Damage caused by the Iraq War
The Iraq War is a prolonged armed conflict that began with the 2003 invasion of Iraq led by the United States with the objective of toppling the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict, however, still continues as an insurgency which aims to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government.
The United States officially withdrew from the country in 2011, but the uprising and a variety of other issues of the civil armed conflict are still very prominent. The invasion began on 20 March 2003. The U.S., in combination with the United Kingdom and several coalition allies, launched a “shock and awe” surprise attack without declaring war. Iraqi forces were quickly overwhelmed as U.S. forces swept through the country.
The Bush Administration based its reason for war mainly on the allegation that Iraq had stocks of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and that Saddam’s government was a high priority threat to the United States and its coalition allies. Privileged U.S. officials accused Saddam of sheltering and supporting al-Qaeda, while others cited the desire to end a repressive dictatorship and bring democracy to the people of Iraq. After the invasion, no solid proof was found to authenticate the claims about WMDs. The justification and distortion of pre-war intelligence came under heavy criticism within the U.S. and from all over world.
The invasion led to the collapse of the Saddam’s Ba’athist government; He was captured in December 2003 and executed by a military court three years later. However, the power vacuum following Saddam’s removal and the mismanagement of the occupation led to widespread violence between religious groups, the between Shiitesand Sunnis as well as a lengthy uprising against U.S. and allied forces. The United States responded with a troop increase in 2007; the heavy American military presence and deals made between the occupying forces and Sunni militias reduced the level of violence. The Iraq War caused hundreds of thousands of civilian and military . The majority of casualties occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts between 2004 and 2007
The withdrawal of U.S. involvement in Iraq gained momentum under President Barack Obama. The U.S officially withdrew all combat troops from Iraq by December 2011. As a result of the war, Iraq held multi-party elections in 2005. Nouri al-Maliki became Prime Minister in 2006 and remained in office until 2014. The Maliki government enacted policies that were widely seen as having the effect of alienating the country’s Sunni minority, which worsened sectarian tensions. In the summer of 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) launched a military offensive in Northern Iraq and declared a worldwide Islamic caliphate, eliciting another military response from the United States and its allies.