Published On: Mar 18 2013 02:08:23 PM CDTUpdated On: Aug 08 2014 12:23:26 AM CDT
In his 2002 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush describes "regimes that sponsor terror" as an Axis of Evil, in which he includes Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
In October 2002, Bush signed a congressional resolution authorizing war against Iraq.
In February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence to the United Nations Security Council that Iraq had biological weapons and argues in favor of military action. Powell later admitted he had presented what turned out to be an inaccurate case to the UN on Iraqi weapons, and the intelligence he was relying on was, in some cases, "deliberately misleading."
Bush announced the start of the war between Iraq and the U.S. during a televised address from the Oval Office on March 19, 2003. The United States said it had began its war against Iraq just minutes after several explosions were heard over Baghdad.
In an operation dubbed "Shock and Awe," smoke billowed from a presidential palace compound in Baghdad during air strikes on March 21, 2003. Large explosions shook Baghdad during a night of blistering air strikes, as U.S. and British ground forces advancing across southern Iraq battled for hours for control of a strategic airfield.
Baghdad fell to U.S. forces on April 9, 2003. The iconic image of the day was a statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled as Iraqis turned on symbols of their former leader, pulling down the statue and tearing it to pieces.
Combat camera video shows undated footage of U.S. Army soldier Jessica Lynch on a stretcher during her rescue from Iraq. The video was shown as part of a media briefing at Camp As Sayliyah on April 2, 2003. Lynch was severely injured and then kidnapped when her convoy was ambushed on March 23, 2003, by Iraqi forces during the Battle of Nasiriyah.
In a now infamous moment, Bush told a cheering crew aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, thatU.S.forces had brought about a "turning of the tide" against terrorism. Underneath a banner reading “Mission Accomplished,” the president said the conflict with Iraq marked the beginning of “a new era” in waging war.
On Dec. 13, 2003, troops found a haggard Hussein hiding in a spider hole outside a farmhouse near his hometown of Tikrit. They managed to capture the elusive dictator without firing a shot following an eight-month manhunt.
In November 2004, more than 10,000 U.S. troops and a small number of Iraqi army units begin a siege on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, Iraq. Dubbed Operation Phantom Fury, the siege would last until Dec. 23 and result in the death of more than 1,350 insurgent fighters and 95 American soldiers. The operation would prove to be the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War.
On Nov. 23, 2006, a series of fiery suicide car bombings killed at least 152 people and injured 236 more in the deadliest sectarian attack in Baghdad since the war began.
In November 2006, Hussein and his co-defendants Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar are sentenced to death for crimes committed against residents of Dujail, Iraq, in 1982, following a failed assassination attempt against Hussein. Specific charges included the murder of 148 people, torture of women and children and the illegal arrest of 399 others.
Footage from Al Iraqiya television shows masked executioners putting a noose around Hussein's neck moments before his hanging in Baghdad on Dec. 30, 2006. Hussein was hanged for crimes against humanity at dawn in a dramatic, violent end for a leader who ruled Iraq by fear for three decades.
In response to rising violence, Bush announces in a televised address to the nation on Jan. 10, 2007, that he will send a "surge" of 21,500 U.S. forces to Iraq.
On Sept. 17, 2007, controversy erupts after contractors for the private security firm Blackwater shoot 17 Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad square. Irate Iraqi officials canceled the controversial firm's license, although ultimately all charges against Blackwater are dismissed. Pictured here is a sign marking the entrance of Blackwater's training facility in Mount Carroll, Illinois, on Oct. 2, 2007.
On Dec. 14, 2008, Bush is almost struck by two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a news conference in Baghdad. In March 2009, al-Zaidi would be sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting a foreign head of state during an official visit. The sentence was later reduced to one year and al-Zaidi was released on Sept. 15, 2009, for good behavior after serving nine months of the sentence.
On Jan. 1, 2009, U.S. troops formally hand over military control of Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone to Iraqi troops, a first major step in the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
President Barack Obama declares an end to conflict in Iraq during a national address from the Oval Office on Aug. 31, 2010.
On Dec. 17, 2011, a U.S. military vehicle crosses the border into Kuwait as the last convoy of U.S. soldiers pull out of Iraq, ending nearly nine years of war that cost almost 4,500 American lives.
In June 2014, Islamic militants overran the city of Mosul after taking Fallujah earlier in the year, sending residents and even security forces fleeing. They were threatening to march further south into Baghdad, putting the country's relative stability at risk.
In August 2014, President Barack Obama announced that U.S. airstrikes had begun on Islamic militants after the group had advanced toward what Obama called U.S. interests in northern Iraq. Humanitarian aid drops were also underway to the ethnic Yazidis stranded in the northern mountains by the Islamic group's military siege.