History and background of the war in iraq

U.S. declares an end to the War in Iraq

That is obviously not the position of Iraq, which has sought to secure for itself something of a hegemonic position in the region. More positively, if the us Left is to take advantage of the present conjuncture to begin to rebuild itself and acquire a mass base after more than a decade of precipitate decline, it must associate itself systematically and unambiguously with the defence of democratic rights. In the present case, this means opposing the forceful imposition of one regime on another people which does not, of course, mean ignoring the repressive character of the Kuwaiti and Saudi regimes.

The failure of much of the us Left to stand unambiguously for the right of self-determination has in too many cases allowed right-wing forces to assume to themselves the mantle of leadership in the struggle for national rights. Unfortunately, of course, the Soviet invasion, as well as the apologies of much of the us Left for it, only helped solidify the association of national oppression with the Left, and the association of leadership in the struggle for national liberation with the Right, thereby strengthening the Islamic reactionaries throughout the region and discrediting the Left.

This is the way to begin to persuade a broader public of the systematically imperialist character of us foreign policy, and the unconcern of this policy for human rights where their assertion stands in the way of American interests. Right up to the day of its invasion of Kuwait, Iraq was a close ally of the United States. When Iraq first invaded Iran, the usa symptomatically failed to denounce its aggression, and simply called for negotiations to settle the outstanding differences between the parties.

Indeed, the us administration opposed the effort to pass an international resolution condemning Iraq for deploying chemical weapons against the Kurds, as well as against its external enemies. The Baghdad museum and other institutions were looted of priceless archeological finds, and Mosul university was trashed by looters as well, while US forces looked on without intervening. As it turned out, looting of museum artifacts was not as widespread as had been assumed. However, it subsequently became evident that the US had allowed large quantities of explosives and nuclear materials to disappear from sites sealed by the IAEA and had left those sites unguarded, despite repeated warnings from the IAEA and other sources.

Several thousand tons of explosives disappeared from the Al-Qaaqa base and presumably fell into the hands of Iraqi resistance.. Meanwhile, resistance to the US occupation grew.

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After Friday prayers, angry crowds gathered and chanted "No to Saddam, No to Bush" and other such slogans. The crowds were incited by Sunni and Shi'a imams who told them that the war was waged to protect Israel. By April , the situation had calmed sufficiently to allow a huge traditional pilgrimage of Shi'ite Muslims to their shrine in Karbala.

This was the first such pilgrimage on foot allowed in many years. The pilgrims were grateful for their freedom and cursed Saddam, but not many connected their new found freedom with gratitude for the US. Former foreign minister Tariq Aziz turned himself in on April However, reports continued to indicate that despite several allied attempts on his life, Saddam Hussein was alive and was in fact in Iraq. US teams continued to search for evidence of WMD, finding only suggestive clues and some "promising leads.

US and British forces did uncover evidence of the brutality and corruption of Saddam Hussein's regime, including mass graves for thousands of political prisoners and huge stashes of cash, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. Subsequently, these charges proved to be apparently unfounded, but many other politicians and businessmen were shown to have received bribes from the Saddam regime in the form of oil coupons, and other documentation involving Galloway emerged.

Europe again distanced itself from the war when it became apparent that the US would not succeed in restoring order quickly in Iraq, and French President Chirac continued to insist that the war and US occupation were illegal.

Syria denied these allegations, but the US captured many non-Iraqi fighters in Iraq, and intercepted busloads of such fighters coming from Syria. Opponents of the war insisted that US complaints against Syria were part of an Israeli inspired conspiracy to get the US to attack Syria, a view that was also voiced by the Syrian government. On May 1, , President Bush declared the war over. The US had still not succeeded in installing an interim government, despite two meetings held for this purpose. Some services were restored in the destroyed cities of Iraq, but numerous people remained destitute and hungry.

In Faluja, anti-US riots broke out and marines were forced to fire on crowds on different occasions resulting in about 20 civilian deaths in total. In June, the US announced that it was giving up on the plan to have Iraqis from a provisional government because of internal rivalries, and would instead appoint a government.

This interim government took office in July, but bombings and sabotage continued, and reconstruction work lagged behind forecasts.


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US morale was bouyed when Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay were killed in a shootout with US troops, but Saddam remained at large throughout the summer. A number of videotapes supposedly made by Saddam were aired. Not a day passed without some act of violence against US troops or Iraqis who supported them or were opposed to the regime of Saddam. UN Security Resolution on Iraq recognized the legitimacy of the coalition appointed interim government, while calling for a timetable for Iraqi self-governance.

The coalition announced that Iraq self-governance would be achieved in June of , though the coalition forces would remain in Iraq. No shots were fired during the capture. Saddam had grown long hair and a beard. The capture was greeted with jubilant celebrations in Iraqi cities. Provisional government officials promised that Saddam would be tried for crimes against the Iraqi people. More about the capture of Saddam. The capture of Saddam did not immediately stop the resistance to the coalition, though resistance attacks began to abate soon after.

In January, it was announced that the Kurds would be allowed at least initially to maintain their semi-autonomous status, achieved in after desert storm, even after June On January 1, , Lakhdar Brahimi was appointed as a special envoy. He recommended a government that would be based on technocrats rather than reflecting the political power structure.

By March, , factions had agreed on an interim constitution, which was approved by the coalition partners despite clauses that specify Islam as a source of legislation. US authorities remained powerless to stop or control terror attacks in Iraq. For the most part, the perpetrators of the attacks remained unknown, and the attacks were variously attributed to foreign fighters including Al-Qaeda and to dissident Iraqis, including elements loyal to Saddam Hussein.

Terror attacks mounted in the spring of , as the date for handing over sovereignty to the interim government approached. Eventually, the US withdrew and handed over official control to the Iraqi army and police, but reports claimed that Falluja was ruled by armed gangs of religious fanatics who terrorize those who commit infractions against religious rules. In Najaf, Shi'ite extremist Moqtada Sadr and his Mehdi army took refuge in holy places, and the US besieged the city, but eventually the Mehdi army left the holy places under a truce agreement.

Groups apparently affiliated with Al-Qaeda kidnapped foreigners including an American and a South Korean, whom they beheaded.

Iraq profile - timeline

Most alarming, the newly recruited and trained Iraqi troops and police proved to be largely ineffective against insurgents, often running away or deserting to enemy forces where there was fighting, or keeping to their bases and doing nothing, as in Falluja. By June, terror attacks were occurring almost every day in numerous cities in Iraq. Oil exports were crippled by sabotage of the pipelines and storage facilities. On a single day, over people, mostly Iraqis, were killed in a series of coordinated attacks.

The attacks caused revulsion even among Jihadist leaders, who denounced those who killed civilians. On June 7, the UN Security council unanimously passed resolution , which legitimized the authority of the interim government that was about to take over power in Iraq. This resolution represented a compromise that was supposed to end the bitter controversy between France and Russia, on the one hand, who opposed the US war in Iraq, and the US, Britain and coalition partners on the other.

It supposedly opened the way for greater international cooperation in solving the Iraq crisis. On June 28, Nato announced that it would accede to the request of the Iraqi government and help provide training for security forces, but there was little real NATO involvement in Iraq. Possibly to preserve its political power against the technocratic government that Lakhdar Brahimi wished to install, the interim governing council, which was previously unable to agree about very much, united to chose Iyad Allawi as Iraqi Prime Minister. Allawi is a Shi'ite and was at one time a member of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party.

Al-Qaeda threatened to kill Allawi.

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Iraq Crisis and war - A historical overview

In a surprise move to forestall terror attacks, the handover of power to the new government was moved up by two days. The installation of the new government did not cause an abatement in terror attacks. On the contrary, blasts killed Iraqi police and police trainees as well as US military personnel almost every day. Foreign personnel were frequently kidnapped and held for ransom or in order to force their governments to leave the coalition forces or to induce their employers to leave Iraq.

Several such hostages were beheaded and their beheadings shown on videotape. However, in Falluja, the situation was deemed intolerable.


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  6. The US gathered troops for an offensive in Falluja, while the Iraqi government tried to negotiate a peaceful takeover of the city. By it was evident even to the US administration that the Iraq war effort was in trouble. The Iraqi government had not implemented most of the reforms agreed with the US.

    The incidence of violence and suicide bombings was rising. Outside factors, especially Syria, Iran and al-Qaeda were implicated in the violence. Iraqi army troops were not being readied to replace US troops. The Iraq Study Group Report : recommended setting deadlines for Iraqi government action, and a series of other steps, including progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace, which was assumed to be linked to the Iraq war.

    It also recommended deadlines for US withdrawals from Iraq. Congress subsequently tried to set such deadlines, but the move was vetoed by the US administration.

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    The US began a "surge" - sending more troops to Iraq to attempt to contain violence and pacify major areas. By August , most observers agreed that the surge was not particularly effective. The Iraqi government meanwhile continued to lose support as Shi'a and Sunni factions left over sectarian policy disagreements.

    Overview: The Iraq War

    A new reality emerged in While the surge did not immediately eliminate terrorism in Iraq, unbridled terror by Al-Qaeda in Iraq, kindled a spontaneous "awakening" by Sunni tribesman that was judiciously encouraged by the United States. The awakening also helped US intelligence efforts as tribesman cooperated with government and coalition forces, and the Iraqi army itself began to take charge of the situation. Suicide bombings continued, but at a slower pace. The Maliki government faced down the Shia "Mehdi Army" and forced it to accept a truce.

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