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Iraq: U.S. Regime Change Efforts and Post-War Iraq. Summary The character of the government that would replace Saddam Hussein's Baath.
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Iraq Timeline: Since the 2003 War

The military did not launch a criminal investigation until mid-March, four months after the incident, and two months after TIME magazine had reported the allegations to the military. Several additional sets of separate allegations of civilian murders by U. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the most-wanted terrorist in the country, was killed by a U.

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Zarqawi was responsible for many of the most brutal and horrific attacks in Iraq. But his death seemed to have no stabilizing effect on the country. The UN announced that an average of more than civilians were killed in Iraq each day. The UN also reported that about 1. At the end of July, the U. But by October, the military acknowledged that its week-old campaign to establish security in Baghdad had been unsuccessful. The report heightened the debate over the U. In a Jan. He also said Iraq had committed to a number of "benchmarks," including increasing troop presence in Baghdad and passing oil-revenue-sharing and jobs-creation plans.

The stability of the Iraqi government further deteriorated in August, when the Iraqi Consensus Front, the largest Sunni faction in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's cabinet, resigned, citing the Shiite-led government's failure to stem violence by militias, follow through with reforms, and involve Sunnis in decisions on security.

August also saw the deadliest attack of the war. Two pairs of truck bombs exploded about five miles apart in the remote, northwestern Iraqi towns of Qahtaniya and Jazeera. At least members of the minority Yazidi community were killed and hundreds more were wounded. A National Intelligence Estimate released in September said the Iraqi government had failed to end sectarian violence even with the surge of American troops. The report also said, however, that a withdrawal of troops would "erode security gains achieved thus far. In highly anticipated testimony, Gen. He said the number of troops in Iraq may be reduced from 20 brigades to 15, or from , troops to ,, beginning in July The killings sparked furious protests in Iraq, and Prime Minister Maliki threatened to evict Blackwater employees from Iraq.

In November, FBI investigators reported that 14 of the 17 shootings were unjustified and the guards were reckless in their use of deadly force.

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Although culminated as the deadliest year in Iraq for U. In addition, the Iraqi Red Crescent reported that some 25, refugees out of about 1. However, many of these returning refugees found their homes occupied by squatters. In addition, previously diverse neighborhoods had become segregated as a result of the sectarian violence. In addition, many former Baathists who will not be permitted to return to their positions are entitled to pensions. The law is the first major benchmark of political progress reached by the Iraqi government.

It was criticized, however, for being quite vague and confusing, and because of its many loopholes, more Baathists may be excluded from government posts than will be granted employment. Parliament passed another round of legislation in February, which included a law that outlines provincial powers, an election timetable, a budget, and an amnesty law that will affect thousands of mostly Sunni Arab prisoners.

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A divided Iraqi Presidency Council vetoed the package, however. In March, about 30, Iraqi troops and police, with air support from the U. The operation failed, and the Mahdi Army maintained control over much of Basra.

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Prime Minister Maliki was criticized for poorly planning the assault. After negotiations with Iraqi officials, al-Sadr ordered his militia to end military action in exchange for amnesty for his supporters, the release from prison of his followers who have not been convicted of crimes, and the government's help in returning to their homes Sadrists who fled fighting. The compromise was seen as a blow to Maliki. In addition, more than 1, Iraqi soldiers and police officers either refused to participate in the operation or deserted their posts.

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After a boycott of almost a year, the largest Sunni block in Iraq's government, Tawafiq, announced in April that it would return to the cabinet of Prime Minister Maliki. Tawafiq's leader, Adnan al-Dulaimi, said that by passing an amnesty law and launching an assault on Shiite militias, the government had met enough of its demands to end the boycott. In July, Parliament approved the nomination of six Sunni members of Tawafiq to the cabinet. For much of , Iraqi lawmakers struggled to pass two pieces of critical legislation: an election law and a status of forces agreement.

They managed to approve a scaled-down election law in September that calls for provincial elections to be held in early Elections, which are seen as vital to moving Iraqi's rival ethnic groups toward reconciliation, had originally been scheduled for Oct. Elections in the disputed city of Kirkuk, however, are postponed until a separate agreement is reached by a committee of Kurds, Turkmens, and Arabs. Kurds dominate the city, but the Turkmens and Arabs have resisted any attempts to dilute their control through a power-sharing plan. After nearly a year of negotiations with the U.

Sixteen years after regime change, Iraq needs to double down on its gains - Atlantic Council

The terms of the pact include the withdrawal of all U. In addition, the agreement gives Iraqi officials jurisdiction over serious crimes committed by off-duty Americans who are off base when the crimes occur. Iraqii Parliament must also approve the agreement. Iraq achieved several milestones in Jan. On New Year's Day, the government took control of the Green Zone, the heavily fortified area that houses the offices and homes of most American and Iraqi government officials.

On January 31, Iraq held local elections to create provincial councils. The elections were notable for their lack of violence and the markedly diminished role the U. As many as 50, troops, however, will remain there for smaller missions and to train Iraqi soldiers. On June 30, in compliance with the status of forces agreement between the U.

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Two car bombs exploded near the Green Zone in Baghdad on October 25, killing at least people and wounding It was the deadliest attack in Iraq since April The Islamic State in Iraq, a group linked to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility. The group has vowed to destabilize the government and disrupt parliamentary elections scheduled for January Further withdrawal of U. Parliament's continued failure to pass an election law also threatened to derail the vote.

After missing several deadlines, Parliament approved compromise legislation in November. The main points of contention were whether to have candidates listed by name or political party, and which voter registration list to use in Kirkuk: one from that included more Arabs and Turkmens, or 's, which represented a higher number of Kurds.

Saddam Hussein had expelled tens of thousands of Kurds from Kirkuk and relocated Arabs and Turkmens into the region. After his fall, Kurds returned, and the demographic of the region shifted once again. Parliament agreed to use the roll, with oversight by the UN, and Arabs and Turkmens will each be granted an additional seat in Parliament.

In addition, legislators also agreed to allow candidates' names to appear on ballots. Five bombs killed at least people and wounded some at or near government buildings in Baghdad in December The Islamic State of Iraq al-Qaeda said it carried out the attacks. Authorities suspect that the Sunni insurgents were attempting to discourage cooperation between Shia and Sunnis and destablize the country in the weeks leading up to March's parliamentary elections.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was known as "Chemical Ali" and was a cousin and close associate of Hussein, was executed in January for his role in the poison-gas attack on the village of Halabja, where 5, Kurds were killed. He was also a member of the group of leaders responsible for the deaths of approximately , Kurds in the Iraq-Iran War. The electoral process was dealt another blow in January when a parliamentary panel recommended that candidates out of a total of 6, be banned from participating in the election because of their alleged former association with Saddam Hussein's Baath party.

The move outraged many Iraqi Sunnis, who threatened to boycott the elections, and intensified sectarian tension. A panel of seven judges, however, overturned the ban in February but said the candidates who run in the elections may still be investigated later for their ties to the Baath party. The de-Baathification movement was effectively ended in May, when a group of politicians quietly agreed they would not disqualify nine winning candidates with Baathist ties. Sectarian violence increased in the days leading up to the March 7 election, but the tension was less deadly than widely feared.

On election day itself, dozens of bombs exploded in Baghdad.