Post-invasion Iraq, 2003-2005

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Occupation zones in Iraq as of September 2003

The post-invasion period in Iraq followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a multinational coalition led by the United States, which overthrew the Ba'ath Party government of Saddam Hussein. This article covers the period starting 1 May 2003.

A military occupation was established and run by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which later appointed and granted limited powers to an Iraq Interim Governing Council. Troops for the occupation came primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom, but Spain, Australia, Italy and Poland provided some troops, and there were varying levels of assistance from Japan and other allied countries. Tens of thousands of private security personnel supplemented the military forces. Coalition and allied Iraqi forces have been fighting a stronger-than-expected militant Iraqi insurgency, and the reconstruction of Iraq has been slow. Both the insurgency and the slow rate of progress have been critically attributed to poor planning and substantial mistakes in judgement and diplomacy made both during and after the invasion.

The CPA and the Governing Council were disbanded on June 28, 2004, and a new transitional constitution came into effect. [1] ( Limited sovereignty was transferred to a Governing Council Iraqi interim government led by Iyad Allawi as Iraq's first post-Saddam prime minister. The Iraqi Interim Government was replaced as a result of the elections which took place in January 2005.


Legal status of the coalition presence

The United Nations has recognized the formal end of occupation, the Allawi government and the plans for elections and the writing of a new constitution. Coalition troops have not withdrawn. The United States and its allies still exercise considerable power in the country and continue to conduct military operations against the Iraqi insurgency. The role of Iraqi government forces in providing security is increasing. Under the UN-approved provisions, the Allawi government has no power to make new laws or change the laws passed during the CPA occupation period.

According to Article 42 of the Hague Convention, "[t]erritory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army." [2] ( [3] ( (pdf) The International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative states: "the wording of Security Council resolution 1546 . . . indicates that, regardless of how the situation is characterized, international humanitarian law will apply to it." [4] (

There may be situations... where the former occupier will maintain a military presence in the country, with the agreement of the legitimate government under a security arrangement (e.g., U.S. military presence in Japan and Germany). The legality of such agreement and the legitimacy of the national authorities signing it are subject to international recognition, whereby members of the international community re-establish diplomatic and political relations with the national government. In this context, it is in the interest of all the parties involved to maintain a clear regime of occupation until the conditions for stability and peace are created allowing the re-establishment of a legitimate national government. A post-occupation military presence can only be construed in the context of a viable, stable and peaceful situation. [5] ( (pdf)

The UN and individual nations have established diplomatic relations with the Allawi government. Despite the continuing insurgency, conditions were stable enough to conduct elections. John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, has indicated that the United States government would comply with a United Nations resolution declaring that coalition forces would have to leave if requested by the Iraqi government. "If that's the wish of the government of Iraq, we will comply with those wishes. But no, we haven't been approached on this issue — although obviously we stand prepared to engage the future government on any issue concerning our presence here." [6] (,2763,1396221,00.html)


On May 1, 2003, President Bush declared the "end of major combat operations" in Iraq on an aircraft carrier displaying a large "Mission Accomplished" banner.

In the weeks that followed, violent crime spiraled upwards, particularly in the very poor neighborhoods of Baghdad, which became one of the most dangerous cities in the world. The inability of successive interior ministers to create an effective security force, the willingness of insurgents to target police training and police stations with car and truck bombs, and the skyrocketing unemployment and collapse of the pervasive secret police system used by the Ba'ath Party, contributed to the escalation of civil, as well as political, violence. The failure to restore basic services to above pre-war levels, where over a decade of sanctions, bombing, corruption, and decaying infrastructure had left major cities functioning at much-reduced levels, also contributed to local anger at the IPA government headed by an executive council. On the 2nd of July 2003, President Bush declared that American troops would remain in Iraq in spite of the attacks, challenging the opponents with "My answer is, Bring 'em on", a line the president later expressed misgivings about having used. [7] (

In the summer of 2003, the U.S. military focused on hunting down the remaining leaders of the former regime, culminating in the shooting deaths of Saddam's two sons in July. In all, over 200 top leaders of the former regime were killed or captured, as well as numerous lesser functionaries and military personnel. However, even as the Ba'ath party organization disintegrated, elements of the secret police and army began forming guerilla units, since in many cases they had simply gone home rather than openly fight the invading forces. These began to focus their attacks around Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah. In the fall, these units and other elements who called themselves freedom fighters began using ambush tactics, suicide bombings, and improvised explosive devices, targeting coalition forces and checkpoints. They favored attacking the unarmored Humvee vehicles, and in November they successfully attacked U.S. rotary aircraft with SAM-7 missiles bought on the global black market.

In December, Saddam himself was captured, and with the weather growing cooler, U.S. forces were able to operate in full armor or "battle rattle", which reduced their casualty figures. The provisional government began training a security force intended to defend critical infrastructure, and the U.S. promised over $20 billion in reconstruction money in the form of credit against Iraq's future oil revenues. Of this, less than half a billion dollars had been spent as of 10 months after it had been promised; instead, oil revenues were tapped for rebuilding schools, and for work on the electrical and refining infrastructure. At the same time, elements left out of the IPA began to agitate for elections. Most prominent among these was Ali al-Sistani, Grand Ayatollah in the Shia sect of Islam. More insurgents, some connected with international terrorist groups, and with conduits to neighboring Iran and Syria, stepped up their activities. The two most turbulent centers were the area around Fallujah and the poor Shia sections of cities from Baghdad to Basra in the south.


In the spring, the United States and the IPA decided to crush the growing rebellion with a pair of assaults: one on Fallujah, the center of the "Mohammed's Army of Al-Ansar", and another on Najaf, home of an important mosque, which had become the focal point for the Mahdi Army and its activities. Just before the American attack on Fallujah, four private military contractors, working for Blackwater USA, were ambushed and their corpses desecrated, touching off a wave of emotionalism. In the ensuing offensive, the United States was unable to dislodge the insurgents, and instead suffered repeated attacks on its own rear and flank. While the Marine Division attacking had clear superiority in ground firepower and air support, it decided to accept a truce and a deal which put a former Baathist general in complete charge of the town. The marines were then shifted south, because Italian and Polish forces were having increasing difficulties retaining control over Nasiriya and Najaf. The marines relieved the Poles and Italians, and put down the overt rebellion, but were unable to reestablish control over the centers of the towns. At the same time, British forces in Basra were faced with increasing restiveness, and became more selective in the areas they patrolled. In all, April, May and early June represented the bloodiest months of fighting since the end of hostilities, and little was resolved other than to establish a military stalemate. As well, the city of Fallujah fell under insurgent control despite the Marine's attempt to recapture it in Operation Vigilant Resolve. In the April battle for Fallujah, American bombs killed 600 civilians and a similar number of insurgents, while losing around 40 men dead and hundreds wounded in the fiercest battle after the end of major combat operations. Due to these abrupt setbacks, the U.S. gradually began admitting that it was facing organized military forces capable of independent operations.

In June, the United States transferred limited sovereignty to a caretaker government, whose first act was to begin the trial of Saddam Hussein. The government began the process of moving towards open elections, though the insurgency, and the lack of cohesion within the government itself, has lead to repeated delays. Militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr openly took control of Najaf, and after negotiations broke down the government asked the United States for help dislodging him. Through the months of July and August, a series of skirmishes in and around Najaf culminated with the Imman Ali Mosque itself under siege, only to have a peace deal brokered by al-Sistani in late August. Al-Sadr then declared a national cease fire, and opened negotiations with the American and government forces on disbanding his militia and entering the political process. These negotiations are still in progress.

Currently the Allawi government, with significant numbers of holdovers from the Coalition Provisional Authority, is engaged in attempts to secure control of the oil infrastructure, the source of Iraq's foreign currency, and control of the major cities of Iraq. The continuing insurgencies, poor state of the Iraqi Army, disorganized condition of police and security forces, as well as the lack of revenue have hampered their efforts to assert control. In addition both former Baathist elements and militant Shia groups have engaged in sabotage, terrorism, open rebellion, and establishing their own security zones in all or part of a dozen cities. The Allawi government has vowed to crush resistance, using U.S. troops, but at the same time has negotiated with Muqtada al-Sadr.

Beginning 8 November, American and Iraqi forces invaded the militant stronghold of Fallujah in Operation al-Fajr, capturing or killing many insurgents. Many rebels were thought to have fled the city before the invasion. U.S.-backed figures put insurgency losses at over 2,000. Ruined homes across the city attest to a strategy of overwhelming force. As well, it was the bloodiest single battle for the U.S. in the war, with 51 Americans dead and several hundred wounded. A video showing the killing of at least one unarmed and wounded man by an American serviceman surfaced, throwing renewed doubt and outrage at the efficiency of the US occupation. November was the deadliest month of the occupation for coalition troops, surpassing April.

In December, 22 American soldiers were killed and over a hundred injured when an explosion struck an open-tent mess hall in Mosul, where President Bush had displayed a Thanksgiving turkey the year before. It was the single most costly attack on U.S. troops during the war - the explosion is believed to be either a very accurate motar shell fired by insurgents or a suicide bomber. Throughout the occupation, U.S. bases have been prone to almost daily attacks by insurgents motars.


On 31 January, an election for a government to draft a permanent constitution took place. Although some violence and lack of widespread Sunni participation marred the event, most of the eligible Kurd and Shia populace participated.

On 4 February, Paul Wolfowitz announced that 15,000 U.S. troops whose tours of duty had been extended in order to provide election security would be pulled out of Iraq by the next month.[8] ( It was hoped to be the start of a gradual US withdrawal by many, but so far have proved untrue. February, March, and April proved to be relatively peaceful months compared to the carnage of November and January, with insurgent attacks averaging 30 a day from the average 70. This was also hoped by many to be the beginning of the end of the insurgency due to the renewed confidence in the elections, but this again proved untrue.

Hopes for a quick end to an insurgency and a withdrawal of U.S. troops where dashed at the advent of May, the Iraq's bloodiest month since the invasion of U.S. forces in March and April of 2003. Suicide bombers, believed to be many disheartened Iraqi Sunnis and Saudis, tore through Iraq. Its targets where often Shia gatherings or civilian concentrations mainly of Shias. As a result, over 700 Iraqi civilians died in the month, as well as 79 U.S. soldiers.

During early and mid-May, the U.S. also launched Operation Matador, an assault by around 1,000 marines in the ungoverned region of western Iraq. Its goal was the closing of suspected Insurgent supply routes of volunteers and materiel from Syria, and with the fight they received their assumption proved correct. Fighters armed with Flak Jackets (unseen in the insurgency by this time) and sporting sophisticated tactics met the marines, eventually inflicting thirty U.S. casualties by the operation's end, suffering 125 casualties themselves. The marines succeeded, recapturing the whole region and even fighting insurgents all the way to the Syrian border, where they where forced to stop (Syrian residents living nearby the border heard the American bombs very clearly during the operation). The vast majority of this armed and trained insurgents learned from the past, and quickly dispersed before the U.S. could bring the full force of its firepower on them, as it did in Fallujah.

Participating nations

Main article: Multinational force in Iraq

As of January 2005, there were 29 military forces in Iraq participating in the coalition. These were Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, United Kingdom, United States, Ukraine, and the Kingdom of Tonga. Fiji is also present but under the United Nations banner. Poland, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Ukraine have announced plans to withdraw. [9] (

Well over 80% of the forces occupying Iraq are American. As of 15 January 2005, there were an estimated 153,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, not counting Special Forces. [10] ( The next largest contingent is that of the United Kingdom, with just under 9,000 [11] ( There are also approximately 20,000 private security contractors of different nationalities under various employers.

Iraqi councils and authorities

On 11 October 2002, President Bush's senior adviser on the Middle East, Zalmay Khalilzad, released U.S. government plans to establish an American-led military administration in Iraq, as in post-war Germany and Japan, which could last for several years after the fall of Saddam. [12] (,2763,810609,00.html) In the run-up to the invasion, the U.S. promised a speedy transition to a democratic government, as well as the creation of an Iraqi constitution, and the active role of Iraqis in the establishment of an interim authority and new government. U.S. officials continue to emphasize that the invasion was not about long-term occupation, but about liberation.

In November 2003, Paul Bremer announced the plan to hand over limited sovereignty to the Iraqi governing council by June 30, 2004. A draft constitution was written and approved by the Iraqi Governing Council in March 2004. The United States has stated its plans to enter into what it calls a security agreement with the new Iraqi government and maintain military authority until a new Iraqi army is established. The Bush administration remained committed to this date despite the unstable security situation. The interim Iraqi government was named in May 2004, at which point the Iraqi Governing Council was dissolved, though there is heavy overlap between the two governing bodies.

The U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority has, for administrative purposes, divided Iraq into four security zones (see map): a North zone in the Mosul - Kirkuk region, a Central zone in the Baghdad - Tikrit region, a Southern Central zone in the Karbala region and a South zone in the Basra region. The northern and central zones are garrisoned by U.S. troops, while the Southern Central zone is a garrisoned by a Multi-National Division under Polish command and the South zone is garrisoned by a Multi-National Division under British command. [13] (

In the early months of the occupation, looting and vandalism slowed the restoration of basic services such as water, electricity, and sanitation. By spring 2004, these services were mostly restored to pre-war levels. Ongoing work is continuing to provide sufficient sanitation. Uneven power distribution remains a problem, with cities in the northern and southern provinces receiving electricity 24 hours a day, while the Baghdad area continues to have periodic blackouts. [14] (

Allegations of human rights violations by the occupying forces have been embarrassing to the Bush administration and the British government. Some of the allegations have been investigated. Several U.S. and British officers have been charged with the abuse of prisoners, and as of the beginning of February 2005, seven American soldiers have been convicted in connection with abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Former Ba'ath Party members and military officers who have no criminal past or human rights abuses have been allowed to return to government positions. [15] (


For the reconstruction, contracts were awarded to private companies. Initially companies from countries that had opposed the war were excluded from these contracts, but this decision was reversed due to protests. [16] ( Political activists and commentators allege that the Pentagon favoured companies like Halliburton, former employer of Vice President Dick Cheney, because they had connections to high-ranking members of the Bush administration [17] ( [18] (,1282,-3494184,00.html) [19] ( This suspicion had already been a concern during the global protests against the war on Iraq. An audit found that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) may have overcharged the U.S. government $61 million, on contracts worth billions, for bringing oil products for the U.S. army into Iraq via a Kuwaiti subcontractor, Altanmia Commercial Marketing Co. [20] (

Some also argue that foreign contractors are doing work which could be done by unemployed Iraqis, which might be a factor fueling resentment of the occupation. [21] ( [22] ( [23] ( Further resentment could be inflamed with the news that almost USD9 billion dollars of Iraqi oil revenue is missing from a fund set up to reconstruct Iraq. [24] (

See also: Reconstruction of Iraq

Civilian government

Main article: Politics of Iraq

The establishment of a new civilian government of Iraq was greatly complicated by the religious divisions between the majority Shi'ite population and the formerly ruling Sunni class. Moreover, many of the people in Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party were perceived as tainted by the association by some parties. In northern Iraq, Kurds had already had effectively autonomous rule for 12 years under the protection of the no-fly zone.

On May 16, 2003, U.S. officials abandoned the plan to cede authority to a democratically chosen interim civilian Iraqi government (similar to what had happened in Afghanistan following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan) and presented a resolution to the UN to give the United States and the United Kingdom broad power and lift economic sanctions on Iraq, allowing the occupying countries authority to use oil resources to pay for rebuilding the country. Passage of the resolution allowed them to appoint an interim government by themselves.

On July 13, 2003, an Iraqi Governing Council was appointed by Coalition Provisional Authority Administrator L. Paul Bremer.

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The Iraq Interim Governing Council.

United Nations resolutions

On May 22, 2003, the UN Security Council voted 14–0 to give the United States and Britain the power to govern Iraq and use its oil resources to rebuild the country. Resolution 1483 removed nearly 13 years of economic sanctions originally imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The resolution allows UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to appoint a special representative to work with U.S. and British administrators on reconstruction, humanitarian aid, and the creation of a new government.

Due to pressure from Security Council members who opposed the war, the resolution created a new Development Fund for Iraq, which will collect funds from oil sales. The fund will be run by the United States and Britain to rebuild the country, and will be overseen by a new advisory body composed of the United Nations and international financial institutions. It will begin its existence with a $1 billion deposit, funds transferred from the United Nation's oil-for-food account. The oil-for-food program will be phased out over a six-month period. The resolution requires a one-year review, a step sought by both Germany and France. Syria, which was the sole Arab state represented on the council, was absent from the meeting. In June 2004, the New York Times reported that American authorities spent $2.5 billion from Iraqi oil revenue despite agreements that the oil revenues should be set aside for use after the restoration of Iraq's sovereignty. [25] (

On August 14, 2003, the Security Council voted 14–0 to "welcome" the creation of the Iraqi Governing Council. Resolution 1500 stopped short of formally recognizing the governing council as Iraq's legitimate governing body but called it an "important step" towards creating a sovereign government.


For several months the United States maintained that it intended to convene a constitutional convention, composed of influential Iraqis. However, European demands for an early election and Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's insistence eventually forced the United States to let the appointed Governing Council serve this function.

In the early months of the occupation, new officials were appointed to several local and regional positions (e.g., mayors, governors, local councils). The officials were chosen from a select group of individuals (including ex-Ba'ath party officials) in an attempt to speed the return to normality and to avoid the election of people opposed to the American and British presence. Certain religious clerics and other officials were considered to be overly radical or dangerous. On occasion the appointed officials were found to behave less than admirably. On June 30, 2003, the appointed mayor of Najaf was arrested on charges of corruption.

Though some protested the lack of democracy (as proposed by Jay Garner, who wanted elections within 90 days), Iraq's long history of one-party rule had left the country ill-equipped to function democratically. In recent months, civil society at a local level has shown signs of recovery in some areas of Iraq, but much to American disquiet, it seems largely to be based around religious figures. Municipal and city elections were held in some of the southern and northern provinces. [26] (

On 15 November, the Iraqi Governing Council announced that a transitional government would take over in June from the U.S.-led powers, and that an elected government would follow by the end of 2005 once a constitution had been drafted and ratified. The transitional government would be selected in June 2004 by a transitional council formed in May 2004.

The Governing Council revealed the timetable after the United States government, in reaction to terrorist and militant activity against occupying troops and aid organisations, abandoned its earlier plan that a sovereign government would take charge only after creating a constitution and elections held. Jalal Talabani, current chairman of the council, said the transition would involve "the creation of a permanent constitution by an elected council, directly elected by the people, and also the election of a new government according to the articles of this new constitution before the end of 2005."

In March 2004, an interim constitution was created, called the Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period. The document calls for the creation of an elected National Assembly to take place no later than January of 2005. The question of the election calendar became a matter of importance for Iraq and the U.S.: while a quick election would legitimise the Iraqi government and shed a favourable light on the U.S.-led occupation of the country, the prospect of violence delayed it. It was finally set for the 30th of January 2005. On the 4th of January 2005, Ghazi Al-Yaouar asked the United Nations to reconsider the electoral schedule [27] (,1-0%402-3218,36-392974,0.html).

Sovereignty for Iraq

U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice gives confirmation of Iraqi sovereignty to U.S. President George W. Bush, who then wrote, “Let Freedom Reign!,” during the opening session of the NATO Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday,  .
U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice gives confirmation of Iraqi sovereignty to U.S. President George W. Bush, who then wrote, “Let Freedom Reign!,” during the opening session of the NATO Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday, 28 June 2004.

Main articles: Iraqi sovereignty, Politics of Iraq

In a 1 June 2004, press conference, President Bush said that he was working with various world leaders to create a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the transition from the US-dominated occupation to complete autonomy for Iraq. Under this resolution, Coalition forces would remain in Iraq until the new government could establish security and stabilization: "There is a deep desire by the Iraqis — don't get me wrong — to run their own affairs and to be in a position where they can handle their own security measures." This decision may be necessary to prevent anti-democratic forces from seizing regional or national power and re-creating the kind of dictatorship which prompted the invasion of Iraq in the first place. On 8 June, Security Council resolution 1546 was adopted unanimously, calling for "the end of the occupation and the assumption of full responsibility and authority by a fully sovereign and independent Interim Government of Iraq by 30 June 2004."

On June 28, 2004, the occupation was formally ended by the CPA, which transferred power to a new Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. The multinational military alliance is assisting the Allawi government in governing the Iraqis. The purpose of the Occupation of Iraq was, according to U.S. President George W. Bush, purely to bring about a transition from post-war anarchy to full Iraqi sovereignty.

Armed opposition

Main article: Iraqi insurgency

Despite the defeat of the old Iraqi army, guerilla attacks against the Coalition and the Iraqi transitional government continued. In the early months following the "end of major combat operations", insurgents conducted sniper attacks, suicide bombings at road checkpoints, and ambushes, resulting in about 30 American and British deaths per month.

Sometimes the attackers would say that they were motivated by revenge (e.g., an anti-coalition group claimed the four Iraqis that were allegedly shot at by British soldiers during a demonstration were unarmed and acting peacefully; six British soldiers were later killed by Iraqis). Dozens of unarmed Iraqis were shot in anti-Alliance demonstrations, mostly in the nation's Sunni Muslim areas. While Shi'a Muslim areas were mostly peaceful, Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, who returned to Iraq after decades in exile shortly after the occupation began, said: "We are not afraid of the British or American troops. This country wants to keep its sovereignty and the forces of the coalition must leave it."

American forces denied the accusations of targeting unarmed civilians. They said they were fired upon and were returning fire.

Guerrilla war

In late June of 2003 there was some public debate in the U.S. as to whether the insurgency could be characterized as a guerrilla war. On 17 June, Army Gen. John P. Abizaid said that forces in Iraq were "conducting what I would describe as a classical guerrilla-type campaign against us. It's low-intensity conflict in our doctrinal terms, but it's war however you describe it." In a statement to Congress on 18 June, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said "There's a guerrilla war there but we can win it." However, U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, on 31 June, characterized the situation in Iraq as a "guerrilla war" and described the insurgency as consisting of five groups:

"That doesn't make it anything like a guerrilla war or an organized resistance," Rumsfeld said. "It makes it like five different things going on [in which the groups] are functioning more like terrorists."


Main article: Sabotage by the Iraqi insurgency

Sabotage of oil pipelines and refineries have been a key tactic of the Iraqi insurgency. The United States had intended to quickly rebuild Iraqi infrastructure for production back to pre-war levels, but widespread sabotage crippled this initiative.


Main article: Fallujah

The Fallujah counter-offensive Operation Vigilant Resolve was launched on 5 April in response to the 31 March murder and mutilation of four of Blackwater's employees. Roads leading into and out of the city were closed. When the U.S. marines tried to enter, fierce fighting erupted. Members of the Iraqi insurgency opened fire with heavy machine guns, rockets, and rocket-propelled grenades. The marines answered by bringing in tanks and helicopters.

The ensuing firefight resulted in a large number of casualties. Dozens of marines were killed and injured. Two hundred and seventy-one members of the non-coalition forces were killed and 793 injured, according to official counts for the period of 5 April through 22 April. Conflicting reports leave it unclear how many of the dead and injured were rebel fighters or women and children. [28] ( [29] ([30] ( Arab media report that snipers shot at civilians and ambulances trying to take the injured to hospital. These reports were confirmed by numerous Western eye-witnesses ([31] (, [32] (, [33] (, [34] (, [35] (

There were also reports of ambulances and aid convoys being used by the insurgents to smuggle weapons and fighters into the city. [36] ( Coalition officials said that the insurgents used mosques and schools as command posts and weapon-storage facilities. A suicide-bomb-vest factory was discovered by marines. [37] ( [38] (

After several failed attempts at ceasefires, the U.S. backed out of the city. A marine commander stated "We don't want to turn Fallouja into Dresden". The U.S. handed authority of the city over to a former Iraqi general who had served under Saddam Hussein, and whose fighters the U.S. acknowledges may include former members of insurgency.

Afterwards, the city was referred to as "free rebel town"; banners in the city streets proclaimed victory over the United States, and some of its mosques praised the Iraqi insurgency. [39] (,1,3182938,print.story?coll=la-home-headlines) The general, Muhammed Latif, told Reuters, ""I want the American soldier to return to his camp. What I want more is that he returns to the United States." [40] ( [41] (

U.S. marines encircled Fallujah with an earth wall, trying to control access to the city, allowing only women and children to leave the city. On June 19, 2004, 22 Iraqis, among them women and children, were killed in a U.S. air strike on a residential neighborhood. [42] ( [43] ( Allawi condemned the rebellion and called upon the city to surrender Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the Tawhid-e-Jihad group who is alleged to be hiding in Fallujah, or face aerial bombing by the United States.

Muqtada al-Sadr

Main article: Muqtada al-Sadr

On April 4th, coalition forces closed Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's newspaper al-Hawza, claiming that it contained incitements to violence. One example provided was that on 26 February, an article claimed that a suicide bombing in Basra that killed 53 people was a rocket fired by the Americans, and not a car bomb. In response, al-Sadr launched a day of protests. During these protests, members of the Iraqi insurgency (who may or may not have been tied to al-Sadr) ambushed a Coalition patrol guarding a trash collecting unit in Sadr-City resulting in the deaths of 8 soldiers. Meanwhile, several dozen of al-Sadr's followers were killed during their protests.

The coalition responded by arresting one of al-Sadr's closest aides, leading to al-Sadr calling on his followers to rise up. The next days fighting erupted in many cities in southern Iraq, including Karbala, Kut, Nassiriya and Basra. The CPA announced the existence of a three-month-old arrest warrant, issued by an Iraqi judge, on al-Sadr, claiming that he was responsible for the killing of Coalition-aligned cleric al-Khoei. The warrant itself inspired further opposition, as Khoei's own followers blamed Baathists for the murder, the Coalition-appointed Iraqi Minister of Justice stated that he had no knowledge of the warrant, and the Iraqi Jurists Association declared the warrant "illegal". Al-Sadr, who had previously created his own parallel government and a militia called the al-Madhi Army, instructed his followers to no longer follow along with the occupation, and suggested that they attack Coalition soldiers, and his followers took control of several southern cities, often with the support of local authorities and police.

During the first few days of the uprising al-Sadr stayed in Kufa were he traditionally had a large following. On 7 April he moved to Najaf, into a building close to the shrine of the Imam Ali, the holiest shrine in the Shia faith. After fierce fighting during the first days of the uprising, his followers took control over many cities in southern Iraq. In Kut the Ukrainian occupational contingent was forced out of the city. The Italians were contained inside their base in Nassiriya, and in Basra the governor's palace was occupied. In Karbala, Polish and Bulgarian forces were able to hold their own after a battle lasting the whole night. The Alliance reacted by dispensing a reactionary force on 8 April to Kut, forcing al-Sadr followers to melt away into the city's population. The same happened in most of the other cities and control was nominally ceded. Only in Najaf and Kufa did the Americans not enter. These two cities are effectively under the control of al-Sadr followers. The Coalition has sent 2,500 marines to Najaf to try to 'arrest or kill' al-Sadr.

At the moment al-Sadr is protected by his fellow Shi'ite leaders who have forbidden the Alliance to enter the city. Negotiations are going on between al-Sadr and other leaders to find a solution to the stand-off. Initially hopeful that al-Sistani would force al-Sadr to capitulate, the coalition was disappointed where, while he called for all sides to show restraint, he focused instead on condemning coalition activities in Fallujah. In mid-May of 2004, Coalition forces began pushing into Najaf. In the process, they invaded several mosques to seize weaponry, and there were reports of damage to some of Shia Islam's holiest shrines. The Coalition has reported a steady stream of al-Madhi army casualties; al-Sadr and hospital officials have disputed the numbers, and both have claimed that many of them were civilians. The al-Madhi army has claimed few American casualties, but on May 17, it was reported that the army drove Italian troops from their base in Nasiriyah called "Libeccio" ("southwest wind") [44] ( Ten Italians were wounded, along with 20 al-Madhi army fighters wounded and two killed, in the assault. Meanwhile, a convoy transporting the Italian official in charge of the city came under attack, and two Italians were wounded. The base was peacefully retaken the next day in a negotiated settlement with local clan leaders.

While the Alliance has continually insisted that he has little support, and there have been limited clashes with the smaller SCIRI, he has seldom been condemned by his more senior clerics. Islamic courts have expanded their influence in areas he controls. The sacred Imam Ali mosque now ends its call for prayers with a request for divine protection for him, and his followers have clearly been large in number. [45] ( Many believe that al-Sistani has not spoken out against al-Sadr for fear of turning Shiite against Shiite. A poll in Iraq found that, in mid May, 32% of Iraqis strongly support al-Sadr, and another 36% somewhat support him.


In response to the occupation, militants have taken foreign and Iraqi hostages, including citizens of countries supporting and opposed to the invasion. This includes people from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

The hostage-taking appears to be uncoordinated, with different groups making various demands. Some hostages are released whilst others are killed, often by beheading. Several kidnappings have been claimed by the Tawhid and Jihad (The Unity of God and Holy War) Islamist group, which changed its name to "Al-Qaeda in Iraq" in October 2004. The group is run by the Jordanian-born Palestinian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The hostages who have been beheaded by Zarqawi's group, and possibly by Zarqawi himself, include Americans Nick Berg, Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley, South Korean Kim Sun-il, Shosei Koda from Japan, and Kenneth Bigley from the UK. Italian Fabrizio Quattrocchi was shot in the head, possibly by another group, as was British aid worker Margaret Hassan. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 25 journalists have been kidnapped by armed groups in Iraq since April 2004, when insurgents began targeting foreigners for abduction.

On the evening of 4th of March 2005, around 20:55, the car leading Giuliana Sgrena, freshly liberated, along with two agents of the Sismi, the Italian Military Intelligence service, was fired upon by U.S. troops. Nicola Calipari, who had negotiated the liberation of the other eight Italian hostages, was killed, while Sgrena and the other agent were wounded. The Italian government firmly requested U.S. counterpart to accurately investigate the incident.


As a result of the uprisings U.S. General John Abizaid has requested an additional 10,000 troops be sent to Iraq after admitting that a number of Iraqi security personnel had abandoned their posts or joined the Iraqi insurgency. On April 16, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that he had approved General Abizaid's request and had extended the tour of roughly 20,000 soldiers, who were scheduled to be rotated out of Iraq, by three months. A fresh mass grave was found near Ramadi, containing the bodies of over 350 Iraqis [46] ( It is unclear whether this mass grave contained dead civilians and/or militants.

Some coalition members leave Iraq

A few days after the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks, popular opposition to the occupation was reinvigorated in Spain, and the ruling Partido Popular was accused of deceiving the public by blaming the attack on ETA rather than fundamentalist Muslims. A new government was elected and announced that they no longer support the United States occupation of Iraq and are withdrawing all of their troops. The prime minister elect Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party who ousted former conservative Prime Minister Jos Mara Aznar stated, "The occupation is a fiasco. There have been almost more deaths after the war than during the war," he said. "The occupying forces have not allowed the United Nations to take control of the situation." On 17 April, 2004, Zapatero ordered the immediate withdrawal of Spanish troops to avoid being involved in an anticipated struggle for the Shiite holy city of Najaf.

The Dutch refused a U.S. offer to commit their troops to Iraq past 30 June.

Honduran officials stated that they plan to withdraw their troops as well—the announcement coming one day after they had stated that they would stay.

The troops of the Dominican Republic will leave Iraq as soon as possible.

It is speculated that both El Salvador and Guatemala will likely follow suit.

South Korea is not withdrawing its troops, but has canceled its plans to deploy an additional 3,600 troops to around Kirkuk, opting instead for regions they consider more stable (which may prove problematic to U.S. military planners).

On the heels of the 2004 spring uprising, Kazakhstan confined its 30 troops to their headquarters indefinitely, and announced that they will be withdrawn after its tour ends in May.

New Zealand has announced that it will withdraw its 60 troops in September.

Singapore has announced that its 200 troops have returned home and that it has no plans to send any further troops.

Thailand, who was already planning not to renew their troop commitment after September, has announced that it is investigating withdrawing its troops before the 30 June transition.

Portugal has announced a similar investigation.

The Philippines have put a hold on new deployments and were planning to pull out shortly, but on 16 July 2004, the Philippines ordered the withdrawal of all of its troops in Iraq in order to comply with the demands of terrorists holding Filipino citizen Angelo de la Cruz as a hostage. De la Cruz was confirmed released on 20 July, after all Philippine troops had left Iraq.

Bulgaria was not pulling out, but let any of its troops who want to leave go home; 62 out of 480 had left as of 17 April. Following the shooting of Bulgarian troops by U.S. soldiers, Bulgaria announced that they would be removing their troops.

Nicaragua is leaving as well, claiming that they are too poor to pay for their deployment. President Ricardo Maduro announced that the troops will be pulled out shortly.

Italy also announced the withdrawal of their troops on the 16th of March 2005, a few days after the outrage when U.S. troops shot Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena and killed Nicola Calipari [47] ([48] (

Other nations, while staying in, are facing strong opposition at home and may, as Denmark does, have an election coming up soon.

Many nations that have announced withdrawal plans or are considering them have stated that they may reconsider if there is a new UN resolution that grants the UN more authority in Iraq.

Management of Iraq reconstruction programme

A report issued by the international survey council for Iraq, created by the UN, has questioned the U.S. management of Iraqi funds ([49] ( New York Times, Cash Flow: U.N. Criticizes Iraq Occupation Oil Sales, 14 December 2004).

The report mainly questions the USA for massive irregularities on the sale of raw oil, and on the conditions for attributing Iraq Reconstruction contracts, particularly to a Halliburton-related company, paid with Iraqi funds. According to the agency which controls the defense contracts in the USA, in October, five projects amounting to 812 million US dollars had numerous irregularities, notably absence of required technical evaluations, and unjustified or exaggerated costs.

See also


Other external links

et:2003. aasta Iraagi okupatsioon ro:Ocuparea Irakului din 2003-2004 zh:美军占领伊拉克


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