Iraq

Bush Identifies “Axis of Evil”

January 1, 2000
Bush Identifies “Axis of Evil”

U.S. President George W. Bush declares Iran, Iraq, and North Korea an “axis of evil.” The statement incites outrage in Iran and is rebuked by both reformists and conservatives.

Iraq Refuses Inspections

November 30, 2000
Iraq Refuses Inspections

Iraq rejects new UN Security Council weapons inspections proposals unless sanctions over its 1990 invasion of Kuwait are abolished.

U.S. & Britain Bomb Iraq

March 2, 2001
U.S. & Britain Bomb Iraq

U.S. and Britain conduct bombing raids to try to disable Iraq’s air defenses. These bombings have little international support.

U.S. Pushes for Action on Iraq

September 1, 2002
U.S. Pushes for Action on Iraq

U.S. President Bush tells world leaders at UN General Assembly to confront the “grave and gathering danger” of Iraq or to stand aside as the U.S. acts.

U.S. Invades Iraq

March 1, 2003
U.S. Invades Iraq

U.S. invades Iraq under premise of capturing weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein and toppling his Ba’athist Party, one of the tools by which he maintained tight control of the country.

Kuwait Assists Invasion

March 1, 2003
Kuwait Assists Invasion

Tens of thousands of soldiers mass at northern border to aid in U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Saddam Hussein Found

December 1, 2003
Saddam Hussein Found

After a nine-month manhunt, Saddam Hussein is found hiding in his hometown of Tikrit and is captured.

Assault on Fallujah

April 8, 2004
Assault on Fallujah

4 American military contractors are ambushed, killed, and paraded through the streets in Fallujah. American forces begin a siege on Fallujah, fighting street-to-street to root out insurgents.

U.S. Hands Over Power in Iraq

June 8, 2004
U.S. Hands Over Power in Iraq

U.S. transfers sovereignty to interim Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Baghdad Bombings

February 11, 2005
Baghdad Bombings

114 people are killed by car bomb near Baghdad in the worst single bombing incident since the U.S.-led invasion (until Baghdad bombings of 2016).

Iraqis Vote for First Time

December 11, 2005
Iraqis Vote for First Time

Iraqis vote for first, full-term government and parliament since the fall of Saddam.

Saddam Hussein is Tried

December 11, 2005
Saddam Hussein is Tried

Saddam Hussein’s trial begins. He is charged with a variety of crimes, including the invasion of Kuwait and using gas on his Kurdish citizens.

Iraqi Shia Shrine Bombed

February 22, 2006
Iraqi Shia Shrine Bombed

An important Shia shrine in Samarra is bombed and sparks sectarian violence, hundreds of people are killed.

Saddam Hussein Tried

August 30, 2006
Saddam Hussein Tried

Saddam Hussein’s second trial begins, this time for gassing Kurds in 1982.

Iraq & Syria Restore Diplomatic Ties

November 25, 2006
Iraq & Syria Restore Diplomatic Ties

Syria and Iraq reestablish diplomatic relations after nearly 25 years.

Saddam Hussein Hanged

December 30, 2006
Saddam Hussein Hanged

Saddam Hussein is executed after he is convicted in his second trial for massacring Kurds in 1982 in Jubail.

Is the Surge Working?

October 30, 2007
Is the Surge Working?

Number of violent civilian and military deaths decreases, as does the frequency of rocket attacks.

Security Forces Withdraw from Iraq

June 30, 2009
Security Forces Withdraw from Iraq

U.S. withdraws soldiers from towns and cities in Iraq, formally handing over security duties to new Iraqi forces.

Last U.S. Combat Brigade

August 31, 2010
Last U.S. Combat Brigade

The last U.S. combat brigade leaves Iraq.

ISI Recruitment

December 31, 2010
ISI Recruitment

Islamic State of Iraq’s new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghadi, recruits ousted high-ranking Ba’athist officials from Saddam Hussein’s toppled regime. ISI restructures into being cohesive, adaptable, and capable of prolonged combat. ISI begins oil-smuggling, blackmailing Mosul traders, and fostering sympathy from the Iraqi Army.

Violence Increase in Iraq

August 31, 2011
Violence Increase in Iraq

Violence escalates in Iraq. Estimated 40 nation-wide attacks are coordinated in one day.

Crackdown on Sunnis in Iraq

December 31, 2011
Crackdown on Sunnis in Iraq

An arrest warrant is issued for Vice-President al-Hashemi, a renowned Sunni politician. Sunni parties boycott parliament.

Sunni Protests

December 31, 2012
Sunni Protests

Sunni Muslims stage mass protests against claims of marginalization by Shia-led government.

Iraqi Sectarian War

April 30, 2013
Iraqi Sectarian War

Insurgency intensifies violence and is described as being in a new sectarian war.

ISIS Takes Fallujah

January 31, 2014
ISIS Takes Fallujah

ISIS takes control of Fallujah, promting to Anbar Campaign

ISIS Advances into Iraq

June 30, 2014
ISIS Advances into Iraq

ISIS launches surprise attacks against the Iraqi Army and succeeds in capturing several northwestern key cities, including Mosul; repelled outside the capital city of Baghdad.

Retaking Ramadi

December 31, 2015
Retaking Ramadi

Iraqi forces retake city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, from Islamic State.

Bush Announces “The Surge”

January 30, 2016
Bush Announces “The Surge”

U.S. President G.W. Bush announces new Iraq strategy, the “Surge,” in which 30,000 additional U.S. troops will be deployed to help sectarian violence.

IS Attacks Iraq

February 29, 2016
IS Attacks Iraq

Islamic State launches two chemical attacks in norther Iraq, killing one and wounding nearly 600 people.

League of Arab States Oppose Iraq War

March 1, 2016
League of Arab States Oppose Iraq War

Leaders of the League of Arab States, led by Bahrain, convene in Sharm el-Sheikh to strongly oppose a potential Iraq war and call for Saddam Hussein to comply with UN WMD inspectors

Advance on Fallujah

May 30, 2016
Advance on Fallujah

Military forces begin offensive to retake Fallujah from the Islamic State.

UAE Calls for Saddam’s Resignation

July 1, 2016
UAE Calls for Saddam’s Resignation

At Arab League summit in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, UAE calls for Saddam Hussein’s resignation and exile as a possible resolution to the crisis; response from Arab leaders is divided.

Parliament passes bill to recognize Shia Militias

July 1, 2016
Parliament passes bill to recognize Shia Militias

The Iraqi parliament passes a bill recognizing the Popular Mobilization Forces, a group of Shia militia fighters, which puts them under the authority of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The move makes PMF fighters eligible for government salaries and pensions similar to those of the official military, but many believe the decision encourages

Government Reforms Approved

August 31, 2016
Government Reforms Approved

Parliament unanimously approves reforms to curtail corruption and sectarian government job quotas after riots against frequent power cuts.

Iraqi forces reclaim Mosul from ISIS

June 9, 2017
Iraqi forces reclaim Mosul from ISIS

Prime Minister al-Abadi arrives in Mosul to congratulate his forces on recapturing the city from the Islamic State (ISIS). The battle for Mosul takes approximately nine months and has catastrophic effects on the city and its people.  

Kurds vote to seek independence, Iraqi government deploys troops to Kirkuk

September 1, 2017
Kurds vote to seek independence, Iraqi government deploys troops to Kirkuk

Iraqi Kurdistan votes in a referendum to seek independence from Iraq. In response, Iraq’s parliament asks Prime Minister al-Abadi to deploy to troops to Kirkuk, an oil-rich city that is considered one of the several disputed areas held by Kurdish troops but claimed by Iraq.

Government forces backed by Kurds and the U.S. drive ISIS out of Iraq

November 1, 2017
Government forces backed by Kurds and the U.S. drive ISIS out of Iraq

Government forces in coalition with Shia, Kurds, and U.S. allies drive the Islamic State from all major cities, leaving them with only small, temporary military camps. Kurds and the government forces work together for a brief time to combat skirmishes in the last Kurdish-held area in the oil-rich Kirkuk province.

Muqtada al-Sadr’s party wins majority in 2018 elections

May 1, 2018
Muqtada al-Sadr’s party wins majority in 2018 elections

The Iraqi electoral commission announces that Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s coalition wins the majority of parliamentary seats, while Fatah earns 52 seats, al-Abadi’s Islamic Dawa Party earns 49, the State of Law Coalition earns 24, and the Kurdistan Democracy Party earnsed 27. Al-Sadr has proposed working with a variety of other