Relations Between The US And Iraq Since The 2003 Invasion

Main dates of relations between the United States and Iraq from the invasion and fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003 to the deadly attack on Friday against Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.

– Invasion and occupation –

A US-led coalition invades Iraq on March 20, 2003 to destroy alleged weapons of mass destruction.

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On April 9, the Americans enter Baghdad, where one of their armored vehicles, helped by a hundred Iraqis, demolishes the statue of Saddam Hussein. The scene symbolizes the fall of the capital and the regime, although the fighting continues.

On May 1, President George W. Bush declares the end of the main fighting, but the war on terrorism continues.

On May 16, the American Paul Bremer, appointed civil administrator, prohibits those responsible for the Baas party from accessing public office and announces the dissolution of the security organs.

On October 2, a US inspection group report acknowledges that no weapons of mass destruction have been discovered.

On December 13, Saddam Hussein is captured near Tikrit, north of Baghdad. He will be hanged at the end of 2006.

– Transfer of power –

In June 2004, the coalition transfers power to the interim government. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) is dissolved and Paul Bremer leaves the country.

The first multi-party elections in more than 50 years are held on January 30, 2005, boycotted by the Sunnis. The Shiites, who represent two thirds of the population, achieve an absolute majority in parliament ahead of the Kurds.

In April, Kurdish Jalal Talabani is elected president by Parliament, and Shiite Ibrahim Al Jaafari is appointed prime minister.

In October, a new Constitution institutes federalism and legalizes the autonomy of Kurdistan, effective on the ground since 1991. In December, the Iraqi Unified Alliance (Shiite) wins the legislative, without an absolute majority.

– Confessional conflict and departure of US soldiers –

On February 22, 2006, the explosion in a Shia mausoleum in Samarra, north of Baghdad, unleashes a bloody conflict between Sunnis and Shiites that will leave tens of thousands dead until 2008.

In April, Kurdish Jalal Talabani, re-elected president, orders the formation of a government to Shiite Nuri Al Maliki.

On August 14, 2007, more than 400 people die in attacks against the Yazidi minority, the deadliest in four years, in the north of the country.

The last US soldiers leave Iraq in December 2011, ending almost nine years of occupation and leaving the country in a serious political crisis.

Between 2003 and 2011, more than 100,000 civilians lose their lives according to the Iraq Body Count organization. The United States records about 4,500 dead and the United Kingdom, 179.

– Jihadists –

In January 2014, jihadists of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Levante (ISIL) and members of hostile tribes take control of Fallujah and neighborhoods of Ramadi, in the province of Al Anbar.

In early June, hundreds of Sunni insurgents from ISIL take Mosul. On June 29, the organization proclaims a "caliphate" and is renamed Islamic State (IS).

Haider Al Abadi forms a new government to replace the questioned Al Maliki, accused of authoritarianism and sectarianism. The IS then controls a third of Iraq.

With the help of an international coalition led by Washington, Iraqi forces launch a counteroffensive and expel the IS from all urban centers. The authorities proclaim victory against this terrorist organization in December 2017.

– Iran's influence increases –

Iran, which supports the Iraqi paramilitary group Hashd al Shaabi – key in the fight against IS -, becomes an influential ally and most important trading partner of Baghdad.

On October 1, 2019, a protest movement emerges against corruption, unemployment and the shortage of public services, as well as against the Iranian government and influence.

Since that time, at least 12 attacks were registered against Iraqi military bases where US military personnel are deployed.

In total, there are 5,200 US soldiers currently present in Iraqi territory as part of the anti-jihadi coalition.

– Attack on the US embassy –

In late December, a rocket attack killed an American contractor.

In response, the United States carried out bombings against bases of the Hezbollah brigades – one of the most virulent factions of Hashd al Shaabi – in which 25 Iraqi fighters die.

On December 31, thousands of supporters of pro-Iranian Iraqi paramilitaries surround and attack the US embassy in Baghdad, before being repelled. The next day, elite Iraqi troops are stationed in the area to ensure the security of the embassy.

– Iranian General killed –

On January 3, US President Donald Trump orders an attack at Baghdad International Airport in which the powerful Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Hashd al Shaab number two, Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis, die.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pledges to "avenge" the death of Soleimani.

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