The Iraq War is better known to many as the Second Gulf War, a war that saw Saddam Hussein finally toppled from power. While this can be said, how many of us can truly recount the reasons for war and the outcome of conflict? This war was supposed to be a quick affair but we are still involved today (July 2011), over 8 years since it started.
While many know of the war, not many know of the full story behind the Second Gulf War, in light of this it is time to tell the story and let everyone know what really happened in Iraq.
Prelude to the Iraq War
After the First Gulf War there was a UN mandate, this mandate was called the United Nations Security Council Resolution 687. This mandate said that all Iraq long range missiles, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons were destroyed.
Outside of the UN Mandate after the First Gulf War the British and Americans (supported by France until 1998) conducted their own no fly zones in the north and south of Iraq. Something the Iraq regime was not happy about as they said it went against their right to sovereignty.
In 1998 the U.S. agreed a political act called the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 where they called for a change in government in Iraq. This act saw the CIA spending around eight million Dollars a year funding the overtly seen movement to remove Saddam from power; many more millions were spent in covert operations.
When George W. Bush (Jr.) came to power in 2001 the chances of war in Iraq grew rapidly. Bush accused Iraq of starting to develop weapons of mass destruction and to ensure UN weapons inspectors were allowed full access to Iraq weapons, something they had not fully had.
Iraq countered this by saying there were no weapons of mass destruction and that they were not allowing UN weapons inspectors as the 1999 checks included U.S. intelligence agents.
Through late 2002 into 2003 Iraq reluctantly allowed weapons inspectors back in the country and were seen to be making progress, but this did not stop the United States pushing issues further.
During this same time period the UK through Tony Blair were backing President Bush whole heartedly.
The Iraq War Starts
On March 20th 2003 the Iraq War started in earnest.
The first teams into Iraq actually went in during the summer of 2002 and these were covert CIA operatives.
It was officially 5:34am in Baghdad on March 20th 2003 when the war began and the United States led a coalition of some forty countries into battle with Iraq.
The action was swift as the coalition forces invaded Iraq at speed. The main bulk of the forces were US and UK forces but there were also Australian, Polish and other forces involved.
The invasion while being quick and decisive was not as easy as first expected. The Iraqi forces were expecting an attack and devised their own plans in dealing with the coalition, this involved conventional warfare which turned to unconventional when larger coalition forces were in battle. An example would be the withdrawal of smaller Iraqi forces when facing a larger coalition force, the idea was to lure the coalition forces forward so Iraqi forces in civilian clothing could then attack in the rear.
This move by the Iraq forces was successful in slowing the advance but did not stop the giant coalition war machine from completing their objectives.
The coalition invasion combined land, air and water assaults and methodically moved through Iraq until it finally achieved its objective of controlling most of the large cities. It was 15th April 2003 when the invasion was declared complete.
Over the rest of 2003 the coalition forces began to hunt down and capture all government figures from the Saddam regime, this included the capture of Saddam Hussein himself in December 2003.
After the completion of the invasion there were a few small scale attacks, but over time these grew dramatically to become constant barrages of small attacks. These attacks were seen as coming from Anti-Iraq forces, thus meaning Islamic terrorist organizations against the coalition position in Iraq.
Through 2004 the Anti-Iraq forces insurgency grew dramatically with both coalition forces and civilians bearing the brunt of the attacks. This fighting saw four Blackwater private security workers killed and their dead bodies paraded in an undignified manner thus causing the outbreak of the first and second Battles of Fallujah that resulted in a victory to the coalition.
2005 saw the first election of an Iraqi government and the ratification of the Iraqi constitution, it also saw the heaviest insurgency to date.
2006 saw a small scale civil war start when a highly revered mosque was bombed by insurgents, this small scale civil war accumulated in the death of some 165 civilians.
A group of American soldiers raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl Abeer Hamza al-Janabi before going on to kill her and her family. The soldiers were sent to prison for their crimes but the damage from the crimes reverberated further by increasing negativity towards the coalition and increasing insurgent attacks.
In June 2006 the Iraqi leader of al-Qaeda called Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was tracked and killed in a well planned operation.
The Iraq government also took office in 2006 and Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging for his crimes against Iraq in December of the same year.
2007 saw a massive increase in United States forces numbers in Iraq and this increase in troops coincided in a huge decrease in insurgent activity. It was also the year where the Iraq government voted in favour of coalition forces leaving the nation.
2008 saw Iraq finally able to start defending itself as the new Iraqi army was formed and its troops started completing basic training. This same year also saw a decrease in the number of insurgent attacks, although there was a spring offensive by insurgent groups.
2009 to date saw a reduction in troops in Iraq and a redeployment of coalition troops within the country. This was able to happen as the Iraqi armed forces started controlling security of their own nation.
In 2009 American and Iraqi forces in a combined operation killed the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri.