The Iraq War Timeline: What Every American Should Know

When we look at the past, many younger generations have no clue about some of the more important occurrences in history, or they have been given false information. Much of what I know about the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I & II, along with the Korean and Vietnam Wars, I have learned because of the books and papers written about these subjects. A person can know the truth by examining several different pieces to see what coincides, and what doesn’t.

I am writing today’s post for future memories. Even now, just several years later, there are many people who have forgotten many of the things that happened during the Iraq War. So, this post is going to cover the Iraq War timeline and what every American should know.

It is important that we learn from history…both failures and successes. By doing so, we can change the mistakes, and build on the successes.

We will move year by year and look at the major happening during the Iraq War.


  • In March, the invasion of Iraq began after President Bush had ordered Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq. When they stayed, a systematic coordination of cruise missiles were launched on targets within Baghdad.

  • Troops from the United States, Britain, Danish, Australia and Poland began to move into Iraq. They quickly pushed towards the capital of Baghdad.

  • In April, coalition forces took over Baghdad. Iraqi citizens and soldiers began to topple statues of Saddam, and many Iraqis began to loot palaces and other government structures.

  • May brought a smiling President Bush out to claim, “Major combat operations in Iraq are over.”

  • Paul Bremer arrived in Iraq as Presidential Envoy to Iraq. Bremer issued Coalition Provisional Authority Order #2 which dissolved the Iraqi Army and other Saddam made controls.

  • In June, it is realized that insurgents are heavy all throughout the country. The U.S. begins Operation Desert Scorpion where soldiers perform raids to find insurgents and their weapons.

  • Paul Bremer is given full control of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

  • In July, the Coalition Provisional Authority establishes the Iraqi Governing Council. This council was made up of various ethnic and religious beliefs, and included 3 women.

  • Saddam Hussein’s 2 sons are killed.

  • August was a month of bombs. The Jordanian embassy was car bombed; a cement truck laden with explosives bombed the U.N. Headquarters and a well known Shiite cleric was killed along with over 80 others, by a car bomb outside a mosque after Friday prayers. Because of these bombings, many humanitarian organizations left Iraq.

  • In late October, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began. Insurgents also began a well planned offensive against the coalition. On October 26th, insurgents fired rockets at the al Rashid Hotel where U.S. and Coalition officials stayed. 1 soldier and 15 civilians were killed.

  • On October 27th, insurgents carried out a series of bombings in Baghdad. The Red Cross and 4 Iraqi police stations were the targets. These bombings killed over 30 people and injured scores more.

  • November was a deadly month for U.S. and Coalition forces. On November 2nd, 2 United States Chinook helicopters are fired on. One crashed killing 16 soldiers and wounding many more. On the 12th, a truck bomb blew up the Italian Headquarters in Nasiriyah and killed 17 Italian soldiers and approximately 15 Iraqis.

  • On Thanksgiving, President Bush secretly landed on Air Force 1 in Baghdad to boost soldier morale.

  • In December after gaining major intelligence, Operation Red Dawn was launched. Saddam Hussein was found hiding in a hole in Tikrit. He was captured and taken into custody.


  • In February, U.S. forces discovered a computer disc that contained a letter from a Jordanian extremist by the name of Zarqawi. It was written to leaders of Al Qaeda in a request to create civil war in Iraq.

  • Suicide bombers hit the Kurdish political offices in Arbil and killed over 100 people.

  • In March on the 2nd day of the month, Shiite Muslims were celebrating their holiest day: Ashura. Multiple bombs exploded via cars and suicide making it one of the deadliest days since the War began. The death toll was near 200. Shiites blamed the Americans for allowing it to happen.

  • On the last day of March, 4 Blackwater employees were ambushed in Fallujah. Their deaths were the primary reason for the 1st Battle of Fallujah.

  • In April, many foreign residents of Iraq begin to be kidnapped. Spain vows to withdraw their troops.

  • It comes to light that prisoners are being abused and tortured at Abu Gharib military prison.

  • In mid May, Ezzedine Salim who is the President of the Iraqi Governing Council is killed by a suicide car bomb.

  • June is a month where Iraqi freedom was the primary directive. On June 1st, Ghazi al Yawer is named head of the Iraqi State. The U.N. passed a resolution which would allow the Coalition Provisional Authority to transfer authority to an Iraqi Interim Government, and on June 28th, sovereignty was transferred. Paul Bremer immediately left Iraq. Saddam Hussein and other high ranking officials are put under the justice of the Iraqi Interim Government.

  • In July, the trial of Saddam Hussein begins.

  • Fighting in Najaf has been furious between United States forces and the Mahdi Army. The Ayatollah Ali al Sistani works as a mediator and brokers a peace deal. The radical cleric, Muqtada al Sadr is allowed to participate in political activities.

  • In late September, soldiers were handing out candy to children. A suicide car bomber drove into the Humvee and killed upwards of 30 children.

  • In October, insurgents had control of Samarra. United States and Iraqi forces battled for 3 days to take control of the city.

  • November was the month of 2 major battles. The 2nd Battle of Fallujah begins with forces going house to house for insurgents and weapon caches. As insurgents escape Fallujah, they battle in the city of Mosul too.


  • On January 26th, a helicopter crashed killing 31 soldiers.

  • Democratic elections were held in Iraq on the last day of the month.

  • Towards the end of February, a Jordanian suicide bomber drives a car loaded with explosives into a crowd of Iraqi Army and Police recruits in Hilla. The result was over 120 dead and over 150 injured.

  • On April 2nd, insurgents attacked at the Abu Gharib prison. It was a long and hard battle, but the U.S. forces kept charge of the prison.

  • Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, is elected President of Iraq.

  • In early to mid May, U.S. forces ran Operation Matador, otherwise the Battle of Al Qaim. It was meant to eliminate insurgents and weapons in an area known to have a large insurgent population.

  • In August, a group of Marines were ambushed and killed near Haditha. The military retaliated, but it was a hard battle. The Battle of Haditha had over 20 Americans killed, and around 40 insurgents killed.

  • In September, bombs explode all over Baghdad. 160 or more were killed, and approximately 500 injured.

  • In October, Saddam’s trial began.

  • 2 hotels in Baghdad are hit with truck bombs.

  • Over 170 prisoners are discovered in a government bunker in Baghdad. They had been starved and tortured.


  • In February, Civil War in Iraq seems to be taking root when the al Askari Mosque in Samarra is bombed. This was a very holy location for Shiite Muslims, and no one knows who actually did it, but violence grew as Shiites attacked Sunnis.

  • In March, 24 Iraqi civilians were found murdered. Several Marines were relieved of their positions and charged with multiple crimes.

  • In May, the new Iraqi Government begins operations.

  • In June, one of al Qaeda’s top leaders, al Zarqawi is killed.

  • Also in June, the Battle of Ramadi began. This was a difficult battle trying to get insurgents out of Ramadi. Many claim the insurgents had the upper hand.

  • In November, because of the bad reviews of the Republican led War in Iraq, Congress became a Democrat majority, and Donald Rumsfeld resigned.

  • On December 30th, Saddam Hussein is executed in Baghdad.


  • Because of the levels of violence in Iraq, President Bush decides to send more troops to Iraq.

  • In February, there was strong information that Iran was sending in extremists. The U.S. raided the Iranian Liaison Office, and Iran was blamed for the kidnapping and death of 5 Americans.

  • All of 2007 was racked with bombings and violence. The U.S. took a gamble and armed Sunni Arabs to fight against al Qaeda. Many believe this is where many of the ISIS group gained weapons.

  • In August, al Sadr suspends his Madhi Army from attacking Americans.

  • The chaos was huge in 2007, and that showed when Blackwater employees opened fire on Iraqi citizens. They killed 15+.

  • It is during 2007 that many wondered if there would ever be an end to this madness. Soldiers who had served their year of deployment were ordered to serve another 3 months.


The violence continues. Car bombings and roadside bombs. Republicans versus Democrats on the mainland. The death tolls rise and many people are questioning why the United States went to Iraq in the first place.

Towards the end of 2008, an agreement is made that U.S. forces will leave Iraq by the end of 2011. Many Americans feel that is too long.

I could go on about more violence, but it was overwhelming. It would take a book to list all the killings that took place.


Elections take place in Iraq, but al Qaeda is on a mission to put a “wrench” in the Iraqi political agenda. Throughout the year, bombings take place, and attacks are made on Iraqi citizens and police.

In May, all of the U.K.’s troops are withdrawn from Iraq. In December, the American troops had their lowest death rate since the War began.


It must all end! Iraq had parliamentary elections in March. In April, 2 extremist leaders from the Islamic State of Iraq are killed in a joint U.S. and Iraq operation. In August, all United States combat operations ended, and the combat troops are sent to Kuwait. Some troops are left to train Iraq personnel in security.

December 15th, 2011

This was the day that a formal end to operations were declared in Iraq. Even though there was still violence in the country, it was time to leave.

It is estimated that over 5,000 U.S. service people died in or from the War in Iraq. It is also estimated that over 500,000 Iraqis died as a result of the war.

Final Thoughts

Was it a War that needed to be? You will have to answer that question within yourself. I have my opinion, but it really does not matter at this point.

Hopefully, politicians and military leaders will learn from the mistakes that were made in Iraq. I will leave it at that.

Please provide your opinions in the comments area below. Thank you and have a great day.

Also, a big thank you to all Iraq War Veterans.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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