Iraq War

Iraq War
Part of the Iraqi conflict and the War on Terror
Iraq War montage.png
Clockwise from top: US troops at Uday and Qusay Hussein's hideout; insurgents in northern Iraq; an Iraqi insurgent firing a MANPADS; the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue in Firdos Square
  • 20 March 2003 – 18 December 2011 (2003-03-20 – 2011-12-18)
    (8 years, 8 months and 29 days)
Invasion phase (2003)
 United States
 United Kingdom
Supported by:
Invasion phase (2003)


 United States
 United Kingdom


Post-invasion (2003–11)
Ba'ath loyalists

Sunni insurgents

Supported by:
 Saudi Arabia[9]

Shia insurgents

Supported by:

Commanders and leaders
Jalal Talabani
Ayad Allawi
Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Nouri al-Maliki
Ricardo Sanchez
George W. Casey, Jr.
David Petraeus
Raymond T. Odierno
Lloyd Austin
George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Tommy Franks
Donald Rumsfeld
Robert Gates
Tony Blair
Gordon Brown
David Cameron
John Howard
Kevin Rudd
Silvio Berlusconi
Romano Prodi
Sheikh Jaber
Sheikh Sabah
Juan Carlos I
José María Aznar
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Lech Kaczyński
Iran Mohammad Salimi
Iran Ataollah Salehi
Iran Nasser Mohammadifar
Iran Mohammad-Hossein Dadras
Iran Ahmad Reza Pourdastan

Saddam Hussein (POW) Skull and crossbones.svg
Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri #
Iraq Qusay Hussein 
Iraq Uday Hussein 
Iraq Abid Hamid Mahmud (POW) Skull and crossbones.svg
Iraq Ali Hassan al-Majid (POW) Skull and crossbones.svg
Iraq Barzan Ibrahim (POW) Skull and crossbones.svg
Iraq Taha Yasin Ramadan (POW) Skull and crossbones.svg
Iraq Tariq Aziz (POW)
Iraq Mohammed Younis al-Ahmed

Sunni insurgency
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi 
Abu Ayyub al-Masri 
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi 
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi 
IAILogo.png Ishmael Jubouri
Abu Abdullah al-Shafi'i (POW)

Shia insurgency
Muqtada al-Sadr
Shiism arabic blue.svg Abu Deraa
Qais al-Khazali
Akram al-Kaabi
Iran Yahya Rahim Safavi
Iran Mohammad Ali Jafari
Iran Qasem Soleimani[19]

Invasion forces (2003)
 United States: 192,000[20]
 United Kingdom: 45,000
 Australia: 2,000
 Poland: 194
Kurdistan Region Peshmerga: 70,000

Coalition forces (2004–09)
176,000 at peak
United States Forces – Iraq (2010–11)
112,000 at activation
Security contractors 6,000–7,000 (estimate)[21]
Iraqi security forces
805,269 (military and paramilitary: 578,269,[22] police: 227,000)
Awakening militias
≈103,000 (2008)[23]
Iraqi Kurdistan
≈400,000 (Kurdish Border Guard: 30,000,[24] Peshmerga 75,000)

Coat of arms (emblem) of Iraq 1991-2004.svg Iraqi Armed Forces: 375,000 (disbanded in 2003)
Iraqi Republican Guard Symbol.svg Special Iraqi Republican Guard: 12,000
Iraqi Republican Guard Symbol.svg Iraqi Republican Guard: 70,000–75,000
Fedayeen Saddam SSI.svg Fedayeen Saddam: 30,000

Sunni Insurgents
≈70,000 (2007)[25]
≈1,300 (2006)[26]

Islamic State of Iraq
≈1,000 (2008)
Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order
≈500–1,000 (2007)
Casualties and losses

Iraqi security forces (post-Saddam)
Killed: 17,690[27]
Wounded: 40,000+[28]
Coalition forces
Killed: 4,825 (4,507 US,[29] 179 U.K.,[30] 139 other)[31]
Missing/captured (US): 17 (9 died in captivity, 8 rescued)[32]
Wounded: 32,776+ (32,292 US,[33] 315 U.K., 210+ other[34])[35][36][37][38] Injured/diseases/other medical*: 51,139 (47,541 US,[39] 3,598 UK)[35][37][38]
Killed: 1,554[40][41]
Wounded & injured: 43,880[40][41]
Awakening Councils
Killed: 1,002+[42]
Wounded: 500+ (2007),[43] 828 (2008)[44]

Total dead: 25,071
Total wounded: 117,961
Iraqi combatant dead (invasion period): 5,388–10,800[45][46][47]
Insurgents (post-Saddam)
Killed: 26,544 (2003–11)[48]
(4,000 foreign fighters killed by Sep. 2006)[49]
Detainees: 12,000 (Iraqi-held, in 2010 only)[50]
119,752 insurgents arrested (2003–2007)[51]
Total dead: 31,608–37,344

Estimated deaths:
Lancet survey** (March 2003 – July 2006): 654,965 (95% CI: 392,979–942,636)[52][53]
Iraq Family Health Survey*** (March 2003 – July 2006): 151,000 (95% CI: 104,000–223,000)[54]
Opinion Research Business**: (March 2003 – August 2007): 1,033,000 (95% CI: 946,258–1,120,000)[55]
PLOS Medicine Study**: (March 2003 – June 2011): 405,000 (60% violent) (95% CI: 48,000–751,000)[56]
Documented deaths from violence:
Iraq Body Count (2003 – 14 December 2011): 103,160–113,728 civilian deaths recorded[57] and 12,438 new deaths added from the Iraq War Logs[58]
Associated Press (March 2003 – April 2009): 110,600[59]

For more information see Casualties of the Iraq War.
* "injured, diseased, or other medical": required medical air transport. UK number includes "aeromed evacuations".
** Total excess deaths include all additional deaths due to increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poorer healthcare, etc.
*** Violent deaths only – does not include excess deaths due to increased lawlessness, poorer healthcare, etc.

The Iraq War[nb 1] was a protracted armed conflict from 2003 to 2011 that began with the invasion of Iraq by the United States–led coalition which overthrew the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the coalition forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government.[60] An estimated 151,000 to 1,033,000 Iraqis died in the first three to five years of conflict. US troops were officially withdrawn in 2011. The United States became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition; the insurgency and many dimensions of the armed conflict continue. The invasion occurred as part of the George W. Bush administration's War on Terror following the September 11 attacks despite no connection of the latter to Iraq.[61]

In October 2002, Congress granted President Bush the power to decide whether to launch any military attack in Iraq.[62] The Iraq War began on 20 March 2003,[63] when the US, joined by the UK, Australia, and Poland launched a "shock and awe" bombing campaign. Iraqi forces were quickly overwhelmed as coalition forces swept through the country. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba'athist government; Saddam Hussein was captured during Operation Red Dawn in December of that same year and executed three years later. The power vacuum following Saddam's demise and mismanagement by the Coalition Provisional Authority led to widespread civil war between Shias and Sunnis, as well as a lengthy insurgency against coalition forces. Many of the violent insurgent groups were supported by Iran and al-Qaeda in Iraq. The United States responded with a build-up of 170,000 troops in 2007.[64] This build-up gave greater control to Iraq's government and military, and was judged a success by many.[65] In 2008, President Bush agreed to a withdrawal of all US combat troops from Iraq. The withdrawal was completed under President Barack Obama in December 2011.[66][67]

The Bush administration based its rationale for the Iraq War on the claim that Iraq had a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program,[68] and that Iraq posed a threat to the United States and its allies.[69][70] Some US officials falsely accused Saddam of harbouring and supporting al-Qaeda.[71] In 2004, the 9/11 Commission concluded there was no evidence of an relationship between the Saddam Hussein regime and al-Qaeda.[72] No stockpiles of WMDs or an active WMD program were ever found in Iraq.[73] Bush administration officials made numerous claims about a purported Saddam–al-Qaeda relationship and WMDs that were based on sketchy evidence rejected by intelligence officials.[73][74] The rationale for war faced heavy criticism both domestically and internationally.[75] Kofi Annan called the invasion illegal under international law as it violated the UN Charter.[76] The Chilcot Report, a British inquiry into its decision to go to war, was published in 2016 and concluded peaceful alternatives to war had not been exhausted, that the United Kingdom and the United States had undermined the authority of the United Nations Security Council, that the process of identifying the legal basis was "far from satisfactory", and that the war was unnecessary.[77][78][79] When interrogated by the FBI, Saddam Hussein confirmed that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction prior to the US invasion.[80]

In the aftermath of the invasion, Iraq held multi-party elections in 2005. Nouri al-Maliki became Prime Minister in 2006 and remained in office until 2014. The al-Maliki government enacted policies that alienated the country's previously dominant Sunni minority and worsened sectarian tensions. In the summer of 2014, ISIL launched a military offensive in northern Iraq and declared a worldwide Islamic caliphate, leading to Operation Inherent Resolve, another military response from the United States and its allies. According to a 2019 US Army study, Iran has emerged as "the only victor" of the war.[18]

The Iraq War caused at least one hundred thousand civilian deaths, as well as tens of thousands of military deaths (see estimates below). The majority of deaths occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts between 2004 and 2007. Subsequently, the War in Iraq of 2013 to 2017, which is considered a domino effect of the invasion and occupation, caused at least 155,000 deaths, in addition to the displacement more than 3.3 million people within the country.[81][82][83]

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  27. ^ 260 killed in 2003,[1] 15,196 killed from 2004 through 2009 (with the exceptions of May 2004 and March 2009),[2] 67 killed in March 2009,[3] 1,100 killed in 2010,[4] and 1,067 killed in 2011,[5] thus giving a total of 17,690 dead
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  29. ^ The US DoD and the DMDC list 4,505 US fatalities during the Iraq War.[6][7] In addition to these, two service members were also previously confirmed by the DoD to have died while supporting operations in Iraq,[8][9] but have been excluded from the DoD and DMDC list. This brings the total of US fatalities in the Iraq War to 4,507.
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  34. ^ 33 Ukrainians,[10] 31+ Italians,[11][12] 30 Bulgarians,[13][14] 20 Salvadorans,[15] 19 Georgians,[16] Archived 13 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine 18 Estonians,[17] 1421+ Poles,[18][19][20] 15 Spaniards,[21][22] Archived 2 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine [23][24] 10 Romanians,[25] 6 Australians,[26] 5 Albanians, 4 Kazakhs,[27] 3 Filipinos,[28] and 2 Thais,[29][30] for a total of 210+ wounded
  35. ^ a b Many official US tables at "Military Casualty Information" Archived 3 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine. See latest totals for injury, disease/other medical Archived 2 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
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  48. ^ 597 killed in 2003,[41], 23,984 killed from 2004 through 2009 (with the exceptions of May 2004 and March 2009),[42] 652 killed in May 2004,[43] 45 killed in March 2009,[44] 676 killed in 2010,[45] and 590 killed in 2011,[46] thus giving a total of 26,544 dead
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