2003 in Iraq

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Events in the year 2003 in Iraq.

Incumbents[edit]

Transitional government:

Events[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

US President George W. Bush addresses the nation from the Oval Office, March 19, 2003, to announce the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • March 1
    • The United Arab Emirates calls for Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to step down to avoid war. The sentiment is later echoed by Bahrain and Kuwait.
    • The Turkish speaker of Parliament voids the vote accepting U.S. troops involved in the planned invasion of Iraq into Turkey on constitutional grounds. 264 votes for and 250 against accepting 62,000 US military personnel do not constitute the necessary majority under the Turkish constitution, due to 19 abstentions.
  • March 11
    • Iraqi fighters threaten two U.S. U-2 surveillance planes, flying missions for U.N. weapons inspectors, forcing them to abort their mission and return to base. Iraqi officials described the incident as a "technical mistake" by the U.N. inspectors. Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for UNMOVIC, said that Iraqi officials had been notified about the flight beforehand
    • According to Arab media, Saddam Hussein opens terrorist training camps in Iraq for Arab volunteers willing to carry out suicide bombings against U.S. forces if a U.S.-led attack took place.
  • March 12 - British prime minister Tony Blair proposes an amendment to the possible 18th U.N. resolution, which would call for Iraq to meet certain benchmarks to prove that it was disarming. The amendment is immediately rejected by France, who promises to veto any new resolution.
  • March 16
    • The leaders of the United States, Britain, Portugal, and Spain meet at a summit in the Azores Islands. U.S. President Bush calls Monday, March 17, the "moment of Truth", meaning that the "coalition of the willing" would make its final effort to extract a resolution from the U.N. Security Council that would give Iraq an ultimatum to disarm immediately or to be disarmed by force.
    • Largest co-ordinated worldwide vigil as part of the global protests against war on Iraq.
  • March 17 - President Bush gives the final ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. His conditions are that Saddam and his sons must leave Iraq in 48 hours.[1]
  • March 19 - President Bush orders the invasion of Iraq. General Tommy Franks is supreme commander in the area. Bombs begin dropping on military targets in Baghdad.
  • March 20 - Land troops from United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland invade Iraq.
  • March 21 - The United States and the United Kingdom begin their shock and awe campaign with a massive air strike on military targets in Baghdad using cruise missiles fired from US Navy warships, Royal Navy submarines and B-52 bombers; and laser guided missiles fired by Stealth Bombers.

April[edit]

Statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled in Baghdad's Firdos Square on April 9, 2003.
  • April 9 - Baghdad is formally secured by U.S. forces.
  • April 10 - Kurdish forces capture Kirkuk.
  • April 15
  • April 21 - retired Lt Gen Jay Garner becomes the civil leader of Iraq when the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) is formed and he is placed as the administrator with three deputies, including Tim Cross.
  • April 23 - U.S. forces arrive in Fallujah.
  • April 28 - A group of 200 protestors defy the U.S. imposed curfew in Fallujah and organize a protest. During the protest soldiers occupying a schoolhouse claim to have been fired upon, and kill 15 in returning fire. No U.S. casualties were reported.

May[edit]

The USS Abraham Lincoln returning to port carrying its Mission Accomplished banner
  • May 15 - Operation Planet X captures 260 suspected fugitives near Tikrit. 230 are later released. Some high-level fugitives are captured from the raid.
  • May 22 - Reports of high uranium concentration in Afghan urine in 2003 fueled speculation that the coalition used depleted uranium weapons in Afghanistan.[2] However, further research in 2005 showed the isotope ratios to be more consistent with a natural (not depleted) uranium source.[3]

June[edit]

July[edit]

  • July 2 - President Bush declared that American troops would remain in Iraq in spite of the attacks, challenging the insurgents with "My answer is, bring 'em on," a widely criticized line which Bush later expressed misgivings about.[4]

August[edit]

UN headquarters in Baghdad after the Zarqawi's men bombed it, August 22
  • August 19 - A truck bomb attack on the UN kills Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 others. This leads to the UN leaving Iraq due to security concerns.
  • August 29 - The Shi'ite Imam Ali Mosque was hit by a suicide car bomber assassinating the head of one of Iraq's largest Shi'ite parties who had led prayers there and killing between 85 to 125 others.[5]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

U.S. President George W. Bush meets with troops on Thanksgiving Day.
  • November 12 - In Nasiriya, Iraq, at least 23 people, among them the first Italian casualties of the 2003 Iraq war are killed in a suicide bomb attack on an Italian police base.
  • November 26 - UK foreign minister Jack Straw pays a brief, surprise visit to Iraq.
  • November 26 - Abed Hamed Mowhoush, Iraqi General, tortured to death by the USA Army personnel while in prison
  • November 27 - President Bush drops by for a surprise Thanksgiving dinner with soldiers in Baghdad with Condoleezza Rice.

December[edit]

Saddam Hussein being pulled from his hideaway in Operation Red Dawn, 13 December 2003
  • December 9 - Japan promises 1,000 troops to help with the reconstruction effort.
  • December 13 - Saddam Hussein is captured by members of the 4th infantry division, 1st brigade. He was hiding in a spider hole in Ad Dawr, near Tikrit, his hometown. Saddam was captured in a hole below a two-room mud shack. When he was captured only a Styrofoam square and a rug were between Saddam and U.S. forces. Major General Raymond Odierno commented, “he was caught like a rat.”
"I am Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq. I want to negotiate." - Saddam Hussein, upon surrendering.
"President Bush sends his regards." - Response from American soldiers accepting Saddam's surrender.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we got him." - Paul Bremer, announcing the capture at a press conference.

Notable deaths[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]