Occupation of Iraq timeline

Timeline of events during Multinational force's occupation of Iraq, following 2003 invasion of Iraq, and relevant quotations about nature of occupation from officials.

"See also": 2003 Iraq war timeline, 2003 in Iraq, 2004 in Iraq, 2005 in Iraq, 2006 in Iraq, 2007 in Iraq, 2008 in Iraq.

Beginnings

2003

January

February

*February 23:"First -- and this is really the overarching principle -- the United States seeks to liberate Iraq, not occupy Iraq . . . If the President should decide to use force, let me assure you again that the United States would be committed to liberating the people of Iraq, not becoming an occupation force".:Paul Wolfowitz: [http://www.pentagon.gov/speeches/2003/sp20030223-depsecdef0042.html Speech to Iraqi-American Community]

*February 26:"The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government...":George W. Bush: [http://www.pentagon.gov/speeches/2003/sp20030223-depsecdef0042.html Speech to the American Enterprise Institute]

March

*March 20: Beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom with US raids on Baghdad and entrance of US and UK land forces in the South.
*March 26:"We will help the Iraqi people to find the benefits and assume the duties of self-government. The form of those institutions will arise from Iraq's own culture and its own choices.":George W. Bush: [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030326-4.html Speech at MacDill AFB]

:"But as soon as possible, we want to have working alongside the commander aim Iraqi authority, people representing the people of Iraq. And, as that authority grows and gets greater credibility from the people of Iraq, we want to turn over more and more responsibilities to them.":Colin Powell: [http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/0326powell4.htm Press Conference]

April

*April 1:"The goal is an Iraq that stands on its own feet and that governs itself in freedom and in unity and with respect for the rights of all its citizens. We'd like to get to that goal as quickly as possible." :Paul Wolfowitz: [http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/t04032003_t0401dsd60min.html Interview with 60 Minutes II]

*April 2:"I can assure you that we all want to end this as soon as possible, so we can get on with the task of allowing the Iraqi people to form a new government.":Colin Powell: [http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2003/19296.htm Press Conference in Belgrade]

*April 4:"We will leave Iraq completely in the hands of Iraqis as quickly as possible.":Condoleezza Rice: [http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/texts/03040412.htm Press Briefing]

:QUESTION: "Mr. Secretary, could you give us an idea of your views of the interim administration (of Iraq), how quickly it might be set up..?"

:SECRETARY POWELL: "We are anxious to move quickly now that the day of liberation is drawing near. I don't know when it will happen. But, certainly, we can see what's going to happen in the not-too-distant future, we hope." :Colin Powell: [http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2003/19357.htm Press Conference]

*April 9: Entrance of the US Army in Baghdad and fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

*April 10:"We want to see a situation where power and responsibility is transferred as quickly as possible to the Iraqis themselves, with as much international assistance as possible ... We have no desire to occupy Iraq..." :Paul Wolfowitz: [http://www.dod.gov/speeches/2003/sp20030410-depsecdef0142.html Testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee]

*April 13:"The task is to create an environment that is sufficiently permissive that the Iraqi people can fashion a new government. And what they will do is come together in one way or another and select an interim authority of some kind. Then that group will propose a constitution and a more permanent authority of some kind. And over some period of months, the Iraqis will have their government selected by Iraqi people.":Donald Rumsfeld

:"After (Gen. Jay Garner) finishes his job of restoring basic services, the interim Iraqi authority will be established. And that interim authority will be an authority of Iraqis, chosen by Iraqis. And it will be able to function as an authority in the country immediately after Gen. Garner's job is finished, which should be only a few weeks." :Ahmed Chalabi, Chairman of the Iraqi National Congress

:"I think what we are so proud of is governments which permit their populace to be involved in a process that provides them freedom, provides them liberty. And I think what we will see in the months and years ahead in Iraq will provide a bit of a model for how that can be done ... because, Tony, it will be the Iraqi people who decide how to do that, and they will do it on their terms.":Gen. Tommy Franks

*April 16:"Soon Iraqis will be able to give us guidance about how to move forward and create an Iraqi interim authority. And that authority will begin to allow Iraqis to have sovereignty over their country and in a way that Iraqis will choose; they will create an Iraqi Government." :Marc Grossman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs

*April 17:"The coalition supports the formation, as soon as possible, of the Iraqi Interim Authority -- a transitional administration, run by Iraqis, until a government is established by the people of Iraq through elections. The Interim Authority should be broad-based and fully representative.":Zalmay Khalilzad, Special U.S. Envoy to Iraq

*April 21:"The new ruler of Iraq is going to be an Iraqi. I don't rule anything.":Gen. Jay Garner: [http://www.dod.mil/news/Apr2003/n04242003_200304242.html Press Interview]

*April 24:"I think you'll begin to see the governmental process start next week, by the end of next week. It will have Iraqi faces on it. It will be governed by the Iraqis.":Gen. Jay Garner: [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A31918-2003Apr24&notFound=true Press Conference in Baghdad]

*April 24:"If you're suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn't going to happen.":Donald Rumsfeld: [http://www.cmonitor.com/stories/front2003/iraqrdp_2003.shtml Interview with Associated Press]

*April 28:"As freedom takes hold in Iraq, the Iraqi people will choose their own leaders and their own government. America has no intention of imposing our form of government or our culture. Yet, we will ensure that all Iraqis have a voice in the new government...":George W. Bush: [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/04/20030428-3.html Speech in Dearborne, Michigan]

May

*May 1President George W. Bush declares major combat operations over. Mission Accomplished

*May 2Organization of an international force of stabilization.

*May 5:"By the middle of (this) month, you'll really see a beginning of a nucleus of an Iraqi government with an Iraqi face on it that is dealing with the coalition.":Gen. Jay Garner

*May 9:"Soon, Iraqis from every ethnic group will choose members of an interim authority. The people of Iraq are building a free society from the ground up, and they are able to do so because the dictator and his regime are no more.":George W. Bush: [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/20030509-11.html Address at the University of South Carolina]

*May 15 - U.S forces launch Operation Planet X, raiding a village near the towns of Ad Dawr and Al Dur 11 miles south of Tikrit in search of fugitives from the former regime. 260 people were detained, 230 of which were released the next day. Among those captured was Gen. Mahdi Al-Duri Al-Tikrit Adil Abdallah, from the list of most-wanted Iraqi officials. Also captured were two sons of Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri and five Special Security Office bodyguards.

:"We will provide the conditions for Iraqis to govern themselves in the future. To that end, the Coalition Provisional Authority will work with responsible Iraqis to begin the process of establishing a government representative of all the Iraqi people.":L. Paul Bremer, Special Envoy to Iraq: [http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/tr20030515-0186.html Press Conference in Baghdad]

:"When Iraqi officials are in a position to shoulder their country's responsibilities, when they have in place the necessary political and other structures to provide food, security and the other necessities, the coalition will have a strong interest in seeing them run their own affairs.":Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy: [http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/usandun/03051505.htm Testimony Before the House International Relations Committee]

*May 16
Paul Bremer, nominated as civil administrator, creates the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) as transitional government.:"We are interested in the quick creation of an Iraqi interim authority and in Iraq's democracy.":Marc Grossman, Undersecretary of State: [http://www.usembassy.lt/pas/hyperfile/eur206.htm Interview with China Phoenix TV]

*May 18:"I've read a report in the American press about a delay (in the transitional authority). I don't know where these stories are coming from because we haven't delayed anything.":L. Paul Bremer: [http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=2764271 Remarks to Press in Mosul]

*May 21:"I would think we are talking about more like sometime in July to get a national conference put together.":L. Paul Bremer: [http://www.rferl.org/features/2003/05/21052003162611.asp Remarks to Reporters in Baghdad]

*May 23
L. Paul Bremer issues Order 2, dissolving the Iraqi army and other entities of the Baathist state. [http://www.iraqcoalition.org/regulations/20030823_CPAORD_2_Dissolution_of_Entities_with_Annex_A.pdf]

*May 27:"As Thomas Jefferson put it, 'we are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.' It took time and patience, but eventually our Founders got it right -- and we hope so will the people of Iraq -- over time.":Donald Rumsfeld

*May 27:"While our goal is to put functional and political authority in the hands of Iraqis as soon as possible, the Coalition Provisional Authority has the responsibility to fill the vacuum of power ... by asserting temporary authority over the country. The coalition will do so. It will not tolerate self-appointed 'leaders'.":Donald Rumsfeld: [http://www.dod.gov/speeches/2003/sp20030527-secdef0245.html Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations]

*May 28:"It will be difficult for a free political life in Iraq to flourish until the conditions are set, but it is a project that we're working on.":Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense: [http://usinfo.state.gov/admin/013/nea304.htm Foreign Press Briefing]

*May 29:"They told us, 'Liberation now' and then they made it occupation. Bush said he was a liberator, not an occupier, and we supported the United States on this basis.":Ahmed Chalabi, Chairman of the Iraqi National Congress: [http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/special_packages/iraq/5966949.htm Interview with Trudy Rubin] , "Philadelphia Inquirer" columnist

*May 29:QUESTION: "When do you think there might be a government in place, even a provisional government in place in Iraq?"

:RUMSFELD: "I don't know.":Donald Rumsfeld: [http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/tr20030529-secdef0230.html Infinity Radio Town Hall]

June

*June 1:In Azamiyah, an eastern neighborhood of Baghdad, about a dozen Iraqi fighters within the Abu Hanifa mosque shoot and toss grenades at soldiers from the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division. The attacks injure two American soldiers; the return fire kills two Iraqis.

*June 2:"The CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) is going to be in charge until there is a sovereign representative, democratic Iraqi government chosen.":Anonymous CPA Official

*June 9:A soldier from the US 82nd Airborne Division is killed when a rocket-propelled grenade is fired at a weapons collection point in Baghdad, the ninth casualty in 14 days.

:Another soldier is wounded when two men jumped out of a van and fire two rocket-propelled grenades.

*July 13 The Iraqi Governing Council is established under the authority of the US Coalition Provisional Authority.

*June 15
**The U.S. military begins Operation Desert Scorpion, a series of raids across Iraq intended to find Iraqi resistance and heavy weapons.
**Two U.S. military convoys are ambushed north of Baghdad, wounding 10 soldiers and some Iraqi bystanders in a bus nearby.
**Nine U.S. Soldiers Are Wounded Battling Pockets of Iraqi Resistance [http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/17/international/worldspecial/17IRAQ.html]

*June 16:11:30 pm: A sniper shoots and kills a soldier riding in a Humvee from the 1st Armored Division's 1st Brigade in Baghdad.

July

*July 22 Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam Hussein's sons, are killed in Mosul

August

*August 7:Truck bomb kills 19 outside the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad.

*August 19:Truck bomb at the UN Headquarters kills the top UN envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 others.

*August 29:Influential Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim is killed in a car bomb blast as he leaves his mosque after Friday prayers. At least 84 others are killed.

*August 26:Bush vows 'No Retreat' from Iraq.

eptember

*September 3 First post-Saddam government.
*September 6

A US military plane taking off from Baghdad airport comes under attack from two surface-to-air missiles.

*September 23:Gallup poll shows majority of Iraqis expect better life in 5 years. Around two-thirds of Baghdad residents state the Iraqi dictator removal was worth the hardships they've been forced to endure.

October

*October 2

:David Kay's Iraq Survey Group report finds little evidence of WMD in Iraq, although the regime did intend to develop more weapons with additional capabilities. Such plans and programs appear to have been dormant, the existence of these though were concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in 2002. Weapons inspectors in Iraq do find clandestine "network of biological laboratories" and a deadly strain of botulinum. The US-sponsored search for WMD has so far cost $300 million and is projected to cost around $600 million more.

*October 16 UN Security Council issue Resolution 1511 which envisions a multinational force and preserve Washington's quasi absolute control on Iraq.

*October 26:Coalition authorities lift a nighttime curfew on Baghdad's 5 million residents that has been in place for six months since the city fell to U.S. forces. The curfew ends in time to accommodate observations of Ramadan. Soon after the beginning of Ramadan, there is a large increase in the rate that American soldiers are killed in Iraq.

November

*November 2

*In the heaviest single loss for the coalition troops since cessation of the military campaign in Iraq two US Chinook helicopters are fired on by two surface-to-air missiles and one crashes near Fallujah and on its way to Baghdad airport; 16 soldiers are killed and 20 wounded. [http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=DWZGY4XS5WOC4CRBAEZSFFA?type=topNews&storyID=3737651] [http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/11/02/sprj.irq.int.main/index.html] A blast damages an oil pipeline near Kirkuk, north of Baghdad.

*November 12
*A suicide truck bomb detonates at the Italian military HQ in Nasiriyah, killing 19 Italians (17 of them soldiers) and 14 Iraqis.

*November 15

*The Governing Council unveils an accelerated timetable for transferring the country to Iraqi control.

*November 22

*An Airbus A-300 freighter belonging to German courier firm DHL is forced to make an emergency landing with an engine fire, after being struck by a portable shoulder-fired Russian-made SA-14 missile.
*Two car bombs at Iraqi police stations kill more than 18.

*November 26
*UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw makes a brief, unannounced visit.

*November 27

*U.S. President George W. Bush makes a stealthy Thanksgiving Day visit to Baghdad (the White House having announced that he would be at home with his family) in an attempt to boost morale among the troops and ordinary Iraqis. Bush is accompanied by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and he is flown in to Baghdad International Airport aboard Air Force One. [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,104246,00.html] [http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/11/27/thanksgiving.rdp/index.html] [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3245120.stm]

*November 30

*The US military reports killing 46 militants and wounding 18 in clashes in the central city of Samarra. The reports are later called into question as reporters interview residents of the city. Hospital staff only reports 8 dead - most or all of them civilians, including an elderly Iranian pilgrim. No bodies of dead guerillas are found.

December

*December 9

*Guerrillas hit a U.S. helicopter with a rocket propelled grenade near Fallujah. The American military says the aircraft made a "controlled landing" and that there were no injuries.
*A suicide bomber blows up a car packed with explosives at the gates of a military barracks, injuring forty-one American troops and six Iraqi civilians.
*Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's Cabinet approves a plan to send about 1,000 soldiers to help in Iraq's reconstruction in that nation's biggest overseas troop deployment since World War II.

*December 10
*The military establishes the first of several AFN Iraq stations [http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123006173] .

*December 13Capture of Saddam Hussein.

*December 14

*U.K. and U.S. government sources confirm that the U.S. 4th Infantry Division has captured former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in Adwar, a village fifteen kilometers from Tikrit, during Operation Red Dawn.

*December 17

*The U.S. 4th Infantry Division launches Operation Ivy Blizzard, lasting from dawn until mid-morning. The operation resulted in the arrest of several guerrilla fighters and possible terrorists.

*December 31

*A car bomb explodes outside a restaurant in Baghdad, killing 8 Iraqis and wounding more than 30 others, including 3 Los Angeles Times correspondents.

Later months

2004

January

*January 24

*A suicide bomber drives a truck bomb into a US military position near a bridge in Khaldiya, killing 3 soldiers and wounding 6 others.

*January 26

*Japanese troops begin participation in most risky military expedition since World War II.

February

*February 1

*Two suicide bombers kill 109 and wound 235 at two Kurdish buildings in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil.

*February 18

*A double suicide bombing on a Coalition base in Baghdad kills eight Iraqis.

*February 21

*U.S. permits Red Cross to visit Saddam Hussein for first time since his capture in December.

March

*March 2

*Almost 200 are killed in a series of bomb blasts in Baghdad and Karbala at the climax of the Shi'a festival of Aashurah. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3527221.stm]

*March 8Signature of the provisional Iraqi Constitution.

April

*April 1

*Four American private security contractors, all ex-members of the U.S. Special Forces, are shot and burnt in their cars in Fallujah. A cheering crowd dismembers the corpses and hangs two of them from a bridge over the Euphrates River. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3587931.stm]

*April 4Beginning of violent clashes between the coalition and followers of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, which will end at the end of August 2004.

*April 6

*Followers of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr riot in Najaf and the Sadr City slum in Baghdad. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3606273.stm]

*April 8Beginning of kidnapping of foreign civilians. In total, about thirty foreign hostages on several hundreds would be assassinated.

*April 18 Spain, led by newly elected José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (Socialist Party) takes out its troop from the multinational force in Iraq.

*April 26

*The Iraq Interim Governing Council announce a new flag for post-Saddam Iraq. This creates much controversy, in part because of the similarity of color and design with the flag of Israel, and difference with other Arab nation flags. The flag is not adopted.

*April 18Beginning of the diffusion of images of humiliated Iraqi detainees by US soldiers in Abu Ghraib.

May

June

*June 1 Assuming of functions of the Iraqi Interim Government led by Prime minister Iyad Allawi; Ghazi al-Yawer is designed head of the Iraqi state.
*June 8 UN Resolution 1546 on the transfer of sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional Authority to the Iraqi Interim Government.
*June 28 At 10:26 AM, the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority formally transferred sovereignty of Iraqi territory to the Iraqi interim government, two days ahead of schedule. L. Paul Bremer departed the country two hours later.
*June 30Saddam Hussein and eleven high ex-governmental responsibles are put under the Iraqi Interim Government's authority.

July

*July 16 The Philippines quit the coalition.
*July 20
*Gloria Arroyo, President of the Philippines, confirms that hostage Angelo de la Cruz has been freed by his captors after their demands for a one-month-early withdrawal of all 51 Filipino troops from Iraq were met.

*July 21
*Militants in Iraq abduct six individuals: three Indians, two Kenyans and an Egyptian, announcing that the hostages would be beheaded unless their countries immediately announced the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq.html?hp (NYT)] This is confusing, since none of those countries have troops in Iraq.

August

*Early August
*Forces loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr resist government authority in Najaf.=

eptember

*September 4
*2 Iraqis killed in US bombardment of Falujah

*September 6
*Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri, vice president of Iraq prior to the invasion, was thought to have been captured. However, medical testing proved he was not the person in custody.
*2 US soldiers killed and 16 injured in the evening by a mortar attack outside Balad City, north of Baghdad.
*1 US soldier and 6 Iraqi civilians injured by a booby-trapped car.

October

*October 1
*U.S. and Iraqi government forces attack the insurgent-held city of Samarra in northern Iraq. U.S. officials say over 100 militants were killed and 37 were captured, while local doctors say at least 80 people died, and 100 were wounded, including civilians. (BBC) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3705890.stm) (Canada.com News) (http://www.canada.com/news/world/story.html?id=2a60bd15-45c2-491e-b761-cdaf957acf6a). There is speculation that this marks the beginning of a campaign to establish authority in all insurgent-held areas of Iraq before elections scheduled for January.

November

*November 7
State of emergency decreted on all the territory.

2005

January

*January 30 Iraqi legislative election. The Shia list obtains the absolute majority before the Kurdish.

March

*March 4 Liberation of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, during which secret Italian agent Nicola Calipari is killed by US fire. Berlusconi's government announce a partial retreat of Italian troops from the coalition.

*March 16 First meeting of the transitional National Assembly.

April

*April 6 Election of Kurdish Jalal Talabani as president of Iraq

*April 7 Ibrahim al-Jaafari is nominated as Prime minister of Iraq

*April 28 The Parliament vote its trust towards the new government.

May

*May 15 Formation of the parliamentary commission charged of the draft of the new Constitution.

August

*August 15 Unable to find a consensus between the main political leaders, the Parliament postpone for a week the transmission of the draft Constitution to its members

*August 22 The Constitution's draft is presented to the Iraqi Parliament.

December

*December 15 Legislative election

2006

February

*February 10 The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq validates the results of the December 2005 legislative election.

*February 22 The Al Askari Mosque is bombed, sparking a wave of sectarian violence.

April

*April 24 Marines allegedly abduct an Iraqi civilian from a house, kill him, and place components and spent AK-47 cartridges near his body to make it appear he was planting an IED. See Hamdania incident.

May

*May 20 The new Iraqi government, which succeeds to the Iraqi Transitional Government, takes its functions.

June

*June 7 Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is killed.

July

*July 25 Operation River Falcon begins.

August

*August 24 Maj. Charlie Burbridge, a British military spokesman, said the last of 1,200 British troops left Camp Abu Naji, just outside Amarah in Iraq's southern Maysan province. Burbridge told Reuters that British troops leaving the base were preparing to head deep into the marshlands along the Iranian border, stating "We are repositioning our forces to focus on border areas and deal with reports of smuggling of weapons and improvised explosive devices from across the border."


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