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Rumsfeld's replacement, Robert M. Gates, assumes office the same day. Saddam Hussein, clutching a Quran, goes to the gallows after a quarter-century of brutal, dictatorial rule. President Bush announces a "new way forward" in Iraq, vowing to commit an additional twenty thousand troops to bring stability in and around Baghdad. The Pentagon steps up its recruiting efforts in response, including the signing of newly naturalized soldiers like those, pictured here, who joined the fight during a ceremony at Camp Victory in July David H.
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Petraeus, fresh from leading a rewriting of U. The West Point graduate takes over a tenuous security situation in Iraq amid allegations that neighboring Iran is supplying deadly roadside bombs to Shiite militants. The so-called Awakening begins in Anbar Province but spreads to other parts of Iraq. The tactic is credited by Gen. Petraeus and others with helping diminish insurgent violence in the second half of As security in Iraq's central provinces improves, hopes for calm in northern Iraq are shattered when coordinated suicide truck bombings decimate villages of minority Yazidis, west of Mosul.
Hundreds are killed and wounded in the deadliest strike since the beginning of the war. With U. Ten days after meeting with President Bush in Anbar Province, Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the most prominent figure in the revolt, is killed in an explosion near his home. British forces relinquish control of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, to Iraqi forces. The training and equipping of Iraqi security forces to take over security duties is a major coalition goal.
In spite of some progress in relatively quiet provinces, more than a year after Britain's handover in Basra, the city continues to be overrun by militants and criminal gangs. As the five-year anniversary approaches, nearly four thousand U. A new law reverses elements of the "de-Baathification" policy and allows some to return to government. But progress lags on achieving other "benchmarks" created by Washington, including an oil revenue-sharing law and new provincial elections. Iraq's Shiite-dominated government welcomes Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Baghdad, marking the first time since the bloody Iran-Iraq War of the s that an Iranian president has visited.
Baghdad and the southern port city of Basra erupt in violence as loyalists to Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr attack U. In response, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launches a crackdown on Sadrists, convincing some--though not all--that he is a national leader above sectarianism. President Bush taps the U.
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David Petraeus, to lead Central Command, placing him in operational control of both the Iraq and Afghanistan efforts. Petreaus's former No. Raymond Odierno, is named the new commanding general in Iraq. In Anbar, once the country's most restive province, the U. The move is seen as a symbolic first step toward eventual U. Later the same month, Iraq's parliament passes a provincial elections law, clearing the way for voting in most of Iraq's provinces by January 31, Barack Obama, campaigning on a vow to withdraw combat troops in Iraq within sixteen months of taking office, is elected the forty-fourth president of the United States on November 4.
The Way to Baghdad: Day 18 of the War
Three weeks later, the Iraqi parliament approves a pair of agreements outlining future military and civilian relations between Washington and Baghdad, confirming U. Gates insists his previous opposition to a withdrawal timetable was made irrelevant by the security agreement approved by parliament in November calling for a U. Making good on a campaign pledge, President Obama announces plans to remove combat brigades from Iraq by August His plan will leave a transitional force of 35, to 50, soldiers and marines to train, equip, and advise Iraqi security forces until the end of Seen by many as the beginning of the end of the war, some experts express concern over the pacing, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says Washington should be prepared to maintain a "modest-sized presence" after the deadline if the Iraqis request it.
More than U. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki calls the withdrawal a "great victory," declaring a national holiday, while some Iraqis are skeptical about domestic forces' capabilities. Prior to the withdrawal, some U. December marks the first full month in which there are no U. May was the deadliest month of , with seventeen combat-related casualties and an additional eight non-combat deaths. In , U. Parliamentary elections are held on March 7 under stringent security by Iraqi forces.
Dozens of explosions rock Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, but voter turnout is over 62 percent. Voter participation is down from 75 percent in the general elections, as some voters are deterred by fear of violence and doubts about democracy. More than 6, candidates from eighty-six lists participate in the elections, which showcase a power struggle between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite coalition and former interim prime minister Ayad Allawi's cross-sectarian secular list.
Some opposition parties make allegations of fraud, but diplomats and UN officials helping to organize the elections maintain there weren't widespread violations. After more than seven years of war, 4, U. In an address to the nation, President Barack Obama underscores the war's shared sacrifices while stressing that the United States will not abandon Iraq. All U. After more than nine months of political wrangling, the Iraqi parliament approves a coalition government forged by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law party and several other factions.
The agreement keeps Maliki as prime minister and Jalal Talabani--a Kurd—as president.
But a power-sharing arrangement with former prime minister Ayad Allawi—whose Iraqiya party won a majority of seats—never takes shape. Maliki names thirty-four ministers to his cabinet, including rival Sunni politicians, which U. In accordance with prior security agreements, President Barack Obama announces that the remaining thirty-nine thousand U.