2003 10-Year Anniversary of Start of Iraq War
The 2003 invasion of Iraq lasted from 19 March 2003 to 1 May 2003 and signaled the start of the conflict that later came to be known as the Iraq War, which was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom by the United States. The invasion consisted of 21 days of major combat operations, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland, invaded Iraq and deposed the Ba'athist government of Saddam Hussein. The invasion phase consisted primarily of a conventionally-fought war which concluded with the capture of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad by American forces.
Four countries participated with troops during the initial invasion phase, which lasted from 19 March to 9 April 2003. These were the United States (148,000), United Kingdom (45,000), Australia (2,000), and Poland (194). 36 other countries were involved in its aftermath. In preparation for the invasion, 100,000 U.S. troops were assembled in Kuwait by 18 February. The coalition forces also received support from Kurdish irregulars in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The main body of coalition forces continued their drive into the heart of Iraq and met with little resistance. Most of the Iraqi military was quickly defeated and Baghdad was occupied on 9 April. Other operations occurred against pockets of the Iraqi army including the capture and occupation of Kirkuk on 10 April, and the attack and capture of Tikrit on 15 April. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the central leadership went into hiding as the coalition forces completed the occupation of the country. On 1 May, an end of major combat operations was declared, ending the invasion period and beginning the military occupation period.
As of December 2011, the 2003 invasion of Iraq was the most recent armed conflict between standing national armies causing at least 1,000 battle deaths
And the divide between Sunnis and Shiites is reflected in the political stalemate generated by the increasingly authoritarian government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite.
But in 2003, the world's attention was focused on whether Saddam Hussein would give into U.S. and international pressure to give up the weapons of mass destruction he was believed to possess.
Within a year after the invasion, it became clear that Hussein's regime did not possess weapons of mass destruction. Congressional investigations determined that the Bush administration had made the decision to rid Iraq of the weapons based on a huge intelligence failure. Iraq had no such weapons. Hussein had disassembled his chemical and nuclear programs years before, but had kept even his own generals guessing about what his regime possessed.
Location: Balad, IQ
My Role: Architect