SPECIAL REPORT

A TIMELINE OF THE IRAQ WAR

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"A TIMELINE OF THE IRAQ WAR"

2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

2003

MARCH 19, 2003: Bush launches invasion of Iraq

launch

MARCH 30, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld: We know where the WMD are

We know where [the weapons of mass destruction] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat. [ABC This Week, 3/30/03]

APRIL 1, 2003: Pfc. Jessica Lynch recovered by U.S. forces. What the Pentagon framed as a heroic rescue was later revealed to have been staged. [Guardian, 5/15/03]

lynch

APRIL 9, 2003: Saddam Statue Toppled

statue

The Los Angeles Times later reported that the fall was “stage-managed” by the Army. [LAT, 7/3/04]

APRIL 11, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld: Stuff happens

Think what’s happened in our cities when we’ve had riots, and problems, and looting. Stuff happens! … Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things, and that’s what’s going to happen here. [DoD briefing, 4/11/03]

APRIL 16, 2003: Bush signs $79 billion supplemental spending bill for Iraq [DoD, 4/16/03]

APRIL 23, 2003: USAID Administrator Andrew Nastios Claims Rebuilding of Iraq Could Be Accomplished With $1.7 Billion

TED KOPPEL: I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you’re not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?

NATSIOS: Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US.
[...]
KOPPEL: You’re saying the, the top cost for the US taxpayer will be $1.7 billion. No more than that?

NATSIOS: For the reconstruction. And then there’s 700 million in the supplemental budget for humanitarian relief, which we don’t competitively bid ’cause it’s charities that get that money.

KOPPEL: I understand. But as far as reconstruction goes, the American taxpayer will not be hit for more than $1.7 billion no matter how long the process takes?

NATSIOS: That is our plan and that is our intention. And these figures, outlandish figures I’ve seen, I have to say, there’s a little bit of hoopla involved in this. [ABC, Nightline, 4/23/03]

MAY 1, 2003: Mission Accomplished

[M]y fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. [Bush, 5/1/03]

mission

MAY 9, 2003: Paul Wolfowitz: We agreed on WMD rationale for bureaucratic reasons

The truth is that, for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason [to go to war]. [Wolfowitz, 5/9/03]

MAY 29, 2003: Bush: We found the WMD

We found the weapons of mass destruction. [Bush, 5/29/03]

JUNE 6, 2003: Rumsfeld blames Iraq problems on “pockets of dead-enders”

In those regions where pockets of dead-enders are trying to reconstitute, Gen. Franks and his team are rooting them out. In short, the coalition is making good progress. [USA Today, 6/18/03]

JULY 2, 2003: Bring ‘Em On

There are some who feel like — that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring them on. [Bush, 7/2/03]

JULY 6, 2003: Joseph Wilson writes op-ed in the New York Times

It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such [yellowcake] transaction had ever taken place. [NYT, 7/6/03]

JULY 11, 2003: Condoleezza Rice: Doubts about Iraq intel were not communicated to Bush

rice

All that I can tell you is that if there were doubts about the underlying intelligence in the NIE, those doubts were not communicated to the President. [WH Gaggle, 7/11/03]

JULY 14, 2003: Bush says he had good intelligence before the war

I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence. And the speeches I have given were backed by good intelligence. [Bush, 7/14/03]

JULY 22, 2003: Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay, are killed in a U.S. raid in Mosul [CNN, 7/22/03]

AUGUST 7, 2003: Attack on Jordanian Embassy

Violence returned to the streets of Baghdad with a vengeance yesterday when at least 11 people were killed in a massive car bomb explosion outside the Jordanian embassy, leading to fears that guerrilla fighters may now be turning their attention towards so-called soft targets. [Guardian, 8/8/03]

AUGUST 20, 2003: Attack on United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad.

The U.N. special representative in Iraq [Sergio Vieira de Mello] and at least 16 others died Tuesday in a bomb explosion that ripped through the organization’s headquarters in Baghdad. … At least 100 people were wounded. [CNN, 8/20/03]

SEPTEMBER 3, 2003: Report shows Bush failed to plan

A secret report for the Joint Chiefs of Staff lays the blame for setbacks in Iraq on a flawed and rushed war-planning process that ‘limited the focus’ for preparing for post-Saddam Hussein operations. [Washington Times, 9/3/03]

OCTOBER 19, 2003: Bush ignored the experts

A yearlong State Department study predicted many of the problems that have plagued the American-led occupation of Iraq, according to internal State Department documents and interviews with administration and Congressional officials. [NYT, 10/19/03]

NOVEMBER 6, 2003: Bush signs $87 billion supplemental spending bill into law [Bush, 11/6/03]

NOVEMBER 20, 2003: Richard Perle suggests Iraq war was illegal

I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing. [Guardian, 11/20/03]

NOVEMBER 28, 2003: Bush makes surprise Thanksgiving visit to Iraq, poses with fake turkey

turkey

DECEMBER 14, 2003: Saddam is captured

Ladies and gentlemen. We got him! [Bremer, 12/14/03]

 

2004

JANUARY 17, 2004: 500 U.S. soldiers dead in Iraq since the invasion [Commondreams.org, 1/19/04]

JANUARY 22, 2004: CIA officers warn of civil war

CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war, current and former U.S. officials said Wednesday, starkly contradicting the upbeat assessment that President Bush gave in his State of the Union address. [Knight-Ridder, 1/22/04]

JANUARY 28, 2004: Iraq Survey Group inspector David Kay reports

It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing. [Kay, 1/28/04]

FEBRUARY 4, 2004: 109 Iraqis die in suicide bomb attacks in Kurdish-held Irbil [AP, 2/4/04]

FEBRUARY 10, 2004: U.S. Military uncovers letter addressed to senior al-Qaida operatives seeking help in waging a “sectarian war”

Brigadier general Mark Kimmit: “There is clearly a plan on the part of outsiders to come into this country and spark civil war, breed sectarian violence and try to expose fissures in the society.” [Guardian, 2/10/04]

FEBRUARY 19, 2004: Chalabi declares that he and Bush administration have been “heroes in error.” [Telegraph, 2/19/04]

chalabi

MARCH 5, 2004: Former chief U.N. weapons inspector declares Iraq war illegal

The former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has declared that the war in Iraq was illegal, dealing another devastating blow to Tony Blair. [Independent, 3/5/04]

MARCH 18, 2004: General Garner speaks out

Jay Garner, the US general abruptly dismissed as Iraq’s first occupation administrator after a month in the job, says he fell out with the Bush circle because he wanted free elections and rejected an imposed program of privatization. [Guardian, 3/18/04]

MARCH 24, 2004: Bush jokes at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner

Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere. [Bush, 3/24/04]

joke

MARCH 31, 2004: Four Blackwater contractors killed and their bodies mutilated in Fallujah

The group were shot and burnt in their cars, before a cheering crowd dismembered the corpses and hung two of them from a bridge. [BBC, 3/31/04]

APRIL 19, 2004: Bob Woodward reveals CIA Director George Tenet said there was a “slam dunk case” against Iraq

About two weeks before deciding to invade Iraq, President Bush was told by CIA Director George Tenet there was a “slam dunk case” that dictator Saddam Hussein had unconventional weapons, according to a new book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward. [CNN, 4/19/04]

APRIL 21, 2004: Five suicide car bombings strike near police stations in the southern city of Basra, killing at least 74 people. [AP, 4/21/04]

APRIL 28, 2004: Images of torture at Abu Ghraib are revealed

torture

APRIL 2004: Up to this point, the deadliest month in Iraq, and second highest total overall. 135 U.S. servicemembers lost their lives. [Washington Post, 11/1/05]

MAY 1, 2004: Bush says “daily life” of Iraqis is improving.

One year later [after Mission Accomplished], despite many challenges, life for the Iraqi people is a world away from the cruelty and corruption of Saddam’s regime. At the most basic level of justice, people are no longer disappearing into political prisons, torture chambers, and mass graves — because the former dictator is in prison, himself. And their daily life is improving. [Bush, 5/1/04]

MAY 5, 2004: Appearing on Arab TV, Bush expresses sorrow over prisoner abuse

The American people are just as appalled at what they have seen on TV as Iraqi citizens have. The Iraqi citizens must understand that. [NYT, 5/5/04]

MAY 11, 2004: Video released showing Nicholas Berg, an American contractor, being beheaded by Iraqi militants. [USA Today, 5/11/04]

berg

JUNE 28, 2004: U.S. transfers sovereignty to Iraq. Bush’s response: “Let freedom reign!”

letter

AUGUST 27, 2004: Bush acknowledged for the first time that he made a “miscalculation of what the conditions would be” in postwar Iraq [Reuters, 8/27/04]

AUGUST 30, 2004: “Catastrophic Success”

BUSH: Had we had to do it over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success–being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day. [Time, 8/30/04]

SEPTEMBER 7, 2004: Death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq reaches 1,000 [CNN.com, 9/8/04]

casket

SEPTEMBER 15, 2004: Bush administration requests that the Senate shift $3.4 billion of the $18.4 billion Iraqi aid package meant for reconstruction work to improving security measures [NYT, 9/15/04]

SEPTEMBER 16, 2004: Intelligence report delivered to Bush warns of civil war. Bush’s response: the CIA is “just guessing”:

A classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared for President Bush in late July spells out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq, government officials said Wednesday. The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. [NYT, 9/16/04; Bush, 9/21/04]

SEPTEMBER 16, 2004: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan declares Iraq war illegal

When pressed on whether he viewed the invasion of Iraq as illegal, he said: “Yes, if you wish. I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal.” [BBC, 9/16/04]

SEPTEMBER 23, 2004: Bush heralds Iraqi poll

I saw a poll that said the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than here in America. [Bush, 9/23/04]

SEPTEMBER 28, 2004: Another report showing Bush was warned about conditions in post-war Iraq

The same intelligence unit that produced a gloomy report in July about the prospect of growing instability in Iraq warned the Bush administration about the potential costly consequences of an American-led invasion two months before the war began, government officials said Monday. [NYT, 9/28/04]

OCTOBER 5, 2004: Paul Bremer: Never had enough troops

We never had enough troops on the ground. [CNN, 10/5/04]

OCTOBER 7, 2004: Duelfer Report: Iraq did not have WMD

Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them, a CIA report concludes. [CNN, 10/7/04]

OCTOBER 25, 2004: The New York Times reports that about 380 tons of powerful explosives disappeared from military installation called Al Qaqaa sometime after the U.S.-led war began in March 2003 [NYT, 10/25/04]

NOVEMBER 2, 2004: Bush wins re-election [Washington Post, 11/4/04]

NOVEMBER 8, 2004: U.S. forces launch all-out assault on Fallujah

The U.S. military said 10 troops and two members of Iraq’s security forces were killed in the first two days of the battle, the largest military operation since the U.S.-led invasion last year. U.S. and Iraqi leaders hope the assault will break the grip of insurgents who have held Fallujah for nearly seven months. [Washington Post, 11/10/04]

NOVEMBER 2004: The most deadly month in Iraq. 137 U.S. troops died. [Washington Post, 11/1/05]

DECEMBER 8, 2004: Donald Rumsfeld: You go to war with the Army you have

As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. [Rumsfeld, 12/8/04]

rums

DECEMBER 20, 2004: Blasts kill at least 64 in Iraq’s holy cities [Washington Post, 12/20/04]

 

2005

JANUARY 12, 2005: WMD search in Iraq is declared over

U.S. inspectors have ended their search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in recent weeks, a U.S. intelligence official told CNN. [CNN, 1/12/05]

JANUARY 27, 2005: 30 Marines, Sailor Die In Copter crash in Iraq, the deadliest single event for U.S. forces since the invasion [Washington Post, 1/27/05]

JANUARY 30, 2005: U.S. loses track of nearly $9 billion in Iraqi funds

The CPA provided less than adequate controls for approximately $8.8 billion of Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) funds provided to Iraqi ministries through the national budget process. [CPA Report, 1/30/05]

JANUARY 30, 2005: Iraqis vote to form a Transitional National Assembly

JANUARY 2005: 106 U.S. troops killed this month. [NYT, 11/1/05]

FEBRUARY 28, 2005: Car bombs kill at least 114 Iraqis in Hilla. [BBC, 2/28/05]

MARCH 2, 2005: Army missed its February recruiting goal by more than 27 percent, the first time in almost five years that the Army failed to meet a monthly target. [USA Today, 3/2/05]

MARCH 3, 2005: Death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq hits 1,500 [London Telegraph, 3/3/05]

MARCH 31, 2005: Silberman-Robb commission, the presidential commission on Iraqi WMD, concludes:

[T]he intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments. [USA Today, 3/31/05]

MAY 1, 2005: Downing Street Memo revealed

Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. [Downing Street Memo, 7/23/02]

MAY 11, 2005: Bush signs supplemental spending bill, providing nearly $76 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan [State Department, 5/12/05]

MAY 30, 2005: Dick Cheney: Insurgency in its “last throes”

I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency. [CNN Larry King Live, 5/30/05]

cheney

JUNE 12, 2005: National Guard misses recruiting target for ninth month in a row

The Army National Guard, a cornerstone of the U.S. force in Iraq, missed its recruiting goal for at least the ninth straight month in June and is nearly 19,000 soldiers below its authorized strength. [AP, 7/12/05]

JUNE 23, 2005: Cheney revises “last throes” comment

BLITZER: “He says that the insurgency now is at a strength undiminished as it was six months ago, and he says there are actually more foreign fighters in Iraq now than there were six months ago. That doesn’t sound like the last throes.”

CHENEY: “No, I would disagree. If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period — the throes of a revolution.” [CNN, 6/20/05]

JUNE 27, 2005: Rumsfeld: “Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years.” [Fox News Sunday, 6/27/05]

JULY 18, 2005: Death toll rises to 100 in suicide blast in Iraq [Washington Post, 7/18/05]

AUGUST 7, 2005: Cindy Sheehan camps out at Bush’s Texas ranch

cindy

AUGUST 31, 2005: Nearly 1,000 Shiites killed in mass stampede during religious festival [CNN, 9/1/05]

SEPTEMBER 9, 2005: Colin Powell, on his pre-war speech to the UN:

It’s a blot. I’m the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now. [ABC News, 9/9/05]

SEPTEMBER 30, 2005: Army misses recruiting target for previous fiscal year by widest margin since 1979

The Army is closing the books on one of the leanest recruiting years since it became an all-volunteer service three decades ago, missing its enlistment target by the largest margin since 1979 and raising questions about its plans for growth. [AP, 9/30/05]

OCTOBER 7, 2005: IAEA chief Mohamed El Baradei, who disputed U.S. pre-war assertions that Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq had an active atomic weapons program, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. [AP, 10/7/05]

OCTOBER 13, 2005: Bush administration paid no attention to warnings of post-war chaos

A review by former intelligence officers has concluded that the Bush administration ‘apparently paid little or no attention’ to prewar assessments by the Central Intelligence Agency that warned of major cultural and political obstacles to stability in postwar Iraq. [NYT, 10/13/05]

OCTOBER 15, 2005: Iraqis vote to ratify draft constitution [AP, 10/25/05]

OCTOBER 26, 2005: American military death toll reaches 2,000
[MSNBC.com, 10/26/05]

OCTOBER 2005: 4th deadliest month in Iraq; 92 American servicemembers killed [NYT, 11/1/05]

NOVEMBER 8, 2005: Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004 [Independent, 11/8/05]

NOVEMBER 15, 2005: U.S. Senate votes 79-19 to demand regular reports from the White House on progress towards a phased pullout of troops from Iraq [CNN, 11/16/05]

NOVEMBER 18, 2005: Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) calls for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq

The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. [Murtha, 11/17/05]

murtha

NOVEMBER 30, 2005: National Strategy for Victory In Iraq unveiled by White House

strat

DECEMBER 15, 2005: Iraqis vote to elect members of Iraqi Assembly. The United Iraqi Alliance, the Shiite Muslim’s most powerful party, won a majority of the seats. [CNN, 1/20/06]

DECEMBER 17, 2005: Lieberman: Bush has turned corner on Iraq

The last two weeks have been critically important and I believe may be seen as a turning point in the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism. [AP, 12/17/05]

DECEMBER 18, 2005: Bush: “[M]uch of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.” [Bush, 12/18/05]

 

2006

JANUARY 6, 2006: Approximately 140 killed in Iraq, “one of the bloodiest days since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003″ [Washington Post, 1/6/06]

JANUARY 24, 2006: Army has become “thin green line”

Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a “thin green line” that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon. [AP, 1/24/06]

JANUARY 29, 2006: ABC newsman Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt seriously injured in Iraq [ABC, 1/29/06]

woodruff

FEBRUARY 2, 2006: Rumsfeld doubts “long war” in Iraq

“Is Iraq going to be a long war?” Mr. Rumsfeld answered, “No, I don’t believe it is.” [Washington Times, 2/2/06]

FEBRUARY 3, 2006: Bush requests additional $70 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, $120 billion total for 2006 [Washington Post, 2/3/06]

February 22, 2006: Iraq’s Golden Mosque in Samarra badly damaged in a bomb attack that fuels sectarian tensions

dome

Up to 1,300 Iraqis feared dead. [Washington Post, 2/27/06]

FEBRUARY 28, 2006: Another report reveals Bush administration did not plan for post-war

The Bush administration never drew up a comprehensive plan for rebuilding Iraq after the March 2003 invasion. [Washington Times, 2/28/06]

MARCH 11, 2006: “Bush Goes on Offensive To Explain War Strategy” [Washington Post, 3/11/06]

MARCH 19, 2006: “Complete victory”

On the eve of the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion, President Bush yesterday promised to “finish the mission” with “complete victory,” urging the American public to remain steadfast but offering no indication when victory may be achieved. [Washington Post, 3/19/06]

MARCH 19, 2006: Time Magazine reveals that U.S. Marines killed at least 15 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Haditha the previous November

According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks, the civilians who died in Haditha on Nov. 19 were killed not by a roadside bomb but by the Marines themselves, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children. [Time, 3/19/06]

MARCH 21, 2006: Bush says some U.S. troops will remain in Iraq at least until 2009

QUESTION: [W]ill there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?

BUSH: That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq. [Bush press conference, 3/22/06]

MARCH 30, 2006: Jill Carroll, a Christian Science Monitor journalist, is freed by her captors in Iraq [CSM, 3/31/06]

carroll

APRIL 12, 2006: Washington Post reports that Pentagon-commissioned team had concluded in May 2003 that trailers did not produce WMD

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile “biological laboratories.” He declared, “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.” The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true. [Washington Post, 4/12/06]

APRIL 21, 2006: Jawad al-Maliki, “an experienced political operator and advocate for Iraq’s Shiite Muslims,” is chosen to replace Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister [Washington Post, 4/22/06]

jawad

APRIL 23, 2006: A former top CIA official, Tyler Drumheller, reveals evidence that Bush was told before the war by a high-level Iraqi informant that Iraq did not possess WMD [CBS News, 4/23/06]

APRIL 30, 2006: Powell says Bush went to war without enough troops

Powell: “I made the case to General Franks and Secretary Rumsfeld before the president though that it was not sure we had enough troops… [They] believed they had the appropriate troop level.” [ITV, 4/30/06]

MAY 1, 2006: On the 3rd anniversary of Mission Accomplished, Bush says Iraq has reached “a turning point.”

A new Iraqi government represents a strategic opportunity for America — and the whole world, for that matter. This nation of ours and our coalition partners are going to work with the new leadership to strengthen our mutual efforts to achieve success, a victory in this war on terror. This is a — we believe this is a turning point for the Iraqi citizens, and it’s a new chapter in our partnership. [Bush, 5/1/06]

MAY 18, 2006: CIA Director Michael Hayden: “I wasn’t comfortable” with Bush administration approach to prewar intelligence [CNN, 5/18/06]

MAY 20, 2006: Prime Minister Maliki oversees the formation of Iraq’s first permanent constitutional government since the fall of Saddam Hussein [Washington Post, 5/20/06]

MAY 25, 2006: Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki says Iraqi troops will be ready to handle security by end of 2007 [CNN, 5/25/06]

JUNE 8, 2006: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, is killed during a U.S. air raid [AP, 6/8/06]

JUNE 15, 2006: Number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 2,500 [Reuters, 6/15/06]

JUNE 15, 2006: With support of Iraq’s President, Iraqi Vice President asks Bush for a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq [AP, 6/15/06]

JUNE 20, 2006: Japan announces it plans to withdrawal its 600 soldiers from Iraq in the coming weeks [ABC News, 6/20/06]

JUNE 20, 2006: Iraqi National Security Adviser writes that U.S. troops should be out of Iraq by the end of 2007

We envisage the U.S. troop presence by year’s end to be under 100,000, with most of the remaining troops to return home by the end of 2007. [Washington Post, 6/20/06]

JUNE 20, 2006: Mutilated bodies of two U.S. soldiers who were kidnapped four days earlier are found dead

Maj. Gen. Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, an Iraqi Defense Ministry official, said the soldiers “were killed in a barbaric way.” [USA Today, 6/20/06]

JULY 3, 2006: Pfc. Steven Green charged with the rape and murder of a young Iraqi girl
green

Revealed last week and denounced by clerics as showing the “real, ugly face of America”, the case could be particularly damaging to the U.S. image in Iraq’s conservative Muslim society even after several other murder cases in the past few weeks. [Reuters, 7/3/06]

JULY 8, 2006: Four other soldiers charged with participating in the rape and murders; a fifth charged with dereliction of duty for failing to report the crimes [Bloomberg, 6/9/06]

JULY 12, 2006: White House budget document reveals that administration will ask for another $110 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [White House Office of Management and Budget, 7/12/06]

JULY 13, 2006: Rampant violence grips Baghdad, over 140 people killed

Last month, Mr. Maliki implemented a security plan for Baghdad, where the sharp rise in violence over the past few months has been felt most acutely. But the strategy, which features a constellation of new checkpoints, has not curbed the mayhem. [NYT, 7/13/06]

AUGUST 3, 2006: The head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. John Abizaid, suggests that civil war is possible in Iraq.

ABIZAID: “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably is as bad as I’ve seen it in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move toward civil war.” [CNN, 8/3/06]

AUGUST 7, 2006: The top U.S. military official in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, says that civil war in Iraq is “certainly possible,” calling it “the most significant threat right now” in the country. [ABC News, 8/7/06]

AUGUST 15, 2006: 3,438 Iraq civilians died in July, “the deadliest month of the war for Iraqi civilians.” [New York Times, 8/15/06]

AUGUST 16, 2006: 1,666 bombs exploded in Iraq in July, “the highest monthly total of the war.” [New York Times, 8/16/06]

AUGUST 19 2006: 1,249 days since the war began — the war in Iraq surpasses the length of WWII. [The Nation, 8/18/2006]

AUGUST 21, 2006: Bush: “We’re not leaving [Iraq] so long as I’m the president.” [CNN, 8/21/2006]

AUGUST 21, 2006: Bush acknowledges Iraq had “nothing” to do with 9/11. [Fox News, 8/21/2006]

AUGUST 22, 2006: Marine Corps begins involuntary troop recalls. “The U.S. Marine
Corps will start ordering what could be thousands of inactive service members to return to duty in the coming months to counter a steady decline in the number of such troops who volunteer.” [Reuters, 8/22/2006]

AUGUST 28, 2006: “A suicide car bombing and clashes between Shiite militia and Iraqi security forces left at least 50 people dead Monday in a brutal contradiction of the prime minister’s claim that bloodshed was decreasing” The dead included eight American soldiers, one of the U.S. military’s deadliest weekends in months.” [AP, 8/28/2006]

AUGUST 29, 2006: Rumsfeld calls war critics “quitters” who “blame America first” for giving “the enemy the false impression Americans cannot stomach a tough fight” [LA Times, 8/29/2006]

AUGUST 30, 2006: Rumsfeld compares Iraq war critics to those who believed Hitler could be “appeased” [CNN, 8/30/2006]

SEPTEMBER 6, 2006: Baghdad morgue revises August death toll upward 300 percent

“[T]his means that a much-publicized drop-off in violence in August — heralded by both the Iraqi government and the US military as a sign that a new security effort in Baghdad was working — apparently didn’t exist.” [ABC News, 9/6/2006]

SEPTEMBER 11, 2006: Cheney: war critics aid terrorists.

CHENEY: terrorists are encouraged, obviously, when they see the kind of debate that we’ve had in the United States, suggestions, for example, that we should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. [Meet the Press, 9/11/2006]

SEPTEMBER 20, 2006: Iraq becomes the deadliest place for journalists to work. A new study by the Committee to Protect Journalists found that of the 580 journalists who have been killed over the last 15 years, 78 reporters died in Iraq. [Reuters, 9/20/2006]

SEPTEMBER 21, 2006: Number of civilian deaths continues to rise. “The number of civilians slain in Iraq reached an unprecedented level in July and August, which saw 6,599 violent deaths,” a new U.N. report shows. Researchers also noted “the growth of sectarian militias and death squads, and a rise in “honor killings” of women. [AP, 9/21/2006]

SEPTEMBER 24, 2006: President Bush describes Iraq violence as “just a comma” in history. [CNN, 9/24/2006]

SEPTEMBER 24, 2006: New National Intelligence Estimate determines Iraq war has increased terror threat.

“A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.” [New York Times, 9/24/2006]

SEPTEMBER 26, 2006: Pentagon announces 3,800 U.S. soldiers will be staying in Iraq about six weeks beyond their one-year combat tours. [USA Today, 9/26/2006]

SEPTEMBER 27, 2006: 71 percent of Iraqis want U.S. forces To withdraw within a year. [World Public Opinion, 9/27/2007]

OCTOBER 2, 2006: 3,000 Iraqi civilians die in August 2006, up from 2,000 deaths in August of 2005, according to findings from the Brookings Institution. [New York Times, 10/2/2006]

OCTOBER 3, 2006: 58 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration has deliberately misled the American public about the war in Iraq. [CNN, 10/4/2006]

OCTOBER 4, 2006: Powell objects to “stay the course” strategy.

“Only the Iraqi people can resolve this … [S]taying the course isn’t good enough because a course has to have an end.” [Star Tribune, 10/2/2006]

OCTOBER 4, 2006: Al Qaeda letter says prolonging the Iraq war “is in our interest.”

“The most important thing is that you continue in your jihad in Iraq …Indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest, with God’s permission.” [Counterterrorism Center at West Point, 10/4/2006]

OCTOBER 4, 2006: Iraq and Afghanistan war vets say military is overstretched, underequipped. 63 percent of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans believe the Army and Marine Corps are overextended. 67 percent of Army and Marine veterans believe their forces are overextended. [VoteVets Action Fund, 10/4/2006]

OCTOBER 6, 2006: In Baghdad, Rice says Iraq is “making progress.” Her trip “began inauspiciously when the military transport plane that brought her to Baghdad was forced to circle the city for about 40 minutes” because the airport was under attack. [New York Times, 10/6/2006]

OCTOBER 8, 2006: U.S. casualties in Iraq spiking.

“The number of U.S troops wounded in Iraq has surged to its highest monthly level in nearly two years as American GIs fight block-by-block in Baghdad to try to check a spiral of sectarian violence that U.S. commanders warn could lead to civil war.” [Washington Post, 10/8/2006]

OCTOBER 11, 2006: 655,000: The number of Iraqis who have died since March 2003, according to a team of epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University. [Washington Post, 10/11/2006]

OCTOBER 12, 2006: British Army chief: “We must quit Iraq soon.”

“The head of the Army is calling for British troops to withdraw from Iraq ‘soon’ or risk catastrophic consequences for both Iraq and British society.” [The Daily Mail, 10/12/2006]

OCOTBER 14, 2006: Three in four Americans support bringing troops home from Iraq. A new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll finds that nearly three in four Americans (73 percent) agree that U.S. troops should start to come home. [Fox News, 10/14/2006]

OCTOBER 15, 2006: Hagel: “We need to find a new strategy, a way out of Iraq.”

“The American people are not going to continue to support, sustain a policy that puts American troops in the middle of a civil war.” He added, “So we need to find a new strategy, a way out of Iraq, because the entire Middle East, Wolf, is more combustible than it’s been probably since 1948, and more dangerous, and we’re in the middle of it.” [CNN, 10/15/2006]

OCTOBER 17, 2006: The number of embedded journalists reporting in Iraq has dropped to its lowest level.

Some journalists blame the decline on Pentagon bureaucracy, the reporting restrictions journalists face, and pressure by some commanders to avoid “negative” coverage. [Editor and Publisher, 10/17/2006]

OCTOBER 18, 2006: “Ten U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on Tuesday, one of the bloodiest days of the war for American forces outside of major combat operations.” [Washington Post, 10/18/2006]

OCTOBER 18 2006: Electricity levels in Baghdad at lowest since U.S. invasion. Residents of Baghdad are receiving just 2.4 hours of electricity this month, compared to an average of 16-24 hours of electricity before the U.S. invasion. The lowest level prior to this month was 3.9 hours/day. [Brookings Institution, 10/18/2006]

OCTOBER 19, 2006: Staff on the House Veterans Affairs Committee report that the “number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have sought help for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doubled — from nearly 4,500 to more than 9,000 — from October 2005 through June 2006.” [McClatchy, 10/18/2006]

OCTOBER 20, 2006: Former top Bush administration official calls for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Richard Armitage proposed notifying “the Iraqis that we’re going to be drawing down a reasonable but careful percentage of our troops over a reasonable interval of months — just for example, 5 percent of troops every three months.” [New Jersey Express Times, 10/20/2006]

OCTOBER 23, 2006: Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): “We have to face the fact that Iraq is a civil war.” [CNN, 10/23/2006]

OCTOBER 24, 2006: 19 percent of Americans believe the United States is winning the war in Iraq, an all-time low. [USA Today, 10/24/2006]

OCTOBER 30, 2006: October is the fourth deadliest month for American troops since the war began. “The U.S. military announced the death of the 100th servicemember killed in Iraq this month.” [CBS News, 10/30/2006]

NOVEMBER 1, 2006: Classified military briefing reports Iraq “edging toward chaos.”

A classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays Iraq as edging toward chaos, in a chart that the military is using as a barometer of civil conflict. … An intelligence summary at the bottom of the slide reads “urban areas experiencing ‘ethnic cleansing’ campaigns to consolidate control” and “violence at all-time high, spreading geographically.” [New York Times, 11/1/2006]

milchart

NOVEMBER 2, 2006: 1,289 Iraqi civilians estimated to have died in October 2006 in political violence. The number — nearly 42 people per day — was up 18 percent from the 1,089 of such fatalities in September. [Washington Post, 11/2/2006]

NOVEMBER 3, 2006: “Rumsfeld must go.” A group of military publications — the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times, and Marine Corps Times — call on Rumsfeld to resign:

“It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.” [MSNBC, 11/3/2006]

NOVEMBER 5, 2006: Saddam sentenced to death by hanging.

Iraq’s High Tribunal on Sunday found Saddam Hussein guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to hang for the 1982 killing of 148 Shiites in the city of Dujail. [AP, 11/5/2006]

saddam

NOVEMBER 8, 2006: Donald Rumsfeld resigns as Secretary of Defense. One day after the midterm elections that turned control of Congress over to the Democrats, Bush announced Rumsfeld would step down and be replaced by former CIA Director Robert Gates. [CNN, 11/8/2006]

rummyretires

NOVEMBER 9, 2006: Iraqi health minister reports 150,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the war — “about three times previously accepted estimates.” [Forbes, 11/9/2006]

NOVEMBER 12, 2006: Up to 150 people are abducted from a government research institute in downtown Baghdad, “the largest mass abduction since the start of the U.S. occupation.” Iraq’s higher education minister orders all universities closed. [Washington Post, 11/13/2006]

NOVEMBER 20, 2006: Iraqis demand U.S. troops withdraw.

“Seven out of ten Iraqis overall–including both the Shia majority (74%) and the Sunni minority (91%)–say they want the United States to leave within a year.” [World Public Opinion poll, 11/20/06]

NOVEMBER 23, 2006: 144 people die in the war’s deadliest attack to date.

“In the deadliest sectarian attack in Baghdad since the American-led invasion, explosions from five powerful car bombs and a mortar shell tore through crowded intersections and marketplaces in the teeming Shiite district of Sadr City on Thursday afternoon, killing at least 144 people and wounding 206, the police said.” [New York Times, 11/23/2006]

NOVEMBER 25, 2006: The Iraq insurgency is now self-sustaining financially,”raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, corrupt charities and other crimes … a classified United States government” concludes. [New York Times, 11/25/2006]

NOVEMBER 27, 2006: NBC News decides to refer to war in Iraq as a “civil war.” [MSNBC, 11/27/2006]

NOVEMBER 28, 2006: A classified Marine Corps intelligence report concludes that in Western Iraq, “the social and political situation has deteriorated to a point” where U.S. and Iraqi troops “are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar.” [Washington Post, 11/27/2006]

NOVEMBER 29, 2006: Pentagon plans Iraq escalation.

“The Pentagon is developing plans to send four more battalions to Iraq … partly to boost security in Baghdad … The extra combat engineer battalions of reserves, likely to be sent to Baghdad, would total about 3,500 troops.” [AP, 11/29/2006]

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NOVEMBER 29, 2006: 68 percent of Americans say they believe there is a civil war in Iraq. [Wall Street Journal, 11/29/2006]

NOVEMBER 30, 2006: Condoleezza Rice says Iraq is not in a civil war because “the Iraqis don’t see it that way.” [CBS Evening News, 11/30/06]

DECEMBER 2, 2006: “Not working well.” Donald Rumsfeld, describing the Iraq strategy in a classified memo written two days before he resigned. [New York Times, 12/2/2006]

DECEMBER 5, 2006: Gates acknowledges U.S. is not winning the war in Iraq. Asked if he believes the U.S. is winning the war in Iraq, Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates responds, “no, sir.” [Fox News, 12/5/2006]

DECEMBER 6, 2006: Iraq Study Group Report released. Key recommendations include:

reportRECOMMENDATION 22: The President should state that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Iraq. If the Iraqi government were to request a temporary base or bases, then the U.S. government could consider that request as it would in the case of any other government.

RECOMMENDATION 35: The United States must make active efforts to engage all parties in Iraq, with the exception of al Qaeda. The United States must find a way to talk to Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Moqtada al-Sadr, and militia and insurgent leaders.

RECOMMENDATION 40: The United States should not make an open-ended commitment to keep large numbers of American troops deployed in Iraq.
[United States Institute of Peace, 12/6/2006]

DECEMBER 8, 2006: 71 percent of Americans who disapprove of President Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, an “alltime high.” [AP, 12/8/2006]

DECEMBER 19, 2006: The White House is “aggressively promoting” a plan to send “15,000 to 30,000 more troops” to Iraq “over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” the Washington Post reports. [Washington Post, 12/19/2006]

DECEMBER 19, 2006: 11 percent of Americans support escalating the war in Iraq by adding at least 20,000 additional U.S. forces. [CNN, 12/19/2006]

DECEMBER 20, 2006: Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, submit plans to retire. [LAT, 12/20/06]

DECEMBER 21, 2006: Lieberman: “I strongly believe that additional U.S. troops must be deployed to Baghdad.” [AP, 12/21/2006]

DECEMBER 21, 2006: 32 journalists died in Iraq in 2006, “the deadliest year for the press in a single country that the Committee to Protect Journalists has ever recorded.” [Committee to Protect Journalists, 12/21/2006]

DECEMBER 23, 2006: 76. Number of American troops who have died in Iraq this month, “making December the second deadliest month for U.S. servicemen in 2006.” [AP, 12/23/2006]

DECEMBER 30, 2006: Saddam executed by hanging. The execution was conducted just before the Sunni Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha. “It was a slap in the face to Sunni Arabs.” [Salon, 12/30/06]

Bush: “When it came to execute him, it looked like it was kind of a revenge killing. And it sent a mixed signal to the American people and the people around the world. And it just goes to show that this is a government that has still got some maturation to do.” [PBS Newshour, 1/16/07]

hanging

DECEMBER 2006: 3rd most deadly month in Iraq. 112 U.S. troops killed. [icasualties]

2007

JANUARY 2, 2007: 16,723 Iraqis died violent deaths in 2006, according to Iraqi authorities. Iraqi civilian deaths hit a record high in December 2006. [New York Times, 1/2/2007]

JANUARY 2, 2007: Gen. George Casey warns against troop escalation in Iraq.

“It’s always been my view that a heavy and sustained American military presence was not going to solve the problems in Iraq over the long term.” [New York Times, 1/2/2007]

JANUARY 2, 2007: “For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president’s handling of the war than approve of it. Barely one-third of service members approve of the way the president is handling the war, according to the 2006 Military Times Poll.” [Military Times, 1/2/2007]

JANUARY 3, 2007: Death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq reaches 3,000 [CNN, 1/3/07]

JANUARY 10, 2007: New troops in Iraq lack needed armor.

“The thousands of troops that President Bush is expected to order to Iraq will join the fight largely without the protection of the latest armored vehicles that withstand bomb blasts far better than the Humvees in wide use, military officers said.” [Baltimore Sun, 1/10/2007]

JANUARY 10, 2007: Bush announces escalation. “I’ve committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq.” [Bush, 1/10/2007]

JANUARY 11, 2007: 70 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq.

“Just 35 percent think it was right for the United States to go to war, a new low in AP polling and a reversal from two years ago, when two-thirds of Americans thought it was the correct move.” [AP, 1/11/2007]

JANUARY 11, 2007: Hagel on escalation:”The most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.” [CSPAN, 1/11/2007]

JANUARY 19, 2007: $8.4 billion: The cost of the Iraq war per month. “It rose from a monthly ‘burn rate’ of about $4.4 billion during the first year of fighting in fiscal 2003.” [LA Times, 1/19/2007]

JANUARY 20, 2007: 25 U.S. service members killed, marking “the third-deadliest day for American troops since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.” Twelve of the U.S. deaths on Saturday came in the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter northeast of Baghdad. [Baltimore Sun, 1/22/2007]

JANUARY 22, 2007: Sen. John Warner (R-VA) introduces resolution opposing Bush’s Iraq plan. [Washington Post, 1/23/07]

JANUARY 26, 2007: The White House has “authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranians who are believed to be working with Iraqi militias.” [Washington Post,1/25/2007]

JANUARY 30, 2007: The Army and Marine Corps “are short thousands of vehicles, armor kits and other equipment needed to supply” the extra 21,500 troops President Bush plans to send to Iraq. “It’s inevitable that that has to happen, unless five brigades of up-armored Humvees fall out of the sky,” one senior Army official said. [Washington Post, 1/30/2007]

FEBRUARY 1, 2007: 150 Iraqis are killed in suicide bomb attack on a crowded market in Hilla, Iraq. [ABC News, 2/1/2007]

FEBRUARY 2, 2007: Iraqi civilian deaths hit monthly high.

“Iraqi officials said on Thursday that nearly 2,000 civilians had died in January, a new monthly high that suggests that a crackdown by the government of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki against militias has failed to yield any immediate results.” [2/2/2007]

FEBRUARY 2, 2007: National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq declares Iraq is worse than a civil war. The document states that the term civil war “accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict,” though it “does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict.” [Washington Post, 2/3/2007]

FEBRUARY 2, 2007: Bush requests another $100 billion for Iraq

“President George W. Bush will ask Congress for $99.7 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for rest of fiscal year 2007 and more than $145 billion for fiscal year 2008. … That money comes on top of $70 billion that Congress approved for the current fiscal year, adding up to a total of $170 billion and making it the most expensive year yet for the war.” [Reuters, 2/2/07]

FEBRUARY 4, 2007: “There has been an ongoing effort to target our helicopters,” chief U.S. military spokesman William Caldwell told reporters in Baghdad. “We have had four helicopters shot down … It appears they were all the result of some kind of ground fire.” [Washington Post, 2/5/2007]

helis

FEBRUARY 6, 2007: Pace: Not enough equipment to support escalation.

“U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace admitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday equipment will be a problem when U.S. forces in Iraq are increased. … Pace said the military has about 41,000 armored vehicles in Iraq — fewer than will be needed ‘to cover all of the troops that are deploying.’ Pace says it will be July before enough equipment is in place.” [UPI, 2/6/2007]

FEBRUARY 10, 2007: Gen. David Petraeus officially takes charge of U.S. forces in Iraq, replacing Gen. George Casey, who will become Army chief of staff. [Defenselink, 2/12/07]

FEBRUARY 12, 2007: Car bombings kill at least 80 in Iraq.

“Thunderous explosions and dense black smoke swirled through the center of Baghdad Monday when at least two car bombs – one parked in an underground garage – tore through a crowded marketplace, setting off dozens of secondary explosions and killing at least 71 people, police said. Another bombing nearby killed at least nine.” [AP, 2/12/2007]

FEBRUARY 13, 2007: 63 percent of Americans want all U.S. troops home from Iraq by the end of 2008. [CBS News, 2/13/2007]

FEBRUARY 16, 2007: The House opposes escalation. By a vote of 246-182, the House of Representatives passes a resolution opposing President Bush’s escalation in Iraq, marking the first time in four years that Congress has voted decisively against Bush’s Iraq policy. [C-SPAN, 2/16/2007]

FEBRUARY 17, 2007: Senate rejects debate on anti-escalation resolution.

“The Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown on Saturday as Republicans foiled a Democratic attempt to rebuke President Bush over his deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops. The vote was 56-34.”

That was four short of the 60 needed to advance the measure, which is identical to a nonbinding resolution that passed the House. [C-SPAN, 2/17/2007]

FEBRUARY 18, 2007: A Washington Post investigation reveals that returning soldiers face deplorable conditions at Walter Reed’s outpatient center

The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses. [Washington Post, 2/18/2007]

FEBRUARY 21, 2007: Tony Blair announces a timetable for the withdrawal of U.K. troops from Iraq. [BBC, 2/21/2007]

FEBRUARY 22, 2007: 8th helicopter shot down in Iraq in a month

“Insurgents shot down an eighth US helicopter in Iraq yesterday in what the Pentagon acknowledges is a change of tactics, as well as the use of more sophisticated weaponry.” [Guardian, 2/22/07]

FEBRUARY 22, 2007: Insurgents turn to chlorine bombs

“For the third time in a month, Iraqi insurgents have set off a make-shift chemical bomb. All three have used chlorine, which can kill if inhaled and can burn the eyes and skin. The use of chemicals in attacks is a new tactic, reflecting the adaptibility of insurgent groups.” [NPR, 2/22/07]

MARCH 2, 2007: Pentagon says 7,000 more troops will be sent to Iraq.

“President Bush’s planned escalation of U.S. forces in Iraq will require as many as 28,500 troops, Pentagon officials told a Senate committee Thursday.” [USA Today, 3/2/07]

MARCH 8, 2007: “Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday proposed legislation that would bring American combat troops out of Iraq by August 2008 at the latest.” [Reuters, 3/8/07]

“At the same time Senate Democrats were preparing their own bill with binding legislation that would require a withdrawal from Iraq to begin no less than 120 days after the legislation is enacted with the goal of redeployment by March 31, 2008.” [FoxNews.com, 3/8/07]

MARCH 10, 2007: Senior Administration Official: “Right now there is no trend” that escalation is working. [Washington Post, 3/10/07]

MARCH 12, 2007: Pentagon planning fallback strategy if escalation fails. [LAT, 3/12/07]

MARCH 13, 2007: For the first time since the Iraq war began, less than half of Americans (46 percent) believe the United States can win in Iraq. [CNN, 3/13/07]

MARCH 14, 2007: The Pentagon acknowledges Iraq is a civil war

“In its bleakest assessment of the war to date, a quarterly Pentagon report said that last October through December was the most violent three-month period since 2003. Attacks and casualties suffered by coalition and Iraqi forces and civilians were higher than any other similar time span, said the report.” [AP, 3/14/07]

MARCH 24, 2007: “Record high” percentage of Americans believe the Iraq war was not worth fighting. [3/24/07, ABC News]

MARCH 26, 2007: Army deployed seriously injured soldiers.

“In some cases, soldiers were sent there even though their injuries were so severe that doctors had previously recommended they should be considered for medical retirement from the Army.” Military experts say the decision “was an effort to pump up manpower statistics used to show the readiness of Army units.” [Salon Magazine, 3/26/07]

MARCH 27, 2007: McCain claims progress in Iraq. McCain tells CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee. I think you oughta catch up. You are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don’t get it through the filter of some of the media.” He later acknowledges, “There is no unarmored humvees. Obviously, that’s the case.” [CBS, 4/8/07]

MARCH 29, 2007: Senate passes Iraq withdrawal. The Senate votes 51-47 to pass a “war spending bill that would require U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq by the end of March 2008, ignoring a veto threat from President Bush.” [CNN, 3/29/07]

MARCH 29, 2007: 100+ dead in Baghdad suicide bombings. [AP, 3/29/07]

APRIL 1, 2007: McCain strolls through Baghdad market, accompanied by 100 soldiers, 3 blackhawks, 2 Apache gunships. [NBC News, 4/1/07]

mccainiraqtimeline.jpg

APRIL 2, 2007: Civilian deaths up 13% across Iraq.

“Iraqi figures estimate civilian deaths in violence across the country rose by 13% last month, despite the security crackdown in Baghdad.” [BBC, 4/2/07]

APRIL 5, 2007: 12,000 more National Guard troops to Iraq. “Coming on the heels of a controversial ‘surge’ of 21,000 U.S. troops that has stretched the Army thin, the Defense Department is preparing to send an additional 12,000 National Guard combat forces to Iraq and Afghanistan.” [MSNBC, 4/5/2007]

APRIL 6, 2007: Pentagon report criticizes Feith’s office, finds no Iraq-al Qaeda link.

Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides “all confirmed” that Hussein’s regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released yesterday. [Washington Post, 4/6/07]

APRIL 6, 2007: Chlorine attack kills 27.

“A suicide bomber driving a truck loaded with TNT and toxic chlorine gas crashed into a police checkpoint in western Ramadi on Friday, killing at least 27 people and wounding dozens, police in the Anbar provincial capital said.” [4/6/2007, AP]

APRIL 6, 2007: Fallen troops begin to be brought home via charter flights, met by honor guards. [Fox News, 4/6/07]

APRIL 9, 2007: Tens of thousands of Iraqis gather to protest U.S. presence in Iraq on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. Up to one million Iraqi Shias summoned by Moqtada al-Sadr “have gathered in the holy city of Najaf for a mass demonstration calling for US-led troops to leave Iraq.” [BBC, 4/9/07]

banner

APRIL 11, 2007: White House unable to fill new post of “war czar.”

At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position, the sources said, underscoring the administration’s difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military. [Washington Post, 4/11/07]

APRIL 11, 2007: Gates announces 12-15 month extensions for Army troops. [Washington Post, 4/11/07]

APRIL 12, 2007: Iraqi parliament bombed inside Green Zone.

“An apparent suicide bombing inside the tightly guarded parliament building that killed two Sunni Arab legislators and six other people here Thursday struck at the heart of Iraq’s struggling democracy and the U.S. security plan that is trying to bolster it. The attack in the parliament’s cafeteria, which also injured 23 people, highlighted what many have described as serious gaps in security around the building where legislators elected in December 2005 have been struggling with little success to form a consensus to bring peace.” [LAT, 4/13/07]

parliament

APRIL 16, 2007: 3,300 U.S. troop casualties. “As of Sunday, April 15, 2007, at least 3,300 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.” [AP, 4/16/07]

APRIL 18, 2007: Four bombs kill at least 180 in Iraq. [Fox News, 4/18/07]

APRIL 19, 2007: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declares Iraq war “is lost.” [AP, 4/19/07] He later says, “As long as we follow the President’s path in Iraq, the war is lost. But there is still a chance to change course — and we must change course.”

APRIL 20, 2007: Iraqis protest Baghdad wall. The New York Times reports on reaction to the Bush administration’s “radical new strategy to quell the widening sectarian violence by building a 12-foot-high, three-mile-long wall separating a historic Sunni enclave from Shiite neighborhoods.” [NYT, 4/20/07]

APRIL 22, 2007: Maliki says he will halt construction of Baghdad wall. [AP, 4/22/07]

wall

APRIL 23, 2007: 9 U.S. soldiers killed in blast in Diyala province, Iraq.

“A group led by al-Qaida in Iraq claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a suicide truck bomb that killed nine U.S. soldiers and wounded 20 in one of the worst attacks on U.S. ground forces since the invasion in 2003.” [MSNBC, 4/24/07]

APRIL 24, 2007: Tillman family accuses Bush administration of twisting the facts.

In “explosive testimony” today, Kevin Tillman, brother of Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former NFL player who was killed in action in Afghanistan, “accused the Bush administration of twisting the facts of his brother’s death to distract public attention from the prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib.” [LAT, 4/24/07]

APRIL 25, 2007: Laura Bush: “No one suffers more than their President and I do.” [NBC, 4/25/2007]

APRIL 25, 2007: White House excludes bomb deaths in casualty counts.

“Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn’t include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.” [McClatchy, 4/25/07]

APRIL 26, 2007: 28 percent. President Bush’s approval rating in a new Harris survey, the lowest of his presidency. [WSJ, 4/26/2007]

APRIL 26, 2007: Senate approves Iraq withdrawal bill.

“The Senate on Thursday narrowly passed legislation ordering U.S. troops to begin coming home from Iraq by Oct. 1. The vote was 51-46. The House on Wednesday passed the same war spending bill, and President Bush next week is expected to receive, and swiftly reject, the legislation. The veto could fall on the fourth anniversary of the president’s Iraq ‘victory’ speech, which is Tuesday.” [MSNBC, 4/26/07]

APRIL 26, 2007: Gen. Petraeus warns, the war in Iraq is “‘exceedingly complex and very tough’ … and said the U.S. effort might become more difficult before before it gets easier.” [MSNBC, 4/26/07]

APRIL 28, 2007: U.S. rebuilt Iraq projects are crumbling.

In a series of reports to Congress detailing a sample of major projects, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that new equipment and facilities turned over to local authorities suffered from misuse and neglect. [GovExec, 4/30/07]

APRIL 28, 2007: At least 66 dead in bombing near shrine. [LAT, 4/29/07]

APRIL 30, 2007: 104 U.S. troops killed this month in Iraq.

At least 104 U.S. troops died in Iraq in April, capping the deadliest six-month period for U.S. forces since the war began more than four years ago. [McClatchy, 5/1/07]

MAY 1, 2007: Bush vetoes Congressional plan for withdrawal from Iraq in only the second veto of his presidency. [AP, 5/1/07]

MAY 1, 2007: Maliki office carrying out ‘extremist Shiite agenda.’ CNN reports that Iraq’s prime minister has “created an entity within his government that U.S. and Iraqi military officials say is being used behind a smokescreen to carry out an extreme Shiite agenda that is worsening the country’s sectarian divide.” [CNN, 5/1/2007]

MAY 5, 2007: 28 percent. President Bush’s approval rating in a new Newsweek survey, “an all-time low for this president in our poll, and a point lower than Gallup recorded for his father at Bush Sr.’s nadir.” [Newsweek, 5/5/2007]

MAY 7, 2007: 2,500: Number of troops infected in the last four years by a “parasitic disease rarely seen in United States but common in the Middle East,” picked up “because of massive deployments to remote combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.” [Boston Globe, 5/7/2007]

MAY 8, 2007: 54 percent: Number of Americans who disapprove of President Bush’s decision to veto the Iraq funding bill that called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq by 2008, according to a new CNN poll. Additionally, “57 percent of Americans said they want Congress to send another spending bill with a timetable for withdrawal back to the White House.” [CNN, 5/8/2007]

MAY 9, 2007: Majority Of Iraqi Parliament Calls For Timetable For U.S. Withdrawal [Alternet, 5/9/2007]

MAY 9 2007: 11 republicans berate Bush over Iraq in private White House meeting. One member of Congress called the discussion the “most unvarnished conversation they’ve ever had with the president,” and NBC’s Tim Russert said it “may have been a defining pivotal moment” in the Iraq debate. [NBC, 5/9/2007]

MAY 12, 2007: Billions in oil missing in Iraq.

“Between 100,000 and 300,000 barrels a day of Iraq’s declared oil production over the past four years is unaccounted for and could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling, according to a draft American government report. Using an average of $50 a barrel, the report said the discrepancy was valued at $5 million to $15 million daily.” [New York Times, 5/12/2007]

MAY 13, 2007: Death squad killings spike.

“In the first 11 days of this month, there have already been 234 bodies – men murdered by death squads – dumped around the capital, a dramatic rise from the 137 found in the same period of April. Improving security in Baghdad and reducing death-squad activity was described as one of the key aims of the US surge of 25,000 additional troops, the final units of whom are due to arrive next month.” [The Guardian, 5/13/2007]

MAY 19, 2007: Death toll for Iraq contractors reaches new high. [New York Times, 5/19/2007]

MAY 20, 2007: Iraq is a ‘big moneymaker’ for al-Qaeda. U.S. officials say that “al-Qaida’s command base in Pakistan increasingly is being funded by cash from Iraq, where the terrorist network’s operatives are raising substantial sums from donations to the insurgency as well as kidnappings of wealthy Iraqis and other criminal activity.” [Seattle Times, 5/20/2007]

MAY 29, 2007: Eight U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq on Memorial Day, “making May the deadliest month of the year for U.S. troops in Iraq.” [Washington Post, 5/29/2007]

MAY 30, 2007: Bush envisions Korea-like long-term presence in Iraq.

“President George W. Bush would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea to provide stability but not in a frontline combat role, the White House said on Wednesday. The United States has had thousands of U.S. troops in South Korea to guard against a North Korean invasion for 50 years.” [AlertNet, 5/30/2007]

JUNE 2, 2007: Number of unidentified corpses found in Baghdad spikes. [New York Times, 6/2/2007]

JUNE 3, 2007: Civilian deaths in Baghdad up 29 percent.

“An Interior Ministry official, who did not want to be named because he was not authorized to release the figures, said 1,944 civilians were killed in May, a 29 percent hike over April. At least 174 soldiers and policemen were killed in the same period. … Mortar attacks in the capital are becoming deadlier and car bombs remain common.” [Reuters, 6/3/2007].

JUNE 3, 2007: Attacks on U.S. troops grow in lethality.

“The intensity of combat and the greater lethality of attacks on U.S. troops is underscored by the lower ratio of wounded to killed for May, which fell to about 4.8 to 1 — compared with an average of 8 to 1 in the Iraq conflict, according Pentagon data. ‘The closer you get to a stand-up fight, the closer you’re going to get to that 3-to-1 ratio’ that typified 2oth-century U.S. warfare, said John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a defense information Web site.” [Washington Post, 6/3/2007]

JUNE 4, 2007: Former U.S. Commander In Iraq: War Is Lost

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez: “I think if we do the right things politically and economically with the right Iraqi leadership we could still salvage at least a stalemate, if you will — not a stalemate but at least stave off defeat,” [San Antonio Express News, 6/4/2007]

JUNE 7, 2007: 3,500: ABC World News host Charles Gibson takes a moment to note “a sad milestone in Iraq,” as the announcement of 6 more U.S. casualties in Iraq, ratcheted the total toll of the war to 3,500 troops who have died in Iraq since the war began. [ABC News, 6/7/2007]

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JUNE 8, 2007: Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace replaced. [CNN, 6/8/07]

JUNE 11, 2007: U.S. forces begin arming Sunni militias. American commanders are turning to a strategy “that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past.” Critics say the plan “could amount to the Americans’ arming both sides in a future civil war.” [New York Times, 6/11/2007]

JUNE 13, 2007: “Suspected al-Qaida insurgents … destroyed the two minarets of the Askariya Shiite shrine in Samarra, authorities reported, in a repeat of a 2006 bombing that shattered its famous Golden Dome and unleashed a wave of retaliatory sectarian violence that still bloodies Iraq.” [AP, 6/13/2007]

JUNE 14, 2007: Despite surge, violence on the rise.

“Three months into the new U.S. military strategy that has sent tens of thousands of additional troops into Iraq, overall levels of violence in the country have not decreased, as attacks have shifted away from Baghdad and Anbar, where American forces are concentrated, only to rise in most other provinces, according to a Pentagon report released yesterday.” [Washington Post, 6/14/2007]

JUNE 14, 2007: Snow: President Bush Is ‘On The Frontlines’ Of The Iraq War ‘Every Day.’ During a White House press briefing, reporter Helen Thomas asked Tony Snow if there are “any members of the Bush family or this administration in this war.” Stunningly, Snow claimed that President Bush is actually on the “front-lines” of the war in Iraq. [C-SPAN, 6/14/2007]

JUNE 16, 2007: Private contractors in Iraq stage “parallel surge.”

“Private security companies, funded by billions of dollars in U.S. military and State Department contracts, are fighting insurgents on a widening scale in Iraq, enduring daily attacks, returning fire and taking hundreds of casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and company representatives.” [Washington Post, 6/16/2007]

JUNE 18, 2007: Iraq ranks second on failed state index. Sudan ranks first and Iraq ranks second in a new ranking of 177 countries in order of their “vulnerability to violent and internal conflict and societal deterioration.” Iraq’s position “dropped for a third consecutive year.” [Foreign Policy, 6/18/2007]

JUNE 26, 2007: Support for war reaches new low CNN poll finds. [CNN, 6/26/2007]

JUNE 30, 2007: 77 percent: Number of Americans who believe the Iraq war is going badly, according to a new CBS News poll. The disapproval level is a new high, “up from 66 percent just two months ago. Nearly half, 47 percent, say it’s going very badly.” [CBS News, 6/29/07]

JULY 4, 2007: More than 180,000 civilians are now working in Iraq as U.S. contractors, exceeding the number of U.S. troops. The “death toll for private contractors in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has topped 1,000,” with 13,000 wounded. [LA Times, 7/4/07]

JULY 4, 2007: Bush tells troops to prepare for more deaths. Bush said victory in Iraq will require “more patience, more courage and more sacrifice.” [Examiner, 7/4/07]

JULY 6, 2007: Iraq war costs could top $1.4 trillion. [Wired, 7/6/07]

JULY 8, 2007: Powell: ‘I tried to avoid this war.’

The former American secretary of state Colin Powell has revealed that he spent 2½ hours vainly trying to persuade President George W Bush not to invade Iraq and believes today’s conflict cannot be resolved by US forces. [The Sunday Times, 7/8/07]

JULY 8, 2007: Truck bomb marks second deadliest bombing in Iraq. A massive truck bomb killed 150 people in a northern Iraqi town and “fresh attacks in and around Baghdad killed 31 others.” [Reuters, 7/8/07]

JULY 10, 2007: 62: Percentage of Americans who “say the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq,” according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, “the first time that number has topped 60 percent.” Bush’s approval rating reached an all-time low: 29 percent. [USA Today, 7/10/07]

JULY 11, 2007: 19 percent: Number of Americans who “believe that the U.S. troop surge in Iraq was a success.” Just 38 percent of Republicans consider the President’s strategy successful. [Rasmussen, 7/11/07]

JULY 12, 2007: Iraqi guards steal $282 million. In an astonishing heist, guards at a Baghdad bank “made off with more than a quarter-billion dollars on Wednesday.” [Herald Tribune, 7/12/07]

JULY 12, 2007: House passes bill to withdraw troops by April. The House today voted 223 to 201 to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by April 1, 2008, despite a veto threat from President Bush. [MSNBC, 7/12/07]

JULY 13, 2007: Murtha: Bush ‘delusional’ about Iraq progress. [CNN, 7/13/07]

JULY 14, 2007: White House refuses to criticize Iraqi lawmakers’ vacation. On Friday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow dismissed concerns of the Iraqi parliament’s August recess, even though President Bush promised in May that Vice President Cheney would persuade them to skip it. [White House, 7/14/07]

JULY 16, 2007: Joint Chiefs weigh ‘bigger troop buildup.’ Gen. Peter Pace said today that the Joint Chiefs of Staff is weighing a range of possible new troop-level scenarios for Iraq before September, “including, if President Bush deems it necessary, an even bigger troop buildup.” “That way, if we need to plus up or come down” in numbers of troops in Iraq, then military services will be in position to carry out whatever policy Bush chooses, said Pace.” [Yahoo News, 7/16/07]

JULY 16, 2007: Reid to force all-night filibuster on Iraq withdrawal in response to conservative obstructionism. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he plans to force war supporters to physically remain in the Senate and filibuster Iraq withdrawal legislation. [CSPAN, 7/16/07]

JULY 18, 2007: Cloture on Levin-Reed amendment fails.

By a 52-47 vote, the Senate has failed to garner the necessary 60 votes needed to end debate and proceed with the Levin-Reed amendment to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. [CSPAN, 7/18/07]

JULY 18, 2007: After years of misleading excuses, Pentagon seeks lifesaving vehicles for troops in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Congress today for more funds for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs), which are “designed to withstand the underbelly bombs that cripple the lower-riding Humvees,” such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), “the No. 1 killer of U.S. forces” in Iraq. [USA Today, 7/18/07]

JULY 19, 2007: Report: Iraq war to cost $550 billion by October. [Bloomberg, 7/19/07]

JULY 21, 2007: The fruits of escalation in Iraq.

Attacks in Iraq last month reached their highest daily average since May 2003, showing a surge in violence as President George W. Bush completed a buildup of U.S. troops, Pentagon statistics show. [Reuters, 7/21/07]

JULY 24, 2007: ‘Mutilated,’ ‘Tortured,’ And ‘Unidentified Bodies’ In Baghdad Rise To ‘Pre-Surge Levels’. A new report from IraqSlogger reveals that the U.S. presence in Baghdad has shown virtually no progress in stemming the gruesome sectarian death squads pervading the capital. Between June 18 and July 18, “[u]p to 592 unidentified bodies were found dumped in different parts of Baghdad.” [Iraq Slogger, 7/24/07]

JULY 25, 2007: House bans permanent bases in Iraq. Today, the House passed a bill stating “it is the policy of the United States not to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing a permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.” [The Gavel, 7/25/07]

JULY 26, 2007: 80 percent: Number of Americans who believe the “Iraq war has hurt the United States’ standing the international community,” according to a new UPI-Zogby poll. [UPI, 7/26/07]

JULY 27, 2007: Iraqi government in the midst of the worst crisis since the fall of Saddam Hussein, say several politicians and analysts. [Christian Science Monitor, 7/27/07]

JULY 27, 2007: Baghdad residents receiving just one hour of electricity per day. [LA Times, 7/27/07]

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JULY 30, 2007: Iraq soccer team defeats Saudi Arabia. [Yahoo News, 7/30/07]

AUGUST 1, 2007: Cost of escalation may reach $40 billion.

According to testimony provided by Congressional Budget Office during yesterday’s House Budget Committee Hearing on Iraq and Afghanistan Reconstruction, the cost of sustaining the President’s surge strategy in Iraq for two more years will reach $40 billion dollars. [CBO, 8/1/07]

AUGUST 5, 2007: Iraq power grid “on the brink of collapse” because of insurgent sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages and provinces that are unplugging local power stations from the national grid. [ABC News, 8/5/07]

AUGUST 7, 2007: Number of troops in Iraq reaches highest level of war, with approximately 162,000 forces currently on the ground. [MSNBC, 8/7/07]

AUGUST 8, 2007: Roadside bomb attacks reached all-time high last month, accounting for more than one third of all combat deaths. [The Independent, 8/8/07]

AUGUST 11, 2007: Roadside bomb kills Iraqi governor. [CBS News, 8/11/07]

AUGUST 14, 2007: Suicide bombers kill at least 175 in Iraq. [Reuters, 8/14/07]

AUGUST 15, 2007: Officers see bleak future for Iraq, despite U.S. claims that violence is down in the Iraqi capital. U.S. military officers say they’ve yet to see any signs of reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite Muslims despite the drop in violence. [McClatchy, 8/15/07]

AUGUST 15, 2007: Petraeus’ September report will be written by the White House, despite Bush’s repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. And though Petraeus and Crocker will present their recommendations on Capitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the president to decide how to interpret the report’s data. [LA Times, 8/15/07]

AUGUST 16, 2007: Coalition death toll in Iraq hits 4,000. [CNN, 8/16/07]

AUGUST 18, 2007: WH drawdown in Iraq to fall ‘far short’ of Congress’ plan. The White House plans “to outline a plan for gradual troop reductions [in Iraq] beginning next year that would fall far short of the drawdown” demanded by Congress. [New York Times, 9/18/07]

AUGUST 19, 2007: Active-duty soldiers reject myth that escalation is working. A group of infantrymen and officers of the 82nd Airborne Division write in the New York Times today that they are “skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable.” Reports of progress, they say, have “neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day.” [New York Times, 8/19/07]

AUGUST 23, 2007: Sen. Warner calls on President Bush to begin Iraq withdrawal in September. Frustrated with the lack of political progress in Iraq, Sen. John Warner (R-VA) said it is time to put some “meaningful teeth” into Bush’s claim that the U.S. commitment to Iraq “is not open-ended.” [CSPAN, 9/23/07]

AUGUST 25, 2007: Despite escalation, Iraqi deaths double from a year ago. Compared to an average daily death toll of 33 in 2006, this year’s numbers indicate approximately 62 Iraqis have died war-related deaths each day this year. [Yahoo News, 8/25/07]

AUGUST 25, 2007: Iraq fraud whistleblowers ‘vilified’, fired and demoted. For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods. [MSNBC, 8/25/07]

AUGUST 26, 2007: National Guard troops cheer call for Iraq withdrawal.

A call by Puerto Rico’s governor for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq earned a standing ovation from a conference of more than 4,000 National Guardsmen. Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila said Saturday that the U.S. administration has “no new strategy and no signs of success” and that prolonging the war would needlessly put guardsmen in harm’s way. [CBS News, 8/26/07]

AUGUST 29, 2007: Iraqis seeking U.S. refugee status forced to apply in Syria. The Bush administration recently announced a stepped-up commitment to giving refuge to Iraqis who have worked for the United States and are now in danger. Yet very few have signed up for the program because “they are not allowed to apply in Iraq, requiring them to make a costly and uncertain journey to countries like Syria or Jordan, where they may be turned away by border officials already overwhelmed by fleeing Iraqis.” [New York Times, 8/29/07]

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AUGUST 30, 2007: Muqtada al-Sadr Orders Six-Month ‘Freeze’ on Militia Actions. Sadr issued his order following a day of Shiite-against-Shiite gunfire that killed 49 people during a religious ceremony in the holy city of Karbala. In a statement, he said the freeze would apply to his Mahdi Army militia “without exception in order to have it restructured in a way that would retain for this ideological body its prestige.”[Washington Post, 8/30/07]

AUGUST 30, 2007: Plane carrying U.S. lawmakers in Iraq comes under attack. The lawmakers said their plane, a C-130, was under fire from three rocket-propelled grenades over the course of several minutes as they left for Amman, Jordan.[AP, 8/30/07]

SEPTEMBER 2, 2007: $50 billion still needed to stabilize Iraq’s oil industry. [Washington Post, 9/2/07]

SEPTEMBER 3, 2007: Bush’s surge escalated ethnic cleansing. [MSNBC, 9/3/07]

SEPTEMBER 4, 2007: GAO Report: Daily attacks against Iraqis ‘have remained unchanged’ from February to July 2007. [GAO Report, 9/4/07]

SEPTEMBER 5, 2007: Bush: ‘We’re kicking ass’ in Iraq. [Sydney Morning Herald, 9/5/07]

SEPTEMBER 7, 2007: Graham: Political reconciliation likely ‘within weeks.’

Within the next weeks, not months, there will be a major breakthrough on the benchmarks regarding political reconciliation. And after the last two weeks of being a reservist, you could see Sunnis and Shia and Kurds taking a second look at Iraq. [CSPAN, 9/7/07]

SEPTEMBER 10, 2007: Poll: Nearly 70 percent of Iraqis say escalation ‘has worsened’ their lives. [ABC News, 9/10/07]

SEPTEMBER 11, 2007: Baghdadis ‘unimpressed’ with Iraq hearings. A group of Baghdadis watching the testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker yesterday were “unimpressed.” “I don’t think this will change anything in our country because the Americans will never leave Iraq,” said Saleh Adnan, a car mechanic. “For me, the main report will be the one which announces the American departure.” [Washington Times, 9/11/07]

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SEPTEMBER 11, 2007: Petraeus: ‘I don’t know’ if Iraq war makes America safer. At the Senate Armed Services hearing on progress in Iraq today, Sen. John Warner (R-VA) asked Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, “if we continue what you have laid before the Congress, this strategy, that if you continue, you are making America safer?” “Sir, I don’t know actually,” replied Petraeus. [CSPAN, 9/11/07]

SEPTEMBER 12, 2007: Two of seven soldiers who wrote New York Times Op-Ed die in Iraq.The Op-Ed by seven active duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq questioning the war drew international attention just three weeks ago. Now two of the seven are dead. Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance T. Gray died Monday in a vehicle accident in western Baghdad, two of seven U.S. troops killed in the incident. [Editor and Publisher, 9/12/07]

SEPTEMBER 14, 2007: Sattar Abu Risha killed. Just 10 days ago, Bush visited Risha in Iraq and hailed his efforts in “cooperating with the United States against al Qaeda in Iraq.” Today, he was killed in an explosion near his house in the Anbar province. [Washington Post, 9/14/07]

SEPTEMBER 16, 2007: Gates raises possibility of deploying more National Guard and reserve forces to Iraq. [ABC This Week, 9/16/07]

SEPTEMBER 18, 2007: Poll: Americans unhappy with Bush policy after Iraq speech. In a new CBS poll released yesterday, most Americans “say the plan President Bush announced last week for troop reductions doesn’t go far enough. … Nearly half want Mr. Bush to remove even more troops by next summer than he proposed in his address. Additionally, just 31 percent say escalation “has made things in Iraq better, while more than half (51 percent) say it’s had no impact. Eleven percent say it’s made things worse.” [CBS News, 9/18/07]

SEPTEMBER 20, 2007: Pentagon delays security handover in Iraq. For the second time this year, “the target date for putting Iraqi authorities in charge of security in all 18 provinces has slipped yet again, to at least next July.” The delay highlights “the difficulties in developing Iraqi police forces and the slow pace of economic and political progress.”[Herald Tribune, 9/20/07]

SEPTEMBER 21, 2007: Levin-Reed amendment fails. Today, the Senate voted 47-47 on an amendment sponsored by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jack Reed (D-RI) that “would require a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq to begin in 90 days and end in nine months.” [Think Progress, 9/21/07]

SEPTEMBER 21, 2007: Chlorine restrictions due to security concerns help fuel spread of cholera in Iraq. [Washington Post, 9/21/07]

SEPTEMBER 27, 2007: General Casey: Army ‘out of balance,’ ‘current demand’ on troops ‘exceeds the sustainable supply.’ [Boston Globe, 9/27/07]

OCTOBER 1, 2007: FBI sending investigators to Iraq to probe Blackwater. The agency is “making the move at the request of the State Department…to pursue possible criminal charges in light of allegations that guards working for Blackwater might have shot innocent Iraqi citizens.” [SF Gate, 10/1/07]

OCTOBER 2, 2007: Iraq offers cash ‘marriage bonus’ to bridge sectarian divide. The Iraqi government is offering a $1,500 cash bonus “to married Iraqi couples from different sectarian groups in a drive to heal rifts between communities and foster reconciliation.” [Reuters, 10/2/07]

OCTOBER 3, 2007: White House retaliates against UK for withdrawal: ‘British forces have performed poorly’ in Iraq.

[T]here was “a lot of unhappiness” about how British forces had performed in Basra and an acceptance that Mr Brown would pull the remaining 4,500 troops out of Iraq next year. “Operationally, British forces have performed poorly in Basra,” said the official. “Maybe it’s best that they leave. Now we will have a clear field in southern Iraq.” [Telegraph, 10/3/07]

OCTOBER 4, 2007: House passes bill to prosecute contractors. Today, the House voted 389-30 to “make all private contractors working in Iraq and other combat zones subject to prosecution by U.S. courts. It was the first major legislation of its kind to pass since a deadly shootout last month involving Blackwater employees.” [The Gavel, 10/4/07]

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OCTOBER 7, 2007: State Dept. ignored diplomats’ concerns on Blackwater. The State Department “overlooked repeated warnings from U.S. diplomats in the field that guards were endangering Iraqi civilians and undermining U.S. efforts to win support from the population.” Diplomats cautioned that the 2004 decision to grant contractors immunity from Iraqi courts was “a bomb that could go off at any time.” [LA Times, 10/7/07]

OCTOBER 8, 2007: Brown announces phased withdrawal from Iraq, says troop reductions have made Basra ‘calmer’. [BBC, 10/8/07]

OCTOBER 9, 2007: Casey: Army needs ‘three or four years’ and ‘substantial resources’ to recover from Iraq war. [Boston Globe, 10/9/07]

OCTOBER 11, 2007: A Philadelphia law firm filed suit against Blackwater USA on Thursday on behalf of the families of Iraqis killed and injured in last month’s shooting in Baghdad’s Nusoor Square. The suit calls the incident a “senseless slaying” and claims it was part of “Blackwater’s lengthy pattern of egregious misconduct in Iraq.” [CNN, 10/11/07]

OCTOBER 12, 2007: Former top general rips Bush’s Iraq policy.

In one of his first major public speeches since leaving the Army in late 2006, retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez blamed the administration for a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan” and denounced the current “surge” strategy as a “desperate” move that will not achieve long-term stability. [New York Times, 10/12/07]

OCTOBER 16, 2007: Soldiers: institute a draft or withdraw from Iraq now. Twelve former Army captains declare that “five years on, Iraq is in shambles,” and that “short” of a military draft, “our best option is to leave Iraq immediately” [Washington Post, 10/16/07]

OCTOBER 17, 2007: Turkey votes to allow Iraq incursion, “moving this NATO country one step closer to a military confrontation with Iraq over Kurdish rebels who hide there.” [New York Times, 10/18/07]

OCTOBER 18, 2007: Iraq to Cheney: ‘Big fat no’ on bases in Iraq. The Iraqi government has “put the U.S. on notice” that they do not want permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, CNN reports today. The message was “delivered directly to Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House” by Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak Al-Rubaie, who told CNN that Iraqis say, “No, big fat no, N-O for the bases in Iraq.” [CNN, 10/18/07]

OCTOBER 19, 2007: Security contractors shoot at taxi, wounding 3 Iraqis. The incident came less than two weeks after a shooting by another company killed two women in a taxicab here, and just over a month after guards with the private American security company Blackwater USA killed 17 people in a Baghdad square. [New York Times, 10/19/07]

OCTOBER 19, 2007: Veteran stress cases rise sharply. The number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder from the Department of Veterans Affairs “jumped by nearly 20,000 — almost 70% — in the 12 months ending June 30, VA records show.” [USA Today, 10/19/07]

OCTOBER 19, 2007: Head of Reconstruction Teams In Iraq Reports Little Progress Throughout Country. [New York Times, 10/19/07]

OCTOBER 20, 2007: IEDs a rising threat to troops, but lawmakers and first responders say the Bush administration has been slow to devise a strategy for countering the weapons and has not provided adequate money and training for a concerted national effort. [Washington Post, 10/20/07]

OCTOBER 20, 2007: Syria has closed its borders to all but a small group of Iraqis and imposed new visa rules that will legally require the 1.5 million Iraqis currently in Syria to return to Iraq. The change quietly went into effect on Oct. 1. Syrian officials have often threatened to stem the flow of refugees over the past eight months, but until now have backed down after pleas from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. [New York Times, 10/20/07]

OCTOBER 22, 2007: Violence in Iraq dropped by 70 percent since the end of June, when U.S. forces completed their build-up of 30,000 extra troops to stabilize the war-torn country, the Iraqi Interior Ministry. [Reuters, 10/22/07]

OCTOBER 23, 2007: A State Department review of its own security practices in Iraq assails the department “for poor coordination, communication, oversight and accountability involving armed security companies like Blackwater USA.” [New York Times, 10/23/07]

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OCTOBER 25, 2007: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted oversight trouble in Iraq contracts at a congressional hearing Thursday, acknowledging that her department “had serious problems overseeing its largest contracts in Iraq. One of the problems: The State Department official managing a $1.2 billion contract to train Iraqi police didn’t keep a complete file for the contract.” [USA Today, 10/25/07]

OCTOBER 30, 2007: New Iraqi law will bring tighter control over private security firms. But it remains “unclear how guards working for the controversial American firm Blackwater would be affected.” [Times Online, 10/30/07]

OCTOBER 31, 2007: In report to Congress, oversight officials say Iraqi rebuilding falls short of goals.

More than $100 billion has been devoted to rebuilding Iraq, mainly thanks to American taxpayers and Iraqi oil revenues, but nearly five years into the conflict, output in critical areas like water and electricity remain below United States goals, federal oversight officials reported to Congress on Tuesday. [New York Times, 10/31/07]

NOVEMBER 6, 2007: 2007 is deadliest year for U.S. troops in Iraq.

Six American soldiers were killed in three separate attacks in Iraq on Monday, the military said Tuesday, taking the number of deaths this year to 852. The toll makes 2007 the deadliest year of the war for United States troops. [New York Times, 11/6/07]

NOVEMBER 8, 2007: Iraq war opposition at all-time high according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. [CNN, 11/8/07]

NOVEMBER 9, 2007: Iraq veteran healthcare may be $650 billion claims a group of noted physicians. [Boston Globe, 11/9/07]

NOVEMBER 11, 2007: An Iraqi taxi driver was shot and killed on Saturday by a guard with DynCorp International, a private security company hired to protect American diplomats here, when a DynCorp convoy rolled past a knot of traffic on an exit ramp in Baghdad, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Sunday. [New York Times, 11/11/07]

NOVEMBER 13, 2007: F.B.I. says guards killed 14 Iraqis without cause.

Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq, according to civilian and military officials briefed on the case. [New York Times, 11/13/07]

NOVEMBER 13, 2007: The economic costs to the United States of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan so far total approximately $1.5 trillion, according to a new study by congressional Democrats that estimates the conflicts’ “hidden costs”– including higher oil prices, the expense of treating wounded veterans and interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the wars. [Washington Post, 11/13/07]

NOVEMBER 14, 2007: Chevron has agreed to pay $30 million to settle charges that it had made illegal kickbacks to Iraq for oil purchased in 2001 and 2002 under the United Nations’ oil-for-food program. [AP, 11/15/07]

NOVEMBER 18, 2007: The number of weekly attacks in Iraq fell to the lowest level since just before the February 2006 bombing of the Shiite shrine in Samarra, an event commonly used as a benchmark for the country’s worst spasm of bloodletting after the American invasion nearly five years ago. Data released at a news conference in Baghdad showed that attacks had declined to the lowest level since January 2006. It is the third week in a row that attacks have been at this reduced level. [New York Times, 11/18/07]

NOVEMBER 21, 2007: Remains of 40 found in mass grave.

The Iraqi police on Wednesday discovered a mass grave near Ramadi with at least 40 bodies, some of them children, and a suicide car bomb exploded inside the city near a courthouse, killing at least six people and wounding eight. [New York Times, 11/21/07]

NOVEMBER 23, 2007: 20,000 left out of Pentagon’s wounded list.

At least 20,000 U.S. troops who were not classified as wounded during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been found with signs of brain injuries, according to military and veterans records compiled by USA TODAY. The data, provided by the Army, Navy and Department of Veterans Affairs, show that about five times as many troops sustained brain trauma as the 4,471 officially listed by the Pentagon through Sept. 30. These cases also are not reflected in the Pentagon’s official tally of wounded, which stands at 30,327. [USA Today, 11/23/07]

NOVEMBER 24, 2007: U.S. starts first major pullout from Iraq, beginning with brigade members. However, because of continuing violence in Diyala, another brigade that is already in the country will take the place of the Third Brigade Combat Team. [New York Times, 11/24/07]

NOVEMBER 26, 2007: Iraq’s government is preparing to grant the US a long-term troop presence in the country and preferential treatment for American investors in return for a guarantee on long-term security, it emerged today. Iraqi officials said that, under the proposed formula, Iraq would get full responsibility for internal security and American troops would relocate to bases outside cities. The proposals foresee a long-term presence of about 50,000 US troops, down from the current figure of more than 160,000. [The Guardian, 11/26/07]

NOVEMBER 28, 2007: 171: Number of journalists and other news media staff who have died as a result of their work around the world so far this year, “making 2007 the bloodiest year on record for the industry. The most murderous country again was Iraq, where 64 died, taking the total news media toll since the start of the war to at least 235.” [International News Safety Institute, 11/28/07]

DECEMBER 5, 2007: Car bombs in four sites kill 22 as Secretary of Defense Gates arrived for a visit with senior Iraqi officials. [New York Times, 12/5/07]

DECEMBER 6, 2007: Citing a 60 percent decline in violence in Iraq over the last six months, Gen. David Petraeus said Thursday that maintaining security is easier than establishing it and gives him more flexibility in deploying forces.

Armed with charts showing that as of Wednesday, weekly attacks and Iraqi civilian deaths have plunged to levels not seen here since early 2006, Petraeus said the reduction lets him make force adjustments to address remaining problem areas, which would include northern Iraq. [12/6/07]

DECEMBER 6, 2007: Only 36% of military families now approve of war. Among active-duty military, veterans and their families, only 36 percent say it was worth going to war in Iraq. This compares with an Annenberg survey taken in 2004, one year after the invasion, which showed that 64 percent of service members and their families supported the war. [Bloomberg, 12/6/07]

DECEMBER 10, 2007: A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident. Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job. [ABC News, 12/10/08]

DECEMBER 12, 2007: Three car bombs in Southern Iraq 40 ripped through a busy street in the Shi’ite city of Amara on Wednesday, “killing 40 people and wounding 125 in one of the deadliest attacks in southern Iraq this year.” [Reuters, 12/12/07]

DECEMBER 16, 2007: British relinquish control of Basra. More than 85% of the residents of Basra believe British troops have had a negative effect on the Iraqi province since 2003, an opinion poll suggests. The survey for BBC Newsnight of nearly 1,000 people also suggests that 56% believe their presence has increased the overall level of militia violence. Two-thirds think security will improve when the British hand back control of the province to Iraqi forces on Sunday. [BBC, 12/16/07]

DECEMBER 18, 2007: Casey: Army is “Out of Balance.”

In an interview with Stars and Stripes, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said “the U.S. Army is out of balance… [W]e’re consuming our readiness as fast as we’re building it, and so we’re not able to build depth for other things. We’re running the all-volunteer force at a pace that is not sustainable.” [Stars and Stripes, 12/18/07]

DECEMBER 21, 2007: Two million children in Iraq are facing threats including poor nutrition, lack of education, disease and violence, the UN children’s agency, Unicef, has said. Hundreds were killed in violence during 2007, while 1,350 were detained by the authorities, it said in a new report. Some 25,000 children and their families had to leave their homes each month to seek shelter in other parts of Iraq. [BBC News, 12/21/07]

DECEMBER 26, 2007: Suicide bomber kills at least 25 near refinery in northern Iraq. [New York Times, 12/5/07]

DECEMBER 26, 2007: Among families of those who served or are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, 60% say that the war in Iraq was not worth the cost, the same result as all adults surveyed… 35% are willing to stay until victory; 58% want the troops home within a year or sooner. [LA Times, 12/26/07]

DECEMBER 30, 2007: Iraq attacks fell 60% since June, Petraeus says. However, he cautioned that security gains were “tenuous” and “fragile,” requiring political and economic progress to cement them. [New York Times, 12/30/07]

DECEMBER 30, 2007: 899 American troops died in Iraq in 2007, making 2007 the deadliest for the U.S. military since the 2003 invasion. [ABC News, 12/31/07]

2008

JANUARY 1, 2008: Iraq Body Count: Iraqi civilian violence in 2007 still at 2005 levels. Another 22,586–24,159 civilian deaths have been recorded in 2007 through Iraq Body Count’s extensive monitoring of media and official reports. [Iraq Body Count, 1/1/08]

JANUARY 10, 2008: Blackwater Exposed Troops to CS Gas in May 2005. A Blackwater helicopter in Iraq dropped CS gas, “a riot-control substance the American military in Iraq can use only under the strictest conditions,” on a crowded checkpoint in Baghdad. “But the same tight controls apparently did not apply to Blackwater at the time of the incident.” [New York Times, 1/10/08]

JANUARY 14, 2008: Re-Baathification law raises questions. A day after the Iraqi Parliament passed legislation billed as the first significant political step forward in Iraq after months of deadlock, there were troubling questions — and troubling silences — about the measure’s actual effects. [New York Times, 1/14/08]

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JANUARY 15, 2008: The Iraqi defense minister said Monday that his nation would not be able to take full responsibility for its internal security until 2012, nor be able on its own to defend Iraq’s borders from external threat until at least 2018. [New York Times, 1/15/08]

JANUARY 17, 2008: Army chief of staff says surge has “sucked flexibility.” “The surge has sucked all of the flexibility out of the system,” Army Chief of Staff George Casey said in an interview this week. “And we need to find a way of getting back into balance.” [Wall Street Journal, 1/17/08]

JANUARY 20, 2008: A rocket attack and several bombings killed at least 15 people in central and northern Iraq on Saturday, Iraqi officials said. Sporadic violence continued in the southern cities of Basra and Nasiriya as millions of Shiites turned out for the climax of Ashura, the religious holiday marking the killing 13 centuries ago of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. [New York Times, 1/20/08]

JANUARY 22, 2008: Study finds hundreds of Bush administration lies. A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued 935 false statements in the two years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. [The Center for Public Integrity, 1/22/08]

JANUARY 26, 2008: Mosul bombings prompt promise of new offensive.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki announced Friday that he was sending more forces to Mosul for what he vowed would be a “decisive” struggle to rid the city of insurgents. Mr. Maliki’s remarks, which came in the wake of successive bombings in Mosul, a northern city of 1.7 million, appeared intended to reassure Iraqis that the government was able to protect them against a resilient insurgent threat. [New York Times, 1/26/07]

FEBRUARY 4, 2008: U.S. says it accidentally killed 9 civilians and wounded three on Feb. 3 in a strike aimed at militants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia south of Baghdad, acknowledging what appeared to be one of the deadliest cases of mistaken identity in recent weeks.[New York Times, 2/4/08]

FEBRUARY 4, 2008: Anti-war candidates top recipients of donations from
troops.
[OpenSecrets.org, 2/4/08]

FEBRUARY 6, 2008: Top officer testifies forces are “stressed.” The military’s top uniformed officer says U.S. forces are “significantly stressed” by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan while simultaneously trying to stem the tide of violent extremism elsewhere. [ABC News, 2/6/08]

FEBRUARY 6, 2008: Bush administration abandons long-term “security guarantee” with Iraq, CQ reports. As one administration official said, “We say, look, if you want a security guarantee, that will be a treaty, and a treaty will have to go to our Senate,” endangering the whole agreement. [CQ, 2/6/08]

FEBRUARY 11, 2008: Tony Snow reveals “80 Percent” of Bush advisors opposed the “surge.” [Desert Sun, 2/11/08]

FEBRUARY 11, 2008: Car bombs kill 11 in southern Baghdad during a visit to the city by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. [Reuters, 2/11/08]

FEBRUARY 13, 2008: Iraqi parliament passes three key measures clearing the way for provincial elections, approving the 2008 budget and granting a limited amnesty that will affect thousands of detainees. The proposals were bundled together and passed in a single consensus vote. [Washington Post, 2/14/08]

FEBRUARY 15, 2008: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces he will travel to Iraq next month in the first such visit by a leader of the Islamic Republic. [Washington Post, 2/15/08]

FEBRUARY 15, 2008: Marines yield control of Hit to Iraqis. [Los Angeles Times, 2/15/08]

FEBRUARY 18, 2008: A suicide bomber detonated her explosives in a commercial area in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad on Sunday morning, the latest in a string of attacks by female bombers in Iraq. [Washington Post, 2/18/08]

FEBRUARY 21, 2008: Muqtada al- Sadr’s militia enforces cease-fire with a deadly purge. [Washington Post, 2/21/08]

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FEBRUARY 22, 2008: Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr extends Mahdi Army cease-fire originally declared in August 2007. [Washington Post, 2/22/08]

FEBRUARY 22, 2008: Turkey launches ground operation in Iraq, renewing what has been an intensified campaign against Kurdish rebels based there. [Washington Post, 2/22/08]

FEBRUARY 24, 2008. A suicide bomber on Sunday attacked a crowd of Shiite pilgrims heading toward the city of Karbala to visit the Shrine of Imam Hussein, killing 63 people. [New York Times, 2/24/08]

FEBRUARY 25, 2008: Turkey hits rebels in new attacks. [BBC, 2/25/08]

FEBRUARY 26, 2008: A suicide bomber kills 14 people in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. [BBC, 2/26/08]

FEBRUARY 26, 2008: Iraq calls on U.S. to intervene in Turkish incursion.[LA Times, 2/26/08]

FEBRUARY 27, 2008: Iraqi Council Rejects Elections Law, sending it back to parliament in the latest setback to U.S.-backed national reconciliation efforts. [AP, 2/27/08]

FEBRUARY 27, 2008: Iraq journalist union head dies after gun attack. [Reuters, 2/27/08]

FEBRUARY 27, 2008: Nobel laureate estimates wars’ cost at more than $3 trillion. [McClatchy, 2/27/08]

FEBRUARY 28, 2008: Sunni Forces Losing Patience With U.S., increasingly frustrated with the American military and the Iraqi government over what they see as a lack of recognition of their growing political clout and insufficient U.S. support. [Washington Post, 2/28/08]

FEBRUARY 29, 2008: Turkey Says Its Troops Withdrawn From Iraq, ending a major offensive against Kurdish PKK rebels that Washington feared could spread conflict through the region. [New York Times, 2/29/08]

MARCH 1, 2008: Iraq violence jumps in February. At least 633 civilians died, according to data from several ministries – up from more than 460 deaths in January. The increase was mainly due to two attacks in Baghdad and one near Karbala that killed at least 150 people. [BBC, 3/1/08]

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MARCH 2, 2007: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Visits Iraq. The Shiite-led Iraqi government rolled out the red carpet, literally, for Ahmadinejad as he became the first Middle East leader to visit Iraq. [CNN, 3/2/08]

MARCH 2, 2007: Hundreds of Iraqi Sunnis Protest Ahmadinejad’s Iraq Visit.[New York Times 3/3/08]

MARCH 4, 2008: Case Is Dropped Against Shiites In Sunni Deaths. Two former high-ranking Shiite government officials charged with kidnapping and killing scores of Sunnis were ordered released Monday after prosecutors dropped the case. The abrupt move renewed concerns about the willingness of Iraq’s leaders to act against sectarianism and cast doubts on U.S. efforts to build an independent judiciary. [Washington Post, 3/4/08]

MARCH 7, 2008: Bombs Kill 54 and Wound 123 in Baghdad. The attack, in the Karada neighborhood, was the worst in the capital since early February. While violence has declined sharply from last year, bomb attacks in Baghdad have increased in recent weeks. [New York Times, 3/7/08]

MARCH 10, 2008: Iraq’s children have been more gravely affected by the U.S. occupation than any other segment of the population. According to a UN Children’s Fund report released this month, “at least two million Iraqi children lack adequate nutrition, according to the World Food Programme assessment of food insecurity in 2006, and face a range of other threats including interrupted education, lack of immunisation services and diarrhoea diseases.” [International Press Service, 3/10/08]

MARCH 10, 2008: Exhaustive review finds no link between Saddam and al Qaida. President Bush and his aides used Saddam’s alleged relationship with al Qaida, along with Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, as arguments for invading Iraq after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. [McClatchy, 3/10/08]

MARCH 11, 2008: 8 U.S. Soldiers Killed in 2 Iraq Attacks in Diyala and Baghdad, in the deadliest single attack on American soldiers in the capital since the height of the troop buildup here last summer. [New York Times, 3/11/08]

MARCH 12, 2008: Iraqi police raid Mehdi Army strongholds in the southern city of Kut after the militia broke a ceasefire and clashed with security forces a day earlier. The city’s police chief said at least 11 people were killed in gunbattles in which U.S. special forces called in air strikes after Iraqi authorities asked them for help. [Reuters, 3/12/08]

MARCH 13, 2008: Iraqi fighters told to cease fire after clashes. A close aide to Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s ordered his Mehdi Army militiamen to observe a ceasefire after they clashed with Iraqi and U.S. soldiers in the southern city of Kut. Militia fighters battled Iraqi and U.S. forces in day-long clashes that police said killed 11 people, and gunmen in a neighborhood with a strong Mehdi Army presence fired rockets at a nearby U.S. base. [Reuters, 3/13/08]

MARCH 13, 2008: Archbishop kidnapped in Mosul is found dead. The body of the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, who was kidnapped by gunmen in Mosul in northern Iraq late last month as he drove home after afternoon Mass, was discovered in an area south of the city, church officials and the Iraqi police said. [International Herald Tribune, 3/13/08]

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MARCH 16, 2008: Senator John McCain arrived in Iraq on a trip that was billed as a visit by an official Congressional delegation but which also served to promote his foreign policy credentials as he campaigns for the White House. [New York Times 3/16/08]

MARCH 16, 2008: Millions of people in Iraq are still deprived of clean water and medical care, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). “Five years after the outbreak of the war in Iraq, the humanitarian situation in most of the country remains among the most critical in the world,” the ICRC said, describing Iraq’s health care system as “now in worse shape than ever.” [Reuters, 3/16/08]

MARCH 17, 2008: Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday made a surprise visit to Baghdad, where he pledged that U.S. forces would “not quit before the job is done” and said that a massive troop buildup had achieved “phenomenal” improvements in security.
[McClatchy, 3/17/08]

MARCH 17, 2008: Suicide Bomber Kills 42 People. A female suicide bomber penetrated one of the most secure perimeters in Iraq Monday evening and killed at least 42 people near the Imam Hussein shrine in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, according to the Iraqi authorities. The explosion, the deadliest attack in Karbala in nearly a year, overshadowed a Baghdad visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, who met with Iraqi and American leaders and extolled what he described as “phenomenal” security improvements in the country. [New York Times, 3/17/08]

MARCH 20, 2008: Iraq’s three-member presidency council on Wednesday withdrew its objection to a law calling for provincial elections, temporarily defusing a dispute that erupted last month between the two largest Shiite factions here. The council’s action, on the fifth anniversary of the American-led invasion, came two days after Vice President Dick Cheney had visited with Iraqi leaders here to press them to exploit a lull in violence and make progress in resolving their differences, including the impasse on the election law. [New York Times, 3/20/08]

MARCH 23, 2008: At least 4,000 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. The figure includes eight military civilians. At least 3,253 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers. [AP, 3/23/08]

MARCH 24, 2008: A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands of the central government. Simultaneously, in the strategic southern port city of Basra, where Sadr’s Mahdi militia is in control, the Iraqi government launched a crackdown in the face of warnings by Sadr’s followers that they’ll fight government forces if any Sadrists are detained. By 1 a.m. Arab satellite news channels reported clashes between the Mahdi Army and police in Basra. [McClatchy, 3/24/08]

MARCH 26, 2008: Heavy fighting continued for a second day in two of Iraq’s largest cities, as Iraqi ground forces and helicopters mounted a huge operation to break the grip of the Shiite militias controlling Basra, and Iraqi forces clashed with militias in Baghdad. [New York Times, 3/26/08]

MARCH 27, 2008. President Bush, saying that “normalcy is returning back to Iraq,” argued Thursday that last year’s U.S. troop “surge” has improved Iraq’s security to the point where political and economic progress are blossoming as well. As he spoke, Iraqi military forces backed by U.S. airpower were engaged in deadly battles in the southern city of Basra aimed at crushing Shiite militias. [McClatchy, 3/27/08]

MARCH 27, 2008: Thousands of supporters of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched in Baghdad to protest against a three-day-old crackdown against his followers and call for the downfall of the U.S.-backed government.Mass demonstrations were held in the Sadr City, Kadhimiya and Shula districts. An Interior Ministry source said hundreds of thousands had taken to the streets. [Reuters, 3/27/08]

MARCH 28, 2008. Maliki softens ultimatum as militias stand ground. Four days into a major government offensive in Basra, Iraqi government forces have been unable to dislodge Shiite Muslim militias from their strongholds in the southern port city, prompting Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to back off his ultimatum to disarm by Friday. [McClatchy, 3/28/08]

MARCH 29, 2008. The American military conducted airstrikes Thursday and Friday to back up stalled Iraqi forces in Basra and battle Shiite militias in Baghdad as continued violence and political infighting worsened the prospects for any timely reconciliation among Iraq’s warring factions. [New York Times, 3/29/08]

MARCH 31, 2008. Cleric Suspends Battle in Basra by Shiite Militia. Moktada al-Sadr on Sunday called for his followers to stop fighting in Basra and in turn demanded concessions from Iraq’s government, after six days in which his Mahdi Army militia has held off an American-supported Iraqi assault on the southern port city. [New York Times, 3/31/08]

MARCH 31, 2008. The Iranian general who helped broker an end to nearly a week of fighting in southern Iraq is on a U.S. terrorist watch list. Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who helped U.S.-backed Iraqi leaders negotiate a deal with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to stop the fighting in Iraq’s largely Shiite south, is named on U.S. Treasury Department and U.N. Security Council watch lists for alleged involvement in terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear and missile technology. His role as peacemaker underscores Iran’s entrenched political power and its alliances in Iraq, according to analysts. [McClatchy, 3/31/08]

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APRIL 8, 2008. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus returned to Congress seeking more time to consolidate security gains in Iraq by halting withdrawals of U.S. forces this summer, all but guaranteeing that about 140,000 troops will remain at least through the fall presidential election. [Washington Post, 4/9/08]

APRIL 10, 2007. In a second day of Congressional testimony, Gen. David H. Petraeus left Democrats and some Republicans frustrated as he steadfastly declined to spell out what more would have to happen on the ground before he would endorse withdrawals to take the number of American troops far below the 140,000 set to remain there after July. The recommendation by the top American commander in Iraq to suspend troop reductions reflects a bleak assessment that Iraqi forces remain unprepared to take over the mission of securing their own nation, senior administration and military officials said Wednesday. [New York Times, 4/10/08]

APRIL 10, 2008. Bush says U.S. strategy in Iraq is working but needs more time. President Bush said Thursday that Gen. David Petraeus will “have all the time he needs” to decide how and when to reduce American forces after the additional troops that were sent to Iraq last year are withdrawn by the end of July. A resolute, sometimes defiant Bush gave a status report on Iraq to members of veterans organizations at the White House, saying that the American troop “surge” has been a success. [McClatchy, 4/10/08]

APRIL 11, 2008. Clashes in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City left 10 people dead Thursday, according to local representatives of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, but the level of violence in the area appeared to subside. The U.S. military said it fired two Hellfire missiles just before 10 a.m. after spotting fighters in Sadr City with at least five rockets. Officials said another missile was fired a few minutes later at a black sedan near a rocket launch site. Ten people were killed and 22 wounded in Sadr City on Thursday and late Wednesday night, according to the Sadr office in the area, which did not specify how many people were killed in the airstrikes. [Washington Post, 4/11/08]

APRIL 23, 2008. The Bush administration picked Gen. David Petraeus, its top commander in Iraq, on Wednesday to to lead Central Command, the military command responsible for all Middle East operations and chose his former No. 2 to take over in Baghdad. The decision to elevate both Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, who together implemented a new military strategy that drove violence down in Iraq, signals that Washington does not plan any major changes in its approach to that war. [Reuters, 4/23/08]

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APRIL 28, 2008. The latest episode in the struggle between the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr and the Iraqi government unfolded Sunday on the streets of Sadr City, where members of Parliament demonstrated peacefully while clashes occurred a few blocks away. Several hours later, Shiite militiamen in the Sadr City district took advantage of a huge dust storm that enveloped Baghdad, and kept American aircraft grounded, to fire at least a dozen mortar rounds at the Green Zone, the home of the American Embassy and of many Iraqi government officials. [New York Times, 4/28/08]

MAY 7, 2008. After months of stalled talks between the United States and Iran, the Iraqi government said it was time for the two nations to stop trading accusations and come to the table. Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said that his government had proposed four dates to the United States and Iran for tri-lateral talks, but has stopped making suggestions and doesn’t expect the talks to resume anytime soon. [McClatchy, 5/7/08]

MAY 12, 2008. Fighting ebbed and residents emerged from their homes as a deal to halt fighting took effect Sunday in Sadr City, the Baghdad slum that has been the focus of ongoing clashes pitting U.S. and Iraqi forces against militiamen loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr. But after more than seven weeks of bloodshed, officials and residents alike were cautious about declaring the hostilities over. [LA Times, 5/12/08]

MAY 13, 2008. Turkish war planes bombed Kurdish separatist PKK rebels in northern Iraq overnight but there were no casualties, a security spokesman for Iraq’s Kurdistan region said on Monday. In a separate incident, the Iranian military shelled rebels from a different Kurdish faction that operate from Iraq’s Kurdistan region on Sunday, Yawar said. There were also clashes on the Iraq-Iran border between those rebels and Iranian forces but no casualties, he said. [Reuters, 5/13/08]

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MAY 14, 2008. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki took personal charge Wednesday of a military operation to rout al-Qaida in Iraq from Mosul, in northern Iraq, which the U.S. has described as the terror group’s last major stronghold. The campaign in Mosul was the third by al-Maliki in two months as he attempts to stamp out Shiite militants and Sunni extremists across the country. [New York Times, 5/14/08]

MAY 14, 2008. A teenaged girl blew herself up outside an Iraqi army post south of Baghdad, killing one soldier, the U.S. military said. A military spokeswoman said the girl was between 16 and 18 years old. Seven Iraqi soldiers were also wounded in the attack, the military said. There have been regular attacks by female suicide bombers in recent months in Iraq, but nearly all have taken place north of Baghdad, in regions where Sunni Islamist al Qaeda fighters have regrouped. [Reuters, 5/14/08]

June 10, 2008. A proposed U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that would set the conditions for a defense alliance and long-term U.S. troop presence appears increasingly in trouble, facing growing resistance from the Iraqi government and bipartisan opposition in Congress. President Bush is trying to finish the agreement before he leaves office, and senior U.S. officials insist publicly that the negotiations can be completed by a July 31 target date. The U.S. is apparently scaling back some of its demands, including backing off one that particularly incenses Iraqis, blanket immunity for private security contractors. [McClatchy, 6/10/08]

JUNE 17, 2008. A car bomb explosion at a busy bus stop in northern Baghdad killed 51 people and left another 75 wounded. The explosion took place in the mainly Shia neighbourhood of Hurriya. [BBC, 6/17/08]

JUNE 19, 2008. Iraqi security forces met little resistance in the southern city of Amarah as they sought to disarm gunmen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr. Iraqi defense officials said there were no casualties or gun battles as military and national police units easily spread through northern Amarah, a mostly Shiite oil and agricultural city that borders Iran and for decades has served as a smuggling hub. [McClatchy, 6/19/08]

JUNE 22, 2008. The latest in a wave of female suicide bombers killed 15 people and wounded more than 40 others on Sunday near a heavily fortified courthouse and government outpost in central Baquba, Iraqi security officials said. Seven of the dead and 10 of the wounded were Iraqi police officers. The bombing was the most devastating of four attacks by guerrillas in Diyala Province on Sunday that left at least 25 people dead and close to 60 wounded. [New York Times, 6/23/08]

JULY 9, 2008. Iraq’s national security adviser said Tuesday that his government would not sign an agreement governing the future role of U.S. troops in Iraq unless it includes a timetable for their withdrawal. The statement was the strongest demand yet by a senior Iraqi official for the two governments to set specific dates for the departure of U.S. forces. Speaking to reporters in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said his government was “impatiently waiting” for the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops. [Washington Post, 7/9/08]

JULY 15, 2008. U.S.-led operations are having more success in Iraq than in Afghanistan, where a porous border with Pakistan has allowed Islamist extremists to cross into the war zone, President George W. Bush said on Tuesday. [Reuters, 7/15/08]

JULY 15, 2008. Two suicide bombers killed 16 police recruits and wounded 30 others at a security post north of Baghdad on Tuesday, the U.S. military said. The attacks took place in Baquba, capital of Diyala province, where recruits were lining up. A police source said 20 people were killed and 55 wounded. [Reuters, 7/15/08]

JULY 15, 2008. Iraq’s parliament failed to approve a draft provincial elections law because of disagreement over what to do about voting in the disputed oil city of Kirkuk, lawmakers said. It was unclear when parliament would convene again to consider the draft, which has to be passed so the electoral commission can prepare for polls seen as vital to fostering national reconciliation. [Reuters, 7/15/08]

JULY 16, 2008. Iraq hopes to have security control of all its provinces by the year-end, national security adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said on Wednesday, underscoring the government’s growing confidence in its own forces. Rubaie was speaking at a ceremony where U.S.-led troops transferred security responsibilities for the southern Shi’ite Qadisiya province to Iraqi forces. The handover puts Baghdad in control of security in 10 of the country’s 18 provinces, all mainly Shi’ite or Kurdish areas. [Reuters, 7/16/08]

JULY 17, 2008. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has for the first time since 2003 redeployed expatriate staff to Iraq, the United Nations agency said on Thursday. It said several international staff had quietly returned to Iraq in late June, reestablishing a “permanent international basis” in the country after 5 years. U.N. agencies withdrew international staff after the deadly bombing of its Baghdad headquarters in August 2003, but Iraqi nationals continued their aid projects. The U.N. refugee agency recently sent back staff to Iraq. [Reuters, 7/17/08]

JULY 18, 2008. Kuwait on Thursday named its first ambassador to Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded the oil-rich country in 1990 and set off the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The announcement came as Iraq’s Shiite Muslim-led government is reaching out to its Sunni Arab neighbors in a bid to ease tensions and secure investment to rebuild the nation. [LA Times, 7/18/08]

JULY 19, 2008. Iraq’s largest Sunni bloc ended a nearly yearlong boycott Saturday and rejoined the cabinet, retaking six ministry spots. The Iraqi National Accord said they rejoined the government because the schism between the party and Maliki had diminished and that many of their demands had been met. [McClatchy, 7/19/08]

JULY 22, 2008. Iraq’s parliament passed a provincial elections bill, but a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers over how to deal with the disputed oil city of Kirkuk could mean the law will not be ratified by the presidency. Kurds make up one of three main groups, and their boycott of the vote means the bill could be sent back to parliament. The law is meant to pave the way for polls seen as vital to reconciling Iraq’s Sunni Arabs, who boycotted the last provincial elections in 2005, with its other communities. [Reuters, 7/22/08]

JULY 22, 2008. The U.S. troop “surge” in Iraq that President George W. Bush ordered last year has ended after the last of five additional combat brigades left the country, a U.S. military spokesman said on Tuesday. The remaining troops from that brigade departed over the weekend, leaving just under 147,000 American soldiers in Iraq, the spokesman said. [Reuters, 7/22/08]

July 24, 2008. Turkey’s military said its fighter jets hit 13 Kurdish separatist targets in northern Iraq the previous day, but said it was still trying to confirm losses suffered by the rebels. Operations will continue against the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the military said in a statement on its website. The PKK uses northern Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks on the Turkish military. [Reuters, 7/24/08]

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JULY 24, 2008. Iraq’s Kurdish president Jalal Talibani vetoed legislation on provincial elections, sending it back to lawmakers for revisions as political leaders continued to try to strike a deal that would allow the vote to be held this year as planned. Provincial elections are seen as central to political progress in Iraq, but their timing was thrown into doubt when Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the parliamentary vote on the legislation, insisting that it be rewritten. [New York Times, 7/24/08]

JULY 24, 2008. A female suicide bomber killed eight people and wounded more than 20 in Iraq, police have said. The woman detonated her explosives near a military patrol or checkpoint in the town of Baquba, a frequent flashpoint, security officials said. Those killed were reported to be local Sunni troops recruited to work with US and Iraqi forces. [BBC, 7/24/08]

AUGUST 8, 2008. Muqtada al Sadr will disband the armed wing of his militia if a new Iraq-U.S. security agreement includes a date for an American withdrawal, a key Sadr aide said Friday. “It depends on what this agreement brings us,” said Salah al Obaidi, a Sadr spokesman. “When there is no more occupation, there will be no need for these cells.” The pronouncement could give Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki a potent incentive to press the United States for a specific withdrawal date. [McClatchy, 8/8/08]

AUGUST 13, 2008. Bombs in four parts of northern Iraq killed at least six people, and Iraqi forces said they expected more attacks as they pursue Sunni Arab militants in the volatile north. The U.S. military said a suicide car bomber struck an Iraqi army patrol in the northern city of Mosul, killing an Iraqi soldier, two civilians and wounding 15 people. A parked car bomb in the town of Qaiyara south of Mosul killed two people and wounded nine. A roadside bomb near Baquba north of Baghdad killed a woman and wounded two. Another suicide car bomber struck the mayor’s office in the small town of al-Motaqa near the ethnically divided city of Kirkuk. A U.S. soldier and an Iraqi interpreter were killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. [Reuters, 8/13/08]

AUGUST 14, 2008. King Abdullah II of Jordan became the first Arab head of state to visit Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s regime collapsed in 2003. Iraqi officials heralded the brief and previously unannounced visit as a sign that their Arab neighbors finally were shedding their fear of a government that they’d seen as religiously and ethnically divided. Iraq has been largely isolated from its mostly Sunni Muslim Arab neighbors as violence skyrocketed and the influence of Shiite Iran became more pronounced. [McClatchy, 8/11/08]

AUGUST 25, 2008. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki said Monday there would be no security agreement between the United States and Iraq without an unconditional timetable for withdrawal — a direct challenge to the Bush administration, which insists that the timing for troop departure would be based on conditions on the ground. “No pact or an agreement should be set without being based on full sovereignty, national common interests, and no foreign soldier should remain on Iraqi land, and there should be a specific deadline and it should not be open,” Maliki told a meeting of tribal Sheikhs in Baghdad. [McClatchy, 8/25/08]

AUGUST 26, 2008. At least 25 people were killed and 45 injured when a car bomber detonated his vehicle at a police recruitment center in Jalula, northeast of Baqouba in Diyala province, Iraqi police said. Posing as a security officer, the bomber drove up to a checkpoint in the mostly Kurdish town of where dozens of men were standing to register to join a new battalion in the security forces in Diyala province. When questioned, he detonated the car. [McClatchy, 8/26/08]

AUGUST 27, 2008. Iraq’s cabinet approved a $3 billion oil service contract with China, the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said, in a move that could signal the shape of anticipated future oil deals. The Iraqi government recently announced renegotiated terms of an oil deal with the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC), which was originally signed in 1997. The deal marks the first major oil contract with a foreign firm for Iraq, which boasts the world’s third-largest proven reserves, since the fall of Saddam Hussein. [Reuters, 8/27/08]

SEPTEMBER 1, 2008. Iraq takes control of Anbar province from U.S. The U.S. military turned over control of Iraq’s Anbar province, once the country’s most dangerous, to the Iraqi government Monday in a landmark step toward the withdrawal of more American troops. There have been signs of trouble in Anbar recently as local Sunni leaders have complained of being marginalized by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. [USA Today, 9/1/08]

SEPTEMBER 5, 2008. Al Qaeda remains a dangerous force in Iraq despite a general decline in violence and U.S. troops must continue to confront the militant group, the outgoing top U.S. general in the country said. General David Petraeus told al Arabiya television he believed recent success in reducing violence had restored the United States’ image with Iraqis. Troops initially greeted as liberators but later viewed as occupiers were now again accepted as friends. [Reuters, 9/5/08]

SEPTEMBER 5, 2008. Pentagon leaders have recommended to President Bush that the United States make no further troop reductions in Iraq this year, administration officials said yesterday. The plan, delivered this week, calls for extending a pause in drawdowns until late January or early February — after the Bush administration has left office. At that point, up to 7,500 of the approximately 146,000 troops in Iraq could be withdrawn, depending on conditions on the ground there. The reduction would coincide with new deployments to Afghanistan, officials said. [Washington Post, 9/5/08]

SEPTEMBER 9, 2008. President Bush announced that about 8,000 US troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by February – with 4,500 being sent to Afghanistan. He argued that reduced violence levels in Iraq allowed for a “quiet surge” of troops in Afghanistan. There are currently 146,000 US troops in Iraq and 33,000 in Afghanistan. [BBC, 9/9/08]

SEPTEMBER 11, 2008. Iraq’s defense minister said that his country was seeking to buy F-16 fighter jets from the United States, while his American counterpart, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, said he believed that the Iraq war had entered the “endgame.” In Baghdad, the Iraqi defense minister, Abdel Qader Mohammed Jassim, said buying the jets would be a crucial step if Iraqi forces were to assume more responsibilities from American soldiers. Officials in Washington, however, said any possible sale was at a very preliminary stage. Two days ago Kurdish leaders warned that any sale of advanced weapons, including the F-16s, to the central government would have to include guarantees that they would not be used against the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north. [New York Times, 9/11/08]

SEPTEMBER 12, 2008. At least 28 people were killed in a suicide car bombing in a town north of Baghdad, police say. The blast targeted a police station in the commercial district of the mainly Shia town of Dujail. At least 40 others were injured in the explosion, police said. [BBC, 9/12/08]

SEPTEMBER 13, 2008. Eight Kurdish pesh merga soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in a disputed part of eastern Diyala Province. Among the dead in the bombing, in the town of Khanaqin, was the senior pesh merga commander for the area, according to the local police chief, Col. Azad Issa. The bomb, which went off as the Kurdish force was patrolling, killed six people on the spot; the other two died after being taken to the hospital, Colonel Issa said. The Kurdish presence in Khanaqin, and in other nearby areas, has been a growing source of tension. Kurdish forces have been moving beyond the borders of their semiautonomous region in northern Iraq, in what they say is an effort to improve security. [New York Times, 9/13/08]

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SEPTEMBER 16, 2008. Odierno Succeeds Petraeus as Iraq Commander. United States military command in Iraq changed hands from Gen. David H. Petraeus, who created the strategy known as the surge, to Gen. Ray Odierno, who oversaw its day-to-day operations across a country in which violence has dropped significantly. In his first, brief comments as commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, General Odierno said, “We must realize that these gains are fragile and reversible, and our work here is far from done.” [New York Times, 9/16/08]

SEPTEMBER 17, 2008. Syria Appoints Ambassador to Iraq. September Syria announced Tuesday that it had appointed an ambassador to Iraq for the first time since the early 1980s. The ambassador, Nawaf Fares, was sworn in as the envoy before the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian state news agency reported. The agency did not say when Mr. Fares, who served previously as governor of Quneitra Province, would go to Baghdad. Syria and Iraq, which had long traded accusations of interference, were ruled by rival branches of the Baath Party until the American invasion of 2003 toppled Saddam Hussein. Diplomatic relations were restored in 2006 but, like many Arab countries, Syria delayed sending an ambassador, citing the security situation in Baghdad. [New York Times, 9/17/08]

OCTOBER 17, 2008. White House officials said the United States and Iraq are nearing an agreement on U.S. troops in Iraq and a schedule for their eventual departure. Aides to congressional members were briefed at the White House, while Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki briefed his national security council in Baghdad. The agreement must be reviewed by the Cabinet after being studied by the president’s security council. After those two reviews, it must be approved by the Iraqi Parliament, where some members dislike the terms, particularly the immunity provisions for U.S. troops. [UPI, 10/17/08]

OCTOBER 26, 2008. An official Syrian government source on Sunday announced that four US helicopters coming from Iraq violated the Syrian airspace, targeting a civilian building, killing eight citizens. Later, the US helicopters flew back to the Iraqi airspace. Syria, while condemning this act of aggression, holds the US forces responsible for this aggression and all of its repercussions, calls on the Iraqi government to shoulder its responsibilities and open an immediate investigation into this dangerous violation and prevent using the Iraqi territories for launching aggression on Syria. [Syrian Arab News Agency, 10/26/08]

OCTOBER 27, 2008. Tensions between Kurdistan and the central government of Iraq over the status of Kirkuk. A parliamentary committee rejected a new draft of an oil law, and Kurdish politicians denounced the government’s effort to create semi-tribal councils as a counterweight to Kurdish political power in Kirkuk. At issue are fundamental questions of territorial rights: redrawing the borders of the Kurdish region, the rights of that region versus those of the central government and, not least, the region’s right to develop its own oil resources. [New York Times, 10/27/08]

OCTOBER 27, 2008. A new Iraqi military offensive is under way in the still violent northern city of Mosul, but the worry is not only the insurgents who remain strong here. American commanders are increasingly concerned that Mosul could degenerate into a larger battleground over the fragile Iraqi state itself. The problems are old but risk spilling out violently here and now. The central government in Baghdad has sent troops to quell the insurgency here, while also aiming at what it sees as a central obstacle to both nationhood and its own power: the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north and the Kurds’ larger ambitions to expand areas under their control. [New York Times, 10/27/08]

OCTOBER 28, 2008. U.S. officials said that a US helicopter raid into Syria killed a key figure involved in the smuggling of foreign fighters into Iraq. Officials called the raid, which they said killed Iraqi Abu Ghadiyah, a “success”. The White House has neither confirmed nor denied the incident. Syria has condemned Sunday’s attack as an act of “terrorist aggression”. It says eight unarmed civilians were killed near Abu Kamal, about eight kilometres (five miles) inside Syria. If confirmed, this would be the first US attack in Syria since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. [BBC, 10/28/08]

OCTOBER 28, 2008. The Iraqi cabinet has decided to reopen negotiations on the status of forcess agreement, further delaying a pact that American officials had hoped to conclude by now. The call for changes in the proposed accord came as the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki criticized an attack by Iraq-based U.S. forces on alleged al-Qaeda operatives inside Syria last weekend. The cabinet now wants the agreement to include language to “confirm that Iraqi land would not be the center for aggression” against its neighbors, said Planning Minister Ali Baban, who attended Tuesday’s meeting. [Washington Post, 10/28/08]

OCTOBER 28, 2008. An Iraqi judge Tuesday convicted an Iraqi man of abducting, torturing and killing two American soldiers in the summer of 2006. In the first case of its kind, Ibrahim Karim Muhammed Salih al-Qaraghuli was found guilty and sentenced to death after expert testimony that his fingerprints matched photos of bloody prints found on the front panel of the pickup truck used to drag the soldiers, Pfc. Kristian Menchaca and Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker. Citing lack of evidence, Judge Munther Raouf Haadi acquitted Qaraghuli’s two co-defendants. The proceeding cast a spotlight on the Iraqi court system, which has come under scrutiny in recent weeks as Iraqi and American officials have argued over whether Iraq should have the right to prosecute U.S. soldiers under certain circumstances as part of a yet-to-be-signed agreement regarding the presence of American troops in Iraq after 2008. The case decided Tuesday was the first in which an Iraqi investigative judge filed charges in the slaying of U.S. soldiers. [Washington Post, 10/29/08]

OCTOBER 29, 2008. US hands Wasit province to Iraqi forces. Iraqi authorities have taken over responsibility for security in another province from US military forces. Wasit, bordering Iran in the east of the country, is the 13th of Iraq’s 18 provinces to be transferred. The transfer of Wasit took place at a ceremony in the provincial capital of Kut, south of Baghdad. [BBC, 10/29/08]

NOVEMBER 7, 2008. Iraq Repeats Insistence on Fixed Withdrawal Date. Two days after the election of Barack Obama, Iraq’s chief spokesman said with unusual forcefulness that his government will continue to insist on a firm withdrawal date for U.S. troops, despite American demands that any pullout be subject to prevailing security conditions. “Iraqis would like to know and see a fixed date,” spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in an interview in which he also reiterated Iraq’s position that American forces be subject to Iraqi legal jurisdiction in some instances. [Washington Post, 11/7/08]

NOVEMBER 13, 2008. 2 U.S. Troops Killed by Iraqi Soldier. An Iraqi soldier armed with an AK-47 assault rifle rigged with an extra large magazine opened fire on U.S. soldiers in the northern city of Mosul, killing two and wounding six, U.S. military officials said. American soldiers returned fire, killing the Iraqi soldier. The American soldiers were in the courtyard of an Iraqi army outpost in Zanjeli, in western Mosul, waiting for their lieutenant to wrap up a meeting with an Iraqi army captain, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. [Washington Post, 11/13/08]

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NOVEMBER 16, 2008. Iraq Head, Top Cleric Back 2011 Exit by U.S. Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, and its most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, have decided to support a security agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in the country until the end of 2011, sharply increasing its chances of passage in the Iraqi parliament, officials said Saturday. Approval of the so-called status of forces agreement would be a cause for relief among Bush administration officials, who have grown increasingly concerned that U.S. forces would begin the new year with no legal basis to remain in Iraq. A U.N. mandate authorizing their presence is set to expire Dec. 31. [Washington Post, 11/16/08]

NOVEMBER 17, 2008. Iraq’s Cabinet Overwhelmingly Approves the Status of Forces Agreement. The cabinet’s decision brings a final date for the departure of American troops a significant step closer after more than five and a half years of war. The proposed pact must still be approved by Iraq’s Parliament, in a vote scheduled to take place in a week. But leaders of some of the largest parliamentary blocs expressed confidence that with the backing of most Shiites and Kurds they had enough support to ensure its approval. [New York Times, 11/17/08]

NOVEMBER 27, 2008. Iraqi Parliament Passes Agreement. The Iraqi Parliament ratified a sweeping security agreement that sets the course for an end to the United States’ role in the war and marks the beginning of a new relationship between the countries. It passed on a vote of 149 to 35, according to a parliamentary statement. The pact, which still must be approved by Iraq’s three-person presidency council, a move expected in the next few days, sets the end of 2011 as the date by which the last American troops must leave the country. Approved along with the security pact was a law requiring a referendum on the pact to be held in July 2009. Many Sunnis and independents in Parliament cited the referendum to justify their support of the agreement. [New York Times, 11/27/08]

NOVEMBER 29, 2008. Suicide Bombing At Mosque In Iraq. A suicide bomber detonated explosives outside a Shiite mosque south of Baghdad, police said, killing at least 12 people and injuring 23 a day after Iraqi lawmakers approved a security pact to extend the U.S. military presence in Iraq. The attack in the city of Musayyib, 40 miles south of the capital, occurred as people were gathered outside the mosque before the start of Friday prayers, witnesses and police said. The mosque is run by loyalists of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. [Washington Post, 11/29/08]

NOVEMBER 30, 3008. Top Shiite Cleric in Iraq Raises Concerns About Security Pact. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has expressed concern about the country’s security agreement with the United States, saying it gives the Americans the upper hand and does not do enough to protect Iraqi sovereignty, an official at his office said. Sistani, whose words carry great weight in Iraq, did not reject the pact outright and indicated that he would leave it to voters to decide its fate in a national referendum to be held by July 30. [Washington Post, 11/30/08]

DECEMBER 1, 2008. Bomb Attacks Kill at Least 27, Wound Dozens in Iraq. Bombing attacks targeting Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and a U.S. patrol in the northern city of Mosul left at least 27 people dead and dozens more injured, Iraqi officials said, marking one of the deadliest days in recent weeks in Iraq. The attacks highlighted the fragility of Iraq’s security situation as the country prepares for provincial elections early next year. The United Nations mission in Iraq warned Sunday that violence could rise in the run-up to the voting. [Washington Post, 12/1/08]

DECEMBER 11, 2008. Suicide Bomber Kills 48 In Kirkuk. A suicide bomber attacked a packed restaurant on Thursday where Sunni Arabs and Kurds were meeting to ease friction in the tense northern city of Kirkuk. At least 48 people were killed in the bombing, apparently aimed at provoking extremists along widening ethnic fault lines just as American plans to withdraw militarily from Iraq became official. Nearly 100 were wounded in the bombing, which was the deadliest in Iraq in six months. [New York Times, 12/11/08]

DECEMBER 28, 2008. Iraqi Leader’s Protest Gaza Strikes. Iraqi President Jalal Al Talabani met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki to discuss Gaza. Also, Iraqi Vice-President Tariq Al Hashemi, suspended his travelling schedule because of the events in Gaza, and asked US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker to tell US President George W Bush to pressure Israel to halt its attacks. [Gulf News, 12/28/08]

2009

JANUARY 9, 2009. Tens of thousands of Iraqis protest against Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. Protesters waved Palestinian flags and burned Israeli and U.S. flags in the Baghdad Shi’ite slum of Sadr City after Friday prayers. Smaller protests were held and anti-Israeli sermons delivered in the Sunni Adhamiya district, the Sunni city of Falluja and the holy Shi’ite city of Najaf. [Reuters, 1/9/09]

FEBRUARY 3, 2009. Maliki Supporters Post Election Gains. Preliminary results from provincial elections, the first national balloting in four years, are not expected for several days, but election and party officials across Iraq said that politicians allied with Maliki have posted large gains in the capital, Baghdad, and in southern Iraq, the country’s Shiite heartland. Such results would strengthen Maliki’s standing and that of his Dawa party ahead of parliamentary elections set for this year. [Washington Post, 2/3/09]

FEBRUARY 5, 2009. Anbar Sheikhs Promise Violence If Elections Don’t Favor Them. America’s key ally in once-volatile Anbar province explained what he would do if the counting of votes in Saturday’s election failed to show his party as the victor. “We will form the government of Anbar anyway,” vowed Ahmed Abu Risha. “An honest dictatorship is better than a democracy won through fraud,” Abu Risha said. Here, in the cradle of the Sunni insurgency, tribal leaders nurtured and empowered by the United States appear ready to take control the old-fashioned way — with guns and money — if their political ambitions are frustrated. [Washington Post, 2/5/09]

FEBRUARY 6, 2009. President Obama Weighing Withdrawal Options. The White House is considering at least two troop withdrawal options as it weighs a new Iraq strategy — one that would preserve President Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to get all combat brigades out within 16 months and a second that would stretch it to 23 months, two officials said Friday. Under either timeline, the U.S. would hope to leave behind a number of brigades that would be redesigned and reconfigured as multipurpose units to provide training and advising for Iraqi security forces, one official said. These brigades would be considered noncombat outfits and their presence would have to be agreed in advance by the Iraqi government, which under a deal signed late last year insisted that all U.S. forces — not just combat brigades — be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. [Associated Press, 2/6/09]

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FEBRUARY 6, 2009. Maliki’s Bloc Prevails in Elections. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has won a resounding victory in provincial elections across Iraq, cashing in on his strongman image. Candidates running under Maliki’s Enforcement of Law slate won the most seats in nine of 14 contested provinces, including the Shiite Muslim power bases of Baghdad and Basra. [Los Angeles Times, 2/6/09]

FEBRUARY 10, 2009. 4 U.S. Troops, Interpreter Killed in Blast in Northern Iraq. Four American soldiers and an interpreter were killed in a suicide bombing in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the deadliest attack on U.S. troops in Iraq since May. [Washington Post, 2/10/09]

FEBRUARY 10, 2009. Gates Orders Review of Policy on Soldiers’ Coffins. Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested today that he was open to allowing the media to photograph the flag-draped coffins of fallen soldiers as their bodies and remains are returned to the United States. Gates said he was ordering a review of the military policy that bars photographers from taking pictures of the return of the coffins, most of which are coming from Iraq and Afghanistan and go through Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The military has said the policy is meant to protect the privacy of the families of the dead soldiers and maintain dignity. But skeptics, who include some families as well as opponents of the war in Iraq, say that the bodies in the returning coffins are not publicly identified, so privacy is not an issue, and that barring photographers is a political maneuver meant to sanitize the war. [New York Times, 2/10/09]

FEBRUARY 11, 2009. At least 26 killed in bombings and shootings. Twin car bombings ripped through a Baghdad bus station killing 16 people, as violence across Iraq claimed at least 26 lives and shattered a relative lull marked by largely peaceful elections. Shiite pilgrims traveling by foot to the central shrine city of Karbala, meanwhile, came under attack in two areas of Baghdad, leaving one devotee dead and 14 wounded, security officials said. [Agence France-Presse, 2/11/09]

MARCH 8, 2009. 30 killed by bomb near Baghdad police academy. A suicide bomber driving a motorcycle laden with explosives blew himself up in the busy early morning hours on Sunday near the police academy, killing 28 people, including 5 police officers, and wounding 57, some of them seriously, according to Iraq’s interior minister. [New York Times, 3/8/09]

MARCH 9, 2009. 12,000 U.S. Troops to Leave Iraq. The U.S. military announced Sunday that 12,000 American soldiers would withdraw from Iraq by September, marking the first step in the Obama administration’s plan to pull U.S. combat forces out of the country by August 2010. [Washington Post, 3/9/09]

MARCH 10, 2009. Dozens Killed in Suicide Attack. A suicide bomber struck tribal leaders touring a market in a Sunni area west of Baghdad, killing as many as 33 people in the second major attack in the capital area in two days. The bomber detonated an explosives belt as the tribal leaders were walking through the market in the town of Abu Ghraib, accompanied by security officials and journalists, according to the Iraqi military. [Associated Press, 3/10/09]

March 22, 2009. Chaos Feared as U.S. Closes Prison. The release of hundreds of prisoners from Camp Bucca, a U.S.-run prison in southern Iraq, has facilitated the revival of Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents in Basra, Baghdad and the borderless expanse here along the Euphrates, according to police chiefs, intelligence officials in the Interior Ministry and residents. Although none of them predicted a return to the anarchy and sectarian carnage of 2006-2007, when scores of bodies might show up in the street on any day, officials suggested that the groups were preparing for the onset of a U.S. military withdrawal. [Washington Post, 3/2/09]

MARCH 23, 2009. U.S. Troop Withdrawals Could Quicken in Iraq. The most senior U.S. general in Iraq said that if security continues to improve and political progress advances, he may recommend further troop reductions by the end of this summer. But big challenges remain, Gen. Raymond Odierno said, including the threat that a new hiring freeze by Iraqi security forces, forced on Baghdad by falling oil prices, could imperil gains. The U.S. military said this month that 12,000 American troops, in addition to 4,000 British forces, will leave Iraq within six months. Gen. Odierno said he will make a decision by early September on whether the U.S. troop presence could decrease further. [Wall Street Journal, 3/23/09]

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MARCH 23, 2009. Turkish President Arrives for Historic Iraq Visit. Turkey’s president began the first visit by a Turkish head of state in more than 30 years on Monday, seeking to press Iraqi leaders to stop Kurdish rebels from launching cross-border attacks in the north. [Associated Press, 3/23/09]

MARCH 23, 2009. At Least 32 Die in a Wave of Violence Across Iraq. A suicide attack took place at a wake for the brother of an official of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party near Jalawla, a small town in Diyala Province. Mourners had gathered when a man detonated a belt of explosives, sending a powerful blast through the crowd, killing 19 and wounding 39, security officials said. Earlier in the day, an explosion killed at least eight people in the Sunni majority district of Abu Ghraib. [New York Times, 3/23/09]

MARCH 26, 2009. 16 Killed in Baghdad Bombing. A bomb in a parked car exploded near a bus station in Baghdad’s Shaab district, killing 16 and wounding 35, according to the Ministry of Interior. The victims were primarily women and children, the ministry said. The bombing is the second major attack in the Baghdad area this week. [New York Times, 3/26/09]

MARCH 31, 2009. Iraqi Militants Show a New Boldness in Cities. As the American military prepares to withdraw from Iraqi cities, Iraqi and American security officials say that jihadi and Baath militants are rejoining the fight in areas that are largely quiet now, regrouping as a smaller but still lethal insurgency. [New York Times, 3/31/09]

MARCH 31, 2009. British Forces Transfer Command in Southern Iraq to U.S. as Bomb Kills 7 in North. Britain handed over command of Basra Province to the American military, marking the first step in the withdrawal of most of Britain’s 4,100 remaining troops. On the same day as the transfer in Iraq’s south, a suicide truck bomber killed at least 7 people and wounded 38 in the fractious northern city of Mosul, underscoring the uneven nature of the security gains in the country. [New York Times, 3/31/09]

APRIL 3, 2009. U.S. Aircraft Opens Fire on Sons of Iraq Members. An American military aircraft opened fire on Sons of Iraq members who were allegedly spotted placing a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The incident, which killed one suspected member of the paramilitary group and wounded two, is the latest sign of the fraying allegiance between the paramilitary groups and the U.S. military. [Washington Post, 4/3/09]

APRIL 6, 2008. Six Car Bombs Kill 30 in Iraq. A series of six car bombs exploded in or near Baghdad, killing more than 30 people and wounding scores more, according to witnesses and the police. Three bombs struck markets in predominately Shiite neighborhoods around Baghdad, but there did not appear to be any obvious pattern to the attacks. The blasts began shortly after dawn and continued in disparate parts of the city into the afternoon. [New York Times, 4/6/09]

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APRIL 7, 2009. President Obama Visits Iraq. During his maiden visit to Iraq as commander in chief, President Obama elicited cheers and thunderous applause from American troops inside a palace built by Saddam Hussein as he thanked them for their service. “Under enormous strain and under enormous sacrifice, through controversy and difficulty and politics, you’ve kept your eyes focused on just doing your jobs,” Obama told the troops shortly after landing in Baghdad for a visit that had not been disclosed. “You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country.” Obama, in Iraq after an eight-day trip through Europe and Turkey, said he was heartened that Iraqis were increasingly fighting their battles in the political arena rather than on the street. But he cautioned that Iraq’s upcoming national election is likely to bring many of the country’s unresolved political issues “to a head.” [Washington Post, 4/8/09]

APRIL 11, 2009. 5 U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq Bombing. A suicide bomber driving a dump truck detonated a load of explosives at a police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul, killing five American soldiers and two Iraqi police officers. The attack was the deadliest for U.S. troops in Iraq since March 2008. [Washington Post, 4/10/09]

APRIL 15, 2009. Iraq Bombing Kills at Least 10 in Kirkuk, Injures 22. A car bombing near a police academy in Iraq’s northern city of Kirkuk left at least 10 people dead and injured 22 others. Many of the casualties were police protecting an oil installation, President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said on its Arabic-language Web site. Some civilians were also hit by the blast, it said. [Bloomberg, 4/15/09]

APRIL 16, 2009. Suicide Attack Kills at Least 15. A suicide bomber killed at least 15 Iraqi soldiers and officers and wounded dozens more at an airbase in Anbar province west of Baghdad, according to preliminary reports from police and army officials. It was the second serious attack on security forces in Iraq this week, punctuating a recent spike in deadly episodes. [New York Times, 4/16/09]

APRIL 21, 2009. Hill Confirmed As U.S. Ambassador To Iraq. The U.S. Senate voted 73-23 to confirm Christopher Hill as head of the United State’s largest embassy. Hill succeeds Ryan Crocker. [UPI, 4/22/09]

APRIL 23, 2009. Suicide Bombers Strike, Killing 60. Two suicide bombers wearing vests stuffed with explosives blew themselves up in separate attacks in Iraq, killing 28 people in Baghdad and 32, most of them thought to be Iranian pilgrims, north of the capital, police said. [Reuters, 4/23/09]

APRIL 24, 2009. Suicide Bombers Kill 75. Two suicide bombers killed at least 75 people outside a revered Shiite shrine in northern Baghdad, igniting fears that the Iraqi capital could again descend into a cycle of sectarian violence. The bombers struck shortly before midday prayers just outside the tomb of Imam Mousa al-Kadhum, next to a busy entrance to the monumental Khadamiya shrine. The attack, coming a day after two other suicide bombings killed more than 80 people, ushered back the sights and sounds of the darkest moments of the Iraq war. [Washington Post, 4/24/09]

APRIL 29, 2009. Baghdad Shaken by a Series of Bombs. A series of bombs went off in Baghdad, extending a period of violence that has rattled Iraq’s government and security forces. The pattern of Wednesday’s attacks — including three car bombs in predominantly Shiite areas and two at a Sunni mosque — raised fresh concern that sectarian passions could be inflamed anew. Accounts of the death toll varied, from at least 17 people to as many as 48, with dozens wounded. So far in April, at least 300 Iraqis have been killed in bombing attacks, making it the bloodiest month since the start of the year and reversing the sharp drops in civilian deaths in January and February. [New York Times, 4/29/09]

APRIL 30, 2009. Britain Ends Combat Iraq Operations. British troops have ended six years of combat operations in Iraq, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Thursday. Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, 179 British service personnel have been killed in Iraq. In the southern city of Basra, the British military held a ceremony to honor those who died during the war. [Associated Press, 4/30/09]

MAY 10, 2009. Iraqi Leaders and Kurds Reach Oil Deal. Ending months of political stalemate, the Iraqi Oil Ministry and the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq reached an accord Sunday that would allow the Kurds to export oil for the first time. The deal, announced on the Kurdistan government’s Web site, could be a significant political breakthrough because control over Iraqi oil production has been a major irritant between the Iraqi central government and the Kurds, who enjoy a large degree of autonomy and sit atop some of the country’s richest oil reserves. [New York Times, 5/10/09]

MAY 11, 2009. Base shooting kills five soldiers in Iraq. A U.S. soldier opened fire on soldiers at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, killing four and wounding three before killing himself, U.S. military officials said. Military officials did not provide other details about the incident at the military base near the Baghdad airport. [UPI, 5/11/09]

MAY 16, 2009. US-Iraqi Operation Targets Al-Qaida Cell. A joint U.S.-Iraqi force targeted an al-Qaida cell involved in funneling arms and weapons into Iraq from Syria, arresting three people near the troubled northern city of Mosul, the U.S. military said. The statement said the cell is led by the Syria-based Abu Khalaf, whose assets were frozen by the U.S. Treasury department on Thursday for his involvement in the flow of money, weapons and militants through Syria into Iraq. [Associated Press, 5/16/09]

MAY 17, 2009. Tensions Stoked Between Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis. Tensions between Sunni Arabs and Kurds are boiling over in Nineveh, the northern Iraqi province that includes Mosul, as Kurds fight the result of a provincial election in January that shifted power to Arabs. In recent days Kurdish forces have blocked Arab officials from carrying out their duties, in a sign that the Kurds refuse to recognize the regional government’s sovereignty over all of Nineveh. The Kurds have also pressured districts under their control to boycott the new Arab governor, and they said they might even resort to military force unless they were given several positions in the government. [New York Times, 5/17/09]

MAY 18, 2009. Iraq Arrests 2 Sunni Leaders, Raising Fears of Violence. Iraqi government security forces arrested two prominent Sunni leaders in Diyala Province on Monday, according to local security officials, leading to renewed concerns that sectarian tensions in the area could once again erupt into greater violence. One of those arrested, Sheik Riyadh al-Mujami, is a prominent figure in the local Awakening Council. [New York Times, 5/18/09]

MAY 18, 2009. Iraq Moves Election to January. National parliamentary elections will be held Jan. 30, Iraqi officials announced, sliding the date into next year in a move that could complicate the U.S. timetable for drawing down its forces. The new parliament will choose a prime minister and Cabinet, a process that could take months. [Associated Press, 5/18/09]

MAY 21, 2009. Ex-Soldier Gets Life Sentence for Iraq Murders. A jury in Kentucky sentenced 24-year-old former 101st Airborne Division Pfc. Steven Dale Green to life in prison without parole on Thursday for raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdering her, her parents and a younger sister in Iraq. [New York Times, 5/21/09]

MAY 21, 2009. Iraq Bombings Shatter Lull. Three bombings in Iraq on Thursday morning killed at least 25 people, including at least 3 American soldiers, in a second day of attacks aimed also at Iraqi police officers and members of American-allied Awakening Councils. The bombs raised the casualty toll in the country to more than 60 dead and 140 wounded during a 24-hour period as bombings in the country, which had been relatively calm for much of May, resumed ahead of the scheduled withdrawal of American combat forces by the end of June. [New York Times, 5/21/09]

JUNE 13, 2009. Leader Of Iraq Parliament’s Sunni Arab Bloc Assassinated. The head of the Iraqi parliament’s largest Sunni Arab bloc, Harith Obeidi, was gunned down Friday by a teenager after delivering a weekly prayer sermon. The 15-year-old opened fire on at the Shawaf mosque compound in west Baghdad’s Yarmouk neighborhood. The boy killed four other people and wounded 12 before he was shot dead by mosque guards, an official said. [LA Times, 6/13/09]

JUNE 15, 2009. Odierno: US To Stick To Iraq Withdrawal Date. The top U.S. commander in Iraq said that he remains “absolutely committed” to pulling back all combat troops from urban areas by the end of the month, as provided for in a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement. Gen. Ray Odierno said a limited number of advisers and trainers will remain in the cities to work with Iraqi security forces, leaving unanswered questions about how many U.S. troops would remain and where they would be located. [Associated Press, 6/15/09]

JUNE 17, 2009. Suspect Arrested In Sunni Lawmaker’s Murder. Iraqi commandos swept into a western Baghdad neighborhood Wednesday and arrested a reputed al-Qaida in Iraq leader suspected of plotting the assassination of Harith al-Obeidi, a prominent Sunni lawmaker. Officials said the suspect was also a member of a government-backed Sunni paramilitary group that has joined forces with the Americans against al-Qaida, but that could not immediately be confirmed. [Associated Press, 6/17/09]

JUNE 18, 2009. Iraqi Committee To Investigate Prison Abuse. A special committee set up by Iraq’s prime minister began an investigation into allegations of widespread abuse and torture in Iraq’s prisons, which is threatening to become a major issue ahead of Jan. 30 national elections. The probe, which follows a more limited Interior Ministry investigation, comes as the Shiite-led government tries to contain a series of allegations involving human rights abuses in Iraq’s overcrowded prisons. [Associated Press, 6/18/09]

JUNE 20, 2009. Truck Bombing Kills Dozens. A suicide truck bombing near a Shiite mosque killed at least 60 people and wounded at least 166 in a city close to Kirkuk, Iraq, an official with Kirkuk police said. [CNN, 6/20/09]

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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]

JULY 2, 2009. Vice-President Arrives in Iraq. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. landed in Baghdad, beginning a two-day diplomatic mission that he said was intended to “re-establish contact” with Iraqi leaders and prod them toward settling internal disputes over oil revenues and political power-sharing. Mr. Biden’s surprise trip, just days after American combat forces officially withdrew from Iraqi cities, underscores the concern in the White House about the fragility of the security situation. President Obama has asked Mr. Biden to serve as a kind of unofficial envoy to the country, and the vice president said this would be his first in a series of trips to the region. [New York Times, 7/2/09]

JULY 2, 2009. Documents Show Saddam Feared Iran. Saddam Hussein told an FBI interviewer before he was hanged that he allowed the world to believe he had weapons of mass destruction because he was worried about appearing weak to Iran, according to declassified accounts of the interviews released yesterday. The former Iraqi president also denounced Osama bin Laden as “a zealot” and said he had no dealings with al-Qaeda. [Washington Post, 7/2/09]

JULY 3, 2009. Biden Warns Iraqi Leaders. Vice President Biden warned Iraqi officials Friday that the American commitment to Iraq could end if the country again descended into ethnic and sectarian violence. In meetings with senior Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Biden stressed that the United States would remain engaged in Iraq, even as its military role diminishes in a withdrawal that is expected to dramatically gather pace after parliamentary elections in January. [Washington Post, 7/3/09]

JULY 9, 2009. Bomb Attacks Kill at Least 41. Attacks in Baghdad and a city in northern Iraq killed at least 41 people and wounded dozens more, the worst violence since Iraq celebrated the withdrawal of American troops from cities and towns last month. In the deadliest attack, two suicide bombers, working in tandem, detonated explosives in Tal Afar, a city in Nineveh Province. Tal Afar is about 40 miles west of Mosul, the provincial capital where violence has raged almost without interruption despite improved security. [New York Times, 7/9/09]

JULY 12, 2009. U.S. Ambassador Narrowly Escapes Injury. A series of bombings hit five Christian churches, killing at least four people, and the American ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, narrowly escaped injury when a roadside bomb struck his convoy in Nasiriya in southern Iraq. While there have been attacks on foreign diplomats, including several killings, the bomb in Nasiriya was believed to be the first direct attack on a United States ambassador since the war began in 2003. [New York Times, 7/12/09]

JULY 23, 2009. Iraqi Prime Minister Open to Renegotiating Withdrawal Timeline. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opened the door for the first time Thursday to the prospect of a U.S. military presence in Iraq after the December 2011 deadline for troop withdrawal set by last year’s bilateral accord — something President Obama appeared to rule out during a joint appearance on Tuesday. Speaking to an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, Maliki said the accord, known as the Status of Forces Agreement, would “end” the American military presence in his country in 2011, but “nevertheless, if Iraqi forces required further training and further support, we shall examine this at that time based on the needs of Iraq,” he said through translation in response to a question from The Washington Independent. “I am sure that the will, the prospects and the desire for such cooperation is found among both parties.” [Washington Independent, 7/23/09]

JULY 28, 209. Iran exiles say Iraq forces kill 4 in camp raid. Iraqi forces took control of an Iranian exile camp north of Baghdad on Tuesday, the government said, in a move camp residents said triggered clashes killing four of the dissidents Iraq hopes to expel. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh could not immediately confirm or deny news of the deaths, but he had earlier said there had been no physical attacks when Iraqi security forces took control of the interior of the camp. The Iraqi government has vowed to close Camp Ashraf, home to Iranian dissidents for two decades, and return members of the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI) to Iran or a third country. [Reuters, 7/28/09]

JULY 30, 2009. Blast kills 7 at Iraqi political office. Police and hospital officials say a bomb has exploded in a building used by a Sunni-backed political group north of Baghdad, killing at least seven people and wounding 10. The officials say the bomb was hidden inside a building used by the Reform and Development Movement, a Sunni-backed political group that was founded last year and that won four seats in the last provincial council elections. A police official says the blast killed at least seven, wounded 10 and damaged the building. A medic at the hospital in Baqouba, where the victims were taken, confirmed the numbers. Baqouba is the provincial capital of the Diyala province. [Associated Press, 7/30/09]

AUGUST 3, 2009. Iraq governor says detained 36 Iranian exiles. Iraqi police have arrested 36 Iranian exiles on rioting charges after clashes with Iraqi forces at their camp killed at least seven exiles, but an Iraqi official said on Monday they would not be repatriated to Iran. Iraqi forces on Tuesday took control of Camp Ashraf on the Iranian border, home to the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) dissident group for two decades, sparking confrontations between police and residents who fear eviction. Residents said 13 people died in the clashes, many of them shot dead by police, and many others wounded. Iraq’s government said seven died, most of them because they threw themselves under police vehicles. [Reuters, 8/3/09]

AUGUST 9, 2009. Iran exile advocates urge US to retake Iraq’s Camp Ashraf. Human rights lawyers on Monday urged the Pentagon to take control of an Iranian exile camp in eastern Iraq, accusing Iraqi security forces there of crimes and human rights violations against camp residents. Residents of Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border say the Iraqi government killed 13 people and injured about 450 others when security forces moved into the facility on July 28, an incident that raises concerns about the dwindling U.S. influence in Iraq. Camp Ashraf, home to the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) dissident group, had been protected by the U.S. military until the facility and its 3,500 residents were transferred to Iraqi jurisdiction last January. [Reuters, 8/9/09]

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]

AUGUST 11, 2009. Illusion Of Security In Iraq. More than 100 people died in bombings across Iraq over the past three days. The attacks, which hit Baghdad and areas outside Mosul in the north on Friday and on Monday, are the biggest and the most serious since the withdrawal of the US troops from Iraqi cities at the end of June. Along with other, smaller incidents – which often fail to make international headlines – a total of 157 people were killed in Iraq in the first 10 days of August – more than half of all those killed in July. [BBC, 8/11/09]

AUGUST 17, 2009. Human Rights Watch: Iraqi gays tortured and killed. Militiamen are torturing and killing gay Iraqi men with impunity in a systematic campaign that has spread from Baghdad to several other cities, a prominent human rights group said in a report. Human Rights Watch called on the Iraqi government to act urgently to stop the abuses, warning that so-called social cleansing poses a new threat to security even as other violence recedes. [Associated Press, 8/17/09]

AUGUST 18, 2009. Iraq May Hold Vote On U.S. Withdrawal. U.S. troops could be forced by Iraqi voters to withdraw a year ahead of schedule under a referendum the Iraqi government backed Monday, creating a potential complication for American commanders concerned about rising violence in the country’s north. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s move appeared to disregard the wishes of the U.S. government, which has quietly lobbied against the plebiscite. American officials fear it could lead to the annulment of an agreement allowing U.S. troops to stay until the end of 2011, and instead force them out by the start of that year. [Washington Post, 8/18/09]

AUGUST 19, 2009. Dozens Killed, Hundreds Injured in Baghdad Blasts. A string of attacks in Baghdad, including two bombings near prominent government buildings, killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 530 Wednesday morning in the bloodiest day in the capital since the withdrawal of U.S. troops from cities. [Washington Post, 8/19/09]

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AUGUST 29, 2009. Shiite Leader Hakim Dies in Tehran. Abdelaziz Hakim, who headed the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, died in a Tehran hospital after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 59. The Shiite leader was a towering figure in the Iraqi political landscape after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. He led a coalition of Shiite parties to victory in the 2005 elections while juggling his close relationships with both Washington and Tehran. Though his influence had waned in the two years since his cancer was diagnosed, he continued to play an active role in politics almost to the end. But his death probably will further diminish the standing of his political movement, opening the door to potential Shiite challengers, analysts said. [Los Angeles Times, 8/27/90]

AUGUST 30, 2009. Bombs Kill at Least 18 in Iraq. Bombers struck a cafe in Baghdad and remote communities in northern Iraq on Saturday, killing at least 18 people, as the visiting Iranian foreign minister warned that Iraq’s instability affected the whole region. The blasts came a little more than a week after suicide truck bombers devastated the Foreign and Finance ministries in Baghdad, killing about 100 people and dealing a blow to confidence in the Iraqi government’s ability to protect residents as U.S. forces scale back their presence. [Washington Post, 8/30/09]

AUGUST 30, 2009. Iran Warns of Regional Instability. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called on neighboring countries to play a positive role in helping to stabilize Iraq. His comments took on added significance during a diplomatic dispute between Iraq and Syria over demands that Damascus extradite suspected Saddam Hussein loyalists blamed for the ministry bombings in Baghdad. The Iraqi government has blamed an alliance of the group al-Qaeda in Iraq and Hussein loyalists it says are based in Syria for the Aug. 19 bombings, and it wants Damascus to hand over two suspected plotters, raising tensions between the two countries. [Washington Post, 8/30/09]

SEPTEMBER 9, 2009. Attacks Complicate U.S. Moves in Iraq. In the worst day of violence against American soldiers in Iraq since combat troops moved out of the cities this year, two bombings left four Americans dead, underscoring the dangers troops here still face even as they prepare for their exit from this country. The American military provided little detail about the attacks, saying only that one soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in southern Baghdad and that three more were killed in another roadside bombing in northern Iraq. [New York Times, 9/9/09]

SEPTEMBER 25, 2009. Maliki Announces Break With Iraqi National Alliance. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki ended speculation surrounding his return to the Shia Iraqi National Alliance coalition by announcing that he will form his own ‘State of Law’ coalition soon. Al Maliki announced that he will contest the forthcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections [to be held in January 2010] by way of this coalition, and ruled out joining any other political coalitions. The Iraqi National Alliance is a Shia-majority electoral coalition previously known as the United Iraqi Alliance. Al Maliki’s Islamic Dawa party was previously a member of the United Iraqi Alliance and Nouri al Maliki came to power in the December 2005 elections under its banner. [Asharq Alawsat, 9/25/09]

OCTOBER 2, 2009. Maliki Assembles Coalition for Iraq Run. Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced that he will run in January’s parliamentary election with a broad coalition that will include Sunni and secular politicians. Al-Maliki, a conservative Shiite, trumpeted his coalition, known as the State of Law, as offering an alternative to the sectarian and ethnic division that has characterized Iraq’s political scene since the fall of Saddam Hussein. [USA Today, 10/2/09]

OCTOBER 3, 2009. Huge Crackdown in North Iraq Snares 150 Insurgents. Security forces have arrested more than 150 people, including Al-Qaeda leaders and Arab fighters, in a massive crackdown on insurgents in northern Nineveh province, the defence ministry said on Saturday. The operation in Iraq’s most violent region was launched late Wednesday and is focused mainly in the city of Mosul, where insurgents frequently carry out attacks on civilians, the army and police. [AFP, 10/3/09]

OCTOBER 5, 2009. Funeral Bomber Kills 6 in Iraq. A suicide bomber detonated himself among mourners at a funeral in western Iraq on Monday, killing six people and wounding 16 in a region that has grown increasingly violent during the past few months.The bomber, a man in his 20s who wore a belt packed with explosives, walked into a crowd that had gathered inside a tent for a woman’s funeral in the Anbar Province town of Haditha before blowing himself up, an Iraqi security official said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. [New York Times, 10/5/09]

OCTOBER 6, 2009. Ayatollah Sistani Supports Open Voting. Iraq’s most revered Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said that he supports the open-list system in the upcoming January’s general elections, otherwise the turnout will suffer negative impact if closed-list system adopted by the parliament, a Sistani spokesman said on Tuesday. “The religious Marjiyah (highest Shiite leadership) calls on the members of the Iraqi Representatives Council to live up to their responsibility and to respond positively to the desire of the majority of the Iraqi people in adopting the system of the open-list in the upcoming parliamentary elections,” a spokesman of Sistani’s office in the city of Najaf told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Citing a statement by Sistani, the spokesman warned that the adoption of the closed-list system will strongly limit the turnout in the coming elections which “will have negative impacts on the democratic process in Iraq.” [Xinhua, 10/6/09]

OCTOBER 12, 2009. Opposition Grows to Iraqi Election Plan. Iraqi legislators face a Thursday deadline to approve an election law for January’s parliamentary polls, while opposition grows against plans for a so-called closed-list ballot. The election, slated for Jan. 16, is being closely watched by the U.S. as a barometer of the country’s stability amid a drawdown of American forces. Overall security has improved, but high-profile attacks continue. Lawmakers have been wrangling for weeks on passing legislation to establish rules about how the race will be run and what the ballot will look like. Issues over how voting will be held in the contested northern oil city of Kirkuk — claimed by Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen — have held up the legislation. [Wall Street Journal, 10/12/09]

OCTOBER 12, 2009. 3 Bombings Target Police in Iraq. Three car bombings targeted a police station and a government headquarters in the provincial capital of Ramadi in western Iraq on Sunday, killing at least 25 people and underlining the precarious situation in Anbar province. Violence in the province had fallen sharply in the past year after local tribal leaders, backed by U.S. forces, defeated a homegrown al-Qaeda group and other militants. But explosions and suicide attacks in recent weeks were reminiscent of 2003 and 2004, when the insurgency was gathering strength. [Washington Post, 10/12/09]

OCTOBER 16, 2009. Attacker Kills 16 in Mosque. A man stood up during Friday Prayer in a violence-plagued town in northern Iraq and shot the prayer leader at point-blank range with an assault rifle before spraying the kneeling worshipers around him and detonating a suicide belt, killing 15 people, witnesses said. The attack also wounded 100 others inside the Taqwa mosque in Tal Afar, a town in the northern province of Nineveh that is among several areas contested by various ethnic and religious groups in Iraq’s north. [New York Times, 10/16/09]

OCTOBER 16, 2009. Sadrists Push Electoral Reform. In an unexpected twist for Iraq’s nascent democracy, an anti-American party is speeding ahead with electoral reform while the Iraqi parliament is gridlocked over how to run national elections slated for January. On Friday, supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr voted directly for candidates in a primary poll ahead of national elections, calling it a milestone in the democratic process. The vote is believed by Iraqi officials to be the first time that choosing candidates for any party outside Iraqi Kurdistan has been placed in the hands of ordinary Iraqis. [Christian Science Monitor, 10/16/09]

OCTOBER 25, 2009. Deadly Bombings Worst Iraq Attack In Two Years. Twin car bombs exploded near three Iraqi government buildings Sunday in central Baghdad, killing at least 132 people. It was the deadliest attack in the country in more than two years. More than 500 people were wounded. The blasts had ripple effects throughout the country, triggering questions about the state of Iraqi security and about national elections planned for January. No one immediately claimed responsibility. [CNN, 10/25/09]

OCTOBER 27, 2009. Extremist group claims responsibility for Baghdad bombs. The Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni extremist group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq, has claimed responsibility for twin bombings Sunday that targeted key government buildings and killed nearly 160 Iraqis, according to a claim posted online. The group called the targeted sites “dens of infidelity,” according to a statement posted on a Web site used by extremists to make such claims. Its authenticity could not be independently verified. The group also claimed responsibility for similar bombings that killed more than 100 people in August. The devastating bombings at the Justice Ministry, the Baghdad Provincial Council and the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works appeared designed to portray the Shiite-led government as feeble and rudderless ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for January. They are expected to cripple key government agencies for months. [Washington Post, 10/27/09]

DECEMBER 6, 2008. After Delays, Deal Set on Iraq Election Law. Lawmakers pulled Iraq back from the brink of a constitutional crisis on Sunday night, brokering a last-minute compromise that will allow for the first national elections since 2005. A deal on the election law has fallen apart before, underscoring the deep sectarian divide that remains in Iraq, despite a drop in violence. Fighting over the law also threatens to complicate the American withdrawal. After months of wrangling, the Iraqi Parliament gathered just before midnight to approve a deal that had been secured only hours before in closed-door talks. [New York Times, 12/6/09]

DECEMBER 8, 2009. Blast Near Baghdad School Wounds Many Children. An explosion near a school in the Sadr City district of Baghdad on Monday wounded scores of children, while attacks on Iraq’s security forces continued. Government officials gave contradictory accounts of the school casualty figures, with the death toll from the blast varying from one to 15 children and the number of wounded from 41 to 56. There were competing theories about what caused the blast. In a statement read on state television by Maj. Gen. Qassam Atta, a spokesman for the Baghdad Operation Command, the government said it was the result of an accidental detonation of a cache of explosives hidden near the school. Earlier reports from local security officials, however, suggested that it could have been the result of an errant missile or a planted explosive device. The disagreement over the basic facts reflected the degree to which Iraqi security forces often lack coordination in responding to attacks. [New York Times, 12/8/09]

2010

JANUARY 1, 2010. Judge Dismisses Charges Against Blackwater Guards in Iraq Deaths A federal judge dismissed charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in a controversial shooting in a busy Baghdad square two years ago in a ruling that sharply criticized the tactics of Justice Department prosecutors handling the case. The judge, Ricardo M. Urbina of the District’s federal court, found that prosecutors and agents had improperly used statements that the guards provided to the State Department in the hours and days after the shooting. The statements had been given with the understanding that they would not be used against the guards in court, the judge found, and federal prosecutors improperly used them to help guide their investigation. Urbina said other Justice Department lawyers had warned the prosecutors to tread carefully around the incriminating statements. [Washington Post, 1/1/10]

JANUARY 2, 2010. Day of mixed emotions in Baghdad: Elation for U.S., but anger for Iraqis U.S. commanders in Iraq began the new year Friday by trumpeting a milestone — their first month without a combat death since the start of the war — and by sending a clear signal that their focus in 2010 will be on getting out of the country that American forces invaded nearly seven years ago. But for Iraqis, Friday was marked by bitter recriminations over a U.S. judge’s decision to dismiss charges against five Blackwater security guards who had been accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 20 others in 2007 — a reminder that resentments toward the American occupation will linger long after U.S. troops have gone home. [Washington Post, 1/2/10]

JANUARY 4, 2010. Crackdown On Alcohol Seen as Part of Conservative Moment in Iraq. The March 2003 U.S. invasion and subsequent violence have made Iraq’s moral compass swing wildly for the past six years. It has been a time of lax government authority; power struggles among armed groups including the Mahdi Army and al-Qaeda in Iraq, which imposed strict norms; and mass migration, which has changed the makeup and character of entire towns and cities. In recent months, the pendulum has veered toward conservative mores. Government officials, including many competing in the upcoming parliamentary election, have sought to impose stricter limits on alcohol consumption and coeducational schools. [Washington Post, 1/4/10]

JANUARY 5, 2010. Suspect in Deaths of 5 G.I.’s Is Freed, Iraqi Official Says. An Iraqi accused of being behind the killings in 2007 of five American soldiers has been released by the Iraqi government, according to an Iraqi official. “According to my personal information, he was released two days ago,” the official, Alaa al-Taei, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said Tuesday. The suspect, Qais al-Khazali, is accused of being a leader of a militia, Asa’ib al-Haq, or the League of the Righteous. He was transferred from American military custody to Iraqi hands last week. That transfer came hours before the militia released a British computer expert, Peter Moore, whom it had held for two and a half years. [New York Times, 1/5/10]

JANUARY 7, 2010. Move Made to Bar Iraqi Sunni From Ballot. An Iraqi parliamentary committee moved Thursday to bar a Sunni Muslim lawmaker from national elections in March, outraging his supporters and threatening to worsen sectarian tension here. The lawmaker, Saleh al-Mutlaq, a prominent Sunni politician, and his group, the National Dialogue Front, were among those disqualified on the grounds of promoting the banned Baath Party of former President Saddam Hussein. While the decision is not final — Iraq’s election commission must ratify it — Mr. Mutlaq also suggested that he had no real recourse and warned of the implications. “They fear my popularity,” he said in an interview. “They think that banning me from the elections will isolate the Sunnis, stop them from taking part and marginalize them.” [New York Times, 1/7/10]

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]

JANUARY 13, 2010. Iraq Says Raid Uncovered a Plot to Bomb Ministries. A wide-ranging plot to bomb government ministries and other public places, to be followed by a wave of political assassinations, was uncovered by Iraqi officials, who responded Tuesday by bringing much of Baghdad to a virtual standstill while security forces conducted raids that netted large quantities of explosives, officials said. At least 4 suicide car bombers — and as many as 10 — were apparently on their way to government buildings on Tuesday morning when they were stopped by the police and arrested, the authorities said. [New York Times, 1/13/10]

JANUARY 13, 2010. Seven killed by suicide truck bomber in western Iraq. Seven people have died as a suicide bomber blew up a truck near a police station in western Iraq, security officials say. At least two police officers were among the dead, while another six people were injured in the blast in Saqlawiya in Anbar province, officials said. The bombing comes a week after attacks targeting police killed eight people in the town of Hit in the same province. [BBC, 1/13/10]

JANUARY 13, 2010. Pentagon Weighs Cleanups as It Plans Iraq Exit. As the U.S. military prepares to leave Iraq, the Pentagon is wrestling with questions about environmental cleanup on the bases it plans to transfer to the Iraqi Army by December 2011. At issue on and around the bases are unexploded ordinance, depleted uranium from munitions, spilled oil and contaminated ash in burn pits. There is no set answer about what — if anything — the military must do to mitigate environmental damage. Though there are clear environmental policies for permanent U.S. bases overseas, they do not apply to contingency operations like those in Iraq. “There’s nothing in international law, U.S. law, or executive orders that guide [U.S.] policy” in such operations, said David Mosher, a senior policy fellow at RAND and co-author of a 2008 report for the Army on environmental considerations during contingency operations. “It’s a huge loophole,” he said. “There’s nothing in DOD policy that says anything should be done.” [New York Times, 1/13/10]

JANUARY 14, 2010. 11 Iraqis Sentenced to Death for Baghdad Bombings. A court sentenced 11 Iraqis on Thursday to death by hanging for planning and carrying out massive truck bombings in Baghdad last August that killed 95 people and wounded more than 1,000. The bombs targeted Iraq’s foreign and finance ministries, sites that are among the most heavily guarded in Iraq, and damaged public confidence in Iraqi forces ahead of an election in March and as U.S. troops prepare to withdraw. [Reuters, 1/14/10]

JANUARY 14, 2010. Multiple Bombs Rock Najaf.. Three bombs exploded in the Iraqi seminary city of Najaf, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens of others, security sources say. Initial reports suggested that the bombs were detonated near a market in the city centre, filled with shoppers in the early evening. The mainly Shia city, some 90 miles (150km) south of Baghdad, attracts thousands of pilgrims each year. [BBC, 1/14/10]

JANUARY 23, 2010. Biden Visits Iraq Amid Election Row. Vice President Joe Biden told Iraqi officials on Saturday the United States backed a ban on Saddam Hussein’s Baath party and said he had faith Iraq would resolve a row over the banning of election candidates suspected of links to it. The move by an independent panel has outraged Sunnis who dominated Iraq for more than two decades under Saddam and who see it as an attempt to marginalize their community, casting doubt on the inclusiveness and legitimacy of a March 7 vote. U.S. officials say the arbitrary way the list appears to have been drawn up and the questionable legitimacy of the panel could undermine the election. But Biden, on his third visit to Iraq since U.S. troops pulled out of city centers in June, said Washington had no problem with holding Baath party loyalists accountable. [Reuters, 1/23/10]

JANUARY 25, 2010. Baghdad Bombs Kill 36, Chemical Ali Hanged. Suicide bombers attacked three hotels used by foreigners in the heart of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 36 people and raising questions about government pledges to keep Iraqis safe before a March election. The car bombs wounded at least 71 people as Iraq executed the man known as “Chemical Ali” under Saddam Hussein for his use of poison gas against minority Kurds. The hanging of Ali Hassan al-Majeed for crimes against humanity was a high-profile step in the Shi’ite-led government’s prosecution of Saddam’s Sunni-dominated regime and was likely to fan controversy six weeks before the March 7 parliamentary poll. [Reuters, 1/25/10]

JANUARY 29, 2010. Blair Fights For His Legacy As He Defends Iraq War. In a highly anticipated testimony before an official inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq conflict, former British PRime Minister Tony Blair defended himself against critics who contend it was folly to join the Americans in invading Iraq based on intelligence that was faulty and weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist. Blair showed his impressive rhetorical skills and high-minded principles, but left unanswered whether the war that defines his mixed legacy was justified. Many in the audience, including the relatives of soldiers and civilians killed in the war, were not impressed. Blair’s claim to have no regrets drew an angry outburst. As he left, one man stood up and shouted “You are a liar!” A second added: “And a murderer.” The six-hour session Friday capped a wide-ranging inquiry that since November has heard extensive evidence from government lawyers and ministers who raised doubts about the legality and wisdom of the 2003 Iraq invasion, which was extremely unpopular in Britain. The Iraq Inquiry panel plans to issue a report next year, but does not have a mandate to apportion blame or the power to bring any criminal charges. [Washington Post, 1/29/10]

FEBRUARY 1, 2010. Female Suicide Bomber Kills Dozens. At least 41 people were killed by a female suicide bomber in north-east Baghdad, an interior ministry spokesman has said. The woman detonated an explosives vest among a group of pilgrims making the journey to Karbala, 80km from Baghdad. At least 106 other pilgrims were hurt in the attack. Troops and police are on alert during the pilgrimage. [BBC, 2/1/10]

FEBRUARY 4, 2010. Ban on Hundreds of Iraqi Candidates Overturned. Iraq’s political crisis deepened after an appeals court overturned a ban on hundreds of candidates in next month’s election for having ties to Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki then disputed that ruling. The ban had prompted threats of election boycotts and warnings that the credibility of the election itself was at stake if political groups, particularly Sunnis, felt disenfranchised. And it stoked fears of renewed violence as American troops were beginning to withdraw. The court also said it would reconsider the ban after the March 7 election, raising the possibility of further political turmoil by ousting elected members of Parliament should their ties with the Baath Party be established. The initial effort to knock more than 500 candidates off the ballot — both Sunnis and Shiites, but mostly those viewed as rivals to Mr. Maliki’s bloc — created a political furor and deeply alarmed American and United Nations officials. [New York Times, 2/4/10]

FEBRUARY 5, 2010. Blast Strikes Shiite Pilgrims in Iraq. At least two explosions tore through crowds marching to the burial place of Shiite Islam’s most revered martyr Friday in the culmination of ritual mourning that has drawn millions to the holy city of Karbala in one of the world’s largest pilgrimages. At least 27 people were killed and dozens more wounded. [New York Times, 2/5/10]

FEBRUARY 26, 2010. Sectarian tensions rise before Iraq elections. A popular Sunni political party backtracked on Thursday from plans to boycott Iraq’s parliamentary elections even as rivals threatened to have the party’s leader charged with terrorism. The developments illustrate the increasing tensions as Iraq prepares for the March 7 elections and U.S. combat troops get ready to withdraw by August. The sectarian divide is widening, and the National Dialogue Front said it will not participate in the elections amid fears that Shiite parties have rigged the vote against secular and Sunni candidates. But Saleh al-Mutlak, the party’s leader, said the National Dialogue Front, a party within the secular Iraqiya slate, had received popular support urging its participation. “If Iraqiya doesn’t succeed, the whole of Iraq will be in real chaos,” he said. “We don’t want to be seen as the reason behind that chaos.” [Washington Post, 3/26/10]

FEBRUARY 28, 2010. Iraqi PM calls pre-vote candidate ban legitimate. Iraq’s prime minister Sunday defended a ban of candidates with alleged ties to Saddam Hussein’s former regime, calling it a legitimate decision that would not affect Sunni turnout at the polls. The decision to bar hundreds of candidates from the election, including two prominent Sunni lawmakers, for alleged ties to Saddam’s ruling party has dominated Iraq’s political debate for weeks and reflects the deep sectarian differences that still divide the country. [AP, 2/28/10]

MARCH 1, 2010. Before Iraq election, Arab and Kurd tensions soar in the north. In a sign of heightened Arab-Kurd tension along a disputed boundary just days from Iraq elections, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan says the governor of the adjoining Arab-majority province will be arrested if he enters Kurdish-controlled areas. In an interview with The Christian Science Monitor at his mountaintop headquarters in northern Iraq, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani described Ninevah governor Atheel al-Nujaifi as a “criminal” and said a warrant would be issued for his arrest in connection with an incident this month involving US forces. He also said Nujaifi had failed to secure the provincial capital of Mosul. Mr. Barzani offered to bring up to 2,000 Christian university students from the troubled city to Kurdistan to continue their studies. At least eight Christians have been killed in the last two weeks in Mosul in the latest wave of attacks on minorities. [Christian Science Monitor, 3/1/10]

MARCH 4, 2010. Three Bombings in Diyala province Kill At Least 33 People. Three bombings in Iraq’s Diyala province targeting government and medical buildings killed at least 33 people Wednesday morning, raising fears about deteriorating security days before Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Iraqi police officials said at least 55 people were wounded in the blasts. The initial explosion, a car bomb, targeted an Iraqi police station about 9:45 a.m. in a western district of Baqubah, the provincial capital, according to Maj. Ghalib Aativa, a police spokesman. The detonation ripped through a nearby building and reduced it to rubble. Minutes later, a suicide bomber in a car detonated explosives near the main provincial building, which has been the target of numerous attacks in recent years. The blast destroyed the office of former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari’s political party. Jafari, a Shiite, is a candidate in the elections. [Washington Post, 3/4/10]

MARCH 4, 2010. Bombings Mar First Day of Early Voting In Iraq. A roadside bomb and two suicide bombers targeting polling stations in Baghdad killed at least 12 people Thursday, marring the first day of voting to elect the government that will rule as U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq. Security forces, inmates and hospital patients were allowed to vote Thursday, ahead of Sunday’s general election. “The terrorists are targeting our polling stations today to scare the civilians,” said Sgt. Waleed Tariq, who was among those voting at one of the stations hit in western Baghdad. “They let them think: If they’re able to kill security forces on their election day, what will happen to us on Sunday?” [Washington Post, 3/4/10]

MARCH 7, 2010. Iraq parliamentary election hit by insurgent attacks. Iraq’s second parliamentary election since the 2003 invasion has been hit by multiple attacks, with at least 35 people being killed. Two buildings were destroyed in Baghdad and dozens of mortars were fired across the capital and elsewhere. Despite the violence, there were long queues of voters at polling stations in a number of cities. Polls closed at 1700 (1400 GMT) but people already in line were allowed to cast their votes. An immense security operation was mounted, involving more than 500,000 Iraqi security personnel. The border with Iran was closed, thousands of troops were deployed, and vehicles were banned from roads. [BBC, 3/7/10]

MARCH 8, 2010. U.S. Officials Say U.S. on Schedule to Draw Down Troops in Iraq by August. Iraqi forces are on track to assume control of the country’s security, and the United States is on course to draw down its troops to 50,000 by President Obama’s August deadline, U.S. officials said today. Iraqis voted this weekend in a historic parliamentary election that Obama hailed Sunday as an “important milestone” in the country’s history. It was the second election in the country since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, today said the United States is sticking with its plan to draw down troops to 50,000 by the summer. The Iraqi security forces will be ready by the end of next year to take complete responsibility for security in Iraq, he said. “Yesterday, I think we saw the Iraqi security forces perform very well for the elections, and I believe that they continue to improve every single day and they continue to prove they can protect the Iraqi people,” Odierno said on “Good Morning America.” [ABC, 3/8/10]

MARCH 12, 2010. Iraq Election May Leave Kirkuk Status Uncertain. Early election results appear to reflect a hardening of divisions between Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens in northern Iraq, potentially complicating efforts by the United States and the United Nations to forge a compromise over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk — a prize claimed by both Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region and the central government. According to unofficial results released earlier this week, the Kurdistan Alliance, a coalition of the two ruling Kurdish parties, received more than 50 percent of the votes cast in Tamim, the province that includes Kirkuk. Iraq’s electoral commission was scheduled to release partial results over the weekend that were not expected to differ significantly from that outcome. [New York Times, 3/12/10]

MARCH 16, 2010. Eight dead, 11 wounded in Iraq bomb attacks. Eight people died in two bombings five minutes apart on the main street of an Iraqi town south of Baghdad on Tuesday, nine days after an election Iraqis hoped would bring more stability and less sectarian conflict. Police said attackers attached so-called sticky bombs to two cars carrying passengers in the town of Mussayab, about 60 km (40 miles) south of the capital. Eleven others were wounded in the attacks, police said. On Monday a car bomb killed seven people and wounded 20 others in the city of Falluja in Iraq’s western Anbar province, an area that has been relatively quiet since Sunni Muslim tribal leaders turned on Islamist insurgent groups like al Qaeda. [Reuters, 3/16/10]

MARCH 16, 2010. Followers of Sadr Emerge Stronger After Iraq Elections. The followers of Moktada al-Sadr, a radical cleric who led the Shiite insurgency against the American occupation, have emerged as Iraq’s equivalent of Lazarus in elections last week, defying ritual predictions of their demise and now threatening to realign the nation’s balance of power. Although rivals disparaged the Sadrists’ election campaign, documents and interviews show an unprecedented discipline that has thrust the group to the brink of perhaps its greatest political influence in Iraq. [New York Times, 3/16/10]

MARCH 17, 2010. Iraq needs US help to beat huge refugee crisis. Iraq faces a dire humanitarian crisis as huge numbers of displaced Iraqis struggle to survive in squalid camps and Washington has a “special responsibility” to help the war-torn country, a report said Wednesday. “Of the 1.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) forced from their homes in 2006 and 2007, 33 percent or 500,000 live as squatters in slum areas,” said the report compiled by Refugees International and released on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. To compile the report, Refugees International staff visited 20 squatter camps around Iraq, all lacking basic services including water and sanitation, and often built in precarious places — under bridges, alongside railroad tracks and atop garbage dumps. The Iraqi government is doing little, if anything, to help the displaced, the report said, urging the United States, which “bears special responsibility” for the looming humanitarian crisis, to step in and take up the slack. [AFP, 3/17/10]

MARCH 19, 2010. Narrow lead for al-Maliki as Iraqi vote count continues. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s coalition has edged ahead in Iraq’s parliamentary elections, according to partial results from election officials. The Independent High Electoral Commission announced on Thursday evening that with 89 percent of the votes counted from the March 7 election, al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition maintained a narrow lead in seven of Iraq’s 18 provinces, including Baghdad province. The province, which includes the capital city, is the most populous. The prime minister’s coalition is now ahead of former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s bloc by about 40,000 votes. [CNN, 3/19/10]

MARCH 19, 2010. Bush officials reluctant to talk to British panel investigating Iraq war. Senior Bush administration officials involved in the Iraq war have been asked by a British panel investigating that country’s role in the conflict to chat about administration activities and policies from before the March 2003 invasion until 2009. The government-commissioned panel, which has no subpoena power or legal status over there, much less here, has nonetheless gotten most every significant British government official and senior military officer involved in the war to give evidence, in public even. The panel, expected to issue its report at the end of the year, recently grilled former prime minister Tony Blair for six hours on live television and has questioned the current prime minister, Gordon Brown. [Washington Post, 3/19/10]

MARCH 19, 2010. Iraq’s Kurds Lose Political Dominance In Kirkuk. Before the March 7 parliamentary elections in Iraq, there was no question of who dominated politics in mixed-population Kirkuk — it was the two main political factions in the neighboring Kurdish autonomous region. But with the vote count from Kirkuk city and its surrounding Tamin Province about 80 percent complete, it is clear that the political landscape is dramatically changing. The partial vote count shows the secular Al-Iraqiyah coalition and the Kurdistan Alliance in a virtual tie, with the balance between them shifting by only wafer-thin differences as the vote tally rises. If the current balance holds, it means that the divided province’s Turkoman and Arab populations will have a much louder political voice than before. That in turn could complicate Kurdish hopes of one day incorporating oil-rich Kirkuk into their autonomous region. Turkoman politicians in Kirkuk make no secret of the fact that they competed in the parliamentary contest precisely with that goal in mind. [RFE/RL, 3/19/10]

allawi press conf

MARCH 26, 2010. Secular Challenger Allawi Claims Iraq Election Win. A jubilant Ayad Allawi claimed victory for his secular, anti-Iranian coalition as final parliamentary returns Friday showed him edging out the bloc of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who angrily vowed to fight the results. The results, if they stand, will give Allawi the first opportunity to form a parliamentary majority and Iraq’s next government. But they do not automatically mean that he will become prime minister, and the narrow margin sets the stage for months of political wrangling. [Associated Press, 3/26/10]

MARCH 28, 2010. Allawi Reaches Out After Iraq Election Win. Former prime minister Ayad Allawi began reaching out to other political blocs Saturday for allies he needs to form Iraq’s next government, while accusing his main rival, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, of maneuvering to undercut his victory in the March 7 parliamentary elections. Allawi, whose Iraqiya list bested Maliki’s State of Law coalition by two seats, 91 to 89, in results announced Friday, faces the greater challenge in putting together a majority. A secular Shiite who won by attracting Sunni Arab and secular voters, Allawi will have to woo other Shiite politicians — some of whom view Maliki as a more palatable, albeit imperfect, option — as well as Kurds. [Washington Post, 3/28/10]

APRIL 1, 2010. Iran Plays Host to Delegations After Iraq Elections. The ink was hardly dry on the election results when three of the four major Iraqi political alliances rushed delegations off to Tehran. Yet none of them sent anyone to the United States Embassy here, let alone to Washington. [New York Times, 4/1/10]

APRIL 4, 2010. Bombers Target Embassies, Killing At Least 41. At least 41 people were killed and 237 wounded Sunday in three suicide car bombings targeting the Iranian and German embassies and the Egyptian Consulate in Iraq in a span of 30 minutes. The attacks, which Iraqi government officials blamed on the Sunni Arab extremist group Al Qaeda in Iraq, came two days after unknown gunmen in uniforms massacred 25 people in a Sunni district south of Baghdad. [Los Angeles Times, 4/4/10]

APRIL 5, 2010. Video Shows U.S. Killing of Reuters Employees. The Web site WikiLeaks.org released a graphic video on Monday showing an American helicopter shooting and killing a Reuters photographer and driver in a July 2007 attack in Baghdad. A senior American military official confirmed that the video was authentic. Reuters had long pressed for the release of the video, which consists of 38 minutes of black-and-white aerial video and conversations between pilots in two Apache helicopters as they open fire on people on a street in Baghdad. The attack killed 12, among them the Reuters photographer, Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and the driver, Saeed Chmagh, 40. Reuters employees were allowed to view the video on an off-the-record basis two weeks after the killings, but they were not allowed to obtain a copy of it. The news organization said its Freedom of Information Act requests were not approved. At a news conference at the National Press Club, WikiLeaks said it had acquired the video from whistle-blowers in the military and viewed it after breaking the encryption code. WikiLeaks released the full 38-minute video as well as a 17-minute edited version. [NY Times, 4/5/10]

APRIL 19, 2010. Secret prison revealed in Baghdad. Hundreds of Sunni men disappeared for months into a secret Baghdad prison under the jurisdiction of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s military office, where many were routinely tortured until the country’s Human Rights Ministry gained access to the facility, Iraqi officials say. The men were detained by the Iraqi army in October in sweeps targeting Sunni groups in Nineveh province, a stronghold of the group Al Qaeda in Iraq and other militants in the north. The provincial governor alleged at the time that ordinary citizens had been detained as well, often without a warrant. [LA Times, 4/19/10]

APRIL 19, 2010. Top Two Al-Qaeda in Iraq Chiefs Killed. The two leading Al-Qaeda figures in Iraq were killed in a major operation involving US forces north of the capital Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on state television Monday. Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayub al-Masri were killed on Saturday in Salaheddin province by Iraqi intelligence agents who received US assistance, Maliki said, showing pictures of both men before and after their deaths. The Baghdad government has previously announced the capture and killing of Baghdadi on several occasions and his real influence in Al-Qaeda has been called into question by the US military. Maliki told reporters that Baghdadi and Masri’s identities had been confirmed after medical tests. [AFP, 4/19/10]

APRIL 19, 2010. Iraq judicial panel orders recount. An Iraqi judicial panel on Monday ordered a manual recount of about 2.5 million ballots cast in Baghdad in last month’s national elections, an action requested by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s alliance, which had filed allegations of vote fraud. The legal decision raised Maliki’s hopes that his Shiite-dominated coalition would be awarded more parliamentary seats than his rival Iyad Allawi’s secular bloc, which had stunned the nation by winning a slim plurality in the March 7 vote. But it also raised fears that if the results are overturned, Iraq’s minority Sunni Arab population, which had turned out in large numbers to cast ballots for former Prime Minister Allawi’s alliance, would view the elections as stolen and launch a new armed revolt. [LA Times, 4/19/10]

US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,392. As of Tuesday, April 20, 2010, at least 4,392 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes nine military civilians killed in action. At least 3,482 military personnel died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers. [AP, 4/20/10]

APRIL 21, 2010. U.S. military: Senior al Qaeda in Iraq leader killed. Iraqi security forces killed a suspected senior leader of al Qaeda in Iraq during an operation in the northern city of Mosul, the U.S. military said. On Monday Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said two of the most wanted terrorist figures in Iraq had been killed in a joint Iraqi-U.S. operation. Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq – an umbrella group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq – were killed in a security operation in al-Tharthar, north of Baghdad, al-Maliki said. [CNN, 4/21/10]

APRIL 23, 2010. Wave of deadly bombings hits Iraq. A series of bombings mainly targeting Shiite worshippers killed at least 60 people on Friday, officials said, just days after U.S. and Iraqi forces killed the top two al-Qaida leaders in Iraq in what was described as devastating blow to the insurgency. The apparently coordinated attacks, which occurred in a two-hour span, demonstrated insurgents remain a potent force despite U.S. and Iraqi claims that the terror network is on the run. At least 10 car bombs and roadside attacks struck the capital, according to Iraqi police. No suicide bombings — an al-Qaida trademark — were reported but Iraqi authorities were quick to blame the Sunni-led terror network, which frequently targets Shiites. [AP, 4/23/10]

MAY 5, 2010. Iraq’s two top Shiite blocs merge. Almost two months after national elections, Iraq’s two biggest Shiite blocs announced have announced their merger after weeks of negotiations. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition and the Iraqi National Alliance, a coalition of powerful Shiite parties backed by Iran, now have a bloc with 159 seats — just four seats away from the majority they’ll need to form a cabinet. The Iraqi National Alliance includes two of the country’s most powerful Shiite parties: the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the anti-American Sadrist movement. [CNN, 5/5/10]

MAY 9, 2010. Bombs planted in home of policeman kill 3 in Iraq. Bombs planted inside the home of a policeman in northern Iraq exploded Saturday, killing him, his mother and one other resident, a security official said. The bombing was one of several attacks around Iraq’s north that killed at least 10 people over the weekend, a sign that authorities are struggling to maintain security as the country’s politicians clamor over the shape of a new government two months after an inconclusive election. The early morning attack took place on a home in the town of Amirli, just south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, and injured five other people. [AP, 5/9/10]

MAY 10, 2010. 71 dead in widespread Iraq attacks blamed on al Qaeda. Bombers and gunmen seen as linked to a battered but still lethal al Qaeda killed at least 71 people on Monday in a day-long wave of attacks on markets, a textile factory, checkpoints and other sites across Iraq. The attacks in far-flung locations including Baghdad and towns in the south, north and west of the capital appeared aimed at showing Iraqis that Sunni Islamist insurgents were still a potent force even after battlefield defeats in recent weeks. “Despite strong strikes that broke al Qaeda, there are some cells still working, attempting to prove their existence and their influence,” said Baghdad’s security spokesman, Major General Qassim al-Moussawi, calling the attacks “hysterical.” [Reuters, 5/10/10]

JUNE 13, 2010. At least 24 killed as gunmen storm Iraq’s Central Bank. Armed men wearing police-commando uniforms briefly overran Iraq’s Central Bank on Sunday, killing at least 24 people in a brazen daylight assault and sowing panic and confusion in the heart of Baghdad’s busiest commercial district. The corpses of seven more men wearing uniforms and suspected of being among the assailants were found inside the bank after police finally entered, four hours after the assault began. At least 46 people were injured. [LA Times, 6/13/10]

JUNE 18, 2010. Top cleric warns Iraq leaders as deal hopes dim. Iraq’s two main contenders to head a new government remained at odds Friday, denting US hopes that a top envoy had advanced the prospects of a deal and drawing a warning from the top Shiite cleric. The persistent political vacuum three and a half months after a general election which gave no bloc the necessary majority to form a new administration has caused mounting concern in Washington as it prepares to withdraw 38,000 of its remaining 88,000 troops by the end of August. The bickering also drew an ultimatum from the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority community, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to intervene if the politicians did not forge a deal quickly. [AFP, 6/18/10]

JUNE 18, 2010. Turkey: May air raid killed 100 Kurdish rebels. Turkey’s military said it killed as many as 120 Kurdish rebels in an air raid on rebel hideouts in northern Iraq last month and a daylong incursion by elite commandos into Iraq this week. Kurdish rebels have dramatically stepped up attacks in Turkey in recent months in an escalation that poses a dire threat to a remarkable attempt at ending one of the world’s longest guerrilla wars. The Turkish military responded to the rebels by sending its warplanes across the Iraqi border to bomb Kurdish rebel positions after acquiring intelligence, apparently from the United States and recently purchased drones from Israel. The rebels have long used northern Iraq as a springboard for hit-and-run attacks on Turkish targets in a campaign for autonomy in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast. Several past Turkish air raids and incursions have failed to stop rebel infiltration through the mountainous border. [AP, 6/18/10]

JUNE 18, 2010. Car bombs in northern Iraq kill seven and injure many. Car bombs in two Iraqi cities north of Baghdad have killed seven people and wounded 80 others, police said. The deaths took place in Tuz Khormato, when a bomb exploded outside the home of a local government official. Many of the injured were women and children. Earlier, a bomb targeted the home of a police official in the town of Baquba, in Diyala province, injuring 30 people, including members of his family. [BBC, 6/18/10]

JUNE 20, 2010. Car Bombs Hit Crowds Outside Bank in Baghdad. A pair of car bombs detonated simultaneously outside Iraq’s Bank of Trade on Sunday morning, killing 26 people and wounding 52 others in the second attack on a major government financial institution in eight days. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but the Islamic State of Iraq, an insurgent group with ties to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, has said it was responsible for a raid at Iraq’s Central Bank in Baghdad the previous Sunday that killed 15 people and wounded 50. A separate bombing killed three police officers in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown north of Baghdad. [New York Times, 6/20/10]

JUNE 17, 2010. Iraqi Sunni Leader and His Family Are Killed in an Ambush. Gunmen with automatic weapons stormed a house outside Falluja on Thursday, killing an Awakening Council member, his wife and three of his children who had all been sleeping in the backyard to escape the summer heat, the authorities said. The Awakening Council member, Khudair Hamad al-Issawi, was apparently a target because he gave security officials information about a planned car bomb attack this month, said Sheik Aifan Sadoon Aifan, a member of the Anbar Province provincial council. The police defused the bomb. [New York Times, 6/17/10]

JULY 7, 2010. Suicide Bomber Kills At Least 30 Shi’ite Pilgrims in Baghdad. Iraqi security officials say a suicide bomber killed at least 30 people and wounded more than 60 Wednesday after detonating an explosives-filled belt near a crowd of Shi’ite pilgrims. Officials say the attack took place in Adhamiyah, a Sunni district of Baghdad. Investigators say at least five other people were killed in separate bombings in the city, including two other pilgrims. [VOA 7/7/10]

JULY 18, 2010. Dozens Killed in Suicide Attacks. In the latest high-profile attack against former insurgents who switched sides to fight alongside American forces here, more than 40 were killed Sunday morning after a man detonated himself outside an Iraqi Army base as Awakening members lined up to receive their paychecks. The bomber struck around 8 a.m. on Sunday — the first day of the work week here — in Radwaniya, a largely Sunni neighborhood southwest of central Baghdad. The latest casualty figures from an official at the Ministry of the Interior was 43 killed and 40 wounded. The dead also included Iraqi army soldiers. [New York Times, 7/18/10]

JULY 20, 2010. Allawi, Sadr meet in Syria to resolve Iraqi government impasse. Pro-Western Iraqi politician Iyad Allawi sought support on Monday to form a government from Iranian-backed cleric Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr, in the first meeting between the once bitter rivals. Sadr, an anti-US figure who has emerged as a kingmaker in Iraqi politics, did not endorse Allawi but said Allawi had shown more willingness to compromise than Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is trying to cling to power after an inconclusive election in March. Sadr and Allawi met at a hotel in the Syrian capital after they had separately been received by Syrian President Bashar Assad. They later met Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who was on a brief visit to Syria. [Daily Star, 7/20/10]

JULY 22, 2010. Bomb near Iraq mosque kills 15; U.S. soldier dies in road blast. A car bomb outside a mosque killed at least 15 people and a U.S. soldier was killed in a roadside bombing in separate attacks Wednesday in northern Iraq, American and Iraqi officials said. The two incidents in Diyala province underscored the severity of Iraq’s security challenges as U.S. forces prepare to nominally end their combat mission next month and Iraqi politicians continue a months-long fight over who will govern the country. [Washington Post, 7/22/10]

JULY 22, 2010. In Rare Deadly Attack, Rocket Hits Iraq’s Green Zone. A rocket attack on Thursday on the Green Zone, the heavily barricaded section of this city that contains the main government buildings and the United States Embassy, killed three foreign contractors who work for the embassy, and wounded 15, including two American citizens. Casualties are rare in the rocket and mortar attacks directed at the United States Embassy’s compound — its largest anywhere, spreading out over more than 100 acres. The contractors, two Ugandans and one Peruvian, were part of a force that guards the embassy and other American government facilities here, according to a statement released late Thursday by the embassy. The statement said, “This cruel and senseless attack will not deter the United States from carrying out its goal of working with the Iraqi government and people to build a democratic future.” [New York Times, 7/22/10]

JULY 23, 2010. 4 terror suspects escape from Iraqi prison. Four terror suspects have escaped from a Baghdad, Iraq, prison that was formerly run by U.S. forces, a senior official with the Iraqi justice ministry told CNN Friday. The four men got away on Tuesday and the prison guards who were on duty at the time of the escape have been detained for questioning in an ongoing investigation, the official said. Formerly known as Camp Cropper, the prison was handed over to Iraqi control in mid-July. [CNN, 7/23/10]

JULY 29, 2010. Iraqi Insurgents Plant Qaeda Flag in Baghdad. In a brazen late-afternoon attack in the heart of this city’s most prominent Sunni neighborhood, gunmen struck two police checkpoints on Thursday before a series of roadside bombs detonated on police and army patrols responding to the violence. After the attack — in Adhamiya, a section of Baghdad that was the site of some of the most vicious fighting of the sectarian civil war in 2006 and 2007 — the gunmen raised the black flag of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, according to a high-ranking Iraqi Army officer. According to an official with the Interior Ministry, the death toll included 6 soldiers and police officers and 10 civilians, while 14 others were wounded. Later, 10 more civilians were injured in a gunfight between insurgents and Iraqi security forces that lasted into the evening and put the neighborhood into a virtual lockdown as the army and police sealed off roads. [New York Times, 7/29/10]

AUGUST 17, 2010. Power-sharing Talks Between Iraqi Politicians Are Called Off. Negotiations between Iraq’s two most powerful political blocs broke down Monday, dashing hopes that a solution to a more than five-month impasse after national elections was on the horizon. The Sunni-and-secular-backed Iraqiya coalition of former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi called off talks with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Shiite-backed State of Law alliance after the Shiite incumbent called them a “Sunni” group in an interview. The move by Allawi’s group further isolates Maliki, who is intent on staying in power. This month a coalition of Shiite groups also halted talks with Maliki’s group. The decision to stop negotiations comes just two weeks before U.S. forces will shrink to 50,000 troops. As the U.S. military discusses the “end” of the Iraq war, the nation’s future is unclear. There is still no government, government office functions are lagging and hundreds are dying in attacks each month. [Washington Post, 8/17/10]

AUGUST 17, 2010. Iraq Suicide Bomber Targets Iraqi Recruits. In the bloodiest single attack in months, more than 50 people were killed and another 100 were wounded Tuesday morning when an Iraq suicide bomber struck an Army recruiting center in Baghdad. It occurred in the Bab al-Muadham neighborhood of central Baghdad shortly after 7:30 a.m., when a bomber with explosives hidden under his vest blew himself up in a crowd outside the Army’s 11th division headquarters. [Christian Science Monitor, 8/17/10]

AUGUST 31, 2010. Obama Declares an End to Combat Mission in Iraq. President Obama declared an end on Tuesday to the seven-year American combat mission in Iraq, saying that the United States has met its responsibility to that country and that it is now time to turn to pressing problems at home. In a prime-time address from the Oval Office, Mr. Obama balanced praise for the troops who fought and died in Iraq with his conviction that getting into the conflict had been a mistake in the first place. But he also used the moment to emphasize that he sees his primary job as addressing the weak economy and other domestic issues — and to make clear that he intends to begin disengaging from the war in Afghanistan next summer. [New York Times, 8/31/10]

SEPTEMBER 26, 2010. Iraq’s Awakening stripped of their police ranks. Hundreds of police officers, formerly members of an American-backed Sunni paramilitary force, will be stripped of their ranks in the Sunni Arab province of Anbar, tribal leaders and Anbar police said Sunday. The officers called the move by Iraq’s Interior Ministry, which oversees police, a threat to security in Anbar, once a stronghold of Sunni insurgent violence. In 2006, a group called the Awakening, some of them former insurgents, rose up with tribal and U.S. backing to battle al-Qaeda in Iraq. The same strategy was mirrored across the country with American backing and funding, and what became the Sons of Iraq is credited with helping calm Sunni Arab areas. In 2007, the U.S. military transformed many of the Awakening members in Anbar into police officers. Now many, such as these 410 men, are being stripped of their ranks, are being targeted by al-Qaeda in Iraq or think the Shiite-led government is trying to get rid of them. [Washington Post, 9/26/10]

SEPTEMBER 27, 2010. Insurgent Group in Iraq, Declared Tamed, Roars. This spring, United States military commanders said that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia was a group in disarray, all but finished as a formidable enemy after American and Iraqi troops had killed or captured more than three-quarters of its leaders. But even as officials in the United States and Iraq made public pronouncements that reveled in Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s demise, the Sunni insurgent group vowed “dark days colored in blood.” This summer, as if to make good on its pledge, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia embarked on a wave of terror that managed to shake even an Iraqi public inured to violence: during the past two months, Iraq has witnessed some of its highest casualty tolls in more than two years, according to the government. How Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has managed this unlikely turnaround — from a near spent force to a reinvigorated threat to Iraq’s democracy in a little more than two months — is a puzzle to both the Americans and Iraqis who study the insurgent group, some of whom now wonder whether the organization in Iraq can ever be entirely defeated. [New York Times, 9/27/10]

OCTOBER 14, 2010. Bomb Hits Politician’s Convoy. Iraqi officials said a roadside bomb hit a senior politician’s convoy Thursday, killing four people and wounding six others, including the politician. Police and hospital officials say the blast struck the car of the official, Abdul Karim al-Mohammadawi, a member of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya alliance, in Baghdad. The officials say three civilians and a bodyguard were killed. Mr. Mohammadawi, three bodyguards and two bystanders were wounded. [Associated Press, 10/14/10]

OCTOBER 16, 2010. Sunnis in Iraq Allied With U.S. Rejoin Rebels. Members of United States-allied Awakening Councils have quit or been dismissed from their positions in significant numbers in recent months, prey to an intensive recruitment campaign by the Sunni insurgency, according to government officials, current and former members of the Awakening and insurgents. Although there are no firm figures, security and political officials say hundreds of the well-disciplined fighters — many of whom have gained extensive knowledge about the American military — appear to have rejoined Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Beyond that, officials say that even many of the Awakening fighters still on the Iraqi government payroll, possibly thousands of them, covertly aid the insurgency. [New York Times, 10/16/10]

OCTOBER 18, 2010. Roadside Bomb Kills Baghdad Official. A roadside bomb during the Monday morning rush killed a member of Baghdad’s Provincial Council, the local governing body. The explosion, which wounded eight people, is the latest in a stream of small attacks aimed at the police and government officials. American military officials say the modest size of recent attacks, compared with devastating explosions at public buildings one year ago, is evidence of the Iraqi security forces’ success in weakening terrorist networks. But the attacks continue to stoke fears of a return to high levels of violence amid the seven-month political stalemate that followed the national elections. [New York Times, 10/18/10]

OCTOBER 20, 2010. Iraq Prime Minister Visits Egypt and Iran. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki took his shuttle campaign to Egypt, a predominantly Sunni state that has had warmer relations with Mr. Maliki’s main political rival, Ayad Allawi. Mr. Allawi’s multisectarian bloc, which includes most of Iraq’s Sunnis, won the most seats in the national elections in March, ahead of Mr. Maliki’s bloc, which is overwhelmingly Shiite. No alliance captured enough seats to form a new government. At a news conference in Cairo after meeting with President Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Maliki announced that he was seeking “to involve Egyptian companies in reconstructing Iraq and also to develop political relations,” not to curry support for his bid for re-election. [New York Times, 10/20/10]

NOVEMBER 1, 2010. Baghdad church hostage drama ends in bloodbath. At least 52 people were killed as security forces stormed a Catholic church in Baghdad to free dozens of hostages, said Deputy Interior Minister Maj Gen Hussein Kamal. He suggested six attackers had also died in the fighting, though other sources have said the overall death toll was lower. The gunmen had reportedly demanded the release of jailed al-Qaeda militants. A statement was posted on a militant website allegedly run by the Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni militant umbrella group to which al-Qaeda in Iraq belongs, claiming responsibility for the attack. [BBC, 11/1/10]

NOVEMBER 2, 2010. Coordinated Bombings Strike Across a Tense Baghdad. Insurgents unleashed a deadly series of coordinated attacks in Iraq’s capital on Tuesday night, setting off more than a dozen bombs and demonstrating their ability to upend the government’s measures to secure the country’s largest and most important city. At least 36 people were confirmed dead and more than 300 were wounded, according to the health minister, Saleh al-Hasnawi. The assault was the worst in Iraq since the summer, quickly shattering months of calm. It seemed intended to strike not at security targets or symbols of government power, but at public squares where people gathered to enjoy a clear and mild autumn evening. [New York Times, 11/2/10]

NOVEMBER 11, 2010. Sunni group walks out of Iraq parliament. The largely Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc walked out of a critical parliamentary session Thursday to protest what they said was a broken promise by other political blocs. The walkout dealt a setback to what was expected to be a turning point in the impasse that has paralyzed Iraqi politics since inconclusive elections in March. After the departure of Iraqiya, which won the most seats in Iraq’s parliament by a slim margin, the remaining 232 lawmakers continued to a presidential vote without them – a move that observers feared could cause a national crisis. Thursday’s session had been expected to go smoothly after all major blocs agreed late Wednesday to participate based upon mutual understandings. [Washington Post, 11/11/10]

NOVEMBER 13, 2010. Iraq lawmakers approve deal to form new government. Iraqi lawmakers approved an agreement on Saturday that aims to bring all of Iraq’s feuding political blocs into a new government led by Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, although deep disagreements remain about the role to be played by the country’s minority Sunnis. The deal struck this week ended an eight-month impasse that had stalled the formation of a new government and threatened to re-ignite sectarian violence. But the agreement appeared on the brink of collapse almost immediately after it was announced because of the deep-rooted distrust that pervades Iraq’s sectarian politics. [Associated Press, 11/13/10]

NOVEMBER 15, 2010. Car bombs kill prison commander in north Iraq. A prison commander and his body guard were killed on Monday when twin car bombs detonated outside a residential complex housing prison guards and staff in northern Iraq, officials said. The Badoosh prison, on the outskirts of Mosul, holds convicted insurgents, al-Qaida militants and criminals from across Iraq. Although it was not immediately clear who was behind the blasts near the prison complex, the facility is known for a poor security record. [Associated Press, 11/15/10]

NOVEMBER 16, 2010. Gunmen kill 2 Christians in northern Iraq. Gunmen burst into a home in northern Iraq and killed two Christian men as they sat in their living room, continuing a string of attacks again spreading fear through the dwindling religious minority. In a second strike in the city of Mosul on Monday night, assailants bombed another house belonging to a Christian family, wounding a bystander, police and medical officials said Tuesday. [Associated Press, 11/16/10]

NOVEMBER 19, 2010. Bomb targets Iraq lawmaker from Sunni-backed list. A roadside bomb went off in the northern city of Mosul Friday, narrowly missing a member of a Sunni-backed political bloc but killing one of his bodyguards, Iraqi officials said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Sunni Islamic militants often target lawmakers and government officials because they view them as supporting the Shiite-led government. [Washington Post, 11/19/10]

DECEMBER 13, 2010. Four Killed at Shiite Observance. Four people were killed and more than a dozen were wounded Monday in attacks on three groups of Shiite Muslims observing the religious holiday of Ashura. In the worst attack, a suicide bomber struck the end of a procession in Diyala Province, killing 4 people and wounding 15, mostly women. In Baghdad, a roadside bomb exploded near a procession, wounding four, and three others were hurt in a blast near a Shiite mosque. [New York Times, 12/13/10]

DECEMBER 15, 2010. Security Council Removes Restrictions on Iraq. The United States, tying up loose ends as its occupation of Iraq winds down, pushed through three Security Council resolutions on Wednesday that lifted restrictions left over from the confrontation with Saddam Hussein. One resolution permits Iraq to develop a civilian nuclear program and import materials once banned because they could possibly be used to help develop unconventional weapons. A second resolution formally shuttered the dormant, widely corrupt oil-for-food program. And the third gives the country control over most of its oil assets starting July 1, 2011, while simultaneously lifting the protection that shielded post-invasion Iraq from countless legal claims. [New York Times, 12/15/10]

DECEMBER 16, 2010. Bombs Kill 2 Iraqis on Way to Religious Ceremony. A spate of bombings killed two Iraqi pilgrims Thursday as they headed to ceremonies to mark a Shiite Muslim day of mourning. Police said four bombs hidden in trash cans killed two people in a procession and wounded six in the town of Dujail, 50 miles (80 kilometers) miles north of Baghdad. The casualties were confirmed by Dr. Munthir Hussein of the Hussein hospital in Dujail. Two more bombs were discovered and disarmed before they exploded, said a local police official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media. Earlier, a roadside bomb wounded three pilgrims in the downtown Baghdad neighborhood of Karradah, police said. [Associated Press, 12/16/10]

DECEMBER 21, 2010. Iraq Approves New Government. With a show of hands, a flurry of angry shouts and many unanswered questions, Iraq’s Parliament approved a new government on Tuesday, ending nine months of infighting that more than once threatened to throw the nation into a constitutional crisis. In Washington, President Obama called the vote a “significant moment in Iraq’s history” and “a clear rejection of the efforts by extremists to spur sectarian division.” American troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of next year. [New York Times, 12/21/10]


2011

JANUARY 5, 2011. Moqtada al-Sadr Returns to Iraq. After four years of self-imposed exile in Iran, Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr returned to Iraq. al-Sadr is the head of the Sadr Militia, a group known to have been involved in some of the bloodiest fighting of the Iraq War. [Washington Post, 3/6/2011]

FEBRUARY 3, 2011: Iraqi Kurdistan begins exporting oil again [Reuters, 2/3/11]

JUNE 13, 2011: Department of Defense announces that $6.6 billion dollars earmarked for Iraq has been lost with no explanation

[It was] enough to run the Los Angeles Unified School District or the Chicago Public Schools for a year, among many other things. For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error. [LA Times, 6/13/11]

AUGUST 15, 2011: 42 bombings — three times the average number that year — rock the country, killing 89 and wounding 315. [NYT, 8/15/11]

SEPTEMBER 1, 2011: August becomes the first month since the start of the war without a single American casualty. [NPR, 9/1/11]

SEPTEMBER 6, 2011. Administration Dropping Troop Levels to 3,000 Fox News reported that the Obama adminstration was set to withdraw all but 3,000 troops from Iraq at the end of the year. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insisted that no firm decision on troop levels had been made yet. [Fox News, 9/6/2011]

SEPTEMBER 26, 2011: Dan Froomkin reports that the US will forced to leave behind millions of dollars of military equipment and basing structures because it’s too expensive to bring it out

The Department of Defense is engaged in a mad dash to give away things that cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars to buy and build. The giveaways include enormous, elaborate military bases and vast amounts of military equipment that will be turned over to the Iraqis, mostly just to save the expense of bringing it home. [HuffPo, 9/26/11]

OCTOBER 21, 2011. Obama: Iraq War Will Be Over By Year’s End. President Obama announced that a new Status of Forces Agreement would not be concluded with the Iraqi government, leading to all U.S. forces leaving the country by year’s end. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” Obama said. “The coming months will be a season of homecomings. Our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.” [CNN, 10/21/11]

DECEMBER 15, 2011: The US formally declares an end to the Iraq war

Nearly 4,500 U.S. servicemembers were killed in more than eight years of war and about 30,000 wounded. Tens of thousands of Iraqis died, troops and civilians, as the U.S. deposed Saddam’s regime and beat down an insurgency backed by al-Qaeda terrorists and sectarian revenge killings that threatened to destroy the country. [USA Today, 12/15/11]

DECEMBER 18, 2011. Last Convoy of American Troops Leaves Iraq. After almost nine years, the last U.S. convoy of American forces — around 110 vehicles and 500 soldiers — left Iraq under the cover of darkness. [NYT, 12/18/11]

DECEMBER 19, 2011. Arrest Warrant Issued for Iraq V.P. on Terror Charge The Iraqi government put out a warrant for the arrest of Sunni Vice-President Tariq al_Hashemi on charges of terrorism. Hashemi fled soon thereafter, leading to a trial being held in absentia. [AP, 12/19/2011]


2012

MARCH 20, 2012. Dozens of Bombs Kill At Least 52 Across Iraq [Reuters, 3/20/2012]

MARCH 29, 2012. Arab League Summit Opens in Baghdad. The first major summit to be held in Iraq since the U.S. invasion opened in Baghdad. The talks between Arab League members was dominated by the crisis in Syria, and met with several explosions in a tense security situation. [Al Jazeera, 3/29/2012]

JULY 23, 2012. Bombings in Baghdad and North Kill 107. [BBC, 7/23/2012]

SEPTEMBER 9, 2012. Iraq Vice-President sentenced to death. Fugitive Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi is sentenced to death in his trial on charges of terrorism. Hashemi denounced the verdict as political from his exile in Turkey. [Guardian, 9/9/2012]

DECEMBER 19, 2012. Iraqi President Suffers Stroke.

[President Jalal Talabani's] sudden illness prompted questions about Talabani’s exit from politics where he has been a key mediator among Shi’ite, Sunni, and Kurds and helped ease tensions in the growing dispute over oil between Baghdad and the country’s autonomous Kurdistan.[Reuters, 12/19/2012]

DECEMBER 24, 2012. Iraqi Kurds halt oil export once again. [Bloomberg, 12/24/2012]


2013

JANUARY 16, 2013. Bombings in Kurdish Iraq Kill More Than 20. [NYT, 1/16/2013]

MARCH 6, 2013. Final SIGIR Report Shows Billions Wasted. The final report of the Special Inspector-General for Reconstruction in Iraq is released, showing up to $10 billion was wasted in the rebuilding of Iraq. In a set of lessons learned, SIGIR Bowen highlighted several of the mistakes made by the Bush administration including inadequate preparation before launching the war in the first place. [NBC News, 3/6/2013]

MARCH 19, 2013. Car Bombs Kill 56 Civilians in Iraq. On the eve of the ten year anniversary of the U.S. invasion, over a dozen bombings took place throughout Baghdad, killing at least 56 people and wounding over 200. [AP, 3/19/2013]