The Iraq
war is often seen as one of the most controversial foreign policy decisions of
the last century. The reason behind the US intervention in Iraq is said to be
based on the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. President
George W. Bush and his administration declared a “war on terror” which was heavily
supported by the people, both in the US and in other parts of the world. The “war
on terror” meant strikes at terrorist groups and states that supported these
groups. The goal was to destroy international terrorism and terrorist networks.
However, the US and It´s coalition forces lost trust progressively throughout
the conflict they participated in, more known as the Iraq war.  Thousands of soldiers from both coalition and
Iraqi forces perished during the conflict and this war is still heavily
questioned to this day.


Before we
can talk about the Iraq war we need to know the history of both USA and Iraq.
Iraq had been a very unstable nation for decades. In 1979, Saddam Hussein
became president of Iraq. Hussein was often seen as a brutal dictator, not just
to his own people, but others as well. In 1980, Hussein started the Iran-Iraq
war by attacking Iran. The reasons were many such as political, religious and
ethic. The Iran Iraq war is often compared to the first world war because of
the trench warfare, the barbed wire and most debated, Iraq´s use of poisonous
gas on the Iranian soldiers. This (except the war itself) was heavily criticized
by the UN. Gas was also used on civilians which shocked many people and Hussein
was much more seen as a brutal dictator.

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In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The Iraqi economy was bad and Kuwait had a lot
of the world’s oil resources. Saddam Hussein also didn´t like that Kuwait
demanded to get back the economic support they had given Iraq during the
Iran-Iraq war. After one year, US, British, French and other coalition forces
drove Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. After the short conflict that ended in 1991,
Saddam Hussein was still in power but the UN had inflicted economic sanctions
on Iraq. Iraq avoided these economic sanctions for years. The sanctions were
mainly to stop Hussein from secretly developing Weapons of Mass Destructions
(WMD). The suspicion that Hussein would secretly develop WMD`s grew more and
more during the beginning of the 21st century and especially from
the US and the Bush administration.


The Bush
administration with its “war on terror” policy, had as I described earlier the
goal of defeating international terrorism. The goal was mostly said to be that
they wanted to find and kill the one responsible for the 9/11 attacks, Usama
Bin Laden. But George W. Bush also wanted to prevent this from happening again.
Therefore, he started to focus on Afganistan, but also Saddam Hussein´s Iraq.
In late 2002, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and intelligences from
other countries had evidence (which later was proved to be inaccurate) that
Saddam Hussein, despite the UN sanctions still developed WMD`s and/or other
chemical weapons. The United States Congress voted on a joint resolution which
gave authority to use force against Iraq. The United Nations Security Council
made a resolution announcing that Iraq had broken the previous resolutions and
that Hussein would be given one last chance to agree to the UN resolutions to
prevent war. President Bush announced that Saddam Hussein had 48 hours to leave
Iraq and he threatned to start a military engagement if he wouldn´t comply.
Saddam Hussein refused and on march 20, 2003, the US and coalition forces
consisting of 40 other nations did the first move into Iraq.


It began
with intense precision air strikes and ground forces going into the country.
The US and coalition forces were surprised by the small amount of resistance
compared to what they expected. After several weeks of fighting, the US and
coalition forces reached the capital Bagdad. They captured Saddam Hussein in
December 2003 and he was sentenced to death in an Iraqi court for crimes
against humanity. He was later executed by hanging December 30, 2006.


There were
to major Islamic groups in Iraq. One majority of Shia and a minority of Sunni.
Saddam Hussein himself was born and raised as a Sunni. A large part of Iraq´s
Sunni Muslims were members of his Baath party and they had been benefited by
his regime. After the war, Sunni Muslims felt that they were put to the side and
not being able to be heard. The dissatisfaction increased. The city of Falluja, in the so-called “Sunni triangle” west of Baghdad,
became a centre of opposition. Over the country, the disappointment also grew
that the promised reconstruction was not noticeable. At the same time, a rebellion
sparked among the Shia Muslims in Baghdad and several cities in the south.


In January 2005, elections were held to appoint a temporary
parliament whose main task would be to write a new constitution for Iraq. More
than half of the voters participated, but almost no Sunni Muslims. In December
of the same year a new election was held. The first permanent government was
able to enter May 20, 2006. The same year, violence escalated to such an extent
that made way for a full scale civil war. More American soldiers were sent to Iraq
and in 2009 there were 142000 soldiers in the country.