ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign
The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005
Setting the Stage
Overview of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM: May 2003 to January 2005
In April 2003 the US Army in Iraq transitioned to the new campaign without much fanfare or recognition. For at least some Soldiers, the combat operations that characterized the march from Kuwait to Baghdad remained the norm. In the latter part of April, isolated pockets of organized resistance still existed in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. By early May most of the conventional combat had ended, a fact President George W. Bush recognized when he declared an end to major combat operations on 1 May 2003. American Soldiers and their commanders immediately began to assess the situation in which they suddenly found themselves. Over the course of the next 18 months, the US Army gradually gained clarity on this situation and developed cogent responses to political decisions made by Iraqi and Coalition policy makers, and to an emerging insurgent network that threatened the American enterprise in Iraq.
This brief overview of that 18-month period seeks to highlight the major political, military, and socio-economic decisions and events that shaped the Army’s transition to the new campaign. All of the key leaders, occurrences, and actions emphasized here will be addressed in detail in the topical chapters that follow. Nevertheless, it is critical early in this study to offer a chronological framework for the campaign between May 2003 and January 2005, even if that framework strains at times to place order on what was often chaos.
A Decisive Month—May 2003
Military Transitions in Spring 2003
An Uncertain Summer: June–September 2003
Peaks and Valleys: October 2003–March 2004
The Caldron Boils Over: April–June 2004
Transitions of Command and Sovereignty: June–July 2004
The Sunni Arab Challenge: August–November 2004
Toward the New Iraq: December 2004–January 2005
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