Iraq since 2003

Prehistory of the Invasion . In the months preceding the invasion (of March 2003), Iraq pursued an on-off-on policy regarding the cooperation with a team of international weapons experts headed by Hans Blix (IAEA). The team found and destroyed a number of missiles, but did not find suspected stores of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Early in 2003 a dispute between Hans Blix, who suspected the existence of WMD and wanted more time for inspections, and the U.S. administration arose.
The U.S. administration looked for international support for an invasion of Iraq. The United Kingdom decided to join, and wanted the invsion to be authorized by a UN resolution; the public relations campaign for such a resolution, justified with the suspected stocks of WMD, was unsuccessful; France, Germany, Russia and the PR China spoke out against such a resolution, France hinted that she would use her veto right. The argumentation pro and contra invasion of Iraq proved a strain for traditional alliances such as NATO.
The U.S. administration then proceeded to form a Coalition of the Willing, joined by Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Tonga, Ukraine, the United Kingdom.

Invasion and Occupation . While the main argumentation for the invasion had been the removal of weapons of mass destruction, the Coalition of the Willing also aimed at toppling the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, and to introduce democracy in Iraq.
The invaders entered Iraqi territory from Kuwait, and within a matter of weeks pushed forward to Baghdad. The regular Iraqi forces being defeated, on May 1st 2003 U.S. president Bush declared "mission accomplished". Iraq was divided into several zones. The Kurdish north was not occupied at all, administered by the Kurds. The large center was occupied by the U.S., supported by coalition forces; the south-central region by the Poles, the south around Basra by the British, supported by coalition forces.
As of June 2007, the stockpiles of WMD Iraq was suspected to have in 2003 were not found.

Administration . Saddam Hussein, president from 1979 to 2003, accused of numerous atrocities, went into hiding in April 2003; he was captured in December 2003.
An interim government was installed in 2003, an interim constitution adopted in 2004. In June 2004, sovereignty was transferred to an Interim Iraqi Government headed by PM Iyad Allawi, as head of a multiparty coalition. Free elections werre held in January 2005.
The occupational authorities dissolved Iraq's regular army and banned the Ba'ath Party. Saddam Hussein was accused of having ordered the execution of 148 residents of Dujayl (in 1982); he was sentenced, and, in November 2006, executed.

Resistance and Civil War . The original assumption, by the U.S. administration, was, that the task at hand was to defeat Iraq's regular forces and to topple an oppressive regime which had, undisputedly, been responsible of gross human rights violations.
Insufficient planning had been done in regard to the task of maintaining law and order. The occupation authorities concentrated on securing certain strategic sectors, such as the Green Zone in Baghdad.
Iraqi society quickly fragmented, largely among religious lines - into Kurdish, Shia, (Arab) Sunni factions. The (Arab) Sunni regarded themselves shortchanged in the new political order. Political militias emerged, taking control of certain city quarters, villages etc. The best known of such protected areas with a religiously homogeneous population is Sadr City in Baghdad. A population exchange between such protected areas took place, undesired by the state administration. UNHCR expects the number of Iraqi internally displaced persons by the end of 2007 to number between 2.3 and 2.7 million.
Then there are terrorist organizations who fight for a variety of goals, partially with support from abroad.
To complicate matters further, there are elements who use violence (abductions) as a means to make money.
The Allawi administration and the U.S. military have repeatedly changed their strategy in dealing with the resistance, not without momentary success, limited to certain areas, the latest strategy being "the Surge".

The Economy . Optimistic predictions that Iraq would quickly recover from the war, that the country's rich oil reserves would pay for the cost of the occupation, have not been fulfilled. On the contrary, the escalation of violence has destroyed numerous businesses, as well as damaged the country's infrastructure. While the blockade has been lifted, the export of oil has not picked up significantly; oil pipelines are easy targets for saboteurs.
For the general Iraqi it is extremely difficult to make a living. Going out on the street is already dangerous; unemployment is high. Among the few career choices available for young men is service in the new army or police force, a choice whicvh makes them targets for terrorists.

Social History . The 1997 census counted 22.0 million Iraqis; the estimate for July 2007 is 27.4 million.
Many children presently do not attend school, because their parents regard it unsafe to permit them to leave the house. Women in Iraq complain about being criticized for not wearing the veil, fear that the emancipation achieved under the Ba'ath regime is in jeopardy.

Ethnic and Religious Minorities . In the ongoing civil war, Iraq's smaller minorities, the christians, the Jazidi, the Turkomans, feel being pressurized. Many Iraqi chrisdtians have chosen exile or emigration.

Cultural History . On April 9th 2003, Baghdad residents toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein on Firdausi Square, cheered on by onlookers, in an act regarded as symbolizing the liberation from oppressive rule.
Iraqi athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Athens 2004. In the Asian Games of 2006, the Iraqi national football team lost to host Qatar in the final.
The Shiite Great Mosque of Samarra, in two bomb blasts of 2005 and 2007, has been severely damaged.

Wars of Iraq, 1800-1999, from ACED
Global Currency History : Iraq (B. Taylor)
Articles History of Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Marsh Arabs, Saddam Hussein, Mission Accomplished, Multinational Force in Iraq, 2003 Invasion of Iraq, Post Invasion Iraq, The Iraq-based Baath Party, Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, Iraq Interim Government, Iraq Legislative Election, 2005, Trial of Saddam Hussein, Ashurah, Great Mosque of Samarra, from Wikipedia
Provinces of Iraq, from www.statoids.com
Iraq, from Library of Congress Country Studies
History of U.S.-Iraq Relations, by Mike and Bruce
History of Oil in Iraq, from Global Policy Forum
Iraqi Nuclear Weapons, from FAS
Background on Women's Status in Iraq Prior to the Fall of the Saddam Hussein Government, from Human Rights Watch (2003)
State-Mosque Relations in Iraq, 1968-2004, by Amatzia Baram
Iraq's Legacy of Terror : Mass Graves, from USAID
Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons : a Deepening Humanitarian Crisis ? by Margesson, Sharp and Bruno 2007
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Iraq, by Ben Cahoon; Rulers : Iraq, by B. Schemmel
Historical Statistical data : Iraq, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.21, pp.972-996 Article Iraq. KMLA Lib. Call Sign R 032 B862h v.21
Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, Cambridge : UP 2000 [G]
Courtney Hunt, The History of Iraq, Westport CT : Greenwood 2005, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 956.7 H939h
Samir al-Khalil, Republic of Fear. The Inside Story of Saddam's Iraq, NY : Pantheon 1989 [G]
Article Iraq, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1990 pp.428, 639, 1991 pp.407-408, 624, 1992 pp.381-382, 623, 1993 pp.384-385, 631, 1994 pp.383-384, 632, 1995 pp.422-423, 632, 1996 pp.420-421, 632, 1997 pp.433, 630, 2002 pp.443-444, 634 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1990-1991 pp.714-718, 1991-1992 pp.712-717, 1992-1993 pp.787-792, 1993-1994 pp.784-789, 1994-1995 pp.777-782, 1995-1996 pp.773-777, 1996-1997 pp.715-719, 1997-1998 pp.722-727, 1998-1999 pp.774-780, 2000 pp.890-896, 2001 pp.867-872, 2002 pp.903-908, 2003 pp.904-910 [G]
Entry : Travel Warnings - Iraq, pp.513-517 in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2000, Supplement [G]
Entry : Republic of Iraq, Cabinet, pp.50-51; Background Notes, pp.708-712, in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2003 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Americana Annual 1992 pp.292-294, 1993 pp.292-294, 1994 pp.289-291, 1998 pp.284-285 [G]
Entry : Iraq, pp.572-575 in : IMF, International Financial Statistics Yearbook 2001 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 16th 2007

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