October 21st, 2011
02:50 PM ET

The Iraq war: A nine-year timeline

On Friday, President Barack Obama announced that American troops in Iraq will be home by the end of the year. That declaration means an end to a nearly nine-year war.

About 39,000 troops are in Iraq. The U.S. had wanted to wanted to keep between 3,000 to 5,000 troops there past 2011 for help with training and to maintain security. But the current Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq dictates that the U.S. troops leave by year's end. CNN learned exclusively that the U.S. and Iraq had been unable to come to an agreement on key issues regarding legal immunity for U.S. troops remaining in Iraq, an impasse that effectively ended discussion of maintaining a significant American force presence beyond 2011.

CNN looks back at the events leading up to the war and its developments over the years.

February 5, 2003: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell makes the case to the United Nations that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein poses an imminent threat.

February 14, 2003: U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix reports to the U.N. Security Council that his team has found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

March 17, 2003: President George W. Bush issues an ultimatum to Hussein and his family: Leave Iraq within 48 hours, or face military action.

March 19, 2003: At 10:15 p.m. EST, Bush announces that U.S. and coalition forces have begun military action against Iraq.

March 20, 2003: Hussein speaks on Iraqi TV, calling the coalition's attacks "shameful crimes against Iraq and humanity."

March 23, 2003: Members of the Army's 507th Maintenance Company are ambushed and captured outside Nasiriyah.

April 1, 2003: Pvt. Jessica Lynch is rescued from a hospital by U.S. forces.

April 9, 2003: Coalition forces take Baghdad, and a large statue of Hussein is toppled in Firdos Square. The White House declares "the regime is gone."April 13, 2003: Seven U.S. prisoners of war are rescued by U.S. troops.

May 1, 2003: Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, Bush declares "major combat operations" over, although some fighting continues.

May 22, 2003: The United Nations Security Council approves a resolution acknowledging the U.S. and Britain's right to occupy Iraq.

July 22, 2003: Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, are killed by U.S. forces.

December 13, 2003: Hussein is captured in a "spider hole" in Tikrit. This is not confirmed until December 14 by the U.S. Defense Dept.

March 8, 2004: The U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council members sign an interim constitution, laying the groundwork for future elections, a permanent constitution and eventually a return to self-rule.

June 1, 2004: The Iraqi Governing Council dissolves. An interim government will be in charge of the country after sovereignty is handed over until national elections for a transitional government are held by the end of January.

June 28, 2004: The handover of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government takes place two days before the June 30 deadline previously announced by the U.S.-led coalition.

June 30, 2004: The coalition turns over legal control of Hussein and 11 other former top Iraqi officials to the interim Iraqi government. The U.S. retains physical custody of the men.

July 1, 2004: Hussein makes his first appearance in court. A judge charges him with a variety of crimes including the invasion of Kuwait and the gassing of the Kurds.

August 2004: U.S. and Iraqi forces battle insurgents in Najaf who are followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

September 6, 2004: The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 1,000.

November 2004: U.S. and Iraqi forces battle insurgents in Fallujah. About 2,000 insurgents are killed. On November 14, Fallujah is declared to be liberated.

January 30, 2005: Millions of Iraqis cast ballots in the nation's first free election in half a century. Expatriates in 14 countries, including the U.S., also participate.

April 6-7, 2005: Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani is selected as the country's president by the transitional national assembly. He and two vice presidents are sworn in.

December 15, 2005: Millions of Iraqis participate in an election to choose a 275-seat Parliament that will serve a four-year term.

November 5, 2006: The Iraqi High Tribunal reaches a verdict in the 1982 Dujail massacre case. Hussein is found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging, pending appeal.

December 30, 2006: Hussein is hanged a few minutes after 6 a.m.

January 10, 2007: A troop surge begins, increasing U.S. troop levels to more than 150,000.

September 3, 2007: Basra is turned over to local authorities after British troops withdraw from their last military base in Iraq to an airport outside the city.

March 22, 2008: The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 4,000.

July 10, 2008: Gen. David Petraeus is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as commander of U.S. Central Command. Gen. Ray Odierno succeeds Petraeus as Multinational Forces commander in Iraq.

July 16, 2008: The surge officially ends, and troop levels are reduced.

December 4, 2008 – The Iraqi Presidential Council approves a security agreement that paves the way for the U.S. to withdraw completely by 2011.

January 1, 2009: The U.S. military hands over control of Baghdad's Green Zone to Iraqi authorities.

February 27, 2009: Obama announces a date for the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq: August 31, 2010.

June 30, 2009: U.S. troops pull back from Iraqi cities and towns, and Iraqi troops take over the responsibility for security operations. However, U.S. troops remain in the country to continue combat operations and patrols in rural areas.

August 19, 2010: The last U.S. combat brigade leaves Iraq. About 52,000 U.S. troops remain in the country.

September 1, 2010: Operation Iraqi Freedom is renamed Operation New Dawn to reflect the reduced role U.S. troops will play in securing the country.

May 22, 2011: The last British military forces in Iraq, 81 Royal Navy sailors patrolling in the Persian Gulf, withdraw from the country. During the country's eight-year mission, 179 British troops died.

October 17, 2011: A senior U.S. military official tells CNN that the U.S. and Iraq have been unable to come to agreement regarding legal immunity for U.S. troops who would remain in Iraq after the end of the year, effectively ending discussion of maintaining an American force presence after the end of 2011.

Sources: CNN, Department of Defense

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Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Webspy

    March 19, 2003: At 10:15 p.m. EST, Bush announces that U.S. and coalition
    forces have begun military action against Iraq. said," invade and we will be greeted as liberators", then said we have enough soldiers and they don't need to be better equipped
    May 1, 2003: Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, Bush declares "major combat operations" over, although some fighting continues.
    March 24, 2004, At Wednesday's 60th annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Bush makes laughs in speech, as Americans children were face down in the dirt on foreign soil dieing, on his behalf... Bush made fun in speech, yucked it up with his buddies ON BOTH SIDE OF THE ISLE, that there are no WMD "
    September 6, 2004: The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 1,000. Bush said we have enough soldiers and they don't need to be better equipped.
    January 10, 2007: A troop surge begins, increasing U.S. troop levels to more than 150,000. Bush said we "DON'T" have enough soldiers and they "DO" need to be better equipped. 3 years late but who's counting bodies?
    March 22, 2008: The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq reaches 4,000.
    March 13, 2008 Bush you can tell has never served in war because he referred to the WAR as ROMANTIC, "It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger"! My friend who lost both legs and 1/2 a hand said he doesn't feel romantic, in fact he wishes someone would romance Bush!
    Whats the difference between Bin Laden and Bush?
    Bush accidentally killed more AMERICANS then Bin Laden did, enough said!

    October 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      very well said, and very accurate. However, without understand Bush's Carlyle Group's role in all of this, the true reasons for these two occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be fully understood.

      Where does China get their oil and Ng? China, like US, has vast coal reserves and burns the heck out of coal, just like US. however, China produces 53% of their own energy. (not like US) And China purchases most of their oil from the Carlyle Group now, at approx. 27 US dollars per bbl. (42 gal.) The US usually pays 3 times that amount, even more on occassion.

      This lie that China makes chep stuff for Wal-Mart because of slave labor being tossed around by the talking heads is laughable. Labor costs are but a small percentage of production costs. Energy is most expensive, and simply put, China can make everything from pharmaceuticals to Barbie dolls at about 40% of what it costs US to produce.

      These occupations aren't about oil...they are about oil for China. Now you know how Wal-Mart became the world's shopping market.

      October 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oldlarry

      Excellent summary. Only question remaining is why weren't BushBaby, Cheney, Rummy, Rice, etc. prosecuted by the Obama administration? Lying, war crimes and callous disregard for US military lives should be worth at least a few years in the slammer. Most galling to me was Rummy's line about 'you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had' (read 'properly prepared and equipped.' Since these pinheads started the war, they could have waited for the army they 'whished' they had.

      October 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      Well put, Webspy. Thank you. In fact, George W. Bush actually needs to be brought to justice but won't due to the power of the right-wing thugs in Washington, proving that the ones with the money are the ones with the power!!!

      October 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. McCamy

    Thank you John King for a fair and balanced news report tonight. Thank you President Obama for bringing our troops home from a GOP war that cost us 900,000 million dollars and some many lives and tragic injuries. I have been watching MSNBC for my news but will now watch for John King on CNN

    October 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      900,000 million dollars? You may have over shot it a bit..

      October 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Or not.. What is that, 900 billion? I thought it was trillions.. It's just as easy to keep this simple..

      October 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tk ellis

    Wars are not easy for anybody...People die and get severly wounded. I look at it this way our fight was to be in Iraq not in the US. So I say to you guys war is not good for anybody. We had a job to do and we did. We kept the insurgents in their country not ours. The President of the United States did what any President would have done after 9/11. This was not a Republican war it was a war that nobody wanted but our country had to do it. If you were President what would you have done? Remember these muslims want us to die (all Americans) do we just watch or do we do something...and we did. Questions? Have your ever worn the uniformthen you know where I am comming from. tk

    October 21, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tk ellis

    webspy, your comments: Bin Laden was trying to kill more Americans around the world...we stopped that because of our intelligence. Now you really seem to be very bright in your analysis and blame a war on something or somebody. Talk to the heros that are comming home from Iraq/Afghanistan they would go back in a second. Remember, these Muslims preach the Koran that all Americans must die...I just hope you are not on the list. If you don't like it in our country move to another country. I am sure I can find some sponsors to pay your way. Unfortunately you will never know what freedom means. What do you do now? tk

    October 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Matt

    Those of you on here who are touting Iraq as some reasonable response to 9/11 ought to be committed. Afghanistan, yes. Iraq... No! So stop calling everyone on here un-patriotic for being skeptical of the reason why we went over there. I will always support the troops but that does not mean we can't be skeptical of our leadership. We cannot afford these huge babysitting wars that last nearly a decade and Bush messed up and got us into two!

    October 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Old driller w/no TV

      You still seem to nt be getting it about Afghanistan. Research The Carlyle Group and you will find out why the US is still occupying Afghanistan. Try here...www.hereinreality.com GW Bush ordered his attorney general to shut this website down. It is a federal felony violation of law to publish lies concerning the sitting president of the USA. The attorney general could find no lies, and so this website remained up-and running, and is doing so to this very day. Inform yourself with truth, not talking-head mentality.

      October 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. michaelfury

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/what-would-they-not-do/

    October 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Gepaart Vision

    ANTI WALL STREET PROTESTS = TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP = COMMUNISM

    WHITES AREN’T WELCOME IN AMERICA ANY LONGER !!! OUT OF AMERICA WITH WHITES NOW !!! http://www.youtube.com/user/BostjanAvsec <== OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE IN 2009. These are hard facts about lunatic Obama/Bush's twilight zone administrations(HORROR) or genocide against white population

    Ask your local newspaper/media why do they keep silent about crime/genocide !!? Ask them why do they KNOWINGLY participate in crime/genocide !!! BECAUSE SILENCE = CRIME !!!

    WALL STREET PROTESTS...NOT ANTI WALL-STREET AT ALL, BUT INSTEAD RACIALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE AGAINST WHITES !!!

    ANTI WALL-STREET PROTESTS ARE ALSO KNOWN UNDER ZIONIST "TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP" IN AMERICA !!! TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP FROM HANDS OF WHITE AMERICANS TO SO CALLED "MINORITIES"(COMMUNISM) http://multiculturalismisterrorism.blogspot.com/

    THEY WERE MURDERING YOU WITH AND INSIDE OF THEIR CORPORATIONS FOR OVER 66 YEARS !!! THEY HAVE CLOSED DOWN ALMOST EVERY SMALL COMPANY(FARMS) IN UNITES STATES OF AMERICA AND NOW, THEY WANT YOU TO GO OUT THERE AND PROTEST FOR THEM AGAINST WALL STREET(because corporations = Wall-street) !!!

    THEY WERE CRIME CONTEMPLATING AGAINST US PER EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION FOR OVER 66 YEARS AND NOW, THEY WANT YOU TO RAISE COMMUNIST FLAG UNDER AMERICAN SKY !!! ONE RACE; RAT RACE(Wall street protesters are Obama's raise of the planet Apes army which spread from London per Zionist Washington DC and communist Moscow where new Stalin is in place – PUTIN) !!!

    IF YOU PROTEST(YOU SHOULD), MAKE SURE TO RAISE SIGN WHERE DISPLAYED I CITE "66 YEARS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE" OR GET LOST HOME IF NOT ALREADY HOMELESS(I despise people who starve to death out there and are afrraid to say out loud what is truth...I despise people who only see themselfs and do NOT care even about children of their own...chidren who will be turned one day in white refugees as seen on above video) !!!

    CREATE AWARENESS AND POST THIS VERY SAME VIDEO ON YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL.

    WAKE UP YOUR FRIENDS AND SAVE YOURSELF FROM AGONY(did you know that over one hundred million of so called minorities lives already in United States very today and as a result, over 450 million whites worldwide were murdered with economic genocide/oppression since WWII just as seen and proven in above video !!?)...

    THERE IS ESTIMATED THAT ONGOING GENOCIDE TREND WILL CONTINUE TO GO ON FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER 50 YEARS IF NOT DESTROYED(is completed only 30% so far) AND IS ONLY MATTER OF TIME WHEN YOU ARE NEXT IN LINE FOR THE SAKE OF MULTICULTURALISM(TERRORISM)...

    911 WAS CREATED FOR PEOPLE TO WAKE UP(deliberately by CIA)....HOWEVER, WAKE UP EITHER WHAT IS TRUTH(sanity) OR WAKE UP TO LIES(insanity = with what your self elected governments have brainwashed you when forcefully jobless/persecuted....therefor­­e, I want you to think about "WAKE UP" when watching next time ALEX JONES = CIA)

    WHEN YOU WAKE UP, I WANT YOU TO WAKE TO YOURSELF AND NOT TO SOMEONE ELSE'S DREAM (ZIONIST/COMMUNIST/LIBERAL DREAM CATCHERS/THIEFS, WHO PLOTTED 911 TO WAKE YOU AFTERWARDS WITH ECONOMIC OPPRESSION IN A WORLD OF LIES !!!)

    HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT TRUTH IS !!? WHATEVER YOU WERE BORN IS WHAT YOU ARE(truth therefore) AND FOR WHATEVER REASONS YOU HAVE CHANGED(distorted yourself) SINCE 9/11 IS WHAT YOU ARE NOT !!!

    IS IT INDEPENDENCE THAT WE CELEBRATE OR DEPENDENCE (what are your credit card bills or alimony saying about it) !!? HOW IS YOUR DIABETES AND LOST MARRIAGES !!? FORECLOSURES AND JOB SEARCH !!? THAT IS THE QUESTION TO BE OR NOT TO BE !!! IS IT LAND OF THE FREE OR STATE OF TERROR AGAINST OWN WHITE POPULATION !!? IT IS TIME TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT COLOR ARE THE STRIPES ON OUR STAR SPANGLED BANNER !!! TIME TO DETERMINE WHOSE INDEPENDENCE/AMERICA, WE CELEBRATE TODAY(who wants to erase us and denies us the right to exist) !!! IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHOM WE ADDRESS WITH "PRESIDENT" (STOP HUMILIATING YOURSELF) !!!

    October 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gepaart Vision

    ANTI WALL STREET PROTESTS = TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP = COMMUNISM

    WHITES AREN’T WELCOME IN AMERICA ANY LONGER !!! OUT OF AMERICA WITH WHITES NOW !!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xGfYOAydjw OR http://www.youtube.com/user/BostjanAvsec <== OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE IN 2009. These are hard facts about lunatic Obama/Bush's twilight zone administrations(HORROR) or genocide against white population

    Ask your local newspaper/media why do they keep silent about crime/genocide !!? Ask them why do they KNOWINGLY participate in crime/genocide !!! BECAUSE SILENCE = CRIME !!!

    WALL STREET PROTESTS...NOT ANTI WALL-STREET AT ALL, BUT INSTEAD RACIALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE AGAINST WHITES !!!

    ANTI WALL-STREET PROTESTS ARE ALSO KNOWN UNDER ZIONIST "TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP" IN AMERICA !!! TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP FROM HANDS OF WHITE AMERICANS TO SO CALLED "MINORITIES"(COMMUNISM) http://multiculturalismisterrorism.blogspot.com/

    THEY WERE MURDERING YOU WITH AND INSIDE OF THEIR CORPORATIONS FOR OVER 66 YEARS !!! THEY HAVE CLOSED DOWN ALMOST EVERY SMALL COMPANY(FARMS) IN UNITES STATES OF AMERICA AND NOW, THEY WANT YOU TO GO OUT THERE AND PROTEST FOR THEM AGAINST WALL STREET(because corporations = Wall-street) !!!

    THEY WERE CRIME CONTEMPLATING AGAINST US PER EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION FOR OVER 66 YEARS AND NOW, THEY WANT YOU TO RAISE COMMUNIST FLAG UNDER AMERICAN SKY !!! ONE RACE; RAT RACE(Wall street protesters are Obama's raise of the planet Apes army which spread from London per Zionist Washington DC and communist Moscow where new Stalin is in place – PUTIN) !!!

    IF YOU PROTEST(YOU SHOULD), MAKE SURE TO RAISE SIGN WHERE DISPLAYED I CITE "66 YEARS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE" OR GET LOST HOME IF NOT ALREADY HOMELESS(I despise people who starve to death out there and are afraid to say out loud what is truth...I despise people who only see themselves and do NOT care even about children of their own...children who will be turned one day in white refugees as seen on above video) !!!

    October 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. austin

    I just watched Maj. Gen. James "Spider" Marks expound on how ungrateful the Iraqis are for refusing to give all American soldiers totally immunity from prosecution for any crime after the U.S. "liberated" them from Saddam. Why didn't Wolf Blitzer challenge this blatant neocon propagandizing? The U.S. did not liberate Iraq. Iraq was CONQUERED! Sometimes I forget whether I'm watching CNN or Fox News.

    October 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
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