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Invasion of Iraq


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After months of threats and a long military buildup, the United States attacked Iraq on Thursday, March 20, 2003. Washington cut short UN arms inspections, acting with its military ally, Britain, after a war-sanctioning resolution failed by a wide margin to gain support in the UN Security Council. The war faces strong opposition from France, Germany, Russia, China and the great majority of UN member states as well as world public opinion. The US and the UK, with a military ground force of about 300,000, encountered stiff Iraqi resistance. The war has created a deep humanitarian crisis in Iraq and a deep political crisis in the international system.

Key Documents

Iraq Body Count

This is a link to the Human Security project that provides a database of civilian deaths in Iraq caused by the US and British military forces since January 2003.



RAF Helicopter Death Leads to Secret Iraq Detention Center (February 7, 2012)

This Guardian report highlights how the UK and US military establishments continue to obstruct investigation into their conduct during the war in Iraq. By scrutinizing the death of Tariq Sabri al-Fahdawi in military custody on April 11 2003 Ian Cobain reveals the secret detainment centers, the lax oversight, and the myriad human rights abuses which characterized the war in Iraq. (Guardian) 


Bush and Blair Agreed to Iraq War before UN Second Vote (August 29, 2011)

A newly released letter from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office, written five months before the conflict, reveals the UK intended to invade Iraq, whether or not a second Security Council Resolution supported the action. The document shows that Britain, along with the US, would “take action” if a breach of the previous resolution could be found. This letter was written despite the fact that Lord Goldsmith, the UK Attorney General, had already advised an invasion of Iraq would be illegal. The letter provides an insight into the political dealings of the US and the UK, and demonstrates their clear disregard for international law. (Guardian)

Blair Envoy Lobbied Iraq Prime Minister for BP 3 months After Leaving Post (May 18, 2011)

As UK envoy to the UN in 2002, Sir Jeremy Greenstock made claims for war against Iraq that had not been substantiated by UK military intelligence. Greenstock served as UK Special Representative to Iraq until June 2004 when he was hired by British Petroleum (BP) as a “special adviser”.  Newly released documents show that in September 2004 – only three months after he left his post in Iraq - Greenstock met with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi who he is believed to have lobbied on behalf of BP for a contract to study Iraq’s largest oilfield in Rumaila. In January 2005, BP won the contract and eventually won a 20-year deal to manage the field under which they and their partner, CNPC, are set to receive returns of up to $660 million per year after tax. (Fuel on the Fire)

Iraq Dossier Drawn Up to Make Case For War – Intelligence Officer (May 13, 2011)

Seven months prior to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the UK government released a dossier asserting that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. In an inquiry headed by Sir John Chilcot, government officials asserted that this document meant to explain the government’s concerns rather than present a case for war. However, a top military intelligence official has said that the dossier was specifically created to justify military action in Iraq, even though the intelligence services were unable to find evidence of planes, missiles or equipment relating to weapons of mass destruction. (Guardian)

Calls Mount to Push U.S. Troop Presence in Iraq Past 2011 (May 10, 2011)

 It is unlikely that there will be a complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq by December 2011. Up to 10,000 residual troops could remain stationed in Iraq and, under the Department of Defense's current plans for departure, US diplomatic personnel in Iraq will double to nearly 16,000. Diplomatic personnel will rely entirely on private contractors for security. Commentators have highlighted the importance of understanding and engaging with emergent civil society movements on development projects, police training and rule of law development. However, this requires thinking past the military mission and devoting adequate resources to the civilian sector which will be difficult in light of planned budget cuts.  By maintaining a military presence, the US will be able to focus on protecting its own strategic interests instead. (Inter Press Service)

Curveball and the Manufacture of a Lie (February 15, 2011)

The confession by an Iraqi defector that he purposely lied about Iraq's biological weapons programme has fundamentally undermined the US and British intelligence services' assertions that Iraq's WMDs presented a serious threat. In this video interview, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, code-named "Curveball," articulates why he cooperated with German and US intelligence and why, if given the chance, he would lie again to topple Saddam's dictatorship. Former British diplomat Carne Ross highlights how US and UK intelligence agencies - well-aware of the unconvincing nature of Curveball's evidence - exploited data to legitimize their governments' invasion of Iraq. (The Guardian)


Blair warned in 2000 Iraq War was Illegal (March 2, 2010)

A secret strategy paper withheld from publication reveals that an invasion of Iraq was discussed within the UK Government for more than two years before military action was taken, with the Foreign Office warning that an invasion would be illegal. The strategy paper was not published by the Chilcot Inquiry because the Government retains the power to veto the publication of classified documents. This raises serious questions about the powers of the Inquiry to reveal sensitive material that is in the public interest and necessary to ensure Government accountability. (The Independent)


Iraq War Caused Rupture Between US and British Military (November 23, 2009)

Secret documents reveal that discord between US and UK military leaders during the Iraq war ran deep. US military leaders felt let down by the "weak" British who opted for negotiation rather than aggression where possible, and who ignored or evaded US orders when they strongly disagreed with British tactics. In interviews, British leaders describe the frustration when dealing with US counterparts who saw only one way: "the American way."    To view Colonel J.K. Tanner's criticisms of the US army, click here. (Daily Telegraph)

Iraq Report: Secret Papers Reveal Blunders and Concealment (November 21, 2009)

Throughout 2002, British Prime Minister Tony Blair repeatedly stated that Britain was seeking "disarmament, not regime change" for Iraq, when he had ordered the military to prepare for war since the beginning of the year. The need to keep this a secret from Parliament and all but a handful of officials inhibited the planning process.  As a result the operation was rushed, with  British troops entering the conflict poorly equipped, while lack of planning contributed decisively to the post-war crisis. To view the files in full, click here. (Daily Telegraph)


Officials Confirm Dropping Firebombs on Iraqi Troops (August 5, 2003)

US officials confirm that US jets dropped firebombs in Iraq in their military drive toward Baghdad. A US military official states that the effects of the firebombs have significant similarities to the controversial napalm used in the Vietnam War. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

US Support For War Fades As Casualties Mount (July 2, 2003)

As US soldiers continue to die in Iraq, public support for US intervention in Iraq begins to fall sharply. (Times)

The Time Has Come to Say It out Loud (June 17, 2003)

John Gerassi, former Newsweek and Time magazine editor, asserts that the Bush administration is fascist. He draws parallels between Washington's policies and Hitler's Nazi Germany in the pre-WWII era. "As Hitler would have said: Iraq today, the world tomorrow." (Global Research)

Burying the Number of Civilian Deaths in Iraq (June 16, 2003)

The US military remains elusive on the issue of Iraqi civilian casualties. US citizens were outraged when 3,000 people died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Between Afghanistan and Iraq, the US military has killed more than that, yet it ignores the people it killed. (Chicago Tribune)

What's Happening? Boron Interviews Chomsky (June 14, 2003)

Noam Chomsky discusses the true motives behind the war on Iraq, the possibilities of future US invasions and the continued dominance of US unilateralism in international relations. (Znet)

War May Have Killed 10,000 Civilians, Researchers Say (June 13, 2003)

Iraq Body Count, a volunteer group of British and US academics, compiled statistics on civilian casualties from media reports and estimated that 5,000- 7,000 civilians died in the conflict. They believe this figure may reach over 10, 000 once their research is complete. (Guardian)

Associated Press Tallies 3,240 Civilian Deaths in Iraq (June 10, 2003)

The Associated Press reports that at least 3,240 civilians died in Iraq during the month of war, including 1,896 in Baghdad. This compares with an estimated 2,278 civilian casualties in the 1991 Gulf War.

Pressure Grows over US Killing of Journalists (June 6, 2003)

The US claims self-defense for the attack on the Palestine Hotel, but more than a dozen eye-witnesses tell a different story. An investigation states that the incident was in fact entirely avoidable, and is asking a Spanish judge to file formal extradition charges against the three responsible US military officers. (Asia Times)

Yes, Iraq Was a Defining Moment - So Let's Define It (June 9, 2003)

The war on Iraq was a "defining moment," a crucial episode in history that set a precedent of US-UK relations towards the UN and the international community. The Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war comes as a consequence of 9/11, claims the Guardian.

Revise and Conquer (June 6, 2003)

In this article Chris Floyd compares holocaust revisionism with US and UK government officials "whitewashing" the war crimes of the Bush regime. He also notes the "hypocrisy" of Bush's recent visit to Auschwitz by pointing out the "well-documented" financial ties the Bush family had with Nazi Germany in the war era. (Moscow Times)

The Arch of Globalization (June 5, 2003)

Middle Eastern countries fiercely resist the globalization process and the reforms affiliated with it. Some identify this process with the driving forces behind it, specifically the US and its close ally Israel. They interpret the Iraq war as another example of globalization. (Al-Ahram)

Simpson Berates 'Trigger-Happy' Troops (June 5, 2003)

BBC news reporter John Simpson accuses US troops in Iraq of "trigger-happy" behavior. He saved a civilian from being shot by gung-ho marines. Simpson was also shot by US troops in a "friendly fire" accident during his time covering the war. (Guardian)

No Weapons in Iraq? We'll Find Them in Iran (June 1, 2003)

This editorial reviews Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others' endless attempts to find evidence to justify a war with Iraq. The article traces the Bush administration's current foreign policies back to the hawkish neo-conservative think tank, Project for the New American Century, founded by Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and others from the administration.(Glasgow Sunday Herald)

Britain Must Not Be Suckered a Second Time By the White House (May 30, 2003)

In this article by the former leader of the House of Commons and UK Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, outlines the faults in the reasons for going to war with Iraq. In addition, Cook warns the UK government of blindly following the US down another path to war with Iran. (Independent)

Allied Use of Cluster Bombs Illegal, Minister Admits (May 30, 2003)

In a letter obtained by the Independent, the UK government admitted that the use of cluster bombs against civilian targets were "not legal." Anti-landmine charities claimed that the letter by Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces Minister, proved that the Ministry of Defense had broken international law by using the munitions in towns and cities.

BBC Defies MoD Over Iraq Documentary (May 28, 2003)

In a controversial documentary on the Iraq War, the BBC is refusing to cut footage of the dead bodies of two British soldiers as requested by the Ministry of Defense and the families of the two men. The BBC will broadcast the show despite an extraordinary intervention from Prime Minister Tony Blair. (Guardian)

Shout Their Names Into The Wind (May 27, 2003)

Williams Rivers Pitt reveals that Soufiane al Tikriti, head of Baghdad's Special Republican Guard, was paid several hundred thousand dollars on the eve of the battle for Baghdad. In exchange, he ordered Baghdad's defenders to stand down and not resist. Then, a US aircraft ferried him out of Iraq along with 20 family members. (TruthOut)

Baghdad's Death Toll Assessed (May 18, 2003)

The devastating consequences of the battle for Baghdad can be read in the Los Angeles Times' count of civilian casualties obtained from hospital records in Iraq since the beginning of March 20, 2003. More than 1700 Iraqi civilians died and over 8000 were injured. The data does not include undocumented civilian deaths which could be as high as 1000, according to humanitarian groups.

Was Baghdad Handed Over? (May 16, 2003)

There are speculations in the Arabic media that the US arranged a deal with the Baath regime to hand over Baghdad. The media cites the fact that the lives of many US and UK forces and senior Baath officials were spared in support of the claim. (Iraq War)

War Over? (May 6, 2003)

President George W. Bush stated that major combat operations are over and the people of Iraq are free. In the eyes of many Shias, it is the beginning of an occupation and a feeling of being excluded from power by a new pro-US government. (Independent)

Remarks by US Senator Robert C. Byrd (May 6, 2003)

Senator Robert C. Byrd argues that President George W. Bush's "victory" speech on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln was designed to assist his 2004 electoral campaign and included false claims that Saddam Hussein was as an ally of al Qaeda. (Truthout)

President Says Military Phase in Iraq Has Ended (May 2, 2003)

President George W. Bush declared that the major battle has ended in Iraq. The speech was also a way for Bush to direct attention away from post-war Iraq and back toward the ongoing campaign against Al-Qaeda. (New York Times)

Bush to Say Major Combat Has Ended (May 1, 2003)

President George W. Bush intends to address the nation declaring that US forces have ended major combat operations in Iraq. Bush is not declaring an official end to hostilities because that is accompanied by specific responsibilities under international law. (Washington Post)

The War Is Over (Except For Iraq) (May 1, 2003)

The reconstruction process is going to be a difficult task for the US after President Bush declares the war is all but over. Violence is growing across Baghdad and there is dissatisfaction among Iraqis on a range of issues including electricity shortages and insecurity. (Independent)

How to Manage the Peace (May 2003)

The war on Iraq has redefined the international landscape by challenging the roles and positions of the UN, US, EU and others. "Protectorates, a term so offensively colonialist that it was banned after the First World War, have returned in the new world order." (Le Monde Diplomatique)

Revealed: How the Road to War was Paved with Lies (April 27, 2003)

Intelligence agencies are accusing the US and Britain of fabricating evidence and suggesting that both countries "ignored intelligence assessments which said Iraq was not a threat." (Independent)

US Seizes Saddam's Deputy (April 25, 2003)

The former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz surrendered to US forces. The US hopes that Aziz will lead them to Saddam Hussein and perhaps weapons of mass destruction. (Guardian)

Full Text of Tom Brokaw's Interview with President Bush (April 25, 2003)

President Bush discusses the decision-making process that led to the invasion of Iraq, and continues to insist that weapons of mass destruction will be found, although there has been little or no evidence to suggest this. (New York Times)

Of Bridges and Birds (April 17-23, 2003)

Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi writer and poet, sifts through the rubble of his native Baghdad, noting that it is "agonizingly difficult to write about one's hometown as it drowns in flame and suffocates with smoke." (Al-Ahram Weekly)

Deadly Clash Raises Tensions In North (April 17, 2003)

US troops clashed with Iraqi civilians in the northern town of Mosul. Most of the city remains a dangerous no-man's land and Iraqis blame US soldiers for protecting themselves and not the population. (Boston Globe)

More Die as Troops Open Fire on Mosul Crowd (April 17, 2003)

US soldiers became involved in a lethal firefight in the city center of Mosul for the second day in a row. Doctors report that 13 people were killed and 28 wounded when US troops opened fire during two separate incidents. (Guardian)

Untouchable Ministries (April 16, 2003)

Robert Fisk reports on the widespread looting of government buildings such as the Ministry of Education. The buildings that remain untouched and protected by US soldiers are the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Oil. (Independent)

US Has No Plans to Count Civilian Casualties (April 15, 2003)

The Pentagon stated that it has no plans to determine how many Iraqi civilians were killed, injured or suffered property damage during the US-led war in Iraq. (Washington Post)

Troops Fire on Protesters: Report (April 15, 2003)

US troops opened fire on a crowd hostile to the new pro-US governor in Northern Iraq as he was making a pro-US speech. The incident killed 10 to 12 people and wounded 100, says Mosul's hospital. (

How and Why the US Encouraged Looting in Iraq (April 15, 2003)

Pillage in Iraq may have been more than a disorganized and spontaneous reaction by Iraqis to their new "liberty." Many accuse the US of having deliberately allowed the widespread plunder of Iraqi cities, buttressed by the fact that only oilfields and the Oil Ministry were protected. (World Socialist Web Site)

Free To Do Bad Things (April 12, 2003)

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld played down the looting in Iraq, attributing it to an expression of freedom in a democracy where citizens are allowed to make mistakes. (Guardian)

Looters Bring Baghdad New Havoc (April 11, 2003)

US soldiers "might have liberated" Baghdad and the regime has collapsed. But the city has been thrown into chaos with widespread arson, anarchy and looting. (Los Angeles Times)

After the Fall (April 10, 2003)

The collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime sends a message of joy and alarm across the world. The "victory" for the US in Iraq must not mean that pre-emptive, unilateral, illegal wars become acceptable in the future. (Independent)

Saddam's Fate a Mystery As Focus Shifts (April 10, 2003)

There are still dangerous areas in Iraq but the US senses victory and rejects the notion that it would turn Iraq over to the UN Security Council. But permanent members, France, Russia and China want the UN to play a central role in rebuilding Iraq. (Agence France-Presse)

Central Kirkuk Falls to US-Kurdish Forces (April 10, 2003)

US-backed Kurdish forces occupy the centre of the northern oil rich city of Kirkuk. Neighboring Turkey has voiced concern for a possible Kurdish uprising and it is sending military observers to the region. (Middle East Online)

Hussein's Baghdad Falls as Tanks Roll Through City (April 9, 2003)

US tanks and soldiers descend into the heart of Baghdad while Iraqis celebrate its "liberation," destroying a huge statue of Saddam Hussein and looting the streets. (Washington Post)

Blair to Press Bush for Bigger UN Role in Reconstruction (April 7, 2003)

President George W. Bush is meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair in Ireland to discuss the situation in Iraq and plans for post war reconstruction. London wants the UN to play an important role while Washington wants the organization to be limited to humanitarian efforts. (Independent)

Offense and Defense (April 7, 2003)

Senior Pentagon planners have expressed anger over the fact that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his inner circle of civilian advisers have insisted on controlling the operational details of the war on Iraq. Members of the military have suggested that Rumsfeld and his deputies were responsible for reducing the number of ground troops in Iraq. (The New Yorker)

Rolling Victory Key to US Endgame (April 4, 2003)

After US forces gain control of significant territory and eliminate a critical mass of Iraqi resistance, there are plans for the military commanders to establish a base of operations outside Baghdad and assert that a new era has begun. (Washington Post)

War by Example (April 3-9, 2003)

Roger Owen, a professor of history at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, argues that the new US defense doctrine, based on the notion of preventive response, means that the current US war against Iraq is also meant to provide a test case for future instances in which the US will attempt "to impose its world view." (Al-Ahram Weekly)

Beyond the Veto (April 3-9, 2003)

This article from the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly examines the options open to the UN to delegitimize the US invasion of Iraq.

"You've Just Killed a Family Because You Didn't Fire a Warning Shot Soon Enough" (April 2, 2003)

US troops killed at least seven civilians at a checkpoint near Najaf. While senior officers defended the action as self defense, a Washington Post journalist reported that the leading officer at the checkpoint gave his troops a severe reprimand for not acting early enough. (Independent)

Iraq Is a Trial Run (April 2, 2003)

The eminent scholar Noam Chomsky, in an interview with the Indian newspaper Frontline, discusses the US attack on Iraq and what it bodes for the future of US foreign policy.

Iraqi Army Toll a Mystery Because No Count is Kept (April 2, 2003)

While the world knows exactly how many US and British soldiers have died in battle during the war against Iraq, no one seems to know the Iraqi death toll. US and British forces refuse to keep tabs on, or even estimate, Iraqi casualties. (International Herald Tribune)

US Troops Kill Seven Women and Children at Checkpoint (April 1, 2003)

An investigation is under way after US soldiers shot and killed several Iraqi civilians when they failed to stop at a checkpoint near the city of Najaf in the southern part of Iraq. (Independent)

US Using Cluster Munitions in Iraq (April 1, 2003)

Human Rights Watch reports that US ground forces in Iraq are using cluster munitions with a very high failure rate, creating immediate and long-term dangers for civilians. According to Steve Goose, executive director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. "Iraqi civilians will be paying the price with their lives and limbs for many years."

Rumsfeld Faulted For Troop Dilution (March 30, 2003)

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials in Pentagon are blamed by US military officers for providing inadequate troop strength on the ground in Iraq. (Washington Post)

US Warplanes Drop Massive "Bunker Busters" on Iraqi Command Centers (March 28, 2003)

US warplanes dropped two massive "bunker busting" bombs, weighing 2,086 kilograms apiece, on a communications tower in downtown Baghdad. Intense US and British air raids continue in Baghdad and Northern Iraq. (Ha'aretz)

Pentagon Advisor Is Stepping Down (March 28, 2003)

Richard N. Perle has resigned as chairman of the Defense Policy Board in the wake of disclosures that his business dealings included a recent meeting with a Saudi arms dealer and a contract with a company seeking assistance from the Defense Department.(New York Times)

They Are Fighting for their Independence, not Saddam (March 27, 2003)

Seamus Milne argues that the expectation that Iraqis would not fight against the US-British invasion stems from the failure to imagine that however much Iraqis might want to see the end of Saddam Hussein's regime, "they also - like any other people - don't want their country occupied by foreign powers." (Guardian)

Second Week of War, More Questions Than Answers (March 27, 2003)

Washington's so-called "shock and awe" tactics are not working on Iraq, and the greatest uncertainty remains how long the conflict is going to last. (Middle East Online)

Bush, Blair Meet, Vow to Pursue Victory (March 27, 2003)

President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair refuse to offer a time-table on the war, but insist that their main objective is to remove Saddam Hussein from power. (Los Angeles Times)

14 Dead as Missiles Hit Baghdad Market (March 26, 2003)

At least 14 people are dead and another 30 are injured following US and UK air strikes on a shopping area in the Iraqi capital. (Press Association, UK)

Coalition Forces Face Street Fighting in Basra (March 25, 2003)

The British and US forces are likely to engage in urban warfare in the city of Basra. The United Nations has also warned of a potential humanitarian disaster in Basra, the second largest city in Iraq. (Middle East Online)

Russia Defends Self on Iraq Allegations (March 25, 2003)

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has strongly denied US claims that Russian firms have sold military equipment to Iraq. (Associated Press)

Arab Nations Seek Emergency UN Meeting on Iraq (March 24, 2003)

The Arab League demands an urgent meeting of the Security Council to press for a resolution condemning the war against Iraq. Such a resolution has no chance to pass as the US and Britain have veto power in the Council. (Reuters)

Setbacks Shake Precision Planning (March 24, 2003)

The US and British forces are confronting heavier fighting in Iraqi than expected with resistance in cities that were supposed to welcome the invading forces. (Guardian)

This Is the Reality of War: We Bomb, They Suffer (March 23, 2003)

Veteran journalist Robert Fisk reports from a hospital in Baghdad on the continuing civilian casualties being caused by US air strikes. (Independent)

Incomprehensible Destruction (March 20-26, 2003)

This article, published on the eve of the US attack against Iraq, analyzes the military doctrine known as "Shock and Awe." Harlan Ullman, the military strategist who devised the doctrine, advocates the unleashing of "nearly incomprehensible levels of massive destruction." (Al-Ahram Weekly)

Turkish Parliament OKs Use of Airspace (March 20, 2003)

Turkey's parliament agreed to allow the US military to use its airspace for a war in Iraq, although the proposal would not allow US planes to use its air bases or refuel in Turkey. (Associated Press)

Selected Targets in Iraq Attacked (March 20, 2003)

The first US attack on Baghdad was launched with Tomahawks missiles and precision-guided bombs aimed at Saddam Hussein and senior government leaders. (Los Angeles Times)

Myths And Facts About the War (March 20, 2003)

President George W. Bush ordered the start of a war against Iraq making completely unsubstantiated claims such as the terrorism link to the regime in Baghdad. (ZNet)

Take Action

Celine Nahory (left) and Marianna Quenemoen (right)
in the anti-war protest in Washington DC
on January 18, 2003

Not In Our Name (September 19, 2002)

This statement of conscience calls on the US people to resist the "war without limit" and the new measures of represion that have emerged since September 11, 2001.


An Open Letter From the Academic Community Opposing a US Invasion of Iraq (September, 2002)

In this open letter, the academic community explains the grounds to oppose a US invasion of Iraq, and hopes that the opposition reaches Washington DC.





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