued in the form of the Iraqi insurgency. The new government began the process of moving towards open elections, though the insurgency and the lack of cohesion within the government itself, had led to delays.
One of the results of this weakened government was an increase in power of the sectarian militias. This was most clearly seen when the religious and militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr took control of the holy city of Najaf. After negotiations broke down between Sadr and the Interim Iraqi government, the government asked the Coalition for help in dislodging him. So in July and August, coalition forces and the Mahdi Army fought in the Battle of Najaf which culminated in the siege of the Imam Ali Mosque. Fighting ended only after a peace deal brokered by Grand Ayatollah Sistani in late August.
November 2004: The Second Battle of Fallujah Further information: United States occupation of Fallujah The First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004 created an area of extreme instability and a de facto insurgent safe zone. After several months of this situation, in November 2004 coalition forces attacked and successfully captured Fallujah in the Second Battle of Fallujah. This battle resulted in the reputed death of around 1,200 insurgent fighters. The U.S. Marines (the main coalition force in combat) also took substantial casualties with 95 dead and around 500 wounded in action. According to local sources, hundreds of civilians were also killed and much of the city was destroyed in the battle.
2005: Elections and Sovereignty transferred to Iraqi Transitional Government Main articles: Iraqi legislative election, 2005, Iraqi Transitional Government, and 2005 in Iraq
An Iraqi Army unit prepares to board a Task Force Baghdad UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter for a counterinsurgency mission in Baghdad.On January 31, an election for a government to draft a permanent constitution took place. Although some violence and lack of widespread Sunni Arab participation marred the event, most of the eligible Kurd and Shia populace participated. On February 4, Paul Wolfowitz announced that 15,000 U.S. troops whose tours of duty had been extended in order to provide election security would be pulled out of Iraq by the next month. February, March and April proved to be relatively peaceful months compared to the carnage of November and January, with insurgent attacks averaging 30 a day from the prior average of 70.
Hopes for a quick end to an insurgency and a withdrawal of U.S. troops were dashed at the advent of May, Iraq's bloodiest month since the invasion by U.S. forces in March and April of 2003. Suicide bombers, believed to be mainly disheartened Iraqi Sunni Arabs, Syrians and Saudis, tore through Iraq. Their targets were often Shia gatherings or civilian concentrations mainly of Shias. As a result, over 700 Iraqi civilians died in that month, as well as 79 U.S. soldiers.
During early and mid-May, the U.S. also launched Operation Matador, an assault by around 1,000 Marines in the ungoverned region of western Iraq. Its goal was the closing of suspected insurgent supply routes of volunteers and material from Syria, and with the fight they received their assumption proved correct. Fighters armed with flak jackets (unseen in the insurgency before this time) and using sophisticated tactics met the Marines, eventually inflicting 31 U.S. casualties by the operation's end, and suffering 125 casualties themselves. The Marines were unable to recapture the region due to their limited numbers and the continual insurgent IED attacks and ambushes. The operation continued all the way to the Syrian border, where they were forced to stop (Syrian residents living near the border heard the American bombs very clearly during the operation). The vast majority of these armed and trained insurgents quickly dispersed before the U.S. could bring the full force of its firepower on them, as it did in Fallujah.
August 2005: Increasing instability and renewed fighting On August 14, 2005 the Washington Post quoted one anonymous U.S. senior official expressing that "the United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges... 'What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground'". On September 22, 2005, Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said that he had warned the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, and that the election planned for December was unlikely to make any difference. U.S. officials immediately made statements rejecting this belief.
December 2005: Iraqi legislative election Main article: Iraqi legislative election, December 2005 Following the ratification of the Constitution of Iraq on October 15, 2005, a general election was held on 15 December to elect a permanent 275-member Iraqi National Assembly.
2006: Permanent Iraqi government and possible outbreak of civil war Main article: 2006 in Iraq The beginning of 2006 was marked by government creation talks, growing sectarian violence, and continuous anti-coalition attacks. The United Nations has recently described the environment in Iraq as a "civil war-like situation." A 2006 study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has estimated that more than 601,000 Iraqis have died in violence since the U.S. invasion and that fewer than one third of these deaths came at the hands of Coalition forces. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Iraqi government estimate that more than 365,000 Iraqis have been displaced since the bombing of the al-Askari Mosque, bringing the total number of Iraqi refugees to more than 1.6 million.
February 2006: Al-Askari shrine bombing and Sunni-Shia fighting See: Al Askari Mosque bombing
A U.S. soldier with M240 machine gun on patrol in Diwaniyah.On February 22, 2006, at 6:55 a.m. local time (0355 UTC) two bombs were set off by five to seven men dressed as personnel of the Iraqi Special forces who entered the Al Askari Mosque during the morning. Explosions occurred at the mosque, effectively destroying its golden dome and severely damaging the mosque. Several men, one wearing a military uniform, had earlier entered the mosque, tied up the guards there and set explosives, resulting in the blast.
Shiites across Iraq expressed their anger by destroying Sunni mosques and killing dozens. Religious leaders of both sides called for calm amid fears this could erupt into a long-feared Sunni-Shia civil war in Iraq.
On March 2 the director of the Baghdad morgue fled Iraq explaining, "7,000 people have been killed by death squads in recent months." The Boston Globe reported that around eight times the number of Iraqis killed by terrorist bombings during March 2006 were killed by sectarian death squads during the same period. A total of 1,313 were killed by sectarian militias while 173 were killed by suicide bombings. The LA Times later reported that about 3,800 Iraqis were killed by sectarian violence in Baghdad alone during the first three months of 2006. During April 2006, morgue numbers showed that 1,091 Baghdad residents were killed by sectarian executions. Insurgencies, frequent terrorist attacks and sectarian violence led to harsh criticism of U.S. Iraq policy and fears of a failing state and civil war. The concerns were expressed by several U.S. think tanks as well as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad.
In early 2006, a handful of high-ranking retired generals began to demand United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation due in part to the aforementioned chaos that resulted from his management of the war.
May 2006: Permanent Iraqi Government takes power Main article: Government of Iraq from 2006 The current government of Iraq took office on May 20, 2006 following approval by the members of the Iraqi National Assembly. This followed the general election in December 2005. The government succeeded the Iraqi Transitional Government which had continued in office in a caretaker capacity until the new government was agreed.
Fall 2006: Increased Sectarian Violence
British Land Rover Wolfs on patrol around BasraIn September 2006, The Washington Post reported that the commander of the Marine forces in Iraq filed "an unusual secret report" concluding that the prospects for securing the Anbar province are dim, and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there.
Iraq was listed fourth on the 2006 Failed States Index compiled by the American Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace think-tank. The list was topped by Sudan.
As of October 20 the U.S military announced that Operation Together Forward had failed to stem the tide of violence in Baghdad, and Shiite militants under al-Sadr seized several southern Iraq cities.
November 2006: Change at the Pentagon, Sadr City Bombing See: Sadr City bombings On November 7, 2006, United States elections removed George W. Bush's Republican Party from control of both the United States House and the Senate. The failings in the Iraq war was cited as one of the main causes for these election results.
On November 8, 2006, Donald Rumsfeld tendered his resignation as United States Secretary of Defense. President George W. Bush then appointed former CIA chief Robert Gates to replace him.
On November 23, 2006 the deadliest attack since the beginning of the Iraq war occurred. According to The Associated Press, suspected Sunni-Arab militants used five suicide car bombs and two mortar rounds on the capital's Shiite Sadr City slum to kill at least 215 people and wound 257 on Thursday. Shiite mortar teams quickly retaliated, firing 10 shells at Sunni Islam's most important shrine in Baghdad, badly damaging the Abu Hanifa mosque and killing one person. Eight more rounds slammed down near the offices of the Association of Muslim Scholars, the top Sunni Muslim organization in Iraq, setting nearby houses on fire. Two other mortar barrages on Sunni neighborhoods in west Baghdad killed nine and wounded 21, police said late Thursday.
On November 28, 2006 another Marine Corps intelligence report was released confirming the previous report on Anbar stating that, "U.S. and Iraqi troops 'are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar,' and 'nearly all government institutions from the village to provincial levels have disintegrated or have been thoroughly corrupted and infiltrated by Al Qaeda in Iraq.'"
December 2006: Iraq Study Group report and Saddam's execution The Iraq War (Invasion to Civil War)
Prior to the war Iraq disarmament crisis WMD claims UN actions... UN Security Council... Rationale for the Iraq War
Invasion and occupation 2003 invasion of Iraq Occupation of Iraq ...Casualties Multinational force Iraqi insurgency Terrorist attacks
Aftermath to present Coalition Provisional Authority Iraqi Refugees Iraq Survey Group (WMD) Reconstruction of Iraq Human rights... Civil war in Iraq
Opinion Views on the War Opposition to the Iraq War Protests against... Legitimacy... Opinions... List of People
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This box: view • talk • edit See: Execution of Saddam Hussein, Iraq Study Group Report A bipartisan report by the Iraq Study Group was released on December 6, 2006. The group was led by former secretary of state James Baker and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, and concludes that "the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating" and "U.S. forces seem to be caught in a mission that has no foreseeable end." The report's 79 recommendations include increasing diplomatic measures with Iran and Syria and intensifying efforts to train Iraqi troops. On December 18, a Pentagon report finds that attacks on Americans and Iraqis average about 960 a week, the highest since the reports began in 2005.
Coalition forces formally transferred control of a province to the Iraqi government. The shift is the first of its kind since the war began. Military prosecutors charged 8 Marines with the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha that allegedly occurred in November 2005. Ten of the casualties were reported to be women and children. Four officers were also charged with dereliction of duty in relation to the event.
Saddam Hussein, captured in December 2003, was hanged on December 30, 2006 after being found guilty of crimes against humanity.
Also, in December 2006 officials of various Shiite parties formed a coalition favoring reconciliation and met with Ayatollah Al-Sistani, spiritual head of Iraq's Shiite community, to seek his approval for this effort. Moqtada Al-Sadr, leader of the Madhi Army, did not initially join this coalition, but eventually decided to join the coalition. This Shiite coalition asserted that their goal was to assert reconciliation, stability and the rule of law, and that private armies would not be continued once the Shiite coalition produced some stability.
2007: U.S. Troop Surge Further information: 2007 in Iraq , Iraq War troop surge of 2007, and 2007 State of the Union Address Following the 2006 United States midterm elections where the Republicans lost control of the United States Congress, the Bush administration attempted to distance itself from its earlier "stay the course" rhetoric.
January 2007: Bush's "New Way Forward" Confronts Iran This article or section is incomplete and may require expansion and/or cleanup. Please improve the article, or discuss the issue on the talk page. Further information: US attack on Iranian liaison office in Arbil and Kill or Capture strategy In the first week of January, several retirements and personnel changes occurred:
CENTCOM commander -- Navy Admiral William J. Fallon replaces General John Abizaid as CENTCOM commander Commander of Multinational Force Iraq -- General David Petraeus replaces General George Casey as Commander of Multinational Force Iraq. U.S. ambassador to Iraq -- Zalmay Khalilzad, now U.S. ambassador to Iraq, nominated as the next ambassador to the United Nations to replace Alejandro Daniel Wolff as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. If Khalilzad is confirmed by the Senate, he will be the first Muslim to serve in the position, and he will be the highest serving Muslim American official in the U.S. government. On January 10, 2007 President Bush addressed the United States and proposed increase in the number of troops in Iraq. In his speech, he made references to changes to be made, including a surge of 21,500 more troops for Iraq, a job program for Iraqis, more reconstruction proposals, and 1.2 billion dollars for these programs. Asked why he thought his plan would work this time, Bush said: "Because it has to."
At the same time, Iran has taken a more active role in Iraq. Talks between the two nations (Iran and Iraq) have been successful, with Iran even going so far as to build a major Iranian Bank branch inside Iraq. In reaction to Iran's increased role in Iraq, American troops raided an Iranian liaison office in northern Iraq on 11 Jan 2007 and detained five employees. "Around 5.00 a.m., after disarming the guards they (U.S. troops) broke into the office, without giving any explanation and arrested five employees," the official IRNA news agency reported, adding that documents and computers were seized. The fate of the kidnapped Iranian officials is not known.
February 2007 Coalition and Iraqi forces launched a new security plan for Baghdad. Under the Surge plan developed in late 2006, Baghdad is to be divided into ten zones, with Iraqi and American soldiers working side-by-side to clear each sector of Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents so that reconstruction programs can begin in safety. The U.S. military commander in Iraq, David Petraeus, has gone so far as to say Iraq will be 'doomed' if this current plan fails.
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Recent history (Note: This section is used to track various developing events incrementally, by citing materials around the web. This section is not to meant supplant the capsulizations of major events, in the "Timeline" section above. Occasionally, the two sections may overlap, but this should not be considered an error.)
On February 21, 2007 British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that the United Kingdom will reduce its troops in Iraq. He said that the 7,100 serving troops would be cut to 5,500 in the coming months, with hopes that 500 more will leave by late summer. He also stated that British forces would remain into 2008 and he did not predict how many troops are likely to be there next year. Danish prime ministers Anders Fogh Rasmussen also announced the withdrawal of Danish troops from Iraq. The 450 Danish troops will leave the country in August and will be replaced by a unit of nine soldiers manning four observational helicopters.
Troop Deployment 2003 to Current see also: Danish deployment, Japanese deployment, Polish deployment, Australian deployment, British deployment Iraq War Coalition troop deployment[hide] Active Troops Withdrawn Troops Multi-National Corps-Iraq Units
United States: 250,000 invasion--140,000 current (2/07) United Kingdom: 45,000 invasion--7,100 current (2/07) South Korea: 3,300 invasion--2,300 current (2/07) Poland: 194 invasion--2,500 peak--900 current (2/07) Australia: 2,000 invasion--550 current (2/07) Romania: 600 current (2/07) Denmark: 460 current (2/07)(deployed 7/03) Georgia: 500 invasion--900 current (2/07) El Salvador: 380 troops (2/07) Czech Republic: 300 peak--99 current (2/07) Azerbaijan: 150 troops (2/07) Latvia: 136 peak--125 current (2/07)(deployed 4/04) Mongolia: 131 troops--160 current (2/07) Albania: 120 troops (2/07) Lithuania: 53 troops (2/07) Armenia: 46 current (2/07) Bosnia and Herzegovina: 36 troops (2/07) Estonia: 35 current (2/07) Macedonia: 40 troops (2/07) Kazakhstan: 27 troops (2/07) Moldova: 24 invasion--11 current (2/07) Netherlands : 1,345 troops 15 current (2/07) Bulgaria : 462 troops 155 current (2/07) Slovakia: 103 troops 103 current (2/07) Slovenia: 4 current (2/07) Italy: 1,800 troops (deployed 7/03 - withdrawn 11/06) Ukraine: 1,650 troops (deployed 8/03 - withdrawn 12/05) Spain : 1,300 troops (withdrawn 4/04) Japan: 600 troops (deployed 1/04 - withdrawn 7/06) Thailand: 423 troops (withdrawn 8/04) Honduras: 368 troops (withdrawn 5/04) Dominican Republic: 302 troops (withdrawn 5/04) Hungary: 300 troops (withdrawn 3/05) Nicaragua: 230 troops (withdrawn 2/04) Singapore: 192 troops (withdrawn 3/05) Norway: 150 troops (withdrawn 8/06) Portugal: 128 troops (withdrawn 2/05) New Zealand: 61 troops (deployed 9/03 - withdrawn 9/04) Philippines: 51 troops (deployed 7/03 - withdrawn 7/04) Tonga: 45 troops (deployed 7/04 - withdrawn 12/04) Iceland: 2 troops (withdrawal date unknown) Multi-National Force - West--MNF-W is headquartered by the U.S. I Marine Expeditionary Force. Their area of operations include the cities of Ar Ramadi and Fallujah.
Multi-National Division - Baghdad--MND-Baghdad is also known as Task Force Baghdad. Its major area of responsibility is the city of Baghdad. Multi-National Division - Central South--MND-CS covers an area that includes the cities of Al Kut, Al, Hillah, and Karbala. The division is headquartered by the Polish military. Multi-National Division - North--MND-North Central is also known as Task Force Band of Brothers. Responsible for an area including the cities of Balad, Kirkuk, Tikrit, Mosul and Samarra. Multi-National Division - South East--MND-SE operates in the southern most part of the countries including the cities of Basrah, An Nasiriyah, As Samawah, Al Amarah. The division is headquartered by elements of the British military. Logistics Support Area Anaconda--LSA Anaconda is currently run by the U.S. 3rd Corps Support Command. 3rd COSCOM is responsible for providing logistic support throughout the theater. TOTAL INVASION DEPLOYMENT, REGULAR TROOPS 315,263
TOTAL CURRENT DEPLOYMENT AS OF FEBRUARY 2007 154,369 Regular Troops ~120,000 "Private Military Contractors" (~21,000 UK)
United Nations The United Nations has also deployed a small contingent to Iraq.
United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI)
Georgia: 550 blue-helmets Fiji: 168 blue-helmets Romania: 130 blue-helmets Denmark: 35 blue-helmets Canada: 1 blue-helmet
Armed Iraqi Groups: Insurgents and Militias Main articles: Iraqi insurgency and Private militias in Iraq Further information: History of Iraqi insurgency , Sectarian violence in Iraq, and Iraqi coalition counter-insurgency operations The Iraqi insurgency is the armed resistance by diverse groups within Iraq to the US occupation of Iraq and to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. The fighting has clear sectarian overtones and significant international implications (see Iraqi Civil War). This asymmetric war is being waged by Iraqi rebels, almost certainly with assistance from both foreign governments (possibly Syria and/or Iran) and loosely termed NGO's. This campaign is called the Iraqi resistance by its supporters and the anti-Iraqi forces(AIF) by Coalition forces.
Insurgents By the fall of 2003, these insurgent groups began using typical guerrilla tactics such as ambushes, bombings, kidnappings, and IEDs. Other tactics included mortars, suicide bombers, explosively formed penetrators, small arms fire, anti-aircraft missiles (SA-7, SA-14, SA-16) and RPGs, as well as sabotage against the oil, water, and electrical infrastructure. Multi-national Force-Iraq statistics (see detailed BBC graphic) show that the insurgents primarily targeted coalition forces, Iraqi security forces and infrastructure, and lastly civilians and government officials. These irregular forces favored attacking unarmored or lightly armored Humvee vehicles, the U.S. military's primary transport vehicle, primarily through the roadside IED. In November 2003, some of these forces successfully attacked U.S. rotary aircraft with SA-7 missiles bought on the global black market. Insurgent groups such as the al-Abud Network have even attempted to constitute their own chemical weapons programs, attempting to weaponize traditional mortar rounds with ricin and mustard toxin.
As Coalition Forces respond to a car bombing in South Baghdad, Iraq (IRQ), a second car bomb is detonated, targeting those responding to the initial incident. Date Shot: 14 Apr 2005There is evidence that some guerrilla groups are organized, perhaps by the fedayeen and other Saddam Hussein or Ba'ath loyalists, religious radicals, Iraqis angered by the occupation, and foreign fighters. On February 23, 2005 Al-Iraqiya TV (Iraq) aired transcripts of confessions by Syrian intelligence officer Anas Ahmad Al-Issa and Iraqi insurgent Shihab Al-Sab'awi concerning their booby-trap operations, explosions, kidnappings, assassinations, and details of beheading training in Syria.
In addition to internal strife, Iran may be playing a role in the insurgency. U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michael Barbero said, "Iran is definitely a destabilizing force in Iraq." Barbero also states that, "I think it's irrefutable that Iran is responsible for training, funding and equipping some of these Shia extremist groups."
Militias Two of the most powerful current militias are the Mahdi Army and the Badr Organization, with both militias having substantial political support as well in the current Iraqi government. Initially, both organizations were involved in the Iraqi insurgency, most clearly seen with the Mahdi Army at the Battle of Najaf. However in recent months, there has been a split between the two groups.
This violent break between Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and the rival Badr Organization of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, was seen in the fighting in the town of Amarah on October 20, 2006, would severely complicate the efforts of Iraqi and American officials to quell the soaring violence in Iraq.
More recently in late 2005 and 2006, due to increasing sectarian violence based on either tribal/ethnic distinctions or simply due to increased criminal violence, there has been the formation of various militias. Many of these militias have been formed in response to violent acts committed on the basis of the Shia/Sunni distinction, with whole neighborhoods and cities sometimes being protected or attacked by ethnic or neighborhood militias.
v • d • eArmed Iraqi Groups in the Iraq War and the Iraqi Civil War[hide] Insurgents Iraqi Security Forces Militias and others Baathists
Fedayeen Saddam ("Saddam's Men of Sacrifice")
A paramilitary organization loyal to the former Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein.
The Return (al-Awda)
This group is composed of former Ba'ath Party officials, intelligence agents, former members of the Republican Guard, the Special Republican Guard and Fedayeen Saddam militia.
General Command of the Armed Forces, Resistance and Liberation in Iraq New Return Patriotic Front Political Media Organ of the Ba‘ath Party (Jihaz al-Iilam al-Siasi lil hizb al-Baath) Popular Resistance for the Liberation of Iraq Al-Abud Network
Islamic State of Iraq (formerly Mujahideen Shura Council) This was an umbrella organization of at least six Sunni Islamist groups, the name was changed in November 2006. al-Qaeda in Iraq Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura (Army of the Victorious Sect) Monotheism Supporters Brigades Saray al-Jihad Group al-Ghuraba Brigades al-Ahwal Brigades Mohammad's Army (a.k.a Jeish Muhammad)
An guerrilla group opposed to the coalition forces, composed primarily of Sunnis it is believed to have Baathist ties.
A Sunni militant Iraqi insurgent group taking part in several guerrilla attacks against coalition forces.
Black Banner Organization (ar-Rayat as-Sawda)
An Iraqi guerrilla organization battling multinational troops in Iraq. The organization's ideology appears to be radical Sunni Islamism.
Asaeb Ahl el-Iraq (Factions of the People of Iraq) Wakefulness and Holy War
An Arab Sunni Muslim group that operates in and around Fallujah.
The pseudonym of a leader of a Sunni group taking part in the Iraqi insurgency, operating north of Baghdad.
Jaish Abi Baker's group Soldiers of Heaven
A group first identified in late January 2007. Alleged to have been planning to attack Shia pilgrams from the Zarqa district of Najaf.
Jaish Ansar al-Sunna (formerly Jaish Ansar al-Sunna)(جماعة أنصار السنه)
A group that fought the US-led occupation and US-backed interim government of Iyad Allawi, and continues to fight the new ruling government of Nouri al-Maliki.
Islamic Army in Iraq (Al-Jaish Al-Islami fil-Iraq) Iraqi National Islamic Resistance (Moqawama al-Islamiya al-Wataniya, "1920 Revolution Brigades") Islamic Resistance Movement (Harakat Al-Moqawama Al-Islamiya) Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance (al-Jabha al-Islamiya lil-Moqawama al-Iraqiya - JAMI) Jaish al-Mujahideen Mujahideen Battalions of the Salafi Group of Iraq Islamic Salafist Boy Scout Battalions (Kataab Ashbal Al Islam Al Salafi)
New Iraqi Army
The Iraqi Army is a component of the Iraqi Security Forces tasked with assuming responsibility for all Iraqi land-based military operations following the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Iraqi Police The Iraqi Police are the organic civil police force of the Republic of Iraq. There are three main branches. Iraqi Police Service (IPS): Responsible for the day to day patrolling of cities around most crimes. National Police (NP): Paramilitary force for counterinsurgency, public disorder and counter terrorist tasks. Supporting Forces: Remaining police organizations, primarily the Department of Border Enforcement (DBE).
Mahdi Army (Jaish-i-Mahdi)(جيش المهدي)
The Mahdi Army is a militia force created by the Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in June of 2003.
Abu Deraa's Mahdi Army faction
In the fall of 2006, Abu Deraa and his supporters formed their own militia.
Badr Organization (originally Badr Brigade/Bader Corps)(منظمة بدر)
The armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
Peshmerga Peshmerga is the term used by Kurds to refer to armed Kurdish fighters.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq A terrorist organization loosely affiliated with the overall al Qaeda group. Primarily composed of foreigners. Formerly headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi(KIA). The current head is Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
Iraq War and U.S. War on Terrorism Further information: Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda , Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda timeline, Atta in Prague, War on Terrorism, Axis of evil, and Criticism of the War on Terrorism The war in Iraq is often seen as a major part of the U.S.-led War on Terrorism. President Bush, members of the Bush Administration, and congressional leaders have stated that Iraq is "the central front in the War on Terror." In 2002, the US Congress passed a resolution authorizing military force against Iraq which cited the US's determination to "prosecute the war on terrorism." In 2006, the then GOP-controlled US House of Representatives reiterated the belief that Iraq was part of the War on Terror by passing a resolution saying that "the United States and its Coalition partners will continue to support Iraq as part of the Global War on Terror." A March 2003 poll found that among those Americans who supported going to war against Iraq, fully 70% felt that the war would have a long-term effect of decreasing terrorism. Similarly, in a poll taken in April 2003-- just one month after the start of the invasion, 77% of Americans agreed that the Iraq War was part of the War on Terrorism. These numbers have fallen significantly over the course of the war to where a majority of Americans now disagree that Iraq is part of the war on terror.
Conversely, many in the United States view the Iraq War as a separate engagement which is not part of the War on Terror. Many notable individuals, such as the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have expressed the opinion that Iraq is not part of the War on Terrorism. A December 2006 poll of the US military found troops evenly split on whether or not the Iraq War was part of the War on Terror. According to a January 2007 poll, 57% of Americans feel that the Iraq War is not part of the War on Terror. A 2006 poll found that only 9% of Americans felt the war in Iraq was helping to decrease terrorism.
The Bush Administration had initially argued that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaeda, and that his overthrow would lead to democratization in the Middle East, decreasing terrorism overall. The alleged ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda were never confirmed, however, and numerous reports of intelligence agencies investigating the matter -- including several reports of the CIA, the U.S. State Department, the FBI, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the investigations of foreign intelligence agencies -- concluded that no evidence had been found supporting an operational connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda. The New York Times commented in September 2006 on the conclusions of the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, "there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein had prewar ties to Al Qaeda and one of the terror organization’s most notorious members, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
However, al-Qaeda leaders have seen the Iraq war as a boon to their recruiting and operational efforts, providing both evidence to jihadists worldwide that America is at war with Islam, and the training ground for a new generation of jihadists to practice attacks on American forces. In October 2003, Osama bin Laden announced: "Be glad of the good news: America is mired in the swamps of the Tigris and Euphrates. Bush is, through Iraq and its oil, easy prey. Here is he now, thank God, in an embarrassing situation and here is America today being ruined before the eyes of the whole world." Al-Qaeda commander Seif al-Adl gloated about the war in Iraq, indicating, "The Americans took the bait and fell into our trap." A letter thought to be from al-Qaeda leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman found in Iraq among the rubble where al-Zarqawi was killed and released by the U.S. military in October 2006, indicated that al-Qaeda perceived the war as beneficial to its goals: "The most important thing is that the jihad continues with steadfastness ... indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest."
In the years since the war began, a consensus has developed among intelligence experts that the Iraq war has increased terrorism. Counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna frequently referred to the invasion of Iraq as a "fatal mistake" that had greatly increased terrorism in the Middle East. London's conservative International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded in 2004 that the occupation of Iraq had become "a potent global recruitment pretext" for jihadists and that the invasion "galvanized" al-Qaeda and "perversely inspired insurgent violence" there. The U.S. National Intelligence Council concluded in a January 2005 report that the war in Iraq had become a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists; David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, indicated that the report concluded that the war in Iraq provided terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills... There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries." The Council's Chairman Robert L. Hutchings said, "At the moment, Iraq is a magnet for international terrorist activity." And the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, which outlined the considered judgment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, held that "The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement."
Casualties Main article: Casualties of the conflict in Iraq since 2003 See also: Iraq Body Count project, Lancet surveys of mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Suicide bombings in Iraq since 2003, Foreign hostages in Iraq, List of Coalition forces killed in Iraq in 2006, and List of Insurgents killed in Iraq
Coffins of American soldiers in a C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base.For coalition death totals see the infobox at the top right. See also the above main article. It has casualty numbers for coalition nations, contractors, non-Iraqi civilians, journalists, media helpers, aid workers, wounded, etc.. The main article also gives explanations for the wide variation in estimates and counts, and shows many ways in which undercounting occurs. Casualty figures, especially Iraqi ones, are highly disputed. This section gives a brief overview. "There are now at least 8 independent estimates of the number or rate of deaths induced by the invasion of Iraq."
Iraqi U.S. General Tommy Franks reportedly estimated soon after the invasion that there had been 30,000 Iraqi casualties as of April 9, 2003. After this initial estimate he made no further public estimates.
In December 2005 President Bush said there were 30,000 Iraqi dead. White House spokesman Scott McClellan later said it was "not an official government estimate," and was based on media reports.
There have been several attempts by the media and others to estimate the Iraqi casualties:
The UN reported that 34,452 violent civilian deaths occurred in 2006, based on data from morgues, hospitals, and municipal authorities across Iraq. A January 2, 2007 AP article reports: "the Iraqi ministries of Health, Defence and Interior, showed that 14,298 civilians, 1,348 police and 627 soldiers had been killed...last year." Another Jan. 2, 2007 article reports that the Iraqi government does not count deaths classed as "criminal", nor those from kidnappings, nor wounded persons who die later as the result of attacks. On January 2, 2007 The Australian reported: "A figure of 3700 civilian deaths in October , the latest tally given by the UN based on data from the Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue, was branded exaggerated by the Iraqi Government." The Iraq Body Count project states for the week ending Dec. 31, 2006: "It was a truly violent year, as around 24,000 civilians lost their lives in Iraq. This was a massive rise in violence: 14,000 had been killed in 2005, 10,500 in 2004 and just under 12,000 in 2003 (7,000 of them killed during the actual war, while only 5,000 killed during the ‘peace’ that followed in May 2003). In December 2006 alone around 2,800 civilians were reported killed. This week there were over 560 civilian deaths reported." A national survey of mortality in The Lancet estimates 654,965 Iraqi deaths (range of 392,979-942,636) from March 2003 to July 2006. That total number of deaths (all Iraqis) includes all excess deaths due to increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poor healthcare, etc, and includes civilians, military deaths and insurgent deaths.
Iraqi Healthcare deterioration A November 11, 2006 Los Angeles Times article reports:
The [Iraq] nation's health has deteriorated to a level not seen since the 1950s, said Joseph Chamie, former director of the U.N. Population Division and an Iraq specialist. "They were at the forefront", he said, referring to healthcare just before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. "Now they're looking more and more like a country in sub-Saharan Africa."
Iraqi Refugees Please see Refugees of Iraq for further details.
As of November 4, 2006, the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees estimated that 1.8 million Iraqis had been displaced to neighboring countries, and 1.6 million were displaced internally, with nearly 100,000 Iraqis fleeing to Syria and Jordan each month.
Financial costs Main article: Financial cost of the 2003 Iraq Conflict As of September 29, 2006, over $379 billion has been allocated by the U.S. Congress for the Iraq war. Over $360 billion has been spent as of January 22, 2007.
As of March 2006, approximately £4.5 billion had been spent by the United Kingdom in Iraq.
It is not known how much more money has been spent by other members of the coalition; however, the U.S.'s share of the cost is by far the largest.
U.S. equipment losses
An covertly-placed roadside bomb hitting a US HumveeIn addition to the human casualties suffered in the war, the U.S. has also lost a number of pieces of military equipment. This total is approximate and includes those vehicles lost in non-combat-related accidents. Recently, the Army has said that the cost of replacing its depleted equipment has tripled from that of 2005. As of December 2006, according to government data reported by the Washington Post, the military stated that nearly 40% of the army’s total equipment has been committed to Iraq, with an estimated yearly replacement cost of $US 17 billion. Furthermore the military states that the replacement cost has increased by a factor of ten compared to that of the pre-war state.
Combat losses: Land equipment
20 M1 Abrams tanks 55 Bradley fighting vehicles 20 Stryker wheeled combat vehicles 20 M113 armored personnel carriers 250 Humvees 500+ Mine clearing vehicles, heavy/medium trucks, and trailers 10 Amphibious Assault Vehicles Combat losses: Air equipment
The UH-60 Black Hawk that crashed on September 21, 2004Main article: List of Coalition aircraft crashes in Iraq 94 Helicopters 14 Fixed-Wing Aircraft
Criticism Main article: Opposition to the Iraq War Further information: Views on the 2003 invasion of Iraq , Rationale for the Iraq War, Withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Protests against the Iraq War, American popular opinion on invasion of Iraq, Governments' positions pre-2003 invasion of Iraq, and 2003 invasion of Iraq media coverage
Calls for withdrawal from Iraq A growing number of citizens in coalition nations have urged their governments to withdraw from Iraq. Supporters of withdrawal argue that the Iraq war is unwinnable, has no purpose, has parallels with the Vietnam war, has a huge financial cost, as well as the loss of innocent human life, and will be ended by a withdrawal of troops. Senate majority leader Harry Reid termed the Iraq War "the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of [the US]".
Criticism of military strategy U.S. military strategy in Iraq has drawn criticism from a number of different circles. Military historian Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has called the Iraq war "the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them."
There is also a large amount of criticism from people who support the war but criticize the current military strategy, believing that the current strategy causes unnecessary deaths and injuries of coalition and Iraqi troops, as well as civilian contractors, and does not adequately meet the insurgent threat. Included within this is the criticism that, if the military strategy were much more effective, then there would be much more support for the war among the people of the coalition countries, especially the United States. In a classified memo to the current administration, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently revealed that he believed the current stategy in Iraq was not working and was in need of change.
Former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, said that Iraq "gradually deteriorates to civil war [and] the US presence is more and more a part of the problem and not the solution.”
Many specific strategic criticisms have been made by various individuals and publications. Some major criticisms include:
Prisoners in Iraq detained by U.S. troops are treated badly, and it is estimated that about 1/4th of them are innocent, and many prisoners are subsequently released. The bad treatment of those prisoners angers the civilian population and turns them against the United States. These critics say that prisoners should be treated humanely. (this criticism was made on Nightline, among other places) The Iraqi Security Forces have not received enough support from the coalition to effectively secure the country and are severely under-equipped which results in significant deaths and injuries. If these Iraqi forces were properly equipped this would allow the coalition troops to withdraw at a faster pace.
A sniper loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr fires a Dragunov sniper rifle at U.S. positions in the cemetery in Najaf. Human rights abuses
Spc. Charles Graner poses over Manadel al-Jamadi's corpse.Main articles: Human rights in post-Saddam Iraq, Iraq prison abuse scandals, and Suicide bombings in Iraq since 2003 Throughout the entire Iraq war there have been numerous human rights abuses on all sides of the conflict.
Some of the alleged human right abuses by coalition forces include; the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, the the murder of 24 civilians including women and children (under investigation), the the murder of 11 civilians including five children (under investigation), the the kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi man named Hashim Ibrahim Awad (under investigation), the the gang-rape and murder of a 14 year old girl and the murder of her family (under investigation), the Mukaradeeb bombing and shooting of 42 civilians (under investigation), and White phosphorus use in Iraq.
There have also been reported human rights abuses by some of the thousands of private military contractors working in Iraq. The most famous incident involving contractors was the Abu Ghraib incident.
Insurgent and militia forces have also committed numerous human rights violations including:
Killing over 12,000 Iraqis from January 2005 - June 2006, according to Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, giving the first official count for the victims of bombings, ambushes and other deadly attacks. The insurgents have also conducted numerous suicide attacks on the Iraqi civilian population, mostly targeting the majority Shia community. An October 2005 report from Human Rights Watch examines the range of civilian attacks and their purported justification. Attacks on diplomats and diplomatic facilities including; the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003 killing the top U.N. representative in Iraq and 21 other UN staff members;beheading several diplomats: two Algerian diplomatic envoys Ali Belaroussi and Azzedine Belkadi, Egyptian diplomatic envoy al-Sherif, and four Russian diplomats. The February 2006 bombing of the al-Askari Mosque, destroying one of the holiest Shiite shrines, killing over 165 worshipers and igniting sectarian strife and reprisal killings. The publicized murders of several non-military persons including; contractor Eugene Armstrong, contractor Jack Hensley, translator Kim Sun-il, contractor Kenneth Bigley, Bulgarian truck drivers Ivaylo Kepov and Georgi Lazov, Shosei Koda, Italian Fabrizio Quattrocchi, charity worker Margaret Hassan, reconstruction engineer Nick Berg, Italian photographer, 52 year old Salvatore Santoro and Iraqi supply worker Seif Adnan Kanaan. Most of these civilians were subjected to brutal torture and/or beheading. Torture or murder of members of the New Iraqi Army, and assassination of civilians associated with the Coalition Provisional Authority, such as Fern Holland, or the Iraqi Governing Council, such as Aqila al-Hashimi and Ezzedine Salim, or other foreign civilians, such as those from Kenya. Other abuses have been blamed on the new Iraqi government, including:
The widespread use of torture by Iraqi security forces. Shiite-run death squads run out of the Interior Ministry that are accused of committing numerous massacres of Sunni Arabs and the police collusion with militias in Iraq have compounded the problems