"Seven years of war in Iraq."
Seven years ago today, President Bush launched the Iraq war. In a televised address to the nation, Bush told the American people “at this hour American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” Over the last several years, ThinkProgress has been keeping a Timeline of the Iraq War, marking the key events in the U.S. invasion, occupation, and now ongoing withdrawal from the country. Among the most significant events of the last year were:
JUNE 30, 2009: Jubilation as U.S. Combat Troops Withdraw From Cities. Six years and three months after the March 2003 invasion, the United States has withdrawn its remaining combat troops from Iraq’s cities and is turning over security to Iraqi police and soldiers. While more than 130,000 U.S. troops remain in the country, patrols by heavily armed soldiers in hulking vehicles have largely disappeared from Baghdad, Mosul and Iraq’s other urban centers. Iraqis danced in the streets and set off fireworks overnight in impromptu celebrations of a pivotal moment in their nation’s troubled history. The government staged a military parade to mark the new national holiday of “National Sovereignty Day,” and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made a triumphant, nationally televised address. [Washington Post, 6/30/09]
AUGUST 11, 2009: Massive Bombings In Northern Iraq and Baghdad. Two truck bombings in northern Iraq and attacks targeting day laborers in western Baghdad killed at least 51 people and wounded scores early Monday, Iraqi authorities said. The attacks underscored the Sunni insurgency’s continued ability to inflict mass casualties as the country’s Shiite-led government tries to demonstrate it can handle security with minimal assistance from the U.S. military. [Washington Post, 8/11/09]
JANUARY 7, 2010: Iraq bars 15 political parties with Baathist ties from upcoming elections. At least 15 parties will be banned from upcoming parliamentary elections because they have been linked to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party or have promoted Baathist ideals, Iraqi officials said Thursday. The decision by the Justice and Accountability Commission, in charge of cleansing high-level Baathists from the ranks of the government and security forces, seemed to be an attempt to purge candidates with links to the old political order, many of whom are popular among secular nationalist voters. The move is a blow to hopes of bringing opposition figures — who turned to violent resistance over the past seven years — into the political fold, part of the U.S. strategy to bolster the government. [Washington Post, 1/8/10]
On March 7, Iraqis braved terrorist attacks to go to the polls in Iraq’s second parliamentary election since the U.S. invasion. Latest returns show that incumbent Prime Minister Nouri Maliki “has strengthened his lead over main rival Iyad Allawi in Iraq’s parliamentary elections, with partial results now in from all 18 provinces.”