A history of relations between the United States and Iraq since 2003

BAGHDAD: These are key dates in relations between the United States and Iraq after Washington carried out a deadly attack against the main Iranian commander on Iraqi soil.

On March 20, 2003, an invasion of Saddam Hussein Iraq launches after claims that its regime harbors weapons of mass destruction. US forces take control of Baghdad the following month.

The president of the United States, George W. Bush, announces the end of the main combat operations on May 1, but says that the war on terrorism continues.

On October 2, a US report says that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.

Saddam is captured on December 13 near Tikrit, north of Baghdad. He was hanged three years later.

The issuance in April 2004 of images of torture and other abuses against Iraqi prisoners in the US military prison in Abu Ghraib shocks the world.

The power is transferred to an interim government in June.

In November 2004, more than 10,000 US soldiers and 2,000 Iraqis attacked the Sunni city of Fallujah, which had become a symbol of resistance to foreign presence after the lynching of four Americans in March.

In February 2006, jihadists linked to al Qaeda exploited a Shiite sanctuary in Samarra, resulting in a wave of sectarian killings that left tens of thousands dead and lasts until 2008.

In January 2007, Bush increases the number of troops to 165,000, saying the increase is necessary to help the Iraqi government.

On December 18, 2011, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, who had deeply opposed the war in Iraq, withdraws the last American soldiers, leaving the country in a serious political crisis.

Between 2003 and 2011, more than 100,000 civilians were killed, according to the Iraq Body Count database. The United States lost almost 4,500 soldiers.

In January 2014, jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), later known as the Islamic State (IS) group, capture Fallujah and parts of the city of Ramadi.

In June they seize Mosul and by the end of 2014 they own a third of Iraq.

The United States intervenes directly in Iraq, bombing jihadist positions that threaten Iraqi Kurdistan and thousands of members of the Christian and Yazidi minorities.

With the help of the US-led coalition, Iraqi forces expel IS from all urban centers.

In December 2017, Iraq declares the end of the war against the Islamic State.

Iran, which supports the Iraqi paramilitary group Hashed al-Shaabi that played a key role in the fight against the Islamic State, becomes an influential ally and an important trading partner of Baghdad.

Mass demonstrations erupt in Iraq on October 1, 2019 against unemployment, corruption and poor public services, but also against interference from foreign powers, especially Iran.

Since October, at least 12 attacks point to Iraqi military bases where US soldiers or diplomats are deployed.

Some 5,200 US soldiers are currently deployed in Iraq as part of the anti-jihadist coalition.

At the end of December, a rocket attack kills an American contractor.

In response, US airstrikes attack bases belonging to the Hezbollah Brigades, one of Hashed's most radical factions, near the Iraqi-Syrian border, killing at least 25 Iraqi fighters.

The provisional government of Iraq warns that the attacks could affect ties with Washington

An outraged pro-Iran mafia besieges the US embassy in Baghdad on New Year's Day, in an unprecedented attack on the US mission.

Iraqi elite troops secure the embassy the next day.

On January 3, in the most significant escalation so far, U.S. President Donald Trump orders attacks at Baghdad International Airport, killing Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and Hashed deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis .

The Pentagon says that Soleimani had actively developed plans to attack US diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, promises severe revenge.

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