Iraq War

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Iraq War
Image:CSA-2006-09-28-091138.jpg
U.S. troops pass by burning oil fields while convoying to Al Jawala, Iraq, during an operation.
Date March 18, 2003 to Present
Location Iraq
Result Conflict ongoing
Combatants
Resistance Forces:
Image:Flag of Iraq, 1991-2004.svg Ba'athist Iraq
Image:Flag of the Ba'ath Party.png Ba'ath Loyalists
Image:Flag of al-Qaeda.svg Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Mahdi Army
Other insurgent groups and militias
Coalition Forces:
Image:Flag of the United States.svg United States
Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Image:Flag of Australia.svg Australia
Image:Flag of Iraq.svg New Iraqi Army
Image:Flag of Kurdistan.svg Kurdish forces
Multinational forces in Iraq
SCIRI<ref name="DisbandMilitias" />
others
Commanders
Image:Flag of Iraq, 1991-2004.svgSaddam Hussein
Image:Flag of Jordan.svgAbu Musab al-Zarqawi
Image:Flag of Iraq.svgMoqtada al-Sadr
Image:Flag of Egypt.svgAbu Ayyub al-Masri
Mujahideen Shura Council
Image:Flag of Iraq.svgNouri al-Maliki
Image:Flag of the United States.svgGeorge W. Bush
Image:Flag of the United States.svgTommy Franks
Image:Flag of the United States.svgGeorge Casey
Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Brian Burridge
Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Peter Wall
others
Strength
Iraqi
375,000+ regular forces
Insurgents
30-60,000?
Mahdi Army

10,000
Badr Organization
4-10,000
al Qaeda/others
1,300+<ref>"Violence in Iraq Called Increasingly Complex". Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2006.</ref>
Coalition
315,000 invasion
162,000 current
Contractors
~48,000
Kurds
50,000 (peak)
New Iraqi Army
129,760
Iraqi Police
79-140,000
Casualties
Iraqi military dead (Saddam-era):
4,895-6,370 <ref> Carl Conetta, "The Wages of War; Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 2003 Conflict". Project on Defense Alternatives Research Monograph #8, 20 October 2003. </ref> <ref name=factbox> "FACTBOX-Military and civilian deaths in Iraq". Reuters, 13 November 2006.</ref> Insurgents dead:
No verifiable tally. <ref name=washtimes8711r> http://www.washtimes.com/world/20050726-121818-8711r.htm</ref> <ref name=civilians08> "Civilian, insurgent deaths hard to tally". Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 8, 2004.</ref>
Iraqi Security Forces dead (post-Saddam era): 5,736 (Media source, low estimate) <ref name=factbox /> <ref> "iCasualties: OIF Iraqi Deaths".</ref>

Iraqi Security Forces wounded: unknown

Coalition dead (inc. 2,894 US, 126 UK, 121 other, 647 contractors): 3,778 <ref name=icasualties>Icasualties.org "Iraq Coalition Casualties".</ref> <ref>"In Iraq, contractor deaths near 650, legal fog thickens". Bernd Debusmann, Reuters, Oct. 10, 2006.</ref>

Coalition Missing or Captured (US 2): 2

Coalition Wounded in action (inc. 21,678 U.S., 891+ UK, 3,963+ contractors): <ref>Kneisler, Patricia, et. al., "U.S. Wounded By Week". iCasualties (Lunaville), Benicia, CA.</ref> <ref name=icasualties /> <ref>"Toll of British wounded in Iraq war reaches 800", Times Online, 2006-01-18.</ref> <ref>"Civilian contractors in Iraq dying at faster rate as insurgency grows", McClatchy Washington Bureau, 2005-11-01.</ref> <ref> [http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInIraqBritishCasualties.htm "Defence Internet

*Total deaths of all Iraqis, Johns Hopkins:
392,979 - 942,636 <ref name="Second Lancet Study">"Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey"PDF. By Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, and Les Roberts. The Lancet, October 11, 2006</ref> <ref name="Lancet supplement">"The Human Cost of the War in Iraq: A Mortality Study, 2002-2006"PDF. By Gilbert Burnham, Shannon Doocy, Elizabeth Dzeng, Riyadh Lafta, and Les Roberts. A supplement to the second Lancet study.</ref>

War-related and criminal violence deaths (all Iraqis) Iraq Health Minister:
100,000-150,000 <ref>"Iraqi death toll estimates go as high as 150,000". Taipei Times, Nov. 11, 2006.</ref>

War-related and criminal violence deaths (civilians) Iraq Body Count (IBC):
43,850-48,693 <ref name=IBC> Iraq Body Count project. Civilian deaths due to insurgent/military action and increased criminal violence. As reported by English-language media. Compiled by various antiwar activists. </ref> <ref>"Iraq Body Count: War dead figures", BBC, 2006-09-24.</ref>

*Total deaths (all Iraqis) include all excess deaths due to increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poor healthcare, etc.. The IBC count is from English-language media reports. <ref name=IBC /> For more info, casualty estimates, and explanations for the wide variation in results, see: Casualties of the conflict in Iraq since 2003
Iraq War
Phases
InvasionPost-invasion (InsurgencyCivil War)

Engagements
Nasiriyah – Baghdad – Debecka Pass – Peninsula Strike –Red Dawn – 1st Fallujah – 1st Ramadi – Husaybah – Najaf – 2nd Fallujah – Matador – Steel Curtain – Al-Askari Mosque – 2nd Ramadi – Together Forward

Full list of Coalition operations
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Recent wars in the Persian Gulf
Iran-Iraq WarGulf WarIraq War

The Iraq War (2003 to the present), also known as the Second Gulf War (and by the U.S. military as Operation Iraqi Freedom and the UK military as Operation TELIC), started with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Subsequent occupation of Saddam Hussein-led Ba'athist Iraq by a United States-led coalition has resulted in ongoing asymmetric warfare between resistance forces and coalition forces. The New Iraqi Army was created to replace the old one that was disbanded after the U.S. led invasion. In the midst of fighting between resistance, coalition, and Iraqi forces, sectarian violence between the majority Shia and minority Sunni populations continues today. <ref>"CBS on civil war", CBS News, Sep 26 2006.</ref> The causes and consequences of the war remain controversial. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> <ref name=IBC/><ref name="Second Lancet Study"/>

Contents

[edit] Timeline of the War

[edit] Prior to invasion

Image:Iraq NO FLY ZONES.PNG
No-fly zone detail

Prior to invasion, the United States and other coalition forces involved in the 1991 Persian Gulf War had been engaged in a low-level conflict with Iraq, by enforcing the two Iraqi no-fly zones in the north and the south of the country. Iraqi air-defense installations repeatedly targeted American and British air patrols and were often engaged by the coalition aircraft shortly afterwards. Approximately nine months after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. initiated Operation Southern Focus as a change to its response strategy, by increasing the overall number of missions and selecting targets throughout the no-fly zones in order to disrupt the military command structure in Iraq.

The weight of bombs dropped increased from none in March 2002 and 0.3 in April 2002 to between 8 and 14 tons per month in May-August, reaching a pre-war peak of 54.6 tons in September - prior to Congress' 11 October authorization of the invasion. In retaliation for the Iraqi's now-daily air defense attacks on coalition aircraft, the September attacks included a 5 September 100-aircraft attack on the main air defence site in western Iraq. According to an editorial by Michael Smith for the New Statesman, this was "Located at the furthest extreme of the southern no-fly zone, far away from the areas that needed to be patrolled to prevent attacks on the Shias; it was destroyed not because it was a threat to the patrols, but to allow allied special forces operating from Jordan to enter Iraq undetected." <ref>"The war before the war", News Statesman, 2005-05-30.</ref> U.S. military personnel stationed at Southern Watch headquarters during this time, recall that this attack, on this particular Iraqi air defense unit, was taken solely in reaction to Iraq's continued attack on coalition aircraft operating in compliance with the UN-mandated overflights of the Iraq "no-fly" zone.

Further information:

[edit] 2003: Invasion

Main article: 2003 invasion of Iraq
see also: Military operations of the Iraq War for a list of all Coalition operations for this period

The 2003 invasion of Iraq began on March 19, later the invasion was changed to "Operation Iraqi Freedom" by the Bush administration. They cooperated with Kurdish forces in the north which numbered upwards of 50,000.[citation needed] Other nations also participated in part of a coalition force to help with the operation by providing equipment, services and security as well as special forces. The 2003 Iraq invasion marked the beginning of what is commonly referred to as the Iraq War.

[edit] Post-invasion, early and mid 2003

Image:Sunni triangle.jpg
Map of the Sunni Triangle

On May 1, 2003, President Bush staged a dramatic visit to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln while the ship was a few miles west of San Diego. The Lincoln was on its way home to Everett, Washington from a long deployment which had included service in the Persian Gulf. The visit climaxed at sunset with his now well-known "Mission Accomplished" speech. This nationally-televised speech was delivered before the sailors and airmen on the flight deck. Bush essentially declared victory at this time (even though, admittedly, Saddam Hussein was still at large and significant pockets of resistance remained plus more resistance would form for years to come.)

In May of 2003, after the defeat of Iraq's conventional forces, the coalition military noticed a gradually increasing flurry of attacks on the multinational troops in various regions, such as the "Sunni Triangle". In the initial chaos after the fall of the Iraqi government, there was massive looting of infrastructure, including government buildings, official residences, museums, banks, and military depots. According to The Pentagon, 250,000 tons (of 650,000 tons total) of ordnance was looted, providing a significant source of ammunition for the Iraqi insurgency. The hundreds of weapons caches already created by the conventional Iraqi army and Republican Guard further strengthened these looted supplies for the insurgents.

At first the resistance stemmed from fedayeen and loyalists of Saddam Hussein or the Ba'ath Party,[citation needed] but soon religious radicals and Iraqis angered by the occupation contributed to the insurgency. In late 2004, foreign fighters from around the Middle East as well as al-Qaeda in Iraq (a group that is separate from al-Qaeda but which changed its name for propaganda purposes), led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would help to drive the insurgency. The insurgents are generally known to the Coalition forces as "Anti-Iraqi Forces."

The initial insurgency in Iraq was concentrated in, but not limited to, an area referred to by Western media and the occupying forces as the Sunni triangle. This location includes Baghdad. <ref>"Operation Iraqi Freedom Maps", GlobalSecurity.Org, Unavailable.</ref> The three provinces that had the highest number of attacks were Baghdad, Anbar, and Salah Ad Din--these provinces account for 35% of the population. This resistance has been described as a type of guerrilla warfare. Insurgent tactics include mortars, missiles, suicide bombers, snipers (cf. Juba, the Baghdad Sniper), improvised explosive devices (IEDs), roadside bombs, car bombs, small arms fire (usually with assault rifles), and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), as well as sabotage against the oil, water, and electrical infrastructure.

Image:Karradah bombing aftermath 11-18-2005.jpg
American soldier and an Iraqi child

The post-invasion environment began after the Hussein regime had been overthrown. It centers on Coalition and U.N. efforts to establish a stable democratic state capable of defending itself<ref name=Soriano>"Poll: Iraqis out of patience", USA Today, 2004-04-30.</ref> and holding itself together <ref>"Gloom descends on Iraqi leaders as civil war looms".</ref> and overcoming insurgent attacks and internal divisions.

Coalition military forces launched several operations around Tigris River peninsula and in the Sunni Triangle. A series of similar operations were launched throughout the summer in the Sunni Triangle. Toward the end of 2003, the intensity and pace of insurgent attacks began to increase. A sharp surge in guerrilla attacks ushered in an insurgent effort that was termed the "Ramadan Offensive", as it coincided with the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Coalition forces brought to bear the use of air power for the first time since the end of the invasion.

Suspected ambush sites and mortar launching positions struck from the air and with artillery fire. Surveillance of major routes, patrols, and raids on suspected insurgents were stepped up. In addition, two villages, including Saddam’s birthplace of al-Auja and the small town of Abu Hishma were wrapped in barbed wire and carefully monitored. On July 22, 2003, during a raid by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division and soldiers from Task Force 20, Saddam Hussein's sons (Uday and Qusay) and one of his grandsons were killed.

In the wave of intelligence information fueling the raids on remaining Ba'ath Party members connected to insurgency, Saddam Hussein himself was captured on December 13 2003 on a farm near Tikrit in Operation Red Dawn. The operation was conducted by the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division and members of Task Force 121.

[edit] Late 2003

With the capture of Saddam and a drop in the number of insurgent attacks (an average of 18 a day), some concluded the multinational forces were prevailing in the fight against the insurgency. With the weather growing cooler, Coalition forces were able to operate in full armor which reduced their casualty rate. The provisional government began training a security force intended to defend critical infrastructure, and the United States promised over $20 billion in reconstruction money in the form of credit against Iraq's future oil revenues. Of this, less than half a billion dollars had been spent in 10 months after it had been promised. Oil revenues were also used for rebuilding schools and for work on the electrical and refining infrastructure.

However, the failure to restore basic services to above pre-war levels, where over a decade of sanctions, bombing, corruption, and decaying infrastructure had left major cities functioning at much-reduced levels, also contributed to local anger at the IPA government headed by an executive council. On July 2 2003, President Bush declared that American troops would remain in Iraq in spite of the attacks, challenging the insurgents with "My answer is, bring 'em on", a line the President later expressed misgivings about having used. <ref>"President Regrets 'Bring 'Em On'", NewsMax.com Wires, 2005-01-14. Retrieved on 2006-09-01.</ref> In the summer of 2003, the multinational forces focused on hunting down the remaining leaders of the former regime, culminating in the shooting deaths of Saddam's two sons in July. In all, over 300 top leaders of the former regime were killed or captured, as well as numerous lesser functionaries and military personnel.

Shortly after the capture of Saddam, elements left out of the Coalition Provisional Authority began to agitate for elections and the formation of an Iraqi Interim Government. Most prominent among these was the Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani. The United States and the Coalition Provisional Authority it helped install opposed allowing democratic elections at this time, preferring instead to eventually hand-over power to an unelected group of Iraqis. (The Guardian, January 19, 2004, free archived version at: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0119-08.htm, last visited Nov. 21, 2006). More insurgents stepped up their activities. The two most turbulent centers were the area around Fallujah and the poor Shia sections of cities from Baghdad to Basra in the south.

[edit] 2004: Insurgency expands and the First Battle of Fallujah

see also: Military operations of the Iraq War for a list of all Coalition operations for this period
Image:USwounded fallujah2004.JPG
US Army (USA) Soldiers assigned to 2-7 Cavalry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 1st Cavalry Division, rush a wounded Soldier from Apache Troop to a waiting U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter during operation in Fallujah, Iraq. Date Shot: 12 Nov 2004.

The start of 2004 was marked by a relative lull in violence. Insurgent forces reorganized during this time, studying the multinational forces' tactics and planning a renewed offensive. Guerrilla attacks were less intense.

Insurgent activity soon increased, however, as hundreds of Iraqi civilians and police were killed over the next few months in a series of massive bombings. One hypothesis for these increased bombings is that the relevance of Saddam Hussein and his followers was diminishing in direct proportion to the influence of radical Islamists, both foreign and Iraqi. An organized Sunni insurgency, with deep roots and both nationalist and Islamist motivations, was becoming more powerful throughout Iraq. The Mahdi Army also began launching attacks on coalition targets in an attempt to seize control from Iraqi security forces. The southern and central portions of Iraq were beginning to erupt in urban guerrilla combat as multinational forces attempted to keep control and prepared for a counteroffensive.

The coalition and the Coalition Provisional Authority decided to face the growing insurgency with a pair of assaults: one on Fallujah, the center of the "Mohammed's Army of Al-Ansar", and another on Najaf, home of an important mosque that had become the focal point for the Mahdi Army and its activities. Just before the attack on Fallujah, four private military contractors, working for Blackwater USA, were ambushed, murdered and their corpses mutilated by a large crowd, receiving a great deal of media attention. The attention elicited a violent reaction from Donald Rumsfeld who then ordered Lt. General Conway to attack Fallujah at the earliest opportunity.

After this incident, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force began plans to re-establish a coalition presence in Fallujah. On April 4, the multinational forces began assaults to clear Fallujah of insurgents. On April 9, the multinational force allowed more than 70,000 women, children and elderly residents to leave the besieged city, reportedly also allowing males of military age to leave. Meanwhile, insurgents were taking advantage of the lull in combat to prepare defenses for a second assault. On April 10, the military declared a unilateral truce to allow for humanitarian supplies to enter Fallujah. Troops pulled back to the outskirts of the city; local leaders reciprocated the ceasefire, although lower-level intense fighting on both sides continued.

The usage by the U.S. of white phosphorus in Fallujah attracted controversy. In the documentary "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre", aired on the Italian state television network RAI, a former soldier testified "I saw the burned bodies of women and children. The phosphorus explodes and forms a plume. Who ever is within a 150 metre radius has no hope." <ref>"Did the U.S. military use chemical weapons in Iraq?", The Christian Science Monitor, 2005-11-08.</ref> <ref>"Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre" on the U.S. Use of Napalm-Like White Phosphorus Bombs", DemocracyNow.Org, 2005-11-08.</ref> <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The U.S. State department first dismissed such claims, <ref>"Did the U.S. Use "Illegal" Weapons in Fallujah?", U.S. Department of State, 2004-11-12.</ref> but was later corrected in other reports. Lt Col Barry Venable stated to the BBC, "it is an incendiary weapon and may be used against enemy combatants." According to Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, white phosphorus can be used, but only against enemy combatants and not civilians. <ref>"US used white phosphorus in Iraq", BBC, 2005-11-16.</ref> The Independent later reported that "there remain widespread reports of civilians suffering extensive burn injuries. While U.S. commanders insist they always strive to avoid civilian casualties, the story of the battle of Fallujah highlights the intrinsic difficulty of such an endeavour." <ref>"The Fog of War: White Phosphorus, Fallujah and Some Burning Questions", CommonDreams.Org, 2005-11-15.</ref>

When the Iraqi Governing Council protested against the U.S. assault to retake Fallujah, the U.S. military halted its efforts. In the April battle for Fallujah, Coalition troops killed about 600 insurgents and a number of civilians, while 40 Americans died and hundreds were wounded in a fierce battle. The Marines were ordered to stand-down and cordon off the city, maintaining a perimeter around Fallujah. A compromise was reached in order to ensure security within Fallujah itself by creating the local "Fallujah Brigade". While the Marines attacking had a clear advantage in ground firepower and air support, LtGen Conway decided to accept a truce and a deal which put a former Baathist general in complete charge of the town's security. The Fallujah Brigade's responsibility was to secure Fallujah and put a stop to insurgent mortar attacks on the nearby U.S. Marine bases. This compromise soon fell apart and insurgent attacks returned, causing Marine commanders to begin preparations for a second attack in the coming fall. By the end of the spring uprising, the cities of Fallujah, Samarra, Baquba, and Ramadi had been left under guerrilla control with coalition patrols in the cities at a minimum.[citation needed]

[edit] Early-mid 2004 – the Shi'ite south

Meanwhile, the fighting continued in the Shiite south, and Italian and Polish forces were having increasing difficulties retaining control over Nasiriya and Najaf. United States Marines were then shifted there to put down the overt rebellion and proceeded to rout Muqtada al-Sadr's Shiite militia. In all, April, May and early June saw more fighting. Over the next three months, the multinational forces took back the southern cities. Also, various insurgent leaders entered into negotiations with the provisional government to lay down arms and enter the political process.

[edit] June 2004: The new Iraqi government

Main article: Iraqi coalition counter-insurgency operations

Toward the end of June 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred the "sovereignty" of Iraq to a caretaker government, whose first act was to begin the trial of Saddam Hussein. However, fighting continued in the form of the Iraqi insurgency. The new government began the process of moving towards open elections, though the insurgency and the lack of cohesion within the government itself, had led to delays. Militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr took control of Najaf and, after negotiations broke down, the government asked the United States for help dislodging him.

Through the months of July and August, a series of skirmishes in and around Najaf culminated with the Imam Ali Mosque itself under siege, only to have a peace deal brokered by Grand Ayatollah Sistani in late August. The new Iraq Grain Board has started to import wheat from Australia Wheat Board which had been long banned by Saddam Hussein. <ref>"Australian wheat export to Iraq resumes", The Sydney Morning Herald, 2006-07-06.</ref>

[edit] November 2004: The Second Battle of Fallujah

The First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004 created an area of extreme instability and a de facto insurgent safe zone. After several months of this situation, in November 2004 coalition forces attacked and successfully captured Fallujah in the Second Battle of Fallujah. This battle resulted in the reputed death of over 5,000 insurgent fighters. The U.S. Marines (the main coalition force in combat) also took substantial casualties with 95 dead and around 500 wounded in action. According to local sources, hundreds of civilians were also killed and much of the city was destroyed in the battle.

[edit] 2005: Iraqi elections and aftermath

Image:Iraqwarimage.jpg
An Iraqi Army unit prepares to board a Task Force Baghdad UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter for a counterinsurgency mission in Baghdad.

On January 31, an election for a government to draft a permanent constitution took place. Although some violence and lack of widespread Sunni Arab participation marred the event, most of the eligible Kurd and Shia populace participated. On February 4, Paul Wolfowitz announced that 15,000 U.S. troops whose tours of duty had been extended in order to provide election security would be pulled out of Iraq by the next month. <ref>"U.S. to pull out 15,000 from Iraq; The U.S. is to withdraw about 15,000 troops from Iraq from next month, the deputy defence secretary has announced". BBC News, 4 February 2005.</ref>February, March and April proved to be relatively peaceful months compared to the carnage of November and January, with insurgent attacks averaging 30 a day from the prior average of 70.

Hopes for a quick end to an insurgency and a withdrawal of U.S. troops were dashed at the advent of May, Iraq's bloodiest month since the invasion by U.S. forces in March and April of 2003. Suicide bombers, believed to be mainly disheartened Iraqi Sunni Arabs, Syrians and Saudis, tore through Iraq. Their targets were often Shia gatherings or civilian concentrations mainly of Shias. As a result, over 700 Iraqi civilians died in that month, as well as 79 U.S. soldiers.

During early and mid-May, the U.S. also launched Operation Matador, an assault by around 1,000 Marines in the ungoverned region of western Iraq. Its goal was the closing of suspected insurgent supply routes of volunteers and material from Syria, and with the fight they received their assumption proved correct. Fighters armed with flak jackets (unseen in the insurgency before this time) and using sophisticated tactics met the Marines, eventually inflicting 30 U.S. casualties by the operation's end, and suffering 125 casualties themselves. The Marines succeeded, recapturing the whole region and even fighting insurgents all the way to the Syrian border, where they were forced to stop (Syrian residents living near the border heard the American bombs very clearly during the operation). The vast majority of these armed and trained insurgents quickly dispersed before the U.S. could bring the full force of its firepower on them, as it did in Fallujah.

[edit] August 2005: Announcements and renewed fighting

On August 14, 2005 the Washington Post <ref>Wright, Robin, and Ellen Knickmeyer, "U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq; Administration Is Shedding 'Unreality' That Dominated Invasion, Official Says". Washington Post, August 14 2005.</ref> quoted one anonymous U.S. senior official expressing that "the United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges... 'What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground'". On September 22, 2005, Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said that he had warned the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, and that the election planned for December was unlikely to make any difference. <ref>MacAskill, Ewen, Country is hurtling towards disintegration, Saudis warn". Guardian, September 24 2005.</ref> U. S. officials immediately made statements rejecting this view <ref>Pleming, Sue, "U.S. rejects Saudi view Iraq near disintegration". Reuters, 23 September 2005.</ref>.

[edit] December 2005: Iraqi legislative election

Following the ratification of the Constitution of Iraq on October 15 2005, a general election was held on 15 December to elect a permanent 275-member Iraqi National Assembly.

[edit] 2006: Sectarian violence, possible outbreak of civil war

The beginning of 2006 was marked by government creation talks, growing sectarian violence, and continuous anti-coalition attacks.

[edit] February 2006: Al-Askari shrine bombing and Sunni-Shia fighting

See Al Askari Mosque bombing

On February 22 2006, at 6:55 a.m. local time (0355 UTC) two bombs were set off by five to seven men dressed as personnel of the Iraqi Special forces who entered the Al Askari Mosque during the morning. Explosions occurred at the mosque, effectively destroying its golden dome and severely damaging the mosque. Several men, one wearing a military uniform, had earlier entered the mosque, tied up the guards there and set explosives, resulting in the blast.

Shiites across Iraq expressed their anger by destroying Sunni mosques and killing dozens. Religious leaders of both sides called for calm amid fears this could erupt into a long-feared Sunni-Shia civil war in Iraq.

On March 2 the director of the Baghdad morgue fled Iraq explaining, "7,000 people have been killed by death squads in recent months." [1] The Boston Globe reported that around eight times the number of Iraqis killed by terrorist bombings during March 2006 were killed by sectarian death squads during the same period. A total of 1,313 were killed by sectarian militias while 173 were killed by suicide bombings.[2] The LA Times later reported that about 3,800 Iraqis were killed by sectarian violence in Baghdad alone during the first three months of 2006.[3] During April 2006, morgue numbers showed that 1,091 Baghdad residents were killed by sectarian executions.[4] Insurgencies, frequent terrorist attacks and sectarian violence led to harsh criticism of U.S. Iraq policy and fears of a failing state and civil war. The concerns were expressed by several U.S. think tanks [5] [6] [7] [8] as well as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad. [9]

In early 2006, a handful of high-ranking retired generals began to demand United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation due in part to the aforementioned chaos that resulted from his management of the war.

In September 2006, The Washington Post reported that the commander of the Marine forces in Iraq filed "an unusual secret report" concluding that the prospects for securing the Anbar province are dim, and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there. <ref>"Situation Called Dire in West Iraq", The Washington Post</ref>

Iraq was listed fourth on the 2006 Failed States Index compiled by the American Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace think-tank. The list was topped by Sudan. <ref>"Sudan tops 'failed states index'",BBC News</ref> <ref> "FfP: Failed States Index", The Fund for Peace</ref>

As of October 20 the U.S military announced that operation Together Forward had failed to stem the tide of violence in Baghdad, and Shiite Militants Under al-Sadr seized several southern Iraq Cities [10].

On November 8, 2006, Donald Rumsfeld tendered his resignation as United States Secretary of Defense. President George W. Bush then appointed former CIA chief William Gates to replace him.

[edit] November 2006: Sadr City Bombing

See 2006 Sadr City Bombing

On November 23, 2006 the deadliest attack since the beginning of the Iraq war occurred. According to The Associated Press, suspected Sunni-Arab militants used five suicide car bombs and two mortar rounds on the capital's Shiite Sadr City slum to kill at least 215 people and wound 257 on Thursday. Shiite mortar teams quickly retaliated, firing 10 shells at Sunni Islam's most important shrine in Baghdad, badly damaging the Abu Hanifa mosque and killing one person. Eight more rounds slammed down near the offices of the Association of Muslim Scholars, the top Sunni Muslim organization in Iraq, setting nearby houses on fire. Two other mortar barrages on Sunni neighborhoods in west Baghdad killed nine and wounded 21, police said late Thursday.<ref>"Bombs in Shiite slum kill at least 161", MSNBC</ref> link title

See also: Government of Iraq from 2006

[edit] Troop Deployment 2003 to Current

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[edit] Armed Iraqi Groups: Insurgents and Militias

[edit] Background

When the ruling Ba'ath party organization disintegrated after the fall of the Iraqi government, elements of the secret police and Republican Guard formed guerrilla units, since some had simply gone home rather than openly fight the multinational forces. Many of these smaller units formed the center of the initial anti-coalition insurgency, based primarily around the cities of Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah. These guerrilla units were the precursor to the eventual formation of what came to be known as the Iraqi insurgency, or those Iraqis and foreigners who attacked coalition or government forces.

More recently in late 2005 and 2006, due to increasing sectarian violence based on either tribal/ethnic distinctions or simply due to increased criminal violence, there has been the formation of various militias. Many of these militias have been formed in response to violent acts committed on the basis of the Shia/Sunni distinction, with whole neighborhoods and cities sometimes being protected or attacked by ethnic or neighborhood militias.[citation needed]

[edit] Insurgents

The insurgents and guerrilla units favored attacking unarmored vehicles and avoiding major battles. The early Iraqi insurgency was concentrated in, but not limited to, an area referred to by the Western media and the occupying forces as the Sunni triangle which includes Baghdad. The insurgents dead are numbered between 45-60,000. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

By the fall of 2003, these insurgent groups began using typical guerrilla tactics such as ambushes, bombings, kidnappings, and improvised explosive devices. Other tactics included mortars, suicide bombers, roadside bombs, small arms fire, and RPGs, as well as sabotage against the oil, water, and electrical infrastructure. Multi-national Force-Iraq statistics (see detailed BBC graphic) show that the insurgents primarily targeted coalition forces, Iraqi security forces and infrastructure, and lastly civilians and government officials. The civilian death log reveals that a large majority of the deaths were by car bombs, booby traps, throat slitting, beheading and other techniques that are known to be associated with insurgents.[citation needed] These irregular forces favored attacking unarmored or lightly armored Humvee vehicles, the U.S. military's primary transport vehicle. In November 2003, some of these forces successfully attacked U.S. rotary aircraft with SAM-7 missiles bought on the global black market. Insurgent groups such as the al-Abud Network have even attempted to constitute their own chemical weapons programs, attempting to weaponize traditional mortar rounds with ricin and mustard toxin. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Image:Car bomb in Iraq.jpg
As Coalition Forces respond to a car bombing in South Baghdad, Iraq (IRQ), a second car bomb is detonated, targeting those responding to the initial incident. Date Shot: 14 Apr 2005

There is evidence that some guerrilla groups are organized, perhaps by the fedayeen and other Saddam Hussein or Ba'ath loyalists, religious radicals, Iraqis angered by the occupation, and foreign fighters. <ref>"Iraqi attacks could signal wide revolt", The Seattle Times, 2003-06-30.</ref> On February 23, 2005 Al-Iraqiya TV (Iraq) aired transcripts of confessions by Syrian intelligence officer Anas Ahmad Al-Issa and Iraqi insurgent Shihab Al-Sab'awi concerning their booby-trap operations, explosions, kidnappings, assassinations, and details of beheading training in Syria. <ref>"Syrian Intelligence Officer and Top Iraqi Terrorist Reveal Beheading Training in Syria (Short Version)", Al-Iraqiya TV (Iraq), 2005-02-23.</ref> The insurgents are known by the Coalition military (especially in the United States armed forces) as Anti-Iraqi Forces (AIF). <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

One of the more influential insurgents, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed on June 7 2006 in the town of Baquba, north of Baghdad, when U.S. warplanes dropped two 500-pound bombs on his isolated safe house. <ref>Tony Karon. "How They Got Zarqawi: The Manhunt That Snared Him", Time, 2006-06-08.</ref> Zarqawi, a Syrian, did not fit the usual profile of an Iraqi insurgent and had closer ties to the al Qaeda terrorist organization. Still, President George W. Bush said the killing was "a severe blow to al-Qaida and it is a significant victory in the war on terror" but cautioned: "We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continuing patience of the American people."<ref name="al-zarqawi-airstrike_x">Bill Nichols. "U.S. airstrike kills Iraq terror chief Zarqawi", USA Today, 2006-06-22.</ref>

Despite Zarqawi's death Al-Qaeda in Iraq vowed to continue its "holy war", according to a statement posted on a Web site announcing: "We want to give you the joyous news of the martyrdom of the mujahed sheik Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."<ref name="al-zarqawi-airstrike_x"/> Zarqawi's death may have had little impact on the violence since evidence of continued violence in Iraq could still be seen in the month of June with over 1,600 Iraqi deaths that month, the highest monthly total to date since the Al Askari Mosque bombing. <ref>"Bodies flood morgue despite Zarqawi’s death", MSNBC, 2006-07-05.</ref>

In addition to internal strife, Iran may be playing a role in the insurgency. U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michael Barbero said, "Iran is definitely a destabilizing force in Iraq," Barbero said. "I think it's irrefutable that Iran is responsible for training, funding and equipping some of these Shia extremist groups."[citation needed]

[edit] Militias

Two of the most powerful current militias are the Mahdi Army and the Badr Organization, with both militias having substantial political support as well in the current Iraqi government. Initially, both organizations were involved in the Iraqi insurgency, most clearly seen with the Mahdi Army at the Battle of Najaf. However in recent months, there has been a split between the two groups.

This violent break between Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and the rival Badr Organization of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, was seen in the fighting in the town of Amarah [11] on October 20, 2006, would severely complicate the efforts of Iraqi and American officials to quell the soaring violence in Iraq. <ref>"Attack on Iraqi City Shows Militia’s Power =New York Times", 2006-10-20.</ref>

see also: History of Iraqi insurgency, Sectarian violence in Iraq

[edit] Terrorism

The war in Iraq was originally justified as part of the U.S.-led War on Terrorism. Specifically, the Bush Administration argued that Saddam Hussein had ties to al-Qaeda, and that his overthrow would lead to democratization in the Middle East, decreasing terrorism overall. The alleged ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda were never confirmed, however, and numerous reports of intelligence agencies investigating the matter -- including several reports of the CIA, the U.S. State Department, the FBI, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the investigations of foreign intelligence agencies -- concluded that no evidence had been found supporting an operational connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda. The New York Times commented in September 2006 on the conclusions of the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, "there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein had prewar ties to Al Qaeda and one of the terror organization’s most notorious members, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."[12][13] (See main article: Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda).

However, al-Qaeda leaders have seen the Iraq war as a boon to their recruiting and operational efforts, providing both evidence to jihadists worldwide that America is at war with Islam, and the training ground for a new generation of jihadists to practice attacks on American forces. In October 2003, Osama bin Laden announced: "Be glad of the good news: America is mired in the swamps of the Tigris and Euphrates. Bush is, through Iraq and its oil, easy prey. Here is he now, thank God, in an embarrassing situation and here is America today being ruined before the eyes of the whole world."[14] Al-Qaeda commander Seif al-Adl gloated about the war in Iraq, indicating, "The Americans took the bait and fell into our trap."[15] A letter thought to be from al-Qaeda leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman found in Iraq among the rubble where al-Zarqawi was killed and released by the U.S. military in October 2006, indicated that al-Qaeda perceived the war as beneficial to its goals: "The most important thing is that the jihad continues with steadfastness ... indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest."[16]

In the years since the war began, a consensus has developed among intelligence experts that the Iraq war has increased terrorism. Counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna frequently referred to the invasion of Iraq as a "fatal mistake"<ref>Rohan Gunaratna, "The Post-Madrid Face of Al Qaeda," Washington Quarterly 27:3 (Summer 2004) p. 98.</ref> that had greatly increased terrorism in the Middle East. London's conservative International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded in 2004 that the occupation of Iraq had become "a potent global recruitment pretext" for jihadists and that the invasion "galvanized" al-Qaeda and "perversely inspired insurgent violence" there.[17] The U.S. National Intelligence Council concluded in a January 2005 report that the war in Iraq had become a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists; David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, indicated that the report concluded that the war in Iraq provided terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills... There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries." The Council's Chairman Robert L. Hutchings said, "At the moment, Iraq is a magnet for international terrorist activity."[18] And the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, which outlined the considered judgment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, held that "The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement."[19]

[edit] Casualties

See the above main article for much more info, and for casualty numbers for coalition nations, contractors, non-Iraqi civilians, journalists, media helpers, aid workers, wounded, etc.. Casualty figures, especially Iraqi ones, are highly disputed. This section gives a brief overview. "There are now at least 8 independent estimates of the number or rate of deaths induced by the invasion of Iraq." <ref>"Paved with good intentions - Iraq Body Count - Part 1". Media Lens. January 25, 2006.</ref> The merits, and even the existence, of those studies are hotly disputed. See this Iraq Body Count project page for example: <ref>Hamit Dardagan, John Sloboda & Josh Dougherty "Speculation is no substitute: a defence of Iraq Body Count". April 2006. A rebuttal to the critiques by Media Lens, Stephen Soldz, Dahr Jamail, etc.</ref>. For more information, see the information box at the top right of this article.

[edit] Coalition

The icasualties.org <ref name=icasualties /> website reports the death toll since the invasion in March 2003 as being 2,890 American lives (as of December 2nd, 2006). There have been a further 247 deaths among the troops of other coalition nations: Australia 2. Bulgaria 13. Denmark 6. El Salvador 5. Estonia 2. Hungary 1. Italy 33. Kazakhstan 1. Latvia 1. Netherlands 2. Poland 18. Romania 2. Slovakia 4. Spain 11. Thailand 2. Ukraine 18. United Kingdom 126. <ref>http://antiwar.com/casualties</ref> <ref name=icasualties />

[edit] Iraqi

Estimates of Iraqi deaths are highly disputed. In December 2005 President Bush said there were 30,000 Iraqi dead <ref> "Bush: Iraqi democracy making progress". CNN. Dec. 12, 2005. Bush quoted on 30,000 Iraqi dead.</ref>. A study in The Lancet estimates 654,965 Iraqi deaths (with a range of 392,979 to 942,636) from March 2003 to July 2006, based on national surveys of mortality <ref name="Second Lancet Study" /> <ref name="Lancet supplement" />. That total number of deaths (civilian and non-civilian) includes all excess deaths due to increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poor healthcare, etc.. An October 19, 2006 Washington Post article <ref> "One-Day Toll in Iraq Combat Is Highest for U.S. in Months". By Ellen Knickmeyer. Washington Post. Oct. 19, 2006.</ref> says that the methodology of the Lancet study has been disputed, that "President Bush earlier this year put the number at 30,000 but gave no sources" and went on to say "Indices drawing only on the deaths reported by news organizations put the figure closer to 50,000." That figure is from the Iraq Body Count project (IBC). The IBC records civilian deaths due to insurgent/military action and increased criminal violence, as reported by English-language media. There is no verifiable tally of insurgent deaths <ref name=washtimes8711r /> <ref name=civilians08 />.

The Lancet study states: "Aside from Bosnia, we can find no conflict situation where passive surveillance [used by the IBC] recorded more than 20% of the deaths measured by population-based methods [used in the Lancet studies]. In several outbreaks, disease and death recorded by facility-based methods underestimated events by a factor of ten or more when compared with population-based estimates. Between 1960 and 1990, newspaper accounts of political deaths in Guatemala correctly reported over 50% of deaths in years of low violence but less than 5% in years of highest violence." <ref name="Second Lancet Study" />

See also: Iraq Body Count project and Lancet surveys of mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq

[edit] Iraqi Healthcare deterioration

A November 11, 2006 Los Angeles Times article reports: <ref>"Decrepit healthcare adds to toll in Iraq". Louise Roug, Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2006.</ref>

The [Iraq] nation's health has deteriorated to a level not seen since the 1950s, said Joseph Chamie, former director of the U.N. Population Division and an Iraq specialist. "They were at the forefront", he said, referring to healthcare just before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. "Now they're looking more and more like a country in sub-Saharan Africa."

[edit] Iraqi Refugees

As of November 4, 2006, the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees estimated that 1.8 million Iraqis had been displaced to neighboring countries, and 1.6 million were displaced internally, with nearly 100,000 Iraqis fleeing to Syria and Jordan each month. <ref> "U.N.: 100,000 Iraq refugees flee monthly". Alexander G. Higgins, Boston Globe, November 3, 2006.</ref>

[edit] Financial costs

[edit] Dollar figures

As of September 29 2006, over $379 billion has been allocated by the U.S. Congress for the Iraq war. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The direct costs of the war and occupation have not been included in the regular defense spending request (with the exception of FY 2007); instead, President Bush has submitted emergency spending bills to Congress to cover those costs. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The current rate of U.S. expenditure in Iraq is approximately $6.4 billion a month. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

As of March 2006, approximately £4.5 billion had been spent by the United Kingdom in Iraq. All of this money has come from a government fund called the "Special Reserve" which has a current allocation of £6.44 billion. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

It is not known how much more money has been spent by other members of the coalition; however, the US's share of the cost is by far the largest.

Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and Nobel Prize in Economics, has suggested the total costs of the Iraq War on the US economy will be $1 trillion in a conservative scenario and could top $2 trillion in a moderate one.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The Congressional Research Service recently estimated weekly spending at almost $2 billion per week, and that total expenditures have now topped half a trillion dollars.<ref>"Cost of Iraq war nearly $2b a week", Boston Globe, 2006-09-28. Retrieved on 2006-09-28.</ref> Additionally, the extended combat and equipment loss have placed a severe financial strain on the U.S Army, causing the elimination of non-essential expenses such as travel and civilian hiring.<ref>"Strapped for money, Army extends cutbacks on spending", USA Today, 2006-07-20. Retrieved on 2006-08-15.</ref> <ref>Michael Hirsh. "End of Days?", Newsweek, 2006-07-21. Retrieved on 2006-08-15.</ref>

Data from the Office of Management and Budget shows that the discretionary defense spending is 20% of government outlays,<ref>2006 Mid-session review page 8</ref> and the CIA World Factbook lists a 2005 estimate of U.S. military expenditure as 4.06% of GDP (the 26th position in a listing of 167 countries). Other figures, however, show that the total defense expenditures (Department of Defense, Homeland Security and War on Terror) amount to $563 billion, which represents 56% of the nation's discretionary budget <ref>2006 Mid-session review page 26</ref> and 47% of the world military spending.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] U.S. equipment losses

In addition to the human casualties suffered in the war, the U.S. has also lost a number of pieces of military equipment. This total includes those vehicles lost in non-combat related accidents - numbers are an approximation. Recently, the Army has said that the cost of replacing its depleted equipment has tripled from that of 2005. <ref>"Army’s Iraq, Afghanistan equipment costs triple", MSNBC, 2006-06-27. Retrieved on 2006-08-15.</ref>

Combat losses: Land equipment<ref name="lexington 773">Template:Cite web</ref>

Combat losses: Air equipment<ref name="lexington 773"/>

See also: List of Coalition aircraft crashes in Iraq

[edit] Criticism

[edit] Criticism of military strategy

U.S. military strategy in Iraq has drawn criticism from a number of different circles. Military historian Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has called the Iraq war "the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them."[20]

[edit] Withdraw from Iraq

A growing number of citizens in coalition nations have urged their governments to withdraw from Iraq. Supporters of withdrawal argue that the Iraq war is unwinnable, that it has no purpose, or that it has become another Vietnam war. <ref>http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7166.htm</ref> <ref>http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0606-25.htm</ref> Those who oppose the war also argue that the huge financial cost, as well as the loss of innocent human life, will be ended by a withdrawal of troops. Another consideration is the destabilization to the Middle East region that may occur as a consequence of the sudden departure of the United States military. Given the strained relations between the United States and Iraq's neighbor, Iran, and considering the powerful influence of Iran among Iraq's Shi'a Muslim community, some people fear that Iraq is going to convert into a fundamentalist-lead client state of Iran. The civil strife between the Sunni and Shi'a communities, as well as Kurdish hopes of establishing an independent state of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, could lead to a full-scale civil war.

[edit] Stay in Iraq

In addition to the criticism of the war itself, there is also a large amount of criticism from people that support the war but criticize the current military strategy, believing that the current strategy causes unnecessary deaths and injuries of coalition and Iraqi troops, as well as civilian contractors, and does not adequately meet the insurgent threat. Included within this is the criticism that, if the military strategy were much more effective, then there would be much more support for the war among the people of the coalition countries, especially the United States, except in the case of the strict pacifists and isolationists, who are always opposed to foreign wars regardless of the efficacy of the strategy.

Many specific strategic criticisms have been made by various individuals and publications. Some major criticisms include:

  • Prisoners in Iraq detained by U.S. troops are treated badly, and it is estimated that about 1/4th of them are innocent, and many prisoners are subsequently released. The bad treatment of those prisoners angers the civilian population and turns them against the United States. These critics say that prisoners should be treated humanely. (this criticism was made on Nightline <ref>http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/IraqCoverage/story?id=1312282</ref>, among other places)
  • There is a very large number of explosion-induced injuries to soldiers' arms, legs, and faces, including many losses of limbs. Such injuries could be greatly reduced if the soldiers wore light-weight, ventilated, heat-resistant polymer (such as aramid) over their arms and legs, and transparent polycarbonate face masks, which not strong enough to stop a bullet, can prevent much of the damage from the hot particles of explosives.[citation needed] This also applies to the Iraqi police, who are severely under-equipped <ref>http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1246074,00.html</ref>, and who suffer far more deaths and injuries than coalition troops <ref>http://icasualties.org</ref>, and are the permanent stabilizing force that, if strong enough, may allow the coalition troops to withdraw. (This criticism was made in Discover Magazine <ref>http://www.discover.com/issues/dec-04/departments/reviews/?page=2</ref>, among other places.)


  • Many civilian contractors in Iraq, who are involved in rebuilding Iraq, are killed by insurgents <ref>http://icasualties.org</ref>, and the improvements that they build are often destroyed soon after they are made.[citation needed]

Geraldo Rivera is one of the major critics of the military strategy in Iraq. Geraldo advised, among other things, that U.S. troops should only use roads that are monitored 24-7, so as to avoid roadside bombs, and that civilian contractors, except for those working on military and security projects, should pull out until most insurgents are dead and it is safe to build. <ref>from the Fox television show 'Geraldo At Large'</ref>

[edit] Criticisms of U.S. media coverage

Image:Iraqi Sniper.jpg
A sniper loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr fires a Dragunov sniper rifle at U.S. positions in the cemetery in Najaf. Though there had been concerns that the US media failed to show both sides properly, when The New York Times published this photo, it was severely criticized as being non-patriotic.

Concerns have been raised of insufficiently critical coverage of the activities of U.S. forces in Iraq. However, the argument has also been made that coverage has been unfair to U.S. forces, and has failed to send a message adequately supportive of U.S. forces.

Some critics suggest that the U.S. news media is extremely reluctant to criticise the conduct of American soldiers, for fear of upsetting their viewers and thus losing profits.[citation needed] This could hypothetically keep certain concerns over soldiers' conduct off the U.S. political agenda.

Thus it has been often reported in European media, including countries involved in operations in Iraq, that a large minority of American soldiers and marines in Iraq have been able to behave irresponsibly in Iraq, causing unnecessary deaths of civilians. At the same time, many believe that U.S. forces have come under little U.S. media scrutiny, except in the most extreme cases.[citation needed]

Even in the most extreme cases, such as the Haditha massacre, U.S. media coverage has been considerably less than in European countries such as the United Kingdom, especially when the massacre was a rumour, when it was rejected by the U.S. media. [citation needed]

The killing of Nicola Calipari by an American soldier, which Italian prosecutors are now classifying murder, received U.S. media coverage because the victim was an Italian Major-General. The killing fits a pattern, which has been suggested by most of the mainstream European media for some time (among many others, in the British Guardian newspaper and French Le Monde newspaper) of widespread unprovoked fatal incidents. [citation needed] Another cited example is the killing of British reporter Terry Lloyd, who was found by the coroner to have been unlawfully killed by U.S. marines in Iraq. The Independent on Sunday (15 October 2006) suggested that this death was the result of U.S. soldiers' hostility to his decision to report independently rather than being "embedded "with coalition forces.


[edit] Human rights abuses

Throughout the entire Iraq war there have been numerous human rights abuses on all sides of the conflict.

[edit] U.S. Armed Forces

WARNING: These links have graphic content depicting a decapitation; some of the most publicized abuses include:

[edit] Private military contractors

There have been reported human rights abuses by some of the thousands of private military contractors working in Iraq. The most famous incident involving contractors was the Abu Ghraib incident.

[edit] Insurgent forces

A 2005 Human Rights Watch report analysed the insurgency in Iraq and highlighted, "The groups that are most responsible for the abuse, namely al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Sunna and the Islamic Army in Iraq, have all targeted civilians for abductions and executions. The first two groups have repeatedly boasted about massive car bombs and suicide bombs in mosques, markets, bus stations and other civilian areas. Such acts are war crimes and in some cases may constitute crimes against humanity, which are defined as serious crimes committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population."<ref name="Human Rights Watch">Template:Cite web</ref>

The regular Iraqi insurgents and other groups such as the Sunni Islamic militant groups Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Islam are responsible for numerous abuses and killings, including:

[edit] Iraqi government

Other abuses have been blamed on the new Iraqi government, including:

[edit] References

<references/>


[edit] External articles

Overview
Maps of Iraq
Road to War
Iraqi sources
  • The Ground Truth Project -- A series of exclusive, in-depth interviews with Iraqis, aid workers, military personnel and others who have spent significant time on-the-ground in Iraq.
  • What Iraqis Think -- A compilation of the latest polls and blogs coming out of Iraq.
  • Iraq documents on Weapons of Mass Destruction This is a U.S. military site containing approximately 1 million files captured from the Iraqi military in the aftermath of the invasion.
Opinions and polls
Casualties

(additional links not found in reference links section)

Combat operations related

News
  • News from Iraq Aggregated news on the war, including politics and economics.
  • The Struggle for Iraq: BBC Best Link: All the latest news, analysis and images from Iraq.
  • War in Iraq: CNN Special Report: This page was archived in May 2003 when President Bush declared an end to major combat. However, the coalition casualties' list continues to be updated.
  • Iraq: Transition of Power: CNN Special Report: Three years later, debate rages.
Anti-war activists and war critics
Independent analysis

War supporters and operation proponents
Economics
Exit Strategy
Photos

Media Echo

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