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The Iraq war is arguably the most controversial event in modern history, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and it sparked harsh criticism from anti-war groups and many countries as well. Those in power in Washington at the time had been accused of lying to the public about Weapons of Mass Destruction. One of the main accusations that were made was that the US craved the abundant Iraqi oil reserves and wanted to get their hands on it thus starting the slogan “No blood for oil”. It was feared by prominent leftists like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore that the war would increase anger and hatred towards the US and other western powers therefore increasing the risk of terrorist attacks. However, these allegations didn’t deter the course of action for the war and also because President George H. W. Bush firmly believed that Saddam Hussein had plans to build Weapons of Mass Destruction and posed a threat to the entire world. Saddam Hussein did indeed violate sixteen United Nations Security Council Resolutions, two of which included further `reaffirmation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Unites States did therefore have actual concerns regarding Saddam Hussein but those who opposed the war associate George H. W. Bush with the war and blame him for what had happened. However, the US Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 under Bill Clinton after which the Bush administration simply acted upon it.
On August 2nd, 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and thus started the Persian Gulf War, Hussein did so in order to assimilate Kuwait into Iraq and in the process acquire it´s rich oil reserves. The following day the UN called on Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, a US-led coalition put an end to the occupation in 1991. Following the defeat in Kuwait Hussein had to repress uprisings by Kurds and Shiite Arabs, Iraq was no longer safe for Kurds so the US and its allies established a “safe haven” in northern Iraq. The US and its allies patrolled so called “no-fly” zones in Northern Iraq where Iraqi aircraft were banned. Furthermore, Economic sanctions were implemented against Iraq in order to hinder Hussein from developing biological, nuclear and chemical weapons commonly known as Weapons of Mass Destruction. The UN ordered an inspection of Iraq in the mid-1990s and uncovered prohibited weapons and technology this frustrated the international community greatly. In 1998, US president Bill Clinton ordered air strikes on targeted Iraqi military facilities, this action was Code-named Operation Desert Fox. After the bombing Hussein banned UN inspectors from re-entering Iraq causing the sanctions to slowly evaporate and neighbouring countries began trading with Iraq once again. On September 11th, 2001 two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Centre killing around 3000 people. In 2002, President George W. Bush argued that Saddam Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction in possession and in production. The Bush administration claimed that Iraq supported terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda. A few months later following the September 11 attacks, the US considered disarming Iraq a renewed priority. The UN passed resolution 1441 in late 2002, demanding the re-entry of inspectors. The US claimed that Iraq hindered the inspectors again and subsequently gave Saddam Hussein an ultimatum; he had 48 hours to leave Iraq or suffer the consequences. When Hussein failed to comply, the US launched an attack on a targeted bunker complex where Saddam was reported to have been hiding. US forces invaded from Kuwait despite concerns that Iraqi forces would burn oil fields and cause damage to the environment. However they were met with little resistance and no harm was caused to the environment. The greatest resistance the US met was from Ba´th party forces, the republican guard were stationed in central Iraq and were ordered to defend the capital city. On April 4th, US forces captured the International Airport in Baghdad, over the next few days allied forces were met with vigorous resistance from the republican guard but the city eventually fell into the hands of the US on April 9th, 2003. British forces captured the city of Al-Basrah on the same day and the Northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul fell in the two following days. Tikrit, Saddam´s hometown was the regime´s last stronghold, it fell on April 13th, 2003 with little resistance. On May 1st US president George W. Bush declared an end to all major combat. Iraqi leaders subsequently fled into hiding, the US was tasked with finding and capturing them, especially Saddam Hussein. US forces captured Saddam Hussein on December 13th, 2003. He was handed over to Iraqi authorities in mid-2004 to stand trial, Saddam was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity and was executed on December 16th, 2006.
After the fall of the Ba´ath regime, major cities of Iraq suffered a torrent of looting and violence. After 35 years of dictatorship, Iraq´s economy was in ruins, it had suffered three major wars and many sanctions. Rebuilding and recovering would take a long time the violence against US troops quickly evolved into full-scale guerrilla warfare and allied deaths began to increase drastically. On May 1st 2003 the death toll was 150. By November 2004 the death toll was 1000 and by late 2007 the number was over 3000 the total number of deaths of US coalition forces and foreign contractors from 2003-2013 is 5272. The total number of Iraqi deaths from the same time period is 179,240. This includes civilians, insurgents and Iraqi soldiers.
However, the war in Iraq wasn’t met without controversy people split into two factions pro-war and anti-war those who supported the war claimed that it was time to bring Saddam Hussein to justice for human rights violations and those who opposed the war accused the US of imperialism. Support for the war dwindled however as more and more atrocities committed by the US came to light. The most famous being the treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. US soldiers abused and humiliated Iraqi prisoners, which shocked the world and damaged the credibility of the war. One of the main reasons for going to war against Iraq was to disarm Saddam Hussein but no Weapons of Mass Destruction have ever been found. Many people accused the Bush administration of lying to the public, a report published in 2004 by the September 11 commission claimed that there was no evidence of a relationship between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. In the final months of the Bush administration, the Iraqi government and the US came to an agreement. The troops were to withdraw from the cities in 2009 and from the country entirely in December 2011, on December 15th, 2011 a ceremony was held to declare an end to the mission in Iraq.
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