Timeline of Events: 20 years since the US-led invasion of Iraq
20 years have passed since the US invasion. Iraq Here are some key dates of the invasion that began and its subsequent development.
March 20, 2003: Invasion begins, Baghdad attacked with missiles or bombs in an attempt to target Saddam Hussein and overthrow the government.
April 9, 2003: US forces storm Baghdad and knock down the statue of Saddam in Firdous Square, symbolizing the fall of the government.
May 1, 2003: US President George W. Bush declares the end of major combat operations in Iraq.
August 2003: Initial hopes of a peace retreat. An anti-Allied rebellion is in full swing. Attacks include a car bombing of the Jordanian embassy. A truck bomb that destroys the UN headquarters in Baghdad and kills the top UN envoy, Sergio Vieira de Melo. The Najaf temple bombing killed more than 85 people, including Shia Leader Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Al-Hakim.
December 2003: Saddam was captured in an underground hideout near Tikrit.
March 2004: Violent resistance to US presence intensifies. Four of his security contractors were ambushed and killed in Fallujah, sparking a battle over the rebel-held western city of Baghdad. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, a militant Sunni movement that has attracted some of Saddam’s former Ba’athist security forces, is leading the uprising.
April-August 2004: Clashes erupt between US-led coalition forces and supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who demand the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq.
October 2004: US arms inspector David Kay reports that his team found no evidence of stockpiled weapons of mass destruction.
November 2004: After the failed initial US campaign against Fallujah, a second battle destroyed much of the city but brought it under US control.
January 2005: Iraqis elect new parliament in first elections since Saddam’s fall. Shiite and Kurdish parties dominate the majority after a boycott by most Sunnis.
December 2005: Fighting takes on the character of a sectarian civil war between Shiites and Sunnis, with ethnic cleansing, killings and terrorist attacks in mixed neighborhoods. Over the next two years, the death toll of rebels, coalition forces and Iraqi civilians will rise across the country.
January 2007: After rallying sympathetic Sunni tribal leaders to oppose anti-coalition riots in the so-called Sunni Awakening, President Bush calls for 30,000 US troops to contain the growing violence. ordered a sharp increase in
Late 2008: After a year of escalating chaos, coalition forces begin rooting out both al Qaeda and Shia militias opposing the elected government. Barack Obama was elected president with a promise to withdraw US troops.
December 2010: After much political turmoil, Shia politician Nouri al-Maliki wins a second term as prime minister, winning the support of al-Sadr.
December 2011: Last US troops leave Iraq, handing responsibility for security to Iraqi military and police.
2013-2018: A new terrorist organization emerges from al-Qaeda remnants in Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria launches a fight to free Sunni extremists from prison and establish a global Islamic State caliphate based in Syria. In Iraq, the Islamic State group has taken over Mosul, Fallujah, Tikrit and Ramadi with lightning speed, eventually controlling about 40% of the country. US bombing campaigns, Special Forces operations and Shiite militias allied with Iran turn the tide. The Islamic State group has been forced out of its strongholds in northern Iraq and Syria, but skirmishes continue in remote areas.
October 2019-January 2020: Anti-government protests against widespread corruption, poor services and unemployment in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite south stoked Iraqi public dissatisfaction as the fight against the Islamic State group nearly ended. boils up. Young men and women camp side by side during the demonstrations, a rare occurrence in a conservative, Muslim-majority country.
January March 3, 2020: US assassinates top Iranian commander. Qasim Soleimani, the leader of the Quds Force Expeditionary Force, during a drone strike near Baghdad airport. Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack, sparking tensions between the United States and Iraq that later divided rival Shiite camps.
October 2022: The Shiite-dominated parliament elects Kurdish leader Abdul Latif Rashid as president after a year of political stalemate following the 2021 elections. He nominated Shia politician Muhammad Shia al-Sudani as prime minister. Al-Sudani promises to form a government, fight corruption and improve living standards.