What caused the US to attack Iraq in 2003?
In 2003, the US and its allies were conducting an ambitious campaign of air and ground attacks against the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq was aimed at establishing an independent state within the borders of Iraq.
US President George W Bush had promised to invade and occupy Iraq and he succeeded in doing so, although the invasion and subsequent occupation was not without its casualties.
In total, over 2,400 people were killed in the US-led invasion and the subsequent occupation of the country.
This article discusses why the US went to war in Iraq and the effects of the war on the region.
Background The US-Iraq war began on 1 November 2003, with the invasion of Iraq by the US, led by Vice President Dick Cheney.
US forces had been engaged in a long-running and successful air campaign against the Iraqi government since 1991.
The war was initially launched to protect Iraqi troops in the face of the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) group and to stop the Iraqi military from carrying out a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Kurds in northern Iraq.
Following the liberation of Mosul in January 2018, the Iraqi army has been largely reintegrated into civilian life.
The conflict with Iraq began on 20 November 2003 in Iraq’s western city of Tikrit, after the Iraqi forces of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) defeated the Iraqi Army of National Accord (AAP) forces on the outskirts of the city.
A large number of civilians were killed, including more than 200 women and children, according to UN estimates.
After the capture of Tiktrit, US-backed Kurdish Peshmerga forces, backed by Iraqi troops, drove the Iraqi troops out of the capital, Baghdad, and drove them back to Erbil, the Kurdish capital in northern Iraqi Kurdistan.
In February 2004, the UN Security Council passed a resolution imposing sanctions on Iraq.
In March 2004, President George Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was then Prime Minister, agreed on a new round of sanctions against Iraq in response to the war.
The sanctions were imposed in response, among other things, to Iraq’s failure to comply with the Geneva Conventions.
Iraq was among the signatories to the Conventions, which forbid the use of force to defend territorial integrity or to intimidate or coerce any nation, including the US.
Iraq’s military and intelligence services were also targeted.
The United Nations estimated that the US killed between 1,200 and 1,500 people in the first seven months of the conflict.
Iraq’s constitution, signed in the summer of 2006, established the Iraqi National Congress (INC), a transitional government that is recognised by the UN and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Since 2006, the INC has been in charge of Iraqi affairs and has been under intense US pressure to abide by international law.
Iraq, however, continues to maintain its own legal system and military, while also seeking to strengthen its influence in the wider region.
The US and Iraq have fought several proxy wars, including an undeclared war in the south-eastern Syria in which US forces are accused of killing over 2.5 million people.
At the height of the crisis in Iraq in June 2014, Washington’s ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, was forced to resign after it was revealed that she had lied about Iraq’s involvement in the conflict and about the US commitment to the Geneva Convention, a key US legal instrument.
Power’s resignation triggered a wave of protests in Iraq, which saw hundreds of thousands of people march on Baghdad and other cities to demand her removal from office.
The protests led to the downfall of the Iraqi leader Nouri Maliki and to the appointment of a new prime minister.
A UN report in 2015 found that US military involvement in Iraq had been “unimaginable”.
It also found that Iraq was in a state of “disarray” and that the country had not been able to establish a functioning national economy and to implement economic reforms.
The report also said that Iraq had not fully implemented the terms of the 2003 ceasefire agreement with the US in a way that could have resulted in a lasting ceasefire.
Although Washington and other western powers have repeatedly expressed their support for the Iraqi people, it has been clear that they have not been forthcoming with their own details about the circumstances surrounding the 2003 invasion.
On 15 February 2019, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Iraq violated the 2003 UN Security Charter by attacking civilians with chemical weapons, killing hundreds of civilians and wounding many others.
The court said that the use and spread of chemical weapons in Iraq were the “crime of war”.
US-Iraq conflict Timeline The timeline of US- Iraq war timeline shows the events that led to Iraq going to war and the impact the war had on the Middle East.
1 November 2003: US-lead invasion of Iraqi regime in Iraq began in