Bush Identifies “Axis of Evil”January 1, 2000
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 InspectionsNovember 30, 2000
Iraq rejects new UN Security Council weapons inspections proposals unless sanctions over its 1990 invasion of Kuwait are abolished.
U.S. & Britain Bomb IraqMarch 2, 2001
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 IraqSeptember 1, 2002
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 IraqMarch 1, 2003
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 InvasionMarch 1, 2003
Tens of thousands of soldiers mass at northern border to aid in U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Saddam Hussein FoundDecember 1, 2003
After a nine-month manhunt, Saddam Hussein is found hiding in his hometown of Tikrit and is captured.
Assault on FallujahApril 8, 2004
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 IraqJune 8, 2004
U.S. transfers sovereignty to interim Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
Baghdad BombingsFebruary 11, 2005
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 TimeDecember 11, 2005
Iraqis vote for first, full-term government and parliament since the fall of Saddam.
Saddam Hussein is TriedDecember 11, 2005
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 BombedFebruary 22, 2006
An important Shia shrine in Samarra is bombed and sparks sectarian violence, hundreds of people are killed.
Saddam Hussein TriedAugust 30, 2006
Saddam Hussein’s second trial begins, this time for gassing Kurds in 1982.
Iraq & Syria Restore Diplomatic TiesNovember 25, 2006
Syria and Iraq reestablish diplomatic relations after nearly 25 years.
Saddam Hussein HangedDecember 30, 2006
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
Number of violent civilian and military deaths decreases, as does the frequency of rocket attacks.
Security Forces Withdraw from IraqJune 30, 2009
U.S. withdraws soldiers from towns and cities in Iraq, formally handing over security duties to new Iraqi forces.
Last U.S. Combat BrigadeAugust 31, 2010
The last U.S. combat brigade leaves Iraq.
ISI RecruitmentDecember 31, 2010
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 IraqAugust 31, 2011
Violence escalates in Iraq. Estimated 40 nation-wide attacks are coordinated in one day.
Crackdown on Sunnis in IraqDecember 31, 2011
An arrest warrant is issued for Vice-President al-Hashemi, a renowned Sunni politician. Sunni parties boycott parliament.
Sunni ProtestsDecember 31, 2012
Sunni Muslims stage mass protests against claims of marginalization by Shia-led government.
Iraqi Sectarian WarApril 30, 2013
Insurgency intensifies violence and is described as being in a new sectarian war.
ISIS Takes FallujahJanuary 31, 2014
ISIS takes control of Fallujah, promting to Anbar Campaign
ISIS Advances into IraqJune 30, 2014
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 RamadiDecember 31, 2015
Iraqi forces retake city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, from Islamic State.
Bush Announces “The Surge”January 30, 2016
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 IraqFebruary 29, 2016
Islamic State launches two chemical attacks in norther Iraq, killing one and wounding nearly 600 people.
League of Arab States Oppose Iraq WarMarch 1, 2016
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 FallujahMay 30, 2016
Military forces begin offensive to retake Fallujah from the Islamic State.
UAE Calls for Saddam’s ResignationJuly 1, 2016
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 MilitiasJuly 1, 2016
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 further sectarian divisions in the war-torn country.
Government Reforms ApprovedAugust 31, 2016
Parliament unanimously approves reforms to curtail corruption and sectarian government job quotas after riots against frequent power cuts.
Iraqi forces reclaim Mosul from ISISJune 9, 2017
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 KirkukSeptember 1, 2017
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 IraqNovember 1, 2017
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 electionsMay 1, 2018
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 Iraqi parties, but most recently al-Sadr has announced his new alliance with the pro-Iranian bloc led