The Iraq War, also known as the Occupation of Iraq, The Second Gulf War or Operation Iraqi Freedom, is an ongoing military campaign which began on March 20, 2003, with the invasion of Iraq by a multinational force led by troops from the United States and the United Kingdom.
edit this info
Prior to the war, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom claimed that Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) posed a threat to their security and that of their coalition/regional allies. In 2002, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1441 which called for Iraq to completely cooperate with UN weapon inspectors to verify that Iraq was not in possession of weapons of mass destruction and cruise missiles. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) found no evidence of WMD, but could not verify the accuracy of Iraq's weapon declarations. At the time Hans Blix, the lead weapons inspector, advised the UN Security Council that while Iraq was cooperating in terms of access, Iraq's declarations with regards to WMD still could not be verified.
After investigation following the invasion, the US-led Iraq Survey Group concluded that Iraq had ended its nuclear, chemical, and biological programs in 1991 and had no active programs at the time of the invasion, but that they intended to resume production if the Iraq sanctions were lifted. Although some degraded remnants of misplaced or abandoned chemical weapons from before 1991 were found, they were not the weapons which had been the pretext for the invasion. Some US officials also accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of harboring and supporting al-Qaeda, but no evidence of a meaningful connection was ever found.
Other reasons for the invasion given included Iraq's financial support for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, Iraqi government human rights abuses, and an effort to spread democracy to the country.
The invasion of Iraq led to an occupation and the eventual capture of President Hussein, who was later executed by the new Iraqi government. Violence against coalition forces and among various sectarian groups soon led to the Iraqi insurgency, strife between many Sunni and Shia Iraqi groups, and al-Qaeda operations in Iraq.
In June 2008, US Department of Defense officials claimed security and economic indicators began to show signs of improvement in what they hailed as significant and fragile gains. Iraq was fifth on the 2008 Failed States Index, and sixth on the 2009 list.
Member nations of the Coalition withdrew their forces as public opinion favoring troop withdrawals increased and as Iraqi forces began to take responsibility for security. In late 2008, the US and Iraqi governments approved a Status of Forces Agreement effective through January 1, 2012. The Iraqi Parliament also ratified a Strategic Framework Agreement with the US, aimed at ensuring cooperation in constitutional rights, threat deterrence, education, energy development, and other areas.
In late February 2009, US President Barack Obama announced a new 18-month withdrawal window for "combat forces", with approximately 50,000 troops remaining in the country "to advise and train Iraqi security forces and to provide intelligence and surveillance". General Ray Odierno, the top US military commander in Iraq, said he believes all US troops will be out of the country by the end of 2011, while British forces ended combat operations on April 30, 2009. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said he supports the accelerated pullout of US forces.