1920 Iraq comes under British mandate after the fall of the Ottoman empire in 1918. 1921 Faisal I becomes king of Iraq (Aug. 23). 1932 Iraq achieves independence from Britain (Oct. 3). 1933 Faisal I dies and is succeeded by his son, Ghazi. 1934 The first of seven military coups over the next five years takes place; King Ghazi is retained as a figurehead. 1939 King Ghazi is killed in an automobile accident; his son, Faisal II, 3, becomes king; Faisal's uncle, Emir Abd al-Ilah, becomes regent. 1940 Anti-British leaders in Iraq side with the Axis powers in the early part of World War II. 1941 Britain defeats Iraq; pro-Axis leaders flee. 1943 Iraq declares war on the Axis countries. 1945 Iraq becomes a charter member of the Arab League. 1948 Iraq and other Arab countries launch an unsuccessful war against Israel, which had declared statehood that year. 1958 A military coup overthrows the monarchy, kills King Faisal II, and declares Iraq a republic. General Abdul Karim Kassem becomes Iraq's leader, and begins reversing the monarchy's pro-western policies (July 14). 1961 The Kurds, located in northern Iraq, revolt and demand autonomy; fighting between the Kurds and the government continues for decades. 1963 Kassem is killed in a coup led Colonel Abd al-Salam Aref and the military as well as members of the Ba'ath party (Feb. 8). The Ba'ath party, founded in Syria, advocates pan-Arabism, secularism, and socialism. Colonel Aref becomes president, Ahmed Hasan al-Bakr of the Ba'ath Party becomes president. Aref purges the government of Ba'ath party, including President al-Bakr. 1966 Aref dies; his brother, Abdul Rahman Aref, takes over the presidency (Apr. 17). 1968 Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr overthrows Aref in a bloodless coup. The Ba'ath party again dominates (July 17). 1970 A peace agreement is signed between the Iraqi government and the Kurds, granting the Kurds some self-rule (March 11). 1973 Iraq fights in the Arab-Israeli War (The Yom Kippur War) and participates in the oil boycott against Israel's supporters. 1975 Fighting again breaks out with the Kurds, who call for their independence. 1979 Al-Bakr resigns; his vice-president, Saddam Hussein, succeeds him (July 16). Hussein swiftly executes political rivals. 1980 The bloody eight-year Iran-Iraq war begins. The main issue is control of the Shatt al Arab waterway, an essential resource providing for water and transportation that runs along the border of both countries (Sept. 22). 1988 Iraq retaliates against the Kurds for supporting Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, and through "Operation Anfal" slaughters civilians or forces them to relocate. Thousands flee to Turkey (Feb.–Sept.). Iran-Iraq war ends in a stalemate. An estimated 1.5 million died in the conflict (Aug. 20). 1990 Iraqi troops invade Kuwait. Saddam Hussein justifies the attack by blaming Kuwait for falling oil prices that harm the Iraqi economy (Aug. 2). The UN imposes economic sanctions on Iraq (Aug 6). U.S. military forces arrive in Saudi Arabia (Aug. 9). The UN issues a Security Council resolution setting Jan. 15, 1991, as the deadline for Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, authorizing the use of "all necessary means" if it does not comply (Nov. 29). 1991 The Persian Gulf War begins when Operation Desert Storm launched by a U.S.-led coalition of 32 countries under the leadership of U.S. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. A campaign of air strikes against Iraq begins (Jan. 16–17). Ground forces invade Kuwait and Iraq, vanquish the Iraqi army, and liberate Kuwait. President George H. W. Bush declares a cease-fire on the fourth day (Feb. 24–28). Shiites and Kurds rebel, encouraged by the United States. Iraq quashes the rebellions, killing thousands (March). Formal cease-fire is signed. Saddam Hussein accepts UN resolution agreeing to destroy weapons of mass destruction and allowing UN inspectors to monitor the disarmament (April 6). A no-fly zone is established in Northern Iraq to protect the Kurds from Saddam Hussein (April 10). UN weapons inspectors report that Iraq has concealed much of its nuclear and chemical weapons programs. It is the first of many such reports over the next decade, pointing out Iraq's thwarting of the UN weapons inspectors (July 30). 1992 A southern no-fly zone is created to protect the Shiite population from Saddam Hussein and provide a buffer between Kuwait and Iraq ( Aug. 26). U.S. launches cruise missile on Baghdad, after Iraq attempts to assassinate President George H. W. Bush while he visited Kuwait (June 27). 1994 Iraq drains water from southern marshlands inhabited Muslim Shiites, in retaliation for the Shiites' long-standing opposition to Saddam Hussein's government (April). 1996 A UN Security Council's "oil-for-food" resolution (passed April 1995) allows Iraq to export oil in exchange for humanitarian aid. Iraq delays accepting the terms for more than a 1½ years (Dec. 10). 1997 The UN disarmament commission concludes that Iraq has continued to conceal information on biological and chemical weapons and missiles (Oct 23). Iraq expels American members of the UN inspection team (Nov. 13). 1998 Iraq suspends all cooperation with the UN inspectors (Jan. 13). UN secretary-general Kofi Annan brokers a peaceful solution to the standoff. Over the next months Baghdad continued to impede the UN inspection team, demanding that sanctions be lifted (Feb. 23). Saddam Hussein puts a complete halt to the inspections (Oct. 31). Iraq agrees to unconditional cooperation with the UN inspectors (Nov. 14), but by a month later, chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler reports that Iraq has not lived up to its promise (Dec. 15). The United States and Britain began four days of intensive air strikes, dubbed Operation Desert Fox. The attacks focused on command centers, missile factories, and airfields—targets that the Pentagon believed would damage Iraq's weapons stores (Dec. 16–19). 1999 Beginning in January, weekly, sometimes daily, bombings of Iraqi targets within the northern no-fly zone begin, carried out by U.S. and British bombers. More than 100 air strikes take place during 1999, and continue regularly over the next years. The U.S. and Britain hope the constant barrage of air strikes will weaken Saddam Hussein's grip on Iraq (Jan. 1999–present). 2002 Jan. 29, 2002 In President George W. Bush's state of the union speech, he identifies Iraq, along with Iran and North Korea, as an "axis of evil." He vows that the U.S. "will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." May 14, 2002 The UN Security Council revamps the sanctions against Iraq, now eleven years old, replacing them with "smart sanctions" meant to allow more civilian goods to enter the country while at the same time more effectively restricting military and dual-use equipment (military and civilian). Jun. 2, 2002 President Bush publicly introduces the new defense doctrine of preemption in a speech at West Point. In some instances, the president asserts, the U.S. must strike first against another state to prevent a potential threat from growing into an actual one: "Our security will require all Americans…[to] be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives. Sep. 12, 2002 President Bush addresses the UN, challenging the organization to swiftly enforce its own resolutions against Iraq. If not, Bush contends, the U.S. will have no choice but to act on its own against Iraq. Oct. 11, 2002 Congress authorizes an attack on Iraq. Nov. 8, 2002 The UN Security Council unanimously approves resolution 1441 imposing tough new arms inspections on Iraq and precise, unambiguous definitions of what constitutes a "material breach" of the resolution. Should Iraq violate the resolution, it faces "serious consequences," which the Security Council would then determine. Nov. 18, 2002 UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq, for the first time in almost four years. Dec. 7, 2002 Iraq submits a 12,000-page declaration on its chemical, biological and nuclear activities, claiming it has no banned weapons. Dec. 21, 2002 President Bush approves the deployment of U.S. troops to the Gulf region. By March an estimated 200,000 troops will be stationed there. British and Australian troops will join them over the coming months. 2003 Jan. 16, 2003 UN inspectors discover 11 undeclared empty chemical warheads in Iraq. Jan. 27, 2003 The UN's formal report on Iraqi inspections is highly critical, though not damning, with chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix stating that "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it." Jan. 28, 2003 In his state of the union address, President Bush announces that he is ready to attack Iraq even without a UN mandate. Feb. 14, 2003 In a February UN report, chief UN inspector Hans Blix indicated that slight progress had been made in Iraq's cooperation. Both pro- and anti-war nations felt the report supported their point of view. Feb. 15, 2003 Massive peace demonstrations take place around the world. Feb. 22, 2003 Hans Blix orders Iraq to destroy its Al Samoud 2 missiles by March 1. The UN inspectors have determined that the missiles have an illegal range limit. Iraq can have missiles that reach neighboring countries, but not ones capable of reaching Israel. Feb. 24, 2003 The U.S., Britain, and Spain submit a proposed resolution to the UN Security Council that states that "Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in Resolution 1441," and that it is now time to authorize use of military force against the country. France, Germany, and Russia submit an informal counter-resolution to the UN Security Council that states that inspections should be intensified and extended to ensure that there is "a real chance to the peaceful settlement of this crisis," and that "the military option should only be a last resort." Mar. 1, 2003 Iraq begins to destroy its Al Samoud missiles. Feb. 24– Mar. 14, 2003 The U.S. and Britain's intense lobbying efforts among the other UN Security Council members yield only four supporters (in addition to the U.S. and Britain, Spain and Bulgaria); nine votes (and no vetoes from the five permanent members) out of fifteen are required for the resolution's passage. The U.S. decides not to call for a vote on the resolution. Mar. 17, 2003 All diplomatic efforts cease when President Bush delivers an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave the country within 48 hours or else face an attack. Mar. 19, 2003 President Bush declares war on Iraq. Mar. 20, 2003 The war against Iraq begins 5:30 AM Baghdad time (9:30 PM EST, March 19), when the U.S. launches Operation Iraqi Freedom. Called a "decapitation attack," the initial air strike of the war attempted to target Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi leaders in Baghdad. The U.S. launches a second round of air strikes against Baghdad, and ground troops enter the country for the first time, crossing into southern Iraq from Kuwait. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claims that the initial phase of the war is mild compared to what it to come: "What will follow will not be a repeat of any other conflict. It will be of a force and a scope and a scale that has been beyond what we have seen before." Mar. 21, 2003 The major phase of the war begins with heavy aerial attacks on Baghdad and other cities. The campaign, publicized in advance by the Pentagon as an overwhelming barrage meant to instill "shock and awe," is in actuality more restrained. Mar. 24, 2003 Troops march within 60 miles of Baghdad. They encounter much stronger resistance from Iraqi soldiers and paramilitary fighters along the way, particularly in towns such as Nassiriya and Basra. Mar. 26, 2003 About 1,000 paratroopers land in Kurdish-controlled Iraq to open a northern front. Mar. 30, 2003 U.S. Marines and Army troops launch first attack on Iraq's Republican Guard, about 65 miles outside Baghdad. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld deflects criticism that the U.S. has not deployed enough Army ground troops in Iraq. Apr. 2, 2003 Special operations forces rescue Pfc. Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Nasiriya. She was one of 12 members of the 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company captured by Iraqi troops on March 23. Apr. 5, 2003 U.S. tanks roll into the Iraqi capital and engage in firefights with Iraqi troops. Resistance weaker than anticipated. Heavy Iraqi casualties. Apr. 7, 2003 British forces take control of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city. Apr. 9, 2003 The fall of Baghdad: U.S. forces take control the city, but sporadic fighting continues throughout the capital. Apr. 11, 2003 Kirkuk falls to Kurdish fighters. Apr. 13, 2003 Marines rescue five U.S. soldiers captured by Iraqi troops on March 23 in Nasiriya, and two pilots who had been shot down on March 24 near Karbala. Apr. 14, 2003 Major fighting in Iraq is declared over by the Pentagon, after U.S. forces take control of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace and the last city to exhibit strong Iraqi resistance. Saddam Hussein's whereabouts remain unknown. Apr. 15, 2003 Gen. Jay Garner, appointed by the United States to run post-war Iraq until a new government is put in place, met with various Iraqi leaders to begin planning the new Iraqi federal government. May 1, 2003 The U.S. declares an end to major combat operations. May 12, 2003 A new civil administrator takes over in Iraq. Paul Bremer, a diplomat and former head of the counter-terrorism department at the State Department, replaces Jay Garner, who was seen as ineffective in stemming the continuing lawlessness and violence taking place throughout Iraq. May 22, 2003 The UN Security Council approves a resolution lifting the economic sanctions against Iraq and supporting the U.S.-led administration in Iraq. May 30, 2003 In separate speeches, U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell and British prime minister Tony Blair deny that intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was distorted or exaggerated to justify an attack on Iraq. Both administrations face mounting questions because no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have been found. Each had claimed that Iraq's WMD were an imminent threat to world security. Jun. 15, 2003 Operation Desert Scorpion launched, a military campaign meant to defeat organized Iraqi resistance against American troops. U.S. and British troops face continued attacks; about one American soldier has been killed per day since the end of combat was declared. Jul. 7, 2003 Bush administration concedes that evidence that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear weapons program by seeking to buy uranium from Africa, cited in January State of the Union address and elsewhere, was unsubstantiated and should not have been included in speech. Over summer Tony Blair faces even stronger criticism than his American counterpart concerning flawed intelligence. Jul. 13, 2003 Iraq's interim governing council, composed of 25 Iraqis appointed by American and British officials, is inaugurated. The council has power to name ministers and will help draw up a new constitution for the country. The American administrator Paul Bremer, however, retains ultimate authority. Jul. 16, 2003 Gen. John Abizaid, commander of allied forces in Iraq who replaced retiring general Tommy Franks on July 7, calls continued attacks on coalition troops a "guerrilla-type campaign" and says soldiers who will replace current troops may be deployed for year-long tours. Jul. 17, 2003 U.S. combat deaths in Iraq reach 147, the same number of soldiers who died from hostile fire in the first Gulf War; 32 of those deaths occurred after May 1, the officially declared end of combat. Jul. 22, 2003 Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay Hussein, die in a firefight in a Mosul palace. Aug. 9, 2003 U.S. combat and noncombat casualties reach 255 at 100-day mark after declared end of combat on May 1; 43 British have died. Aug. 19, 2003 Suicide bombing destroys UN headquarters in Baghdad, killing 24, including top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, and wounding more than 100. Aug. 29, 2003 A bomb kills one of Iraq's most important Shi'ite leaders, Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim, as well as about 80 others, and wounds 125. Sep. 7, 2003 Continued violence and slow progress in Iraq lead to President Bush's announcement that $87 billion is needed to cover additional military and reconstruction costs. Oct. 2, 2003 According to an interim report by David Kay, the lead investigator searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, no WMDs have been found as yet. Oct. 5, 2003 White House reorganizes its reconstruction efforts in Iraq, placing National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in charge and diminishing the role of the Pentagon. Oct. 16, 2003 The UN Security Council unanimously approves the U.S. and UK resolution on Iraq's reconstruction, which supports an international force in the country under U.S. authority. Several countries originally opposed the resolution unless Washington agreed to a faster timetable for transferring power to the Iraqis, but in the end voted for the resolution without requiring changes. Oct. 23–24, 2003 The Madrid Conference, an international donors' conference of 80 nations to raise funds for the reconstruction of Iraq, yielded $13 billion in addition to the $20 billion already pledged by the United States. This amount fell short of the overall target of raising $56 billion, the figure the World Bank and the UN estimated that Iraq needs over the next four years. Oct. 27, 2003 Four coordinated suicide attacks in Baghdad kill 43 and wounded more than 200. Targets included the headquarters of the Red Crescent (Islamic Red Cross) and three police stations. Nov. 2, 2003 In the single deadliest strike since the Iraq war began, guerrillas shoot down an American helicopter, killing 16 U.S. soldiers and injuring 21 others. Other attacks over the course of the month make it the bloodiest since the war began: at least 75 U.S. soldiers die. Nov. 14, 2003 The Bush Administration reverses policy and in a deal with the Iraqi Governing Council, agrees to transfer power to an interim government in early 2004. Dec. 9, 2003 A directive issued by Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, bars France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, China, and Russia from bidding on lucrative contracts for rebuilding Iraq, creating a diplomatic furor. Dec. 13, 2003 Iraq's deposed leader Saddam Hussein is captured by American troops. The former dictator was found hiding in a hole near his hometown of Tikrit and surrendered without a fight. 2004 Jan. 15, 2004 Tens of thousands of Shiites hold a peaceful demonstration in Basra in support of direct elections. Jan. 17, 2004 The number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the start of the war reaches 500. Of those, 346 soldiers died in combat and 154 died from accidents. Jan. 19, 2004 The United States asks the UN to intercede in the dispute over the elections process in Iraq. Shiite leader Ayatollah al-Sistani, at the center of the debate, has refused to meet with American officials. The UN weighs sending election experts to determine whether there is enough time to prepare for direct elections. About 100,000 Shiites march in Baghdad and other cities in support of Ayatollah al-Sistani's demand for direct elections. It is the largest protest since the occupation of Iraq. Jan. 28, 2004 David Kay, the former head of the U.S. weapons inspection teams in Iraq, informs a senate committee that no WMD have been found in Iraq and that prewar intelligence was "almost all wrong" about Saddam Hussein's arsenal. His report sets off a firestorm of allegations: did the U.S. receive bad intelligence, or did the Bush administration manipulate the intelligence to build the case for war, or both? Feb. 1, 2004 About 109 Iraqis are killed by suicide bombings in Erbil. Feb. 2, 2004 Under pressure from both sides of the political aisle, President Bush calls for an independent commission to study the country's intelligence failures. Feb. 10, 2004 About 54 Iraqis are killed in a car bombing while applying for jobs at a police station. The next day an attack kills about 47 outside an army recruiting center. Feb. 12, 2004 UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, on a fact finding mission to Iraq to assess the feasibility of direct elections, meets with Ayatollah al-Sistani. Feb. 19, 2004 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi announces the results of its report about Iraqi elections, concluding that "elections cannot be held before the end of June, that the June 30 date for the handover of sovereignty must be respected, and that we need to find a mechanism to create the caretaker government and then prepare the elections sometime later in the future." Feb. 23, 2004 UN envoy Brahimi issues a report to the Security Council concluding that the earliest that credible, direct elections could be held in Iraq would be late 2004 or early 2005. He outlined several possible options for structuring an interim government that would rule the country after the June 30 hand over and until the results of elections in 2004 or 2005. He recommended that Iraqis themselves draw up a plan for the makeup of this provisional government. Mar. 2, 2004 Suicide attacks in Karbala on Shiite Islam's most holy feast day killed more than 85 and wound 233 others. It is believed that the perpetrators are attempting to foment unrest between Shiites and Sunnis. Mar. 8, 2004 The Iraqi Governing Council signs interim constitution, which includes a bill of rights, a system of checks and balances, and a military subordinate to civilian rule. The signing was delayed by several days when Shiites objected that Kurds, a minority, were given too much power in the interim constitution. Mar. 17, 2004 At least 27 people are killed and 41 wounded in the car bombing of a hotel in Baghdad. The bombing came just two days before the anniversary of the first American attack on Baghdad that launched the war last year. Mar. 28, 2004 Coalition forces close radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr's rabidly anti-American newspaper, Al Hawaz. Mar. 31, 2004 Iraqi mob kills and mutilates four America civilian contract workers and then drags them through the streets of Falluja, a city west of Baghdad that is part of the Sunni triangle. Apr. 4, 2004 U.S. troops begin assault on Falluja in response to March 31 assassination of four U.S. civilian contractors. Coordinated attacks by Shiites are launched in the southern Iraqi cities of Kufa, Karbala, Najaf, al-Kut, and Sadr City. The militias are led by radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr. Apr. 9, 2004 An American contract worker, Thomas Hamill, is taken hostage. In all, more than 20 foreigners kidnapped in Iraq. Apr. 11, 2004 U.S. orders a cease-fire in Falluja to give political discussions a chance to break the cycle of violence. Two members of the Iraqi Governing Council resign in protest of American offensive in Falluja. Apr. 15, 2004 The Bush administration agrees to a UN proposal to replace the Iraqi Governing Council with a caretaker government when the U.S. returns sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30. Apr. 17, 2004 The number of hostages taken by various Iraqi guerrillas reaches about 40. Apr. 22, 2004 In a shift of policy, U.S. announces that some Iraqi Baath Party officials who had been forced out of their jobs after the fall of Saddam Hussein will be allowed to resume their positions. About 400,000 people lost their jobs, including teachers and members of the military, depleting Iraq of skilled and experienced workers to rebuild the country. Apr. 27, 2004 UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi reports to the UN Security Council that by the end of May he will select a transitional government to run Iraq until elections are held in 2005. Proposed government will include a president, two vice presidents, a prime minister, and a consultative conference made up of about 1,500 Iraqis. The government will have limited control over Iraq, and would not be authorized to enact news laws. Apr. 30, 2004 The appalling physical and sexual abuse and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad comes to light when photographs are released by the U.S. media. The images spark outrage around the world, especially in the Middle East. Abu Ghraib was a notorious prison and torture center during the rule of Saddam Hussein. The Pentagon has been investigating these and other allegations of abuse since January. Criminal charges have been filed against seven U.S. soldiers. In an attempt to restore peace in Falluja, U.S. Marines transfer security of the volatile city to a former Iraqi general. May 5, 2004 George Bush appears on two Arab television stations to condemn the prisoner abuse. May 8, 2004 Nicholas Berg, an American contractor, is beheaded by Iraqi militants, who claim the grisly murder was in retaliation for the treatment of Iraqi prisoners. May 17, 2004 A suicide bomber kills the head of Iraq's Governing Council, Izzedin Salim, and six other people. May 27, 2004 After seven weeks of fighting in Najaf, U.S. forces and the militias loyal to Moktada al-Sadr reach a truce. May 28, 2004 Iyad Allawi is designated prime minister of the Iraqi interim government. A Shiite neurologist, Alawi has close ties to the CIA, and many observers inside—and outside—Iraq say Alawi's selection is a sign of the U.S.'s continued attempt to assert control over the country. Jun. 1, 2004 Ghazi al-Yawer, a Sunni Muslim, is chosen president, a largely ceremonial post. The Governing Council decided to dissolve itself immediately rather than wait for the official handover of sovereignty on June 30, making way for a cabinet of 33 Iraqis, including Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, and Christians. New government includes former members of the governing council, former militants, professionals, and opponents of Saddam Hussein. Jun. 8, 2004 The UN Security Council unanimously passes a resolution endorsing the appointment of an interim government in Iraq. It authorizes U.S. military forces to remain in the country until Jan. 2006. Jun. 1–17, 2004 Between June 1 and June 17, at least 100 people are reported killed in car bombs across Iraq. Among the dead are a senior Iraqi government official and a senior diplomat. Several other members of the new Iraqi government become the targets of gunmen. Jun. 16, 2004 The 9/11 Commission (formally the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks) concludes in its report that there is "no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." The link between al-Qaeda and Iraq was used as one of the justifications for the war. President Bush disputes the report's conclusion the next day, insisting there was "a relationship" between the two. Jun. 17, 2004 In a poll conducted by the Coalition Provisional Authority in May, 92% of Iraqis saw the U.S. as "occupiers," 3% saw them as "peacekeepers," and only 2% Iraqis viewed them as "liberators." Jun. 28, 2004 In a surprise move, the United States transfers power back to Iraqis two days early. The ceremony was held in secret to thwart attacks by Iraqi insurgents. Only 30 people were present. Jun. 30, 2004 The interim government of Iraq takes legal custody of Saddam Hussein and 11 other high-profile former Baath Party officials. Jul. 7, 2004 Prime Minister Allawi signs a law permitting him to impose martial law. Jul. 9, 2004 The Senate Intelligence Committee releases an unanimous, bipartisan "Report on Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq" evaluating the intelligence assessments that formed the basis for the Bush administrations justifications for the war. It harshly criticizes the CIA and other American intelligence agencies for the "mischaracterization of intelligence:" "most of the major key judgments" on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were "either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence report." It disputed assertions that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, that it had chemical and biological weapons, and that it was developing an unmanned aerial vehicle for use in delivering biological warfare agents. It also concluded that there was no "established formal relationship" between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. "In the end, what the president and the Congress used to send the country to war was information that was provided by the intelligence community, and that information was flawed," said Senator Pat Roberts, the committee's Republican chairman. Jul. 14, 2004 The Butler report on pre-Iraq war British intelligence is released, and it echoes the American findings of the week before (though with a much milder tone) that pre-war intelligence exaggerated Saddam Hussein's threat. In particular, the British intelligence dossier asserting the widely suspect claim that Saddam Hussein could deploy weapons within 45 minutes was deemed highly misleading, and "led to suspicions that it had been included because of its eye-catching character." Jul. 22, 2004 Australia releases the Flood report, its assessment of pre-war intelligence on Iraq, and finds the evidence supporting Iraq's possession of WMD "thin, ambiguous, and incomplete." Like the earlier U.S. and UK intelligence reports, it clears the government of manipulating the intelligence. A report on military prison abuse in Iraq identified 94 suspected or confirmed cases of abuse of prisoners, including the deaths of at least 20 prisoners. Prepared by Lt. Gen. Paul Mikolashek, the Army's inspector general, the report maintained that abuse was not "systemic." The report is one of 11 Pentagon investigations into prisoner abuse as a result of the Abu Ghraib scandal. Jul. 28, 2004 In the deadliest attack since Iraq's interim government took power, at least 68 were killed in a car bombing in Baqouba. Aug. 24, 2004 The Pentagon-sponsored Schlesinger report's investigation into the Abu Ghraib scandal called the prisoner abuse acts of "brutality and purposeless sadism," rejected the idea that the abuse was simply the work of a few aberrant soldiers, and asserted that there were "fundamental failures throughout all levels of command, from the soldiers on the ground to Central Command and to the Pentagon." Aug. 27, 2004 A bloody, three-week battle in Najaf between the U.S. forces and the militia of militant cleric al-Sadr ends in August when Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani negotiates a settlement. Sep. 7, 2004 The American death toll in Iraq reaches 1,000; about 7,000 soldiers have been wounded. In August, attacks on American forces reached their highest level since the beginning of the war, an average of 87 per day. Sep. 15, 2004 The Bush administration requests that the Senate shift $3.4 billion of the $18.4 billion Iraqi aid package meant for reconstruction work to improving security measures. The worsening security situation—with pockets of Iraq essentially under the control of insurgents—threatens to disrupt national elections, scheduled for January. Republican and Democratic senators alike harshly criticize the request as a sign that the American campaign in Iraq has been poorly executed. Senators also denounce the slow progress in rebuilding Iraq: just 6% ($1 billion) of the reconstruction money approved by Congress last year has in fact been spent. Sen. Richard Lugar, the Republican chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, laments that "the slow pace of reconstruction spending means that we are failing to fully take advantage of one of our most potent tools to influence the direction of Iraq." In a BBC interview, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says the war against Iraq was illegal and violated the UN Charter. The U.S., UK, and Australia vigorously reject his conclusion. Oct. 1–3, 2004 U.S and Iraqi troops take control of Samarra, which had become a stronghold of the insurgency. Oct. 6, 2004 In the final report on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Charles Duelfer concludes that there is no evidence that Iraq had undertaken weapons production program when the U.S. began the war. Oct. 11, 2004 Rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army begins to surrender heavy weapons. Results deemed a "mixed success." Oct. 14, 2004 Insurgents detonate two bombs in the Green Zone, home to Iraqi officials and the American Embassy. Oct. 19, 2004 Margaret Hassan, British-Iraqi director of CARE International, is abducted in Baghdad. She is later presumed dead. Oct. 24, 2004 Fifty new Iraqi soldiers are executed by insurgents loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Oct. 25, 2004 The New York Times reports that about 380 tons of powerful explosives disappeared from military installation called Al Qaqaa sometime after the U.S.-led war began in March 2003. Before the U.S. invasion, the explosives had been monitored and sealed by the UN's IAEA. The missing explosives could potentially be used to detonate a nuclear weapon. Nov. 8, 2004 U.S. forces initiate an all-out assault on Falluja, which has been under the control of insurgents since May. Named Operation Phantom Fury, the invasion involved about 10,000 American soldiers. A month later, the U.S. estimated it had killed about 1,600 rebels. It also uncovered enormous caches of weapons. According to Maj. Jim West of the Marines, “We are very reluctant to say that we have broken their backs. We have given them a very strong jolt and disrupted their operations.” The city has been severely damaged by artillery, air and tank bombardments, and most of the city's 300,000 residents have not returned. Dec. 19, 2004 Car bombers target Shiites and election workers in brazen attacks in Najaf and Karbala. More than 60 people killed and 120 wounded. Dec. 21, 2004 Bomb explodes in U.S. military tent at base in Mosul. At least 24 people die, including 19 American soldiers. 2005 Jan. 4, 2005 Ali al-Haidari, governor of Baghdad Province, is assassinated by insurgents who are seeking to thwart elections scheduled for January 30. Jan. 7, 2005 U.S. Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz acknowledges that large parts of nearly 25% of Iraq's provinces are not secure enough to hold elections. Baghdad is one of the four provinces cited. Violence continues on a daily basis throughout much of the country. Jan. 11, 2005 Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi admits that some areas of Iraq are likely to be too dangerous to hold elections. Jan. 12, 2005 The White House announces that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, one of the main justifications for the war, is officially over. No such weapons were found. Jan. 27, 2005 31 Marines die in a helicopter crash and 5 other U.S. soldiers are killed by Iraqi insurgents elsewhere in the country, making it the single deadliest day for American soldiers since the war began. The death toll for U.S. soldiers has now reached 1,408. Jan. 30, 2005 Iraq's elections to select a 275-seat National Assembly went ahead as scheduled. A total of 8.5 million people voted, representing about 58% of those Iraqis eligible to vote. But violence accompanied the voting, with 260 attacks taking place on election day, the largest number since the war began. A coalition of Shiites, the United Iraq Alliance, received 48% of the vote, the Kurdish parties received 26% of the vote, and the Sunnis just 2%. The Sunni vote was so low because most Sunni leaders had called for a boycott. Feb. 22, 2005 The United Iraqi Alliance, the group of Shiite political parties that won the most votes in Iraq's Jan. 30 election, selects Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be the prime minister of Iraq. The 58-year-old doctor served as Iraq's interim vice-president of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Jaafari is a popular politician who is seen as acceptable to the Sunnis and Kurds as well as the dominant Shiites. Feb. 27, 2005 Syria hands over Sabawi Ibrahim Hassan, a half brother of Saddam Hussein, and other fugitives to the Iraqi government. Hassan is believed to have organized and financed the insurgency in Iraq. Feb. 28, 2005 In the deadliest attack ever by insurgents, suicide bomber blows up a car in Hilla, killing about 115 people who were seeking employment with the Iraqi police. Mar. 5, 2005 U.S. soldiers shoot at car carrying Giuliana Sgrena, an Italian journalist who had been held hostage by Iraqi insurgents and just released from captivity. Sgrena was wounded and an Italian intelligence agent was killed. Relations between Italy and the U.S. grow strained. Mar. 16, 2005 Diverse group of 275 newly elected leaders to the Iraqi assembly convene for the first time in a largely ceremonial meeting. Shiites and Kurds, who fared best in January elections, have not yet appointed leaders. On March 29, the assembly meets for the second time and fails again to agree upon the composition of the new Iraqi government. Mar. 31, 2005 Panel set up by President Bush calls assessment on Iraq's weapons capabilities "dead wrong" and finds that intelligence agencies exaggerated evidence and relied on shaky sources in making the case for war in Iraq. Apr. 3–7, 2005 On April 3, Iraqi Assembly name Hajim al-Hassani, a Sunni, as speaker, and Hussain al-Shahristani, a Shiite, and Arif Taifour, a Kurd, as deputies. On April 6, Iraq Assembly selects Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani as president; Adel Abdul Mahdi, a Shiite politician, as vice president, and Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar, the Sunni president of the interim government, as the second vice president. On April 7, the Iraq Assembly names Shiite Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister. Interim prime minister Ayad Allawi resigns. May 1, 2005 The leaked, top-secret "Downing Street Memo" of July 23, 2002, indicates that eight months before the Iraq war was launched, Blair and top British government officials acknowledged that "the case [for war] was thin," but that "Bush had made up his mind to take military action." The U.S. wanted the war "justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Memo receives enormous attention in the UK but not in the U.S. Jun. 3, 2005 Violence from the insurgency continues relentlessly despite the installation of the new Shiite-led government on April 28. Since that date, more than 825 people, including Iraqi civilians and U.S. forces, have been killed by insurgents. Jun. 23, 2005 Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, stated that the Iraq insurgency remains as strong as it had been six months earlier. Jul. 3, 2005 Ihab al-Sharif, who was to become Egypt's ambassador to Iraq, is kidnapped by gunmen in Baghdad. On July 7, the militant group al-Qaeda in Iraq says it has killed Sharif. Jul. 21, 2005 Algeria's top diplomat, Ali Billaroussi, and envoy Azzedine Belakdi are kidnapped by gunmen in Baghdad. Jul. 17, 2005 Suicide bomber detonates bomb under a fuel tanker in Musayyib, killing at least 70 people and wounding more than 150. Four other suicide bombers hit Baghdad on the same day. Jul. 19, 2005 Two Sunnis involved in drafting the Iraqi constitution are shot in Baghdad. Jul. 20, 2005 Pentagon report assessing Iraqi security forces finds that they are, at best, “partially capable” of fighting the country's insurgency. Aug. 15, 2005 Iraq delays the final drafting of the constitution, extending the deadline so Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish delegates can compromise on disputed issues, such as the distribution of oil revenues, issues of federalism, the rights of women, and the role of Islam in government. Aug. 22, 2005 Iraqi leaders give National Assembly a partially complete constitution and promise to complete the document within days. Aug. 27, 2005 Frustrated with demands by Sunni Arabs, Shiite and Kurdish leaders end negotiations with Sunnis. Aug. 28, 2005 Iraqi National Assembly receives the new constitution, which will be voted on by Iraqi citizens on Oct. 15. Sunni negotiators denounce the document. Sep. 10–11, 2005 U.S. and Iraqi troops launch successful offensive against insurgents in the northern city of Tal Afar. Oct. 2, 2005 Shiite and Kurdish leaders change election rules. The rules say that constitution will fail if two-thirds of all registered voters—rather than two-thirds of those who vote—reject it in three or more provinces. Changes likely to ensure that constitution passes in the national referendum on Oct. 15. On Oct. 5, facing pressure from the UN and U.S. officials, the Iraqi National Assembly votes to reverse the rules change. Oct. 11, 2005 Leaders involved in drafting constitution agree to create a panel that could revise the constitution. In exchange, Sunni leaders say they will support the constitution in the upcoming referendum. Oct. 15, 2005 Millions of Iraqi voters head to the polls to vote on a constitution. Oct. 25, 2005 Electoral commission reports that constitution has passed, with 79% of voters supporting it. But it failed by more than a two-thirds majority in two Sunni-dominated provinces and by less than a two-thirds majority in a third, making the victory a narrow one. Turnout among Sunnis is high. The number of deaths of U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq reaches 2,000. The figure represents the number of fatalities since the war began in March 2003. Nov. 2, 2005 Iraqi Defense Ministry begins recruiting former junior officers from Saddam Hussein's army to bolster army's forces and to siphon fighters away from the insurgency. Nov. 7, 2005 Suicide bomber kills four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad in the deadliest suicide attack since June. Nov. 10, 2005 Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia claims responsibility for attack in a Baghdad cafe that kills about 30 people, including many police officers. Nov. 15, 2005 Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announces a prompt inquiry into alleged torture of more than 170 prisoners-mostly Sunnis-by Shiite police officers. Nov. 18, 2005 Two suicide bombers blow themselves up in two Shiite mosques in the Kurdish town of Khanaqin. About 70 people are killed. Nov. 21, 2005 For the first time, a group of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish leaders sign a statement that demands a specific time for the pullout of foreign troops. Nov. 30, 2005 President Bush unveils his vision for victory in Iraq and rejects calls by Democrats and some Republicans for a timetable for withdrawal: “Pulling our troops out before they've achieved their purpose is not a plan for victory.” Dec. 2, 2005 Ten marines are killed and about a dozen wounded by a bomb attack in Falluja. The Pentagon acknowledges that it hired a U.S. public relations agency, the Lincoln Group, to translate into Arabic articles written by American soldiers. The agency then passed the stories on to advertising agencies that paid Iraqi news outlets to run them. Dec. 5, 2005 Witnesses in trial of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein detail horrifying examples of torture. Dec. 6, 2005 At least 36 people are killed and about 75 are wounded when two suicide bombers attack the Baghdad Police Academy. Dec. 15, 2005 Iraq holds parliamentary elections. As many as 11 million Iraqis turn out to select their first permanent Parliament since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. More than 7,000 Parliamentary candidates from 300 parties are seeking to fill the 275 seats in Parliament. Violence is minimal. Dec. 19, 2005 Religious Shiites take an early lead in elections, according to preliminary figures released by election officials. 2006 Jan. 20, 2006 Preliminary election results are reported for the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. The Shiite United Iraqi Alliance—an alliance of Shiite religious parties— captured 128 of the 275 parliamentary seats. It did not succeed in winning the two-thirds majority needed to rule without coalition partners, and will seek to form a coalition over the next weeks. Eleven other political groups won seats: an alliance of the two major Kurdish parties won 53 seats; the Iraqi Accordance Front (Sunni Arab), 44 seats; Iraqi Front for National Dialogue (Sunni Arab), 11 seats; Iraqi National List (secular), 25 seats; Islamic Part of Kurdistan, 5; Reconciliation and Liberation Bloc (Sunni Arab), 3; Risaliyoun (Shiite), 2, Turkomen Iraqi Front (ethnic Turks), 1; Iraqi Nation List (Sunni), 1; Yazidi minority religious sect, 1; Al-Rafidian List (Christian), 1. Jan. 23, 2006 Report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction finds evidence of fraud, that money for rebuilding was casually and insecurely stored, and contract work was improperly certified as complete Feb. 15, 2006 A U.S. Senate report on progress in Iraq indicates that despite the U.S. spending $16 billion on reconstruction, every major area of Iraq's infrastructure is below prewar levels. This includes electricity, drinkable water, heating oil production, crude oil production, and sewage service. The report also indicates that the number of insurgent attacks has increased: between March 2004 and Dec. 2005, they have grown by more that 200%. Feb. 22, 2006 Inurgents bomb and seriously damage the golden dome atop the Shiite's most revered shrine in Iraq, the Askariya Shrine, in Samarra. The bombings ignited ferocious sectarian attacks between Shiites and Sunnis. More than a thousand people were killed over several days, and Iraq seemed poised for civil war. March 7, 2006 The bodies of 24 men are found in five locations in Baghdad. March 8, 2006 Gunmen kidnap about 50 employees of a Sunni-owned security company in Baghdad. Witnesses say the gunmen were wearing police paramilitary uniforms. March 12, 2006 Six car bombs explode in Shiite section of Baghdad, killing nearly 50 people and wounding 200. March 15, 2006 Saddam Hussein testifies for the first time in his lengthy trial. He is charged with ordering the killing of 148 villagers in Dujail in 1982. March 16, 2006 The U.S. military and Iraqi forces launch "Operation Swarmer" near Samarra, a massive attack against insurgents. It is the largest air assault since the beginning of the war in 2003. Iraq's new parliament meets for the first time since its election in December 2005. Leaders continue to struggle to form a government of national unity with little success. Parliament was quickly adjourned after the various factions of Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds deadlocked on the positions of prime minister, president, speaker, and cabinet members. Many Shiites back Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister—he currently holds that post—but Sunni, Kurd, and secular groups are set against him. March 21, 2006 Over a two-week period, nearly 200 bodies are found in Baghdad. Most of the victims had been executed or tortured. April 4, 2006 Iraqi court charges Saddam Hussein and six other defendants with genocide in attempting to eradicate Iraq's Kurdish population in 1988. More than 50,000 people were killed in the military campaign that destroyed about 2,000 villages. April 5, 2006 Four months after elections, the appointment of Jaafari as prime minister is still not confirmed—Sunni Arab and Kurdish officials continue to reject him. Jaafari, a religious Shiite, is considered by many to be a divisive figure incapable of forming the government of national unity that is desperately needed for a country deeply enmeshed in deep sectarian violence. Iraqi and U.S. officials have urged him to step down; Jaafari refuses, asserting that his appointment was reached by democratic means and that the Iraqi people "will react if they see the rules of democracy being disobeyed." April 7, 2006 Suicide bombings kill at least 50 people at a Baghdad mosque. April 22, 2006 Nuri al-Maliki of the Shiite Dawa party, is approved as prime minister, ending four months of political stalemate. April 29, 2006 The Los Angeles Times reports that Parsons, the U.S. company awarded multibillion dollar contracts to rebuild Iraq's health and security infrastructure, will finish only 20 of 150 planned health clinics planned. It has spent $60 million of the budgeted $186 million for its own management and administration. On June 19, the Army Corps of Engineers announces it has canceled a $99.1 million contract with Parsons, to build a prison. The company was more than two years behind schedule and was expected to go millions of dollars over budget. April 30, 2006 According to the April report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), more than 75% of oil and gas restoration projects are incomplete, as well as 50% of electrical and 40% of water and sanitation projects. Yet the most of the $20 billion Congress has allocated for reconstruction has been spent. Insurgent attacks have hindered reconstruction progress and security concerns have added to the costs. In addition, incompetence and fraud have characterized numerous projects. Stuart Bowen, Jr., the Special Inspector General, is currently pursuing 72 investigations into corruption by firms involved in reconstruction. May 10, 2006 President Jalal Talabani announces that more the 1,000 people were killed in Baghdad during April. May 15, 2006 Saddam Hussein is charged with crimes against humanity. Ruling is part of his trial that focuses on the execution about nearly 150 Shiites in Dujail in 1982. May 17, 2006 Congressman John Murtha holds a press conference discussing a not-yet-released official military report that U.S. Marines had killed 24 innocent Iraqis, "in cold blood" in the city of Haditha last Nov. 19. The alleged massacre, which included women and children, were said to have been revenge for a bombing that killed a Marine. The marines are also alleged to have covered up the killings. The military did not launch a criminal investigation until mid-March, four months after the incident, and two months after Time Magazine had reported the allegations to the military In the weeks after Murtha called the press conference, several additional sets of separate allegations of civilian murders by U.S. troops have surfaced. May 20, 2006 A bomb kills 19 in Baghdad. May 23, 2006 Bombs kill 20 in Baghdad. June 2, 2006 A suicide bomber kills 33 in Basra. June 4, 2006 Terrorists kill 21 in Baquba. June 7, 2006 Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the most-wanted terrorist in the country, is killed when U.S. warplanes dropped 500-lb. bombs on his safe house. Zarqawi was responsible for many of the most brutal and horrific attacks in Iraqi, and his death is considered a major victory. June 15, 2006 The Congressional Committee on Government Reform's Minority reports that despite $50 billion in expenditures, oil and electricity production remain well below pre-war levels. June 26, 2006 A bombing in Hilla kills 30. July 1, 2006 A bombing kills 66 in a Baghdad market. July 3, 2006 A former U.S. soldier, Steven D. Green, is charged in a U.S. federal court of raping and murdering an Iraqi girl as well as murdering her parents and young sister. Three other U.S. soldiers are believed to have been involved in the murders in Mahmoudiya, which took place in March 2006. July 10, 2006 A Government Accountability Office, and independent investigative branch of Congress, releases a report the maintains that the Bush administration's Iraq strategy is inadequate and was poorly planned. July 10-15, 2006 Nearly 150 people are killed in five days of suicide bombings, mortar attacks, and shootings that bring the country to the brink of civil war. The U.S. increases its troop presence in the city to help quell the violence. July 11, 2006 The U.S. Army announces that it is discontinuing its multibillion-dollar deal with military contractor Halliburton, which has provided service to the military in Iraq and elsewhwere. Government audits have uncovered more the $1 billion in questionable charges. July 18, 2006 The UN announces that during June, an average of more than 100 civilians were killed in Iraq each day. During the first six months of the year, civilian deaths increased by 77%, reflecting the serious spike in sectarian violence in the country. A suicide bomber in the Shi'ite city of Kufa kills 59. July 25, 2006 The U.S. announces it will move more U.S. troops into Bagdad from other regions of Iraq, in an attempt to bring security to the country's capital, which has increasingly been subject to lawlessness, violence, and sectarian strife. July 27, 2006 The trial of Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president who faces charges of crimes against humanity, ends after nine months. He is accused of ordering the 1982 execution of 148 men and boys in a Shiite village. July 28, 2006 Audit finds that the United States Agency for International Development used an accounting scheme to mask budget overruns on reconstruction projects in Iraq. Aug. 3, 2006 Gen. John Abizaid, the U.S. military's top commander in Asia (CENTCOM), announced to a Senate panel that sectarian violence in Iraq has grown so strong that civil war was a distinct possibility. Aug. 10, 2006 A suicide bomber attempts to blow up the Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, killing 35 people and wounding more than 120. Aug. 15, 2006 According to Iraq's health ministry and the Baghdad morgue, a total of 3,438 civilians were killed in July, an increase of 9% over June. Aug. 30, 2006 Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, estimated that Iraqi security forces would need another 12 to 18 months before they could take over from American troops. Sept. 1, 2006 A Pentagon report finds that since the new Iraqi government was established in May, civilian and security forces casualties have increased by 51%. Sept. 3, 2006 U.S. and Iraqi troops capture Hamid Juma Faris Jouri al-Saeedi, a senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. He is thought to have overseen the bombing of the Shiite Askariya shrine in February that resulted in days of deadly sectarian violence Sept. 23, 2006 A classified National Intelligence Estimate—a consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, signed off by Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte--is leaked to several newspapers. It concludes that “the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse.” Oct. 11, 2006 The Iraqi Parliament votes in favor of a law that would allow provinces to unite and form semi-independent regions. Sunnis in parliament, who oppose the move out of fear that Shiites and Kurds will control most of the country's oil, boycott the vote. Oct. 17, 2006 Under pressure to control violence that has spiraled out of control, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki fires two police generals. The security forces have been criticized for having been infiltrated by members of Shiite militias, which have tortured and killed hundreds of civilians. Oct. 19, 2006 The U.S. military acknowledges that its 12-week-old campaign to establish security in Baghdad, which has been wracked by sectarian death squads and insurgents, had been unsuccessful. Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV conceded that the campaign “has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence.” The military had deployed 15,600 troops, and about 9,600 Iraqi Army soldiers and 30,000 Iraqi policemen assisted them. Oct. 20, 2006 Shiite militias battle for control of the city of Amarra. The Mahdi Army, which is connected to Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, and the Badr Organization destroy police stations and bring the city to a standstill. Oct. 29, 2006 Report by the Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction says the U.S. military has not appropriately tracked or maintained thousands of weapons that were sent to Iraq. Oct. 31, 2006 Following the demand of Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, the U.S. military removes checkpoints from Baghdad streets. The military had set up the checkpoints in an attempt to find a U.S. soldier who had been kidnapped. Nov. 3, 2006 The New York Times reveals that a military authorization bill signed by President Bush in October includes a provision that will terminate the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction on Oct. 1, 2007. This federal oversight agency, headed by respected Republican lawyer Stuart Bowen, has been pursuing more than 82 investigations into corruption and waste in Iraq by corporations such as Halliburton, Bechtel, and Parsons. The clause was inserted by the head of the House Armed Services Committee, Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and provoked outrage among Democrats, who felt the move was covering up the Bush administration's handling of the war. Nov. 6, 2006 Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death by hanging. He is found guilty of crimes against humanity for the execution of 148 Shiite men and boys from the town of Dujail. Nov. 22, 2006 Civilian deaths reach a record high in Iraq: some 3,700 Iraqi civilians died in October, the highest toll since the war began in 2003, according to the United Nations. Report also says that about 100,000 Iraqis flee each month to Jordan and Syria. Nov. 23, 2006 More than 200 people die when five car bombs and a mortar shell explode in the Shiite-dominated Sadr City district of Baghdad. On Nov. 24, Shiites retaliate against Sunnis, attacking mosques in Baghdad and Baquba. Dozens die in the attacks. Dec. 6, 2006 A bipartisan report by the Iraq Study Group is released. Led by former secretary of state James Baker and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, it 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 reaching out diplomatically to Iran and Syria and having the U.S. military intensify its efforts to train Iraqi troops. Dec. 18, 2006 A Pentagon report finds that attacks on Americans and Iraqis average about 960 a week, the highest number since it began writing the reports in 2005. Dec. 20, 2006 Americans formally give control of the troubled province to the Iraqi government. It is the first time since the war began that the U.S. relinquishes control of a province. Dec. 21, 2006 Military prosecutors charge the Marines with the murder of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in November 2005. Ten of the casualties were women and children. Four officers are also charged with dereliction of duty. Dec. 30, 2006 Saddam Hussein is hanged. On Nov. 5, a court had sentenced Saddam to death for the killing of 148 Shiites in Dujail in 1982. On Dec. 28, an Iraqi appellate court chief upheld the death sentence, and the execution was scheduled for two days later. Dec. 31, 2006 The American death toll in the Iraq war reaches 3,000. The UN reports that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed from violence in 2006. 2007 Jan. 4, 2007 Lt. Gen. David Petraeus is named the top commander in Iraq. He replaces Gen. George Casey, Jr. Adm. William Fallon succeeds Gen. John Abizaid as the head of Central Command. Jan. 10, 2007 In a nationally televised address, President Bush announces an additional 20,000 troops will be deployed to Baghdad to try to stem the sectarian fighting. He also says Iraq will take control of its forces and commit to a number of "benchmarks," including increasing troop presence in Baghdad and passing oil-revenue-sharing and jobs-creation plans. Jan. 11, 2007 U.S. troops storm an Iranian diplomatic office in Erbil, Iraq, a Kurdish-controlled city, and detain five people. Kurdish officials are outraged at the move. Jan. 16, 2007 The tally of death certificates and reports from morgues, hospitals, and other institutions indicates more than 34,000 Iraqi civilians died in 2006. Jan. 28, 2007 As many as 250 are killed near Najaf as American and Iraqi troops fight with a Shiite militia. An American helicopter is shot down in the battle. Jan. 24, 2007 Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes, 12–9, in favor of a nonbinding resolution that denounces President Bush's plan to deploy additional troops to Iraq. Feb. 2, 2007 National Intelligence Estimate finds the Iraqi leadership is likely too weak to hold the country together, the military is ill-equipped to rein in militias, and U.S. troops are necessary to stabilize Iraq. Feb. 7, 2007 The U.S. and Iraq begin a new offensive in an attempt to increase security in Baghdad and quell the increasingly deadly attacks by insurgents and militias. Feb. 11, 2007 Officials show weapons, including mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades, and explosively formed penetrators, that they say were used by Iraqi troops and manufactured in Iranian factories. They also claim that Iranian government officials sanctioned the transfer of the weapons to Iraq. Feb. 16, 2007 Despite an increase in violence in Bagdhad, Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki called the security offensive a "dazzling success." The House of Representatives votes, 246–182, in favor of a nonbinding resolution that expresses support for U.S. troops but criticizes President Bush’s “surge” that calls for some 20,000 additional troops to be sent to Iraq. Seventeen Republicans voted to adopt the resolution. Feb. 17, 2007 Senate Democrats fall four votes short of forcing a debate on the troop buildup in Iraq. In the vote, 56–34, seven Republicans join Democrats in supporting the vote. Feb. 21, 2007 British prime minister Tony Blair says as many as 1,600 of the 7,100 troops stationed in southern Iraq will leave in the next few months. "What all this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be, but it does mean that the next chapter in Basra’s history can be written by Iraqis," Blair said. Feb. 26, 2007 The Iraqi cabinet passes a draft law on oil revenues that calls on the government to distribute oil revenues to regions based on their populations and allows regions to negotiate contracts with foreign companies to explore and develop oil fields. In a policy shift, U.S. officials say they will participate in high-level talks with Iran and Syria at an upcoing meeting about Iraq. March 28, 2007 Seasoned diplomat Ryan Crocker replaces Zalmay Khalizad as U.S. ambassador to Iraq. April 12, 2007 Eight people, including two Iraqi legislators, die when a suicide bomber strikes inside the Parliament building, which is located in Baghdad's fortified International Zone. An organization that includes al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia claims responsibility for the bold attack. In another attack, the Sarafiya Bridge that spans the Tigris River is destroyed. April 18, 2007 Five bombs targeting Shiite neighborhoods kill about 200 people and ravage the Iraqi capital in the worst violence in weeks. One bomb alone kills about 140 in Sadr City area. April 30, 2007 Stuart Bowen, Jr., head of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, faults both the U.S. and Iraq in his criticism of the poor construction and maintenance of several projects throughout Iraq. Problems include power generators that don't work, overflowing sewage systems, and faulty electrical systems. May 1, 2007 President Bush vetoes the $124 billion spending bill passed in late April by Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill called on the Bush administration to establish benchmarks for the Iraqi government that, if met, set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. It was only the second time in Bush's presidency that he used the veto. "Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible," Bush said. May 3, 2007 Muharib Abdul Latif al-Jubouri, a leader of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, dies in a raid north of Baghdad. U.S. officials say that Jubouri was involved in the kidnapping of American reporter Jill Carroll. May 12, 2007 Four soldiers die and three are captured in an attack near Mahmudiya, a mostly Sunni area. The Islamic State of Iraq, an insurgent group that includes al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, says it is holding the soldiers. May 15, 2007 President Bush selects Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute to oversee war policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lute serves as the top operations officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Senate must confirm Lute's nomination. May 23, 2007 The body of one of the soldiers who was abducted on May 12, Pfc. Joseph Anzack, is found in the Euphrates River. May 25, 2007 Moktada al-Sadr, leader of the Mahdi Army militia and an opponent of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, reemerges from hiding for the first time since January. In a speech, he calls for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. May 31, 2007 With 127 deaths, May is the deadliest month for U.S. troops since November 2004. June 13, 2007 The revered Shiite Askariya mosque at Samarra is bombed for the second time in 16 months. Sunni militants connected to al-Qaeda are suspected in the attack. June 16, 2007 U.S. forces begin a new offensive, targeting al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia in areas around Baghdad, where car bombings and other insurgent attacks have intensified. June 24, 2007 Three Iraqi army officials, including Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein who was known as "Chemical Ali, are convicted and sentenced to death for carrying out the murder of about 50,000 Kurds in 1988—what was called the Anfal campaign. July 3, 2007 The Iraqi cabinet approves the hydrocarbon framework law, one component of a larger legislative package, which states that the revenue from oil sales belongs to all Iraqis and outlines the function of the oil and gas council. Parliament must also approve the legislation. July 7, 2007 A truck filled with explosives destroys dozens of homes and shops in Amerli, a Shiite village north of Baghdad. Hundreds are wounded in the attack. Aug. 1 , 2007 The Iraqi Consensus Front, the largest Sunni faction in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's cabinet, resigns, citing the Shiite-led government's failure to stem violence by militias, follow through with reforms, and involve Sunnis in decisions on security. Aug. 14, 2007 Two pairs of truck bombs explode about five miles apart in the remote, northwestern Iraqi towns of Qahtaniya and Jazeera. At least 500 members of the minority Yazidi community are reported killed and hundreds more are wounded, making it the single deadliest insurgent attack of the war. Aug. 24, 2007 A review of progress in Iraq, called the National Intelligence Estimate, says the Iraqi government has failed to end sectarian violence even with the surge of American troops. The report also says, however, that a withdrawal of troops, a move supported by many Democrats, would "erode security gains achieved thus far." Aug. 26, 2007 In an attempt at national reconciliation, a group of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Vice President Tarqi al-Hashemi, and President Jalal Talabani, announce that former Baathists, members of the party loyal to Saddam Hussein, could regain their government jobs that were lost in 2003's de-Baathification process. Aug. 28, 2007 More than 50 people are killed and hundreds are wounded when members of the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, and the Badr Organization, a group of fighters that supports Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki battle in the streets of Karbala during a pilgrimage celebrating the birth of Muhammad al-Mahdi. The following day, Moktada al-Sadr announces that he has ordered the Mahdi Army to suspend its military operations for six months. Sept. 3, 2007 President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates make a surprise visit to Iraq and visit Anbar Province, a Sunni stronghold. They meet with Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki and other leaders. Bush stresses that progress in security and reconciliation have been made in Anbar and hints that a troop withdrawal may start if such gains continue. Sept. 10, 2007 In highly anticipated testimony, Gen. David Petraeus tells members of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees that the U.S. military needs more time to meet its goals in Iraq. He says the number of troops in Iraq may be reduced from 20 brigades to 15, or from 160,000 troops to 130,000, beginning in July 2008. Petraeus rejects suggestions that the U.S. shift from a counterinsurgency operation to training Iraqi forces and fighting terrorists. Instead, he says the U.S. must continue all three missions. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker also testifies, expressing frustration about the situation in Iraq. He said that while Iraqi leaders and the people are capable of—and desire to—bridge the sectarian divide, "I frankly do not expect that we will see rapid progress," he said. Sept. 11, 2007 Gen. David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker face more intense and critical questioning from members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees. They failed to answer definitely repeated questions about how long U.S. troops would be in Iraq. Senator Carl Levin, Democrat from Michigan, said, "Year after year, the president and the administration have touted progress in Iraq and called for patience. It has been a litany of delusion." Sept. 13, 2007 In a nationally televised address, President Bush outlines a plan for withdrawing troops from Iraq. He said by July 2008 troop levels would drop from the current high of 169,000 to 130,000. Calling the move a "return on success," Bush said the progress from the surge of troops would be diminished if more troops returned from Iraq too quickly. Sept. 13, 2007 Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, a leader of Sunni tribes in Anbar Province that have joined forces with the U.S. to fight Sunni militants, such as al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, dies in a bombing. Such cooperation is credited with bringing relative peace and stability to Anbar Province. Sept. 16, 2007 Seventeen Iraqi civilians, including a couple and their infant, are killed when employees of private security company Blackwater USA, which was escorting a diplomatic convoy, reportedly fire on a car that failed to stop at the request of a police officer. Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki threatens to evict Blackwater employees from Iraq. Oct. 8, 2007 British prime minister Gordon Brown announces that half of the country's 5,000 troops stationed in Basra will be removed by the end of 2008. Oct. 12, 2007 Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, criticizes the Bush administration for its "catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan." Sanchez, who retired after being replaced amid the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, also said, "After more than four years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism." Oct. 17, 2007 Turkey's Parliament votes, 507 to 19, to allow the deployment of troops into northern Iraq to deal with attacks on Turkey by Kurdish rebels in Iraq. Oct. 21, 2007 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, members of the Kurdistan Workers Party, attack and kill 12 Turkish soldiers about three miles inside Turkey. Nov. 6, 2007 Six American soldiers are killed in Iraq, bringing the total deaths in 2007 to 852, the highest annual total since the war began in 2003. Nov. 13, 2007 FBI investigators report that 14 of the 17 shootings of Iraqis on Sept. 16 by Blackwater guards were unjustified and the guards were reckless in their use of deadly force. Nov. 18, 2007 U.S. military reports that for three consecutive weeks, the number of car bombs, roadside bombs, mines, rocket attacks, and other violence have fallen to the lowest level since January 2006. Nov. 24, 2007 A brigade of 5,000 U.S. troops starts to leave Diyala Province, the first significant pullback of troops. Once the withdrawal is complete, there will be 157,000 soldiers in Iraq, from a high of 162,000. Dec. 16, 2007 With the help of the U.S. military, Turkish fighter jets bomb areas in Dohuk Province in northern Iraq, targeting the Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party. At least one civilian is reported to have died in the attack. The British military transfers military control of Basra to the Iraqi government. It was the last region that was still under British control. Dec. 29, 2007 Gen. David Petraeus reports that car bombs and suicide attacks have dropped by 60% since June 2007. He also says that al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia remains the greatest threat to Iraq's security. 2008 Jan. 1, 2008 In the worst attack in Iraq in months, a suicide bomber kills 30 people at a home where mourners were paying their respects to the family of a man killed in a car bomb. Jan. 12, 2008 Parliament passes the Justice and Accountability Law, which will allow many Baathists to resume the government jobs they lost after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The measure creates a new committee to determine if lower-level Baathists, former members of Saddam Hussein's party, are eligible to be reinstated to their previous posts. Passage of the law, which must be approved by the presidential council, would be the first major benchmark of political progress reached by the Iraqi government. Feb. 1, 2008 At least 65 people die when two women suicide bombers attack crowded pet markets in eastern Baghdad.
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