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Post-invasion —11 Ba'ath loyalists. Iraqi Security Forces post-Saddam Killed: Iraqi combatant dead invasion period: The Iraq War [nb 1] was a protracted armed conflict that began in with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. The invasion occurred as part of a declared war against international terrorism and its sponsors under the administration of U.
Bush following the September 11 terrorist attacks. The invasion began on 20 March ,  with the U. Iraqi forces were quickly overwhelmed as U. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba'athist government ; Saddam was captured during Operation Red Dawn in December of that same year and executed by a military court three years later. However, the power vacuum following Saddam's demise and the mismanagement of the occupation led to widespread sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis , as well as a lengthy insurgency against U.
Many violent insurgent groups were supported by Iran and al-Qaeda in Iraq. The United States responded with a troop surge in The winding down of U. The Bush administration based its rationale for the war principally on the assertion that Iraq, which had been viewed by the U.
The rationale and misrepresentation of U. In the aftermath of the invasion, Iraq held multi-party elections in Nouri al-Maliki became Prime Minister in and remained in office until The al-Maliki government enacted policies that were widely seen as having the effect of alienating the country's Sunni minority and worsening sectarian tensions. In the summer of , the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL launched a military offensive in Northern Iraq and declared a worldwide Islamic caliphate , eliciting another military response from the United States and its allies.
The Iraq War caused over a hundred thousand civilian deaths and tens of thousands of military deaths see estimates below. The majority of deaths occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts between and Strong international opposition to the Saddam Hussein regime began after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in The international community condemned the invasion,  and in a military coalition led by the United States launched the Gulf War to expel Iraq from Kuwait.
Following the Gulf War, the US and its allies tried to keep Saddam in check with a policy of containment. This policy involved numerous economic sanctions by the UN Security Council ; the enforcement of Iraqi no-fly zones declared by the US and the UK to protect the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan and Shias in the south from aerial attacks by the Iraqi government; and ongoing inspections to ensure Iraq's compliance with United Nations resolutions concerning Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Member states communicated their frustration over the years that Iraq was impeding the work of the special commission and failing to take seriously its disarmament obligations. Iraqi officials harassed the inspectors and obstructed their work,  and in August the Iraqi government suspended cooperation with the inspectors completely, alleging that the inspectors were spying for the US.
In October , removing the Iraqi government became official U. The campaign's express rationale was to hamper Saddam Hussein's government's ability to produce chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, but U. With the election of George W. Bush as president in , the US moved towards a more aggressive Iraq policy.
The Republican Party's campaign platform in the election called for "full implementation" of the Iraq Liberation Act as "a starting point" in a plan to "remove" Saddam.
On the day of the attacks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asked his aides for: Judge whether good enough hit Saddam Hussein at same time. Not only Osama bin Laden. Central Command , on 27 November to go over the plans. A record of the meeting includes the question "How start? Bush began formally making his case to the international community for an invasion of Iraq in his 12 September address to the UN Security Council.
After considerable debate, the UN Security Council adopted a compromise resolution, UN Security Council Resolution , which authorized the resumption of weapons inspections and promised "serious consequences" for non-compliance. Security Council members France and Russia made clear that they did not consider these consequences to include the use of force to overthrow the Iraqi government. As of February , the IAEA "found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq"; the IAEA concluded that certain items which could have been used in nuclear enrichment centrifuges, such as aluminum tubes, were in fact intended for other uses.
The resolution authorized the President to "use any means necessary" against Iraq. Americans polled in January widely favored further diplomacy over an invasion. Later that year, however, Americans began to agree with Bush's plan see popular opinion in the United States on the invasion of Iraq. The US government engaged in an elaborate domestic public relations campaign to market the war to its citizens.
Americans overwhelmingly believed Saddam did have weapons of mass destruction: However, Powell's presentation included information based on the claims of Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed "Curveball" , an Iraqi emigrant living in Germany who later admitted that his claims had been false.
In an address to the nation on 17 March , Bush demanded that Saddam and his two sons, Uday and Qusay , surrender and leave Iraq, giving them a hour deadline. The UK House of Commons held a debate on going to war on 18 March where the government motion was approved to In October , former U. President Bill Clinton warned about possible dangers of pre-emptive military action against Iraq.
Speaking in the UK at a Labour Party conference he said: I don't care how precise your bombs and your weapons are, when you set them off, innocent people will die. Jim Webb wrote shortly before the vote "Those who are pushing for a unilateral war in Iraq know full well that there is no exit strategy if we invade.
During a private meeting, he also said directly to George W. Lets talk about something else. Every violence, against one or a million, is a blasphemy addressed to the image and likeness of God. On 20 January , French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin declared "we believe that military intervention would be the worst solution". Bush wants is Iraqi oil ," and questioning if Bush deliberately undermined the U.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the post-war troop commitment would be less than the number of troops required to win the war, and that "the idea that it would take several hundred thousand U. Fischer famously confronted United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the 39th Munich Security Conference in on the secretary's purported evidence for Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction: There were serious legal questions surrounding the launching of the war against Iraq and the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war in general.
From our point of view, from the Charter point of view, it was illegal. In November Lord Bingham , the former British Law Lord , described the war as a serious violation of international law , and accused Britain and the United States of acting like a "world vigilante ".
He also criticized the post-invasion record of Britain as "an occupying power in Iraq". Regarding the treatment of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib , Bingham said: These efforts consisted of persuading the commanders of several Iraqi military divisions to surrender rather than oppose the invasion, and identifying all the initial leadership targets during very high risk reconnaissance missions.
Most importantly, their efforts organized the Kurdish Peshmerga to become the northern front of the invasion. Together this force defeated Ansar al-Islam in Iraqi Kurdistan before the invasion and then defeated the Iraqi army in the north.
Baghdad time on 20 March 9: Coalition forces also cooperated with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the north. Approximately forty other governments, the " Coalition of the Willing ," participated by providing troops, equipment, services, security, and special forces, with , soldiers from the United States, 45, British soldiers, 2, Australian soldiers and Polish soldiers from Special Forces unit GROM sent to Kuwait for the invasion.
According to General Tommy Franks, there were eight objectives of the invasion, "First, ending the regime of Saddam Hussein. Second, to identify, isolate, and eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Third, to search for, to capture, and to drive out terrorists from that country. Fourth, to collect such intelligence as we can relate to terrorist networks. Fifth, to collect such intelligence as we can relate to the global network of illicit weapons of mass destruction.
Sixth, to end sanctions and to immediately deliver humanitarian support to the displaced and to many needy Iraqi citizens. Seventh, to secure Iraq's oil fields and resources, which belong to the Iraqi people. And last, to help the Iraqi people create conditions for a transition to a representative self-government.
The invasion was a quick and decisive operation encountering major resistance, though not what the U. The Iraqi regime had prepared to fight both a conventional and irregular war at the same time, conceding territory when faced with superior conventional forces, largely armored, but launching smaller scale attacks in the rear using fighters dressed in civilian and paramilitary clothes.
Coalition troops launched air and amphibious assault on the Al-Faw peninsula to secure the oil fields there and the important ports, supported by warships of the Royal Navy , Polish Navy , and Royal Australian Navy.
The heavy armor of the U. In the middle of Iraq, the 1st Marine Division fought its way to the eastern side of Baghdad, and prepared for the attack into Baghdad to seize it. Allegedly, though not seen in the photos or heard on the videos, shot with a zoom lens , was the chant of the inflamed crowd for Muqtada al-Sadr , the radical Shiite cleric.
The invasion phase concluded when Tikrit , Saddam's home town, fell with little resistance to the U. Marines of Task Force Tripoli. In the invasion phase of the war 19 March — 30 April , an estimated 9, Iraqi combatants were killed by coalition forces along with an estimated 3, non-combatants, i. At sunset, he held his nationally televised "Mission Accomplished" speech ", delivered before the sailors and airmen on the flight deck: Bush declared victory due to the defeat of Iraq's conventional forces.
Nevertheless, Saddam Hussein remained at large and significant pockets of resistance remained. After Bush's speech, coalition forces noticed a flurry of attacks on its troops began to gradually increase in various regions, such as the " Sunni Triangle ". Insurgents used various guerrilla tactics , including mortars, missiles, suicide attacks , snipers , improvised explosive devices IEDs , car bombs, small arms fire usually with assault rifles , and RPGs rocket propelled grenades , as well as sabotage against the petroleum, water, and electrical infrastructure.
Coalition efforts to establish post-invasion Iraq commenced after the fall of Saddam's regime. The coalition nations, together with the United Nations, began to work to establish a stable, compliant democratic state capable of defending itself from non-coalition forces, as well as overcoming 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.
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