ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign
The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005
Operation IRAQI FREEDOM
Major Events, September 2001 to January 2005
16 February The United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK) launch air strikes on Iraqi air defense installations near Baghdad.
23 May Iraq threatens to halt oil exports if the United Nations (UN) adopts a US and UK proposed Security Council Resolution recommending a new program of sanctions.
30 August US warplanes launch new attacks against Iraqi air defense targets.
11 September Two planes hit the World Trade Center towers in New York City, one plane hits the Pentagon, and one is forced down in rural western Pennsylvania. Al-Qaeda hijackers are responsible for killing several thousand Americans.
7 October Operation ENDURING FREEDOM begins with air strikes against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces and installations in Afghanistan.
27 November Saddam Hussein rejects an appeal by US President George W. Bush to let UN weapons inspectors back in Iraq.
An Iraqi representative states that Iraq would only allow weapons inspectors back in if the UN removed sanctions and the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq were removed.
27 January US Central Command (CENTCOM) begins work on revising plan for campaign to topple Saddam regime.
29 January In his State of the Union speech, President Bush declares that North Korea, Iraq, and Iran constitute an “axis of evil” because of their support of terrorism.
13 February Iraq again states that it will not permit UN arms inspectors in the country. The Bush administration implies that it is considering options if inspectors are not allowed re-entry.
1 June At West Point graduation ceremony, Bush announces his doctrine of “pre-emptive action” to destroy threats before they fully materialize.
12 September President Bush travels to UN and in speech makes case for military action against Iraq.
16 September Iraq announces it will allow return of UN weapons inspectors.
16 October President Bush signs the “Authorization for the use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.”
20 October Saddam Hussein announces amnesty for all those held in Iraqi prisons.
8 November UN adopts Resolution 1441 that stated Iraq’s noncompliance with previous resolutions concerning weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation constituted a threat to peace and international security.
18 November UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq to restart inspections.
December Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) finalizes Operation COBRA II, the plan for ground forces in the invasion of Iraq.
US Army 3d Infantry Division (3d ID) begins to deploy to Kuwait.
January President Bush places the responsibility for toppling of the Saddam regime as well as stability and reconstruction of Iraq under the Department of Defense. Lieutenant General (Retired) Jay Garner is placed in charge of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA).
22 January US Army 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) receives order to begin deployment to Southwest Asia.
27 January US Army V Corps begins exercise VICTORY SCRIMMAGE in Germany. Exercise scenario closely resembles invasion of Iraq.
5 February US Secretary of State Colin Powell addresses UN providing what he called evidence that Iraq has WMD.
6 February US Army 101st Airborne Division (101st ABN) begins deployment to Kuwait.
17 March US attempts to kill Saddam Hussein right before war starts.
President Bush issues ultimatum to Saddam and his sons ordering them to leave Iraq.
UN orders all UN personnel out of Iraq.
19 March Coalition air campaign against Iraq begins with air and cruise missile strikes.
20 March US and Coalition land forces enter Iraq.
22 March Because of Turkish opposition, Coalition headquarters decides to direct the 4th ID to Kuwait.
23 March Coalition land forces begin attack against Baghdad.
26 March US Army 173d Airborne Brigade conducts airborne assault into northern Iraq at Bashur Airfield.
2 April US Army 3d ID attacks through Karbala Gap.
4 April 3d ID seizes Baghdad International Airport.
5 April 3d ID launches first “Thunder Run” into Baghdad.
8 April Second “Thunder Run” into Baghdad.
9 April US forces topple Saddam statute in Baghdad.
Coalition asserts control over city.
US Army 1st Armored Division (1st AD) begins deployment from Germany to Kuwait.
21 April Garner, chief of ORHA, arrives in Baghdad. His staff of 400 arrives 3 days later.
28 April Soldiers in the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division in the city of Fallujah shoot and kill a number of Iraqis after violence breaks out during a protest.
30 April 4th ID establishes headquarters in city of Tikrit and begins conducting full spectrum operations in Sunni Triangle.
1 May In speech, President Bush declares an end to major combat operations in Iraqi.
6 May Bush announces the appointment of L. Paul Bremer, former ambassador and counterterrorism director, as the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the new political authority that would replace ORHA and begin overseeing all Coalition operations in Iraq.
15 May In one of the first major operations since the fall of the Saddam regime, the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th ID launches Operation PLANET X, a brigade-size cordon and search operation in the vicinity of Ad Dawr and Al Dur (approximately 11 miles south of Tikrit) to seize Baath Party members and other militants. The results of the operation included the capture of Adil Abdallah Mahdi Al Duri Al-Tikriti (a Baath Party District Chairman who was Number 52 on the “most wanted” list) and 260 other individuals.
16 May CPA issues Order No. 1 ordering the de-Baathification of Iraqi society and government.
22 May UN Security Council passes Resolution 1483 which explicitly recognizes the US and Britain as “occupying powers” and calls on US and UK to promote the welfare of Iraqis and govern them so that they could determine their future.
UN lifts economic sanctions against Iraq.
23 May CPA issues Order No. 2, “The Dissolution of Entities,” which officially disbands the Iraqi Army and other Baathist security forces.
26 May 1st AD begins mission in Baghdad.
1 June CPA implements a weapons turn-in program to take arms off the streets. Program runs through 14 June 2003.
9–12 June 3d Brigade, 4th ID, along with elements of the 173d Airborne Brigade and the 3-7th CAV, 3d ID, launch Operation PENINSULA STRIKE.
11 June Elements of the 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and the 101st ABN attack a terrorist camp near Rawah (approximately 30 miles east of the Syrian border).
13 June CPA begins program to establish New Iraqi Army (NIA).
14 June Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez takes command of V Corps.
15 June Combined Joint Task Force–7 (CJTF-7) built around the V Corps headquarters
replaces CFLCC as Coalition military headquarters in Iraq.
15–29 June US combat units in Baghdad, Mosul, Al Anbar province, and the Sunni Triangle mount Operation DESERT SCORPION, a combination of raids on suspected Baathist leaders’ locations and reconstruction operations.
29 June–7 July On the heels of the previous operation, 4th ID launched Operation SIDEWINDER to curtail Baathist attacks against Coalition and local traffic
in Sunni Triangle.
7 July General John Abazaid succeeds General Tommy Franks as the CENTCOM commander.
12–17 July CJTF-7 conducts Operation SODA MOUNTAIN, an Iraq-wide operation that included over 140 raids focused on disrupting enemy operations and detaining insurgents.
13 July CPA forms the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC).
16 July General Abizaid calls attacks on Coalition troops a “guerrilla-type campaign”
and says US troops may be deployed for up to 1 year.
18 July Muqtada al-Sadr announces plan to form a militia separate from the Iraqi Army to challenge the US and the IGC.
22 July Coalition forces kill Saddam’s sons Uday and Qusay in Mosul.
7 August A car bomb explodes outside the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad, killing 11 Iraqis and wounding dozens.
19 August A truck bomb explodes outside the UN headquarters building in Baghdad, killing Sergio Vieira de Mello, head of the UN mission to Iraq.
21 August Coalition forces capture General Ali Hassan al-Majid (“Chemical Ali”).
29 August An explosion at an An Najaf mosque kills Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim along with 94 other Iraqis. The Ayatollah was the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
30 August Operation MCCLELLAN. 101st ABN attacks terrorists in the vicinity of western Al Anbar province.
2 September IGC names 25 ministers responsible for day-to-day affairs.
20 September Terrorists shoot Dr. Aqila al-Hashimi, the only female member of the IGC. She dies 5 days later.
4 October First battalion of the New Iraqi Army (NIA) completes Coalition training program.
5 October National Security Director Dr. Condoleezza Rice establishes the Iraqi Stabilization Group to coordinate reconstruction and transition activities.
10 October Militia forces in Sadr City ambush elements of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) effectively ending the fragile truce between al-Sadr’s forces and the Coalition.
25 October Corporal Charles Graner takes pictures of US Soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees in the Abu Ghraib Prison.
23–24 October International donors attend a conference in Madrid to address Iraq’s future reconstruction.
80 countries pledge $13 billion in addition to the $20 billion pledged by the United States.
30 October UN withdraws all of its non-Iraqi personnel from Baghdad.
2 November Insurgents shoot down a Chinook transport helicopter near Fallujah resulting in the deaths of 16 US Soldiers.
7 November Turkey says it will not send troops to Iraq.
12 November Operation IRON HAMMER. 1st AD conducts offensive operations to disrupt enemy operations in Baghdad.
15 November CPA and IGC sign an agreement to draft an interim constitution by 28 February 2004 and transfer sovereignty to Iraq by 1 July 2004.
13 December Coalition forces capture former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein near Tikrit.
17 December Operation IVY BLIZZARD. 4th ID and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) conduct offensive operations near Samarra to isolate and eliminate former regime elements and other anti-Coalition forces.
14 January Approximately 30,000 followers of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani march through the city of Basrah to support Sistani’s demands for direct elections.
19 January Lieutenant General Sanchez requests that commander CENTCOM appoint officer to investigate military police operations at Abu Ghraib Prison.
Tens of thousands of Shias protest in Baghdad demanding direct elections to choose a new government.
28 January David Kay, former head of the Iraq Survey Group, testifies before Senate Armed Services Committee that no WMD have been found in Iraq.
1 February US Army III Corps Soldiers replace much of V Corps personnel as staff of CJTF-7.
2 March Five bombs kill 270 people and wound over 500 others in the cities of An Najaf and Karbala during Shia religious ceremonies marking Ashura.
8 March IGC adopts the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL).
31 March Insurgents in Fallujah ambush and kill four US contractors working for Blackwater Security Consulting. Their bodies are later mutilated.
3 April Coalition forces arrest Mustafa al-Yacoubi, a key deputy of Muqtada al-Sadr, in An Najaf.
4 April Mahdi Army militiamen in Sadr City ambush Soldiers from the 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, a unit that was part of the 1st Cavalry Division (1st CAV). In the attack and the actions that followed, 7 Soldiers from the 1st CAV and 1 Soldier from the 1st AD were killed and over 60 others were wounded. Militiamen take over key sections of An Najaf, Al Kut, and Karbala, prompting Coalition forces to begin planning operations to quell the Sadrist uprisings.
4 April Operation VIGILANT RESOLVE. Coalition forces begin offensive operations focused on the city of Fallujah to detain or destroy insurgent elements responsible for the killing of four American security contractors on 31 March 2004.
5 April An Iraqi judge issued an arrest warrant for Muqtada al-Sadr for the 2003 killing of rival cleric Sayed al Khoei.
6 April Lieutenant General Sanchez cancels the redeployment of 1st AD and extends the division for 120 days. Elements previously redeployed to Germany are recalled. Planning for 1st AD’s “Extension Campaign” begins.
7 April Sadrist forces launch attacks against Coalition forces in cities of Kufa, Karbala, An Najaf, and Al Kut.
8 April Operation RESOLUTE SWORD. CJTF-7 begins operation involving 1st AD and other units to impose order in the Multi-National Division–Center-South (MND-CS) area and destroy Sadrist forces.
9 April CPA announces cease-fire in Fallujah after two members of the IGC resign in protest of US military actions.
11–17 April 3d Brigade, 1st ID launches Operation DANGER FORTITUDE, offensive operations to defeat Mahdi militia forces in An Najaf and capture or kill Muqtada al-Sadr. The augmented brigade was designated Task Force Duke.
22 April Ambassador Bremer announces the reinstatement of thousands of teachers who had been removed from their jobs in the May 2003 CPA order that directed the de-Baathification of Iraqi society.
22 April Coalition forces transfer command of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.
30 April US military makes public photos of some of the abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib Prison.
1 May US troops withdraw to the outskirts of Fallujah and are replaced by 200 Iraqi soldiers from the so-called Fallujah Brigade.
11 May A video depicting the murder of kidnapped US contractor Nicholas Berg surfaces on a militant Web site.
15 May Coalition replaces CJTF-7 with Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF-I).
Lieutenant General Sanchez, commander of CJTF-7, becomes commander of MNF-I.
17 May A suicide bomber assassinates Izzedin Salim, the president of the IGC.
27 May US forces and Mahdi Army forces reach a truce after 7 weeks of fighting in An Najaf.
8 June UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1546 that mandates the political road map for the new sovereign state of Iraq.
20 June Iraqi Government changes name of Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) to Iraqi National Guard.
28 June CPA transfers political sovereignty to Iraqi Interim Government (IIG).
1 July US Army General George W. Casey Jr. takes command of MNF-I.
1 July Coalition transfers Saddam Hussein to Iraqi custody.
Iraqi Government formally charges Saddam.
5 August Coalition units begin operations against Mahdi Army forces in An Najaf.
27 August Agreement between Iraqi Government and Muqtada al-Sadr brings end to standoff in An Najaf.
1 October Operation BATON ROUGE. 1st ID conducted operations near Samarra to wrest control of the area from the insurgents, reestablish the ISF in the city, and set the conditions so that the insurgency could not return. Included “kinetic” operations but also heavily emphasized “nonkinetic” operations in an effort to establish long-term results.
4 October Coalition forces take control of Samarra.
8 November Operation AL FAJR (originally called PHANTOM FURY). Coalition forces attack anti-Coalition forces near Fallujah to destroy insurgent combat power and reestablish an enduring Iraqi governmental presence in the city.
16 November Main fighting in Fallujah is over. Coalition forces continue smaller actions to secure city.
18 November US military reports 51 US Soldiers and 1,200 insurgents killed in Fallujah fighting.
26 November Sunni Arab and Kurdish political factions request a delay in elections scheduled on 30 January 2005.
President Bush and Prime Minister Ayad Allawi reject the request.
5 December Insurgents halt a bus of unarmed Iraqis working for Coalition forces and kill 17.
Insurgent attacks killed 80 Iraqis from 2–5 December.
21 December A suicide bomber enters a US military dining facility in the city of Mosul and kills 22 people, including 18 US military.
31 December The Iraqi Government announces the capture of Fadil Hussain Ahmed al-Kurdi, a suspected member of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s terrorist organization.
2 January A suicide bomber kills 18 Iraqi National Guardsmen and a civilian in Balad.
12 January US officials confirm that the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) has ended the search for WMD in Iraq.
14 January Approximately 30,000 followers of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani march through city of Basrah to support Sistani’s demands for direct elections.
18 January Iraqi officials announced that the government will close its borders from 29–31 January 2005 in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks on Election Day.
26 January 31 US Marines are killed when their CH-53 helicopter crashes near Ar Rutbah in Al Anbar province.
30 January Iraq holds its first free national elections in 50 years. Voter turnout is higher than projected, but most Sunnis boycott.
Nine suicide bombers and insurgents firing mortars kill 26 Iraqis and wound over 100 in election-related violence.
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