13 years and $1 trillion wasted: A timeline of the US Iraq War

Published November 1st, 2015 - 12:09 GMT

Rate Article:

 
PRINT Send Mail
comment (0)

In addition to airstrikes, the US is now conducting ground raids in Iraq as part of its effort to uproot ISIS. It’s clear to many that the war to secure Iraq -- which was supposed to have ended in 2011 -- has entered an ugly new phase. After nearly 13 years of fighting and over $1 trillion spent, with over 200,000 killed, “Operation Iraqi Freedom” has pushed a country of 32 million into chaos. Here’s a quick look back at how we got here.  

View as list
The US begins bombing Iraq in March 2003 under the pretext of ridding the country of weapons of mass destruction, and soon sends in ground forces, who overwhelm the Iraqi Army within weeks. Bush gives his now-infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Reduce

Image 1 of 15:  1 / 15The US begins bombing Iraq in March 2003 under the pretext of ridding the country of weapons of mass destruction, and soon sends in ground forces, who overwhelm the Iraqi Army within weeks. Bush gives his now-infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Enlarge
That summer, US troops kill Saddam’s son’s Uday and Qusay in Mosul, and a few months later capture Saddam himself, who is found hiding in a hole on a farm near his hometown of Tikrit. US military officials believe they have won the war.
Reduce

Image 2 of 15:  2 / 15That summer, US troops kill Saddam’s son’s Uday and Qusay in Mosul, and a few months later capture Saddam himself, who is found hiding in a hole on a farm near his hometown of Tikrit. US military officials believe they have won the war.

Enlarge
In March 2004, in an ominous sign for America, 4 US contractors are slain and hung from a bridge above the Euphrates. A month later, photos of torture at Abu Ghraib prison are made public, turning the tide of public opinion in Iraq against America. Crucial regions of the country fall to insurgents.
Reduce

Image 3 of 15:  3 / 15In March 2004, in an ominous sign for America, 4 US contractors are slain and hung from a bridge above the Euphrates. A month later, photos of torture at Abu Ghraib prison are made public, turning the tide of public opinion in Iraq against America. Crucial regions of the country fall to insurgents.

Enlarge
Violence in Iraq escalates in 2005, but the political situation moves forward nevertheless. The first free elections in Iraq in 50 years are held that year, and a new constitution is written. Millions of Iraqis elect a new parliament. Meanwhile, Saddam goes on trial in Baghdad for the killing of 148 people in 1992.
Reduce

Image 4 of 15:  4 / 15Violence in Iraq escalates in 2005, but the political situation moves forward nevertheless. The first free elections in Iraq in 50 years are held that year, and a new constitution is written. Millions of Iraqis elect a new parliament. Meanwhile, Saddam goes on trial in Baghdad for the killing of 148 people in 1992.

Enlarge
In 2006, Iraq spirals into chaos. Sunni militants blow up an important Shia shrine in Samarra, setting off a vicious cycle of violence. In July ‘06 alone, between 1,000 and 3,500 Iraqi civilians are killed. US deaths in Iraq reach 3,000 that year. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns, and Saddam is hanged in Baghdad.
Reduce

Image 5 of 15:  5 / 15In 2006, Iraq spirals into chaos. Sunni militants blow up an important Shia shrine in Samarra, setting off a vicious cycle of violence. In July ‘06 alone, between 1,000 and 3,500 Iraqi civilians are killed. US deaths in Iraq reach 3,000 that year. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns, and Saddam is hanged in Baghdad.

Enlarge
Violence in Iraq continues through the 2006-2007 winter, with suicide bombings killing thousands more people. In summer 2007, the US begins its “Sunni Awakening” program, where Sunni tribesmen are recruited to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s precursor. Later that year, Blackwater guards kill 17 civilians at a traffic circle in Baghdad.
Reduce

Image 6 of 15:  6 / 15Violence in Iraq continues through the 2006-2007 winter, with suicide bombings killing thousands more people. In summer 2007, the US begins its “Sunni Awakening” program, where Sunni tribesmen are recruited to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s precursor. Later that year, Blackwater guards kill 17 civilians at a traffic circle in Baghdad.

Enlarge
The next year, 2008, sees Baghdad and Basra erupt in fighting as Shiite militias loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr attack US soldiers and US-supported Iraqi forces. Nevertheless, things seem to be improving in other parts of the country: the US hands over control of Anbar Province to the Iraqi Army, and announces that it will leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
Reduce

Image 7 of 15:  7 / 15The next year, 2008, sees Baghdad and Basra erupt in fighting as Shiite militias loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr attack US soldiers and US-supported Iraqi forces. Nevertheless, things seem to be improving in other parts of the country: the US hands over control of Anbar Province to the Iraqi Army, and announces that it will leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

Enlarge
In 2009, living up to his campaign promises, Obama withdraws most US troops from Iraqi towns and cities. Iraqis celebrate in the streets, shooting off fireworks and declaring a national holiday. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declares the withdrawal “a great victory.”
Reduce

Image 8 of 15:  8 / 15In 2009, living up to his campaign promises, Obama withdraws most US troops from Iraqi towns and cities. Iraqis celebrate in the streets, shooting off fireworks and declaring a national holiday. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declares the withdrawal “a great victory.”

Enlarge
The following year, parliamentary elections are held in Iraq. Voter turnout, though strong, is down 13 percent from previous elections as Iraqis fearing violence stay away from the ballot boxes. Obama declares a formal end to the war, saying the US needs to focus on problems at home.
Reduce

Image 9 of 15:  9 / 15The following year, parliamentary elections are held in Iraq. Voter turnout, though strong, is down 13 percent from previous elections as Iraqis fearing violence stay away from the ballot boxes. Obama declares a formal end to the war, saying the US needs to focus on problems at home.

Enlarge
In 2012, Iraq’s fugitive vice president Tareq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq’s most influential Sunni politicians, is sentenced to death in absentia for running death squads. The death sentence of a prominent Sunni politician deepens divisions in Iraq. Millions of Sunnis across the country stage demonstrations against the Shia-dominated government.
Reduce

Image 10 of 15:  10 / 15In 2012, Iraq’s fugitive vice president Tareq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq’s most influential Sunni politicians, is sentenced to death in absentia for running death squads. The death sentence of a prominent Sunni politician deepens divisions in Iraq. Millions of Sunnis across the country stage demonstrations against the Shia-dominated government.

Enlarge
The following year, sectarian violence in Iraq increases. In April 2013, Shia government forces raid a Sunni encampment near Kirkuk, killing over 50 people. That summer, at least 500 prisoners, most of whom are Al Qaeda fighters, escape from two major Iraqi prisoners.
Reduce

Image 11 of 15:  11 / 15The following year, sectarian violence in Iraq increases. In April 2013, Shia government forces raid a Sunni encampment near Kirkuk, killing over 50 people. That summer, at least 500 prisoners, most of whom are Al Qaeda fighters, escape from two major Iraqi prisoners.

Enlarge
In early 2014, Sunni militants led by ISIS capture major cities in Anbar Province, including Ramadi and Falluja. That summer, they make a blitz across Iraq, capturing numerous Iraqi villages and cities, including Mosul, the second largest city in the whole country. The US begins airstrikes to repel them.
Reduce

Image 12 of 15:  12 / 15In early 2014, Sunni militants led by ISIS capture major cities in Anbar Province, including Ramadi and Falluja. That summer, they make a blitz across Iraq, capturing numerous Iraqi villages and cities, including Mosul, the second largest city in the whole country. The US begins airstrikes to repel them.

Enlarge
In the fall of 2014, ISIS cements its grip on large swaths of territory in northern Iraq. Kurdish, Iranian and US forces combine strengths to root them out, but to little avail. Meanwhile, Shia politician Haidar al-Abadi becomes Prime Minister, replacing Nouri al-Maliki (also a Shia).
Reduce

Image 13 of 15:  13 / 15In the fall of 2014, ISIS cements its grip on large swaths of territory in northern Iraq. Kurdish, Iranian and US forces combine strengths to root them out, but to little avail. Meanwhile, Shia politician Haidar al-Abadi becomes Prime Minister, replacing Nouri al-Maliki (also a Shia).

Enlarge
So far, 2015 has been a mixed year for the battle against insurgents in Iraq. The Iraqi government has had some victories (retaking Tikrit and the Baiji oil plant from ISIS) but ISIS racks up its own wins, most notably by seizing Ramadi, and further entrenches itself in Anbar Province.
Reduce

Image 14 of 15:  14 / 15So far, 2015 has been a mixed year for the battle against insurgents in Iraq. The Iraqi government has had some victories (retaking Tikrit and the Baiji oil plant from ISIS) but ISIS racks up its own wins, most notably by seizing Ramadi, and further entrenches itself in Anbar Province.

Enlarge
As 2015 draws to a close, the US finds itself further tied down in Iraq. Although Obama maintains there will be “no US boots on the ground,” he authorizes more ground raids on ISIS locations in Iraq. One such raid last week marked a grim milestone: the first death of a US soldier in Iraq since 2011.
Reduce

Image 15 of 15:  15 / 15As 2015 draws to a close, the US finds itself further tied down in Iraq. Although Obama maintains there will be “no US boots on the ground,” he authorizes more ground raids on ISIS locations in Iraq. One such raid last week marked a grim milestone: the first death of a US soldier in Iraq since 2011.

Enlarge

1

The US begins bombing Iraq in March 2003 under the pretext of ridding the country of weapons of mass destruction, and soon sends in ground forces, who overwhelm the Iraqi Army within weeks. Bush gives his now-infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Image 1 of 15The US begins bombing Iraq in March 2003 under the pretext of ridding the country of weapons of mass destruction, and soon sends in ground forces, who overwhelm the Iraqi Army within weeks. Bush gives his now-infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln.

2

That summer, US troops kill Saddam’s son’s Uday and Qusay in Mosul, and a few months later capture Saddam himself, who is found hiding in a hole on a farm near his hometown of Tikrit. US military officials believe they have won the war.

Image 2 of 15That summer, US troops kill Saddam’s son’s Uday and Qusay in Mosul, and a few months later capture Saddam himself, who is found hiding in a hole on a farm near his hometown of Tikrit. US military officials believe they have won the war.

3

In March 2004, in an ominous sign for America, 4 US contractors are slain and hung from a bridge above the Euphrates. A month later, photos of torture at Abu Ghraib prison are made public, turning the tide of public opinion in Iraq against America. Crucial regions of the country fall to insurgents.

Image 3 of 15In March 2004, in an ominous sign for America, 4 US contractors are slain and hung from a bridge above the Euphrates. A month later, photos of torture at Abu Ghraib prison are made public, turning the tide of public opinion in Iraq against America. Crucial regions of the country fall to insurgents.

4

Violence in Iraq escalates in 2005, but the political situation moves forward nevertheless. The first free elections in Iraq in 50 years are held that year, and a new constitution is written. Millions of Iraqis elect a new parliament. Meanwhile, Saddam goes on trial in Baghdad for the killing of 148 people in 1992.

Image 4 of 15Violence in Iraq escalates in 2005, but the political situation moves forward nevertheless. The first free elections in Iraq in 50 years are held that year, and a new constitution is written. Millions of Iraqis elect a new parliament. Meanwhile, Saddam goes on trial in Baghdad for the killing of 148 people in 1992.

5

In 2006, Iraq spirals into chaos. Sunni militants blow up an important Shia shrine in Samarra, setting off a vicious cycle of violence. In July ‘06 alone, between 1,000 and 3,500 Iraqi civilians are killed. US deaths in Iraq reach 3,000 that year. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns, and Saddam is hanged in Baghdad.

Image 5 of 15In 2006, Iraq spirals into chaos. Sunni militants blow up an important Shia shrine in Samarra, setting off a vicious cycle of violence. In July ‘06 alone, between 1,000 and 3,500 Iraqi civilians are killed. US deaths in Iraq reach 3,000 that year. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns, and Saddam is hanged in Baghdad.

6

Violence in Iraq continues through the 2006-2007 winter, with suicide bombings killing thousands more people. In summer 2007, the US begins its “Sunni Awakening” program, where Sunni tribesmen are recruited to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s precursor. Later that year, Blackwater guards kill 17 civilians at a traffic circle in Baghdad.

Image 6 of 15Violence in Iraq continues through the 2006-2007 winter, with suicide bombings killing thousands more people. In summer 2007, the US begins its “Sunni Awakening” program, where Sunni tribesmen are recruited to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s precursor. Later that year, Blackwater guards kill 17 civilians at a traffic circle in Baghdad.

7

The next year, 2008, sees Baghdad and Basra erupt in fighting as Shiite militias loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr attack US soldiers and US-supported Iraqi forces. Nevertheless, things seem to be improving in other parts of the country: the US hands over control of Anbar Province to the Iraqi Army, and announces that it will leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

Image 7 of 15The next year, 2008, sees Baghdad and Basra erupt in fighting as Shiite militias loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr attack US soldiers and US-supported Iraqi forces. Nevertheless, things seem to be improving in other parts of the country: the US hands over control of Anbar Province to the Iraqi Army, and announces that it will leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

8

In 2009, living up to his campaign promises, Obama withdraws most US troops from Iraqi towns and cities. Iraqis celebrate in the streets, shooting off fireworks and declaring a national holiday. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declares the withdrawal “a great victory.”

Image 8 of 15In 2009, living up to his campaign promises, Obama withdraws most US troops from Iraqi towns and cities. Iraqis celebrate in the streets, shooting off fireworks and declaring a national holiday. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declares the withdrawal “a great victory.”

9

The following year, parliamentary elections are held in Iraq. Voter turnout, though strong, is down 13 percent from previous elections as Iraqis fearing violence stay away from the ballot boxes. Obama declares a formal end to the war, saying the US needs to focus on problems at home.

Image 9 of 15The following year, parliamentary elections are held in Iraq. Voter turnout, though strong, is down 13 percent from previous elections as Iraqis fearing violence stay away from the ballot boxes. Obama declares a formal end to the war, saying the US needs to focus on problems at home.

10

In 2012, Iraq’s fugitive vice president Tareq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq’s most influential Sunni politicians, is sentenced to death in absentia for running death squads. The death sentence of a prominent Sunni politician deepens divisions in Iraq. Millions of Sunnis across the country stage demonstrations against the Shia-dominated government.

Image 10 of 15In 2012, Iraq’s fugitive vice president Tareq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq’s most influential Sunni politicians, is sentenced to death in absentia for running death squads. The death sentence of a prominent Sunni politician deepens divisions in Iraq. Millions of Sunnis across the country stage demonstrations against the Shia-dominated government.

11

The following year, sectarian violence in Iraq increases. In April 2013, Shia government forces raid a Sunni encampment near Kirkuk, killing over 50 people. That summer, at least 500 prisoners, most of whom are Al Qaeda fighters, escape from two major Iraqi prisoners.

Image 11 of 15The following year, sectarian violence in Iraq increases. In April 2013, Shia government forces raid a Sunni encampment near Kirkuk, killing over 50 people. That summer, at least 500 prisoners, most of whom are Al Qaeda fighters, escape from two major Iraqi prisoners.

12

In early 2014, Sunni militants led by ISIS capture major cities in Anbar Province, including Ramadi and Falluja. That summer, they make a blitz across Iraq, capturing numerous Iraqi villages and cities, including Mosul, the second largest city in the whole country. The US begins airstrikes to repel them.

Image 12 of 15In early 2014, Sunni militants led by ISIS capture major cities in Anbar Province, including Ramadi and Falluja. That summer, they make a blitz across Iraq, capturing numerous Iraqi villages and cities, including Mosul, the second largest city in the whole country. The US begins airstrikes to repel them.

13

In the fall of 2014, ISIS cements its grip on large swaths of territory in northern Iraq. Kurdish, Iranian and US forces combine strengths to root them out, but to little avail. Meanwhile, Shia politician Haidar al-Abadi becomes Prime Minister, replacing Nouri al-Maliki (also a Shia).

Image 13 of 15In the fall of 2014, ISIS cements its grip on large swaths of territory in northern Iraq. Kurdish, Iranian and US forces combine strengths to root them out, but to little avail. Meanwhile, Shia politician Haidar al-Abadi becomes Prime Minister, replacing Nouri al-Maliki (also a Shia).

14

So far, 2015 has been a mixed year for the battle against insurgents in Iraq. The Iraqi government has had some victories (retaking Tikrit and the Baiji oil plant from ISIS) but ISIS racks up its own wins, most notably by seizing Ramadi, and further entrenches itself in Anbar Province.

Image 14 of 15So far, 2015 has been a mixed year for the battle against insurgents in Iraq. The Iraqi government has had some victories (retaking Tikrit and the Baiji oil plant from ISIS) but ISIS racks up its own wins, most notably by seizing Ramadi, and further entrenches itself in Anbar Province.

15

As 2015 draws to a close, the US finds itself further tied down in Iraq. Although Obama maintains there will be “no US boots on the ground,” he authorizes more ground raids on ISIS locations in Iraq. One such raid last week marked a grim milestone: the first death of a US soldier in Iraq since 2011.

Image 15 of 15As 2015 draws to a close, the US finds itself further tied down in Iraq. Although Obama maintains there will be “no US boots on the ground,” he authorizes more ground raids on ISIS locations in Iraq. One such raid last week marked a grim milestone: the first death of a US soldier in Iraq since 2011.

Reduce

Advertisement

Add a new comment

 avatar