(Archive - Week of September 24, 2005)

IRAQ - InThe Beginning...

Where Was The Garden Of Eden?
Is this land now known as Iraq? "Now The Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed. And The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground - trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."

"A river watering the garden flowed from Eden, and from there it divided. It had four headstreams. The name of the first is the Pishon. It winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there. The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates." (Genesis 2:8-14)

The land of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers is today in Iraq - a land rich in places related to events of Bible History - Ur Of The Chaldees (where Abraham was born about 2000 B.C.), Nineveh (the capital of The Assyrian Empire that conquered the northern "Lost Ten Tribes" of Israel in 721 B.C.), and Babylon (the capital of the Babylonian empire that conquered the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 B.C.

There have been a few modern-day searches for the garden of Eden, with no substantial proof found. This of course is quite natural and understandable after so long. Time however is not the only factor - there is also a matter of a certain great Flood that occurred during the time of Noah that obliterated the entire region, including the garden. The flood is also the likely reason that the Pishon and Gihon Rivers that also flowed out of Eden are no longer existent - only the Tigris and Euphrates were apparently wide and deep enough to take the great amount of flood sediment without being filled and lost.

George W. Bush's Iraq

George W. Bush made many mistakes, and ordering the invasion of Iraq was the biggest. He did it for a personal reason, as he said, "He tried to kill my dad." This incompetent George W. Bush has lied to us over and over again, and he has convinced many lowlife, diehard, right-wing, conservative Republicans to follow him. Hitler did the same before he died. This is a tidbit of Saddam. Please continue reading about the long history of Iraq.

History of Iraq

This Earthenware dish was made in 9th Century Iraq. It is housed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Neandertals lived in Iraq about 60,000 years ago; Neandertal remains include those discovered at the Shanidar cave.

Ancient Times

For most of historic time, the land area now known as modern Iraq was almost equivalent to Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamian plain between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates (in Arabic, the Dijla and Furat, respectively), is part of the Fertile Crescent. Many dynasties and empires ruled the Mesopotamia region such as Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia.


It was in Mesopotamia about 4000 BC where the Sumerian culture flourished. The civilized life that emerged at Sumer was shaped by two conflicting factors: the unpredictability of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which at any time could unleash devastating floods that wiped out entire peoples, and the extreme richness of the river valleys, caused by centuries-old deposits of soil.

Eventually, the Sumerians had to battle other peoples. Some of the earliest of these wars were with the Elamites living in what is now western Iran. This frontier has been fought over repeatedly ever since; it is arguably the most fought over frontier in the world. Sumerian dominance was challenged by the Akkadians, who migrated up from the Arabian Peninsula. The Akkadians were a Semitic people, that is, they spoke a language drawn from a family of languages called Semitic languages.

In 2340 BC, the great Akkadian leader Sargon conquered Sumer and built the Akkadian Empire stretching over most of the Sumerian city-states and extending as far away as Lebanon. Sargon based his empire in the city of Akkad, which became the basis of the name of his people.

Sargon's ambitious empire lasted for only short time in the long time spans of Mesopotamian history. In 2125 BC, the Sumerian city of Ur in southern Mesopotamia rose up in revolt, and the Akkadian empire fell before a renewal of Sumerian city-states.

Post-Sumerian civilizations

After the later collapse of the Sumerian civilization, the people were reunited in 1700 BC by King Hammurabi of Babylon (1792-1750 BC), and the country flourished under the name of Babylonia. Babylonian rule encompassed a huge area covering most of the Tigris-Euphrates river valley from Sumer and the Persia Gulf. He extended his empire northward through the Tigris and Euphrates River valleys and westward to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. After consolidating his gains under a central government at Babylon, he devoted his energies to protecting his frontiers and fostering the internal prosperity of the Empire. Hammurabi's dynasty, otherwise referred to as the First Dynasty of Babylon, ruled for about 200 years, until 1530 BC. Under the reign of this dynasty, Babylonia entered into a period of extreme prosperity and relative peace.

On Hammurabi's death, however, a tribe known as the Kassites began to attack Babylonia as early as the period when Hammurabi's son ruled the empire. Over the centuries, Babylonia was weakened by the Kassites. Finally, around 1530 BC (given in some sources as 1570 or 1595 BC), a Kassite Dynasty was set up in Babylonia.

The Mitanni, another culture, were meanwhile building their own powerful empire. They had only temporary importance, they were very powerful, but were around for only about 150 years. Still, the Mitanni were one of the major empires of this area in this time period, and they came to almost completely control and subjugate the Assyrians (who were located directly to the east of Mitanni and to the northwest of Kassite Babylonia).

The Assyrians, after they finally broke free of the Mitanni, were the next major power to assert themselves on Mesopotamia. After defeating and virtually annexing Mitanni, the Assyrians, challenged Babylonia. They weakened Babylonia so much that the Kassite Dynasty fell from power; the Assyrians virtually came to control Babylonia, until revolts in turn deposed them and set up a new dynasty, known as the Second Dynasty of Isin. Nebuchadnezzar I (Nabu-kudurri-usur; c. 1119 BC-c. 1098 BC) was the best known of this dynasty.

Nebuchadnezzar the First added a good deal of land to Babylonia and eventually came to attack Assyria.


Eventually, during the 800s BC, one of the most powerful tribes outside Babylon, the Chaldeans (Latin Chaldaeus, Greek Khaldaios, Assyrian Kaldu), entered the scene. The Chaldeans rose to power in Babylonia and, by doing so, seem to have increased the stability and power of Babylonia. They fought off many revolts and aggressors. Chaldean influence was so strong that, during this period, Babylonia came to be known as Chaldea.

In 626 BC, the Chaldeans helped Nabo-Polassar to take power in Babylonia. At that time, Assyria was under considerable pressure from an Iranian people, the Medes (from Media). Nabo-Polassar allied Babylonia with the Medes. Assyria could not withstand this added pressure, and in 612 BC, Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, fell. The entire city, once a great capital of a great empire, was burned and sacked.

Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon

Later, Nebuchadrezzar II (Nabopolassar's son) inherited the empire of Babylonia. He added quite a bit of territory to Babylonia and rebuilt Babylon, still the capital of Babylonia.

In the 6th century BC (586 BC), Nebuchadrezzar II conquered Judea (Judah), destroyed Jerusalem; Solomon's Temple was also destroyed; Nebuchadrezzar carried away an estimated 15,000 captives, and sent most of its population into exile in Babylonia. Nebuchadrezzar (604-562 BC) is credited for building the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Various invaders conquered the land after Nebuchadrezzar's death, including Cyrus the Great in 539 BC and Alexander the Great in 331 BC, who died there in 323 BC, Babylon declined after the founding of Seleucia, the New Greek capital. In the second century BC, it became part of the Persian Empire, remaining thus until the 7th century AD, when Arab Muslims captured it.

The Muslim Conquest

In 634 AD, an army of 18,000 Arab Muslims, under the leadership of Khalid ibn al-Walid, reached and conquered the Euphrates delta. Although the occupying Persian force was vastly superior in techniques and numbers, its soldiers were exhausted from wars against the Byzantine Empire. The Sassanid troops fought ineffectually, lacking sufficient reinforcement.

In the eighth century, the Abbasid Caliphate established its capital at Baghdad.

During the late 14th and early 15th centuries, the Black Sheep Turkmen ruled the area now known as Iraq. In 1466, the White Sheep Turkmen defeated the Black Sheep and took control.

In the 16th century Iraq became a part of the Ottoman Empire.

Modern History

Ottoman rule over Iraq lasted till the Great War when British forces invaded the country. During the invasion the British suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Turkish army near Kut. An armistice was signed in 1918. For England Iraq was of strategic importance as it provided protection for the Anglo-Persian oil pipeline that was vital to the British navy.

The British Mandate Period

Iraq was carved out of the Ottoman Empire by the French and British as agreed in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. On November 11, 1920 it became a League of Nations mandate under British control with the name "State of Iraq".

The British government laid out the political and constitutional framework for Iraq's government. As a consequence, the new political system allegedly suffered a lack of legitimacy. Britain imposed a Hashemite monarchy on Iraq and defined the territorial limits of Iraq with little regard for natural frontiers and traditional tribal and ethnic settlements. Britain had to put down a major revolt against its policies between 1920 and 1922. During the revolt Britain used gas and air attacks on Iraqi villagers.

The Kurds wavered between adherence to Turkey and to Iraq and were finally lured by promises of autonomy. The British soon broke this promise.

In the Mandate period and beyond, the British supported the traditional, Sunni leadership (such as the tribal shaikhs) over the growing, urban-based nationalist movement. The Land Settlement Act gave the tribal shaikhs the right to register the communal tribal lands in their own name. The Tribal Disputes Regulations gave them judiciary rights, whereas the Peasants' Rights and Duties Act of 1933 reduced the tenants to virtual serfdom, forbidding them to leave the land unless all their debts to the landlord had been settled. The British resorted to military force when their interests were threatened, as in the 1941 Rashid Ali Al-Gaylan coup. This coup led to a British invasion of Iraq using forces from the British Indian Army and the Arab Legion from Jordan.

The Iraqi Monarchy

Emir Faisal ibn Husayn, leader of the arab revolt against the Ottoman sultan during the Great War, and member of the Sunni Hashemite family from Mecca, became the first king of the new state. He obtained the throne by the influence of T.E. Lawrence. Although the monarch was legitimized and proclaimed King by a plebiscite in 1921, nominal independence was only achieved in 1932, when the British Mandate officially ended.

In 1927 huge oil fields were discovered near Kirkuk and brought economic improvement. Exploration rights were granted to the Iraqi Petroleum Company, which despite the name, was a British oil company.

King Faisal I was succeeded by his son Ghazi in December 1933. King Ghazi's reign lasted five and a half years. He claimed Iraqi sovereignty over Kuwait. An avid amateur racer, the king drove his car into a lamppost and died April 3, 1939. His son Faisal followed him to the throne.

King Faisal II (1935?1958) was the only son of King Ghazi I and Queen Alya. The new king was four when his father died. His uncle 'Abd al-Ilah became regent (April 1939 ? May 1953).

In 1945, Iraq joined the United Nations and became a founding member of the Arab League. At the same time the Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani led a rebellion against the central government in Baghdad. After the failure of the uprising Barzani and his followers fled to the Soviet Union.

In 1948 Iraq and other Arab countries fought a war with Israel. The fighting continued till May 1949 when a cease-fire agreement was signed. The cost of the war had a negative impact on Iraq's economy. The government had to allocate 40 percent of available funds to the army and for the Palestinian refugees. Oil royalties paid to Iraq were halved when the pipeline to Haifa was cut. The war and the hanging of a Jewish businessman led to the departure of most of Iraq's Jewish community. Jews had lived in Mesopotamia for at least 2,500 years.

Iraq signed the Baghdad Pact in 1956. It allied Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Its headquarters were in Baghdad. The Pact constituted a direct challenge to Egyptian president Gamal Abdal Nasser. In response, Nasser launched a media campaign that challenged the legitimacy of the Iraqi monarchy.

In February 1958 King Hussein of Jordan and Abdul Illah proposed a union of Hashemite monarchies to counter the recently formed Egyptian-Syrian union. Prime minister Nuri as-Said wanted Kuwait to be part of the proposed Arab-Hashemite Union. Shaikh Abdullah Al-Salim, the ruler of Kuwait, was invited to Baghdad to discuss Kuwait's future. This policy brought the government of Iraq into direct conflict with Britain, which did not want to grant independence to Kuwait. At that point, the monarchy found itself completely isolated. Nuri as-Said was able to contain the rising discontent only by resorting to ever greater political oppression.

The Republic

Inspired by Gamal Abdel Nasser, officers from the Nineteenth Brigade known as "Free Officers", under the leadership of Brigadier Abdul-Karim Qassem (known as "il-Za`im") and Colonel Abdul Salam Arif overthrew the Hashemite monarchy on July 14, 1958. King Faisal II and Abd al Ilah were executed in the gardens of al-Rihab Palace. Their bodies (and those of many others in the royal family) were displayed in public. Nuri as-Said evaded capture for one day, but after attempting to escape disguised as a veiled woman, he was caught and shot.

The new government proclaimed Iraq to be a republic and dissolved the union with Jordan. Iraq's activity in the Baghdad Pact ceased.

When Qassem distanced himself from Nasser, he faced growing opposition from pro-Egypt officers in the Iraqi army. Arif, who wanted closer cooperation with Egypt, was stripped of his responsibilities and after a convenient trial thrown in prison.

When the garrison in Mosul rebelled against Qassem's policies he allowed the Kurdish leader Barzani to return from exile in the Soviet Union to help suppress the pro-Nasser rebels.

In 1961, Kuwait gained independence from Britain and Iraq claimed sovereignty over Kuwait. Britain reacted strongly to Iraqs claim and send troops to Kuwait to deter Iraq. Qassem was forced to back down and in October 1963 Iraq recognised the sovereignty of Kuwait.

A period of considerable instability followed. Qassem was assassinated in February 1963, when the Ba'ath Party took power under the leadership of General Ahmed Hasan al-Bakr (prime minister) and Colonel Abdul Salam Arif (president). Nine months later Abdul Salam Mohammad Arif led a successful coup against the Ba'ath governemt. In 13 April 1966 President Abdul Salam Arif died in a helicopter crash and was succeeded by his brother, General Abdul Rahman Arif. Following the Six Day War of 1967, the Ba'ath Party felt strong enough to retake power (17 July 1968) Ahmed Hasan al-Bakr became president and chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC).

Barzani and the Kurds who had begun a rebellion in 1961 were still causing problems in 1969. The secretary-general of the Ba'ath party Saddam Hussein was given responsibility to find a solution. It was clear that it was impossible to defeat the Kurds by military means and in 1970 a political agreement was reached between the rebels and the Iraqi government.

Iraq's economy recovered sharply after the 1968 revolution. The Arif brothers had spent close to 90% of the national budget on the army but the Ba'ath government gave priority to agriculture and industry. The British Iraq Petroleum Company monopoly was broken when a new contract was signed with ERAP, a major French oil company. Later the IPC was nationalised. As a result of these policies Iraq experienced fast economic growth.

During the 1970s, border disputes with Iran and Kuwait caused many problems. Kuwait's refusal to allow Iraq to build an harbour in the Shatt al-Arab delta strengthened Iraq's belief that conservative powers in the region were trying to control the Persian Gulf. Iran's occupation of numerous islands in the Strait of Hormuz didn't help alter Iraq's fears. The border disputes between Iraq and Iran were temporarily resolved with the signing of the Algiers Accord on March 6, 1975.

Saddam Hussein talking with Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr

In 1972 an Iraqi delegation visited Moscow. The same year diplomatic relations with the US were restored. Relations with Jordan and Syria were good. Iraqi troops were stationed in both countries. During the 1973 October War, Iraqi divisions engaged Israeli forces.

In retrospect, the 1970s can be seen as a highpoint in Iraq's modern history. A new, young, technocratic elite was governing the country and the fast growing economy brought prosperity and stability. Many Arabs outside Iraq considered it an example. However, the following decades would not be so good.

Rule Under Saddam

In July 1979, Bakr resigned, and his chosen successor, Saddam Hussein, assumed the offices of both President and Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council. He was the de facto ruler of Iraq for some years before he formally came to power.

Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war, the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), eventually devastating the economy. Iraq declared victory in 1988 but actually achieved a weary return to the status quo ante bellum  The war left Iraq with the largest military establishment in the Persian Gulf region but with huge debts and an ongoing rebellion by Kurdish elements in the northern mountains. The government suppressed the rebellion by using weapons on civilian targets, including a mass chemical weapons attack on the city of Halabja that killed several thousand civilians. The Iraqi government continued to be supported by the US, which continued sending arms shipments.

Saddam's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction culminated in the '70s with "Osirak", the French built nuclear reactor in Iraq. In 1981, the reactor was destroyed by Israeli Air-Force jets. Saddam reacted by executing Iraqi generals in charge of defense. Israel claimed it acted to protect itself from threat of mass murder, but the action was internationally condemned as aggressive. However, in hind sight, following the Persian Gulf War this action might be viewed a prescient intervention, to prevent Iraq from developing a nuclear military capability - a capability which would have most likely deterred the US intervention in defence of Kuwait.

Invasion of Kuwait and the Persian Gulf War

A long-standing territorial dispute led to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Iraq accused Kuwait of violating the Iraqi border to secure oil resources, and demanded that its debt repayments should be waived. Direct negotiations began in July 1990, but they soon failed. Saddam Hussein had an emergency meeting with April Glaspie, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, on July 25, 1990, airing his concerns but stating his intention to continue talks. April Glaspie informed Saddam that the United States had no interest in Iraq/Kuwait border disputes.

Arab mediators convinced Iraq and Kuwait to negotiate their differences in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on 1 August 1990, but that session resulted only in charges and counter-charges. A second session was scheduled to take place in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, but Iraq invaded Kuwait the next day. Iraqi troops overran the country shortly after midnight on August 2, 1990. The United Nations Security Council and the Arab League immediately condemned the Iraqi invasion. Four days later, the Security Council imposed an economic embargo on Iraq that prohibited nearly all trade with Iraq.

Iraq responded to the sanctions by annexing Kuwait as the "19th Province" of Iraq on 8 August, prompting the exiled Sabah family to call for a stronger international response. Over the ensuing months, the United Nations Security Council passed a series of resolutions condemned the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and implementing total mandatory economic sanctions against Iraq. Other countries subsequently provided support for "Operation Desert Shield". In November 1990, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 678, permitting member states to use all necessary means, authorising military action against the Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait, and demanded a complete withdrawal by January 15, 1991.

When Saddam Hussein failed to comply with this demand, the Persian Gulf War (Operation "Desert Storm") ensued on the 17th of January 1991 (3 a.m. Iraq time), with allied troops of 28 countries, led by the US launching an aerial bombardment on Baghdad. The war, which proved disastrous for Iraq, lasted only six weeks, one hundred and forty thousand tons of munitions had showered down on the country, the equivalent of 7 Hiroshima bombs. Probably as many as 100,000 Iraqi soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians were killed.

Allied air raids destroyed roads, bridges, factories, and oil-industry facilities (shutting down the national refining and distribution system) and disrupted electric, telephone, and water service. Conference centres and shopping and residential areas were hit. Hundreds of Iraqis were killed in the attack on the Al-Amiriyah bomb shelter. Diseases spread through contaminated drinking water because water purification and sewage treatment facilities could not operate without electricity.

A cease-fire was announced by the US on 28 February 1991. UN Secretary-General Javier P?rez de Cu?llar met with Saddam Hussein to discuss the Security Council timetable for the withdraw of troops from Kuwait. Iraq agreed to UN terms for a permanent cease-fire in April 1991, and strict conditions were imposed, demanding the disclosure and destruction of all stockpiles of weapons.

Iraq under UN Sanction

On August 6, 1990 the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 661 which imposed stringent economic sanctions on Iraq, providing for a full trade embargo, excluding medical supplies, food and other items of humanitarian necessity, these to be determined by the Security Council sanctions committee. After End of war Iraqi sanctions were linked to removal of Weapons of mass destruction by Resolution 687 [1] .Iraq was later allowed under the UN Oil-for-Food program (Resolution 986) to export $5.2 billion (USD) of oil every 6 months with which to purchase these items to sustain the civilian population. According to UN estimates, a million children died during trade embargo, due to malnutrition or lack of medical supplies. 30% of the proceeds were redirected to a war reparations account.

The United States, in an attempt to prevent the genocide of the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq and the Kurds to the north, declared "air exclusion zones" north of the 36th parallel and south of the 32nd parallel. The Clinton administration judged an alleged attempted assassination of former President George H. W. Bush while in Kuwait to be worthy of a military response on 27 June 1993. The Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters in Baghdad was targeted by 23 Tomahawk cruise missiles, launched from US warships in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Three missiles were declared to have missed the target, causing some collateral damage to nearby residential housing and eight civilian deaths.

In May 1995 Saddam sacked his half-brother, Wathban, as Interior Minister and in July demoted his notorious and powerful Defense Minister, Ali Hassan al-Majid, known popularly as "Chemical Ali" because of his role in gassing operations in Kurdistan. These personnel changes were the result of the growth in power of Saddam Hussein's two sons, Uday Hussein and Qusay Hussein, who were given effective vice-presidential authority in May 1995. They were able to remove most of Saddam's loyal followers and it seemed clear that Saddam felt more secure protected by his immediate family members. In August Major General Hussein Kamil Hassan al-Majid, his Minister of Military Industries and a key henchman, defected to Jordan, together with his wife (one of Saddam's daughters) and his brother, Saddam, who was married to another of the president's daughters; both called for the overthrow of the Iraqi government. In response, Saddam promised full co-operation with the UN commission disarming Iraq (UNSCOM) in order to pre-empt any revelations that the defector could make.

The weakening of the internal position of the government occurred at a time when the external opposition forces were as weak as ever, too divided among themselves to take any effective action. At the same time, France and Russia pushed for an easing of sanctions. US determination to keep up the pressure on Iraq prevailed however. In any case, the apparent weakening of the government was illusory, not least when the two defectors returned home and were killed, apparently by other clan members, in a warning to other potential defectors. In fact, during 1996, the government's grip on power seemed to have significantly strengthened despite its inability to end the UN sanctions against it.

In December 1998, US President Bill Clinton authorized air strikes on government targets and military facilities. In response, Saddam expelled all UN inspectors and closed off the country. Intermittent air strikes against military facilities and alleged WMD sites continued into 2002.

2003 invasion of Iraq

Following talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in September 2002 U.S. President George W. Bush urged the United Nations to encourage Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions or "actions will be unavoidable." Bush said that Saddam has repeatedly violated 16 UN Security Council resolutions, which include a call for Iraq to "disarm its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs." Iraqi officials rejected Bush's assertions (that were based on flawed intelligency reports, as it later emerged), and a team of U.N. inspectors lead by Swedish diplomat Hans Blix was admitted into the country; their final report stated that Iraqis capability in producing "weapons of mass destruction" was not significantly different from 1992, when the country dismantled the bulk of their remaining arsenals under terms of the ceasefire agreement with U.N. forces. The United States and the United Kingdom opposed the team's requests for more time to further investigate the matter; the U.N. Security Council hence refused to issue a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.

In March 2003 the United States and the United Kingdom, with some aid from other nations, invaded Iraq.

Coalition occupation of Iraq

Iraq underwent a questionable Coalition occupation following the ousting of the Ba'ath Party in April. On 23 May 2003, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution lifting all economic sanctions against Iraq, largely due to the fact that Saddam Hussein's government, which the sanctions had targeted, no longer ruled the country.

As the country struggled to rebuild after over two decades of war, it was racked by violence between the Iraqi insurgency and occupation forces. Saddam Hussein, who vanished in April as the U.S. military took control of the capital, was captured the on 13 December 2003.

The political future is uncertain and detailed plans remain to be developed. Rampant looting and crime, coupled with infrastructural problems continue to plague the country at the moment and the initial US interim civil administrator, Jay Garner, was replaced in May 2003 by L. Paul Bremer, who was himself replaced by John Negroponte in 19 April 2004. An Interim Iraq Governing Council was established in 2003 with the goals of drafting a constitution and other infrastructure-building duties.

Terrorism emerged as a threat to Iraq's people not long after the invasion of 2003. Al Qaeda now has a presence in the country, in the form of several terrorist groups led by Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. Many foreign fighters and former Baath Party officials have also joined the insurgency, which is mainly aimed at attacking American forces and Iraqis who work with them. The most dangerous insurgent area is the Sunni Triangle, a mostly Sunni-Muslim area just north of Baghdad.

Coalition withdrawal

A few days after the 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks, the pro-war government of Spain was voted out of office. The War had been deeply unpopular and the incoming Socialist government followed through on its manifesto commitment to withdraw troops from Iraq. Following on the heels of this, several other nations that once formed the Coalition of the Willing began to reconsider their role. The Dutch refused a US offer to commit their troops to Iraq past 30 June. South Korea kept its troops deployed.

On the heels of the 2004 spring uprising, the troops of the Dominican Republic, Honduran, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Thailand, Portugal, Philippines, Bulgaria, Nicaragua and Italy have left or are planning to leave as well. Other nations (such as Australia, Denmark and Poland) continue commitment in Iraq.

On 28 June 2004, the occupation was formally ended by the U.S.-led coalition, which transferred power to an interim Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. On 16 July 2004, the Philippines ordered the withdrawal of all of its troops in Iraq in order to comply with the demands of terrorists holding Filipino citizen Angelo de la Cruz as a hostage. Many nations that have announced withdrawal plans or are considering them have stated that they may reconsider if there is a new UN resolution that grants the UN more authority in Iraq.

On January 30, 2005, the transitional parliamentary elections took place.

Life History of Saddam Hussein

April 28, 1937: Born in al-Awja village outside Tikrit, 150 kilometres north of Baghdad.

October 1959: A year after the overthrow of the monarchy takes part in an attempt to kill Prime Minister Abdel-Karim Kassem. Flees abroad.

February 1963: Returns to Baghdad when the Baath Party seizes power in a military coup, but nine months later Baathists are toppled. Caught and jailed. Elected deputy secretary-general of the party while in prison.

July 1968: Saddam helps plot the coup that puts the Baath Party back in power, deposing President Abdul-Rahman Aref.

March 1975: As vice-president of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), Saddam signs a border agreement with the Shah of Iran, who ends support for an Iraqi Kurdish revolt, causing its collapse.

July 16, 1979: Takes power after President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr steps aside as chairman of the RCC.

September 22, 1980: Following border skirmishes, Saddam launches war on Iran that lasts eight years.

Aug 2, 1990: Launches invasion of Kuwait, prompting UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iraq.

January 17, 1991: US-led forces start Gulf War with air attacks on Iraq and occupy Kuwait.

October 15, 1995 - Saddam wins a presidential referendum and is elected unopposed with more than 99 per cent of the vote.

October 15, 2002: Official results show Saddam wins 100 per cent of votes in a referendum for a new term in office.

March 20: US launches war against Iraq with strikes on Baghdad, targeting "very senior" leadership. Saddam later appears on TV urging Iraqis to defend their country.

July 22: US military confirms that Saddam's two sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in a gun battle in Mosul.




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