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

Post by:
Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    Mission accomplished?

    October 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    This article was too long. It made my brains hurt. Now doodie is running out my ears.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. charlotte

    Philip eats dooodooo.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Philip

    I need to go hump my dog some more and see if any roots grow.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    My mom wants the dog.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    Wow. Was it something I said, or was it something that was done to Iraqi citizens? If this occupation that even President Obama still calls an "War" had never happened, I would be just like the most of you are now...nothing to say. And these childish insults are getting rediculous and keeping informed individuals from sharing what they know with each other. I think I'll write CNN a letter today concerning this. It's getting way out of hand.

    October 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. humtake

    Well, when Bush began the war, he said it was going to be a 10 year war. Looks like he was wrong by about 2 years, but still...he was very close!

    October 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Occupation...not "war"

      The War on Iraq has NOT been going on for twelve years. This has been an occupation of Iraq since Saddam Hussein's regime was taken out. The same with Afghanistan. The President of Afghanistan is an American citizen cooperating with the OCUPATION of Affhanistan's citizenry. Get a clue.

      October 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. William H

    My question is were the major aspirin manufacturers somehow involved in this. Until a congressional insight comittee is established there may still be questions concerning this matter.

    October 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mdubbs

    Oh Hans Brix! You're breakin mah balls Hans!

    October 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. clarke

    I just hope the people leaving comments are not old enought to vote. The comments do not reflect any intelligence.or knowledge of what is going on in this world.

    October 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      And that's all you have to add to this ? Hope you're not old enough to vote.

      October 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Miso

    Yay! Bring them home! Whoop whoop!
    Yes, it was probably something you said, Philip. You tend to say a lot.

    October 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Webspy

    I'm sure you heard this for years as did the rest of the World...Cherry picked the evidence, said Iraq responsible 911, working on WMD, mushroom cloud, then said, invade and we will be greeted as liberators, then said we have enough soldiers and they don't need to be better equipped, then said mission accomplished, then said regime change, Saddam bad bad guy. Then leaked CIA information on one of their own agents to make a point, and try to silence critics!

    October 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Webspy

      More then a war criminal 3 weeks before leaving office all his bank buddies need money, so he became a common criminal as well for robbing the tax payers on the way out of town

      October 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jamie Gumm

    Philip, I told you ,put on a clean dress .You'er gonna get the hose uuummm maybe he like that?

    October 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    @Jamie Gumm...I've never seen you here before, and have no idea who you are. Is there something in particular that I have posted that you take issue with? And really folk, even children come-up with more imaginative way's to put each other down. I would imagine that the average age [emotionally speaking] of the people calling me names and such...is about 9. From their small vocabularies I would think them to be maybe 16, and even then, it would have to be a "no child left behind" 16 yr. old. If you have a problem with what I post, say so if you can find the words. Ask me, and I will even help you to find them. Really. Calling me names and trying to put me down leads to nothing but you confusing yourselves even more than you already are. Now, this is a serious news blogsite. Let's get serious and end this child's play,

    October 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    I cant stop thinking about the roots in Sadams hole.

    October 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
1 2