Iraq Vacation Trips
Iraq History - 2000s-Post-invasion
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Following the invasion, the United States established the Coalition Provisional Authority to govern Iraq. Government authority was transferred to an Iraqi Interim Government in June 2004, and a permanent government was elected in October 2005. More than 140,000 troops, mainly Americans, remain in Iraq.
Some studies have placed the number of civilians deaths as high as 655,000, although most studies estimate a lower number; the Iraq Body Count project indicates a significantly lower number of civilian deaths than that of The Lancet Study, though IBC organizers acknowledge that their statistics are an undercount as they base their information off of media-confirmed deaths. The website of the Iraq body count states, "Our maximum therefore refers to reported deaths - which can only be a sample of true deaths unless one assumes that every civilian death has been reported. It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media."
After the invasion, al-Qaeda took advantage of the insurgency to entrench itself in the country concurrently with an Arab-Sunni led insurgency and sectarian violence.
On December 30, 2006, Saddam Hussein was hanged. Hussein's half-brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Hassan and former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court Awad Hamed al-Bandar were likewise executed on January 15, 2007; as was Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam's former deputy and former vice-president, on March 20, 2007. Ramadan was the fourth and last man in the al-Dujail trial to die by hanging for crimes against humanity.
At the Anfal genocide trial, Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, former defense minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Tay, and former deputy Hussein Rashid Mohammed were sentenced to hang for their role in the Al-Anfal Campaign against the Kurds on June 24, 2007. Al-Majid was again sentenced to death for the 1991 suppression of a Shi'a uprising along with Abdul-Ghani Abdul Ghafur on December 2, 2008.
Acts of sectarian violence have led to claims of ethnic cleansing in Iraq, and there have been many attacks on Iraqi minorities such as the Yezidis, Mandeans, Assyrians and others. A U.S. "troop surge" became a contentious political issue in US politics and the 2008 US presidential election.
Although violence declined from the summer of 2007, the U.N. reported of a cholera outbreak in Iraq.
The mandate of the multinational force in Iraq, last extended by UN resolution 1790, ended on December 31, 2008.
In June 2009, U.S. troops formally withdrew from Baghdad streets, in accordance with former U.S. President George W. Bush's security pact with Iraq known as a Status of Forces Agreement. The SOFA pact stated, among other things, that U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraq's cities by June 30, 2009, and will leave the country on Dec. 31, 2011. Throughout the country, as the citizens of Iraq celebrated with fireworks, television programs declared June 30 as National Sovereignty Day. In the months following the American forces leaving Baghdad and other cities, however, violence spiked in Iraq. As Iraqi security forces struggled to suppress the sudden influx of crime, the number of kidnappings, robberies, bomb assaults, and shootings increased dramatically. According to the Associated Press, Iraqi military spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi said investigations found that 60 to 70 percent of the criminal activity is carried out by former insurgent groups or by gangs affiliated with them — partly explaining the brutality of some of the crimes. The withdrawal of U.S. forces currently remains in doubt amid the rising violence, and the deaths of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers and citizens have added to the growing concern that the promised drawdown may be delayed in the face of escalating crime and violence. Although United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the withdrawal caused a change of chemistry with “a real sense of empowerment on the part of the Iraqis,” U.S. troops continue to be embedded with Iraqi forces.
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