Legality of US Invasion

The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 was passed by congress with Democrats voting 58% in favor in the Senate, and 39% in favor in the House. Republicans supported the joint resolution 98% and 97% in the Senate and House respectively. The resolution asserts the authorization by the Constitution of the United States and the Congress for the President to fight anti-United States terrorism. Citing the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, the resolution reiterated that it should be the policy of the United States to remove the Saddam Hussein regime and promote a democratic replacement.

The resolution "supported" and "encouraged" diplomatic efforts by President George W. Bush to "strictly enforce through the U.N. Security Council all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq" and "obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion, and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq." The resolution authorized President Bush to use the Armed Forces of the United States "as he determines to be necessary and appropriate" to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq."

The legality of the invasion of Iraq has been challenged since its inception on a number of fronts, and several prominent supporters of the invasion in all the invading nations have publicly and privately cast doubt on its legality. It is claimed that the invasion was fully legal because authorization was implied by the United Nations Security Council. International legal experts, including the International Commission of Jurists, a group of 31 leading Canadian law professors, and the U.S.-based Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, have denounced both of these rationales.

On Thursday November 20, 2003, an article published in the Guardian alleged that Richard Perle, a senior member of the administration's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, conceded that the invasion was illegal but still justified.

The United Nations Security Council has passed nearly 60 resolutions on Iraq and Kuwait since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The most relevant to this issue is Resolution 678, passed on November 29, 1990. It authorizes "member states co-operating with the Government of Kuwait... to use all necessary means" to (1) implement Security Council Resolution 660 and other resolutions calling for the end of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait and withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwaiti territory and (2) "restore international peace and security in the area." Resolution 678 has not been rescinded or nullified by succeeding resolutions and Iraq was not alleged after 1991 to invade Kuwait or to threaten do so.

Resolution 1441 was most prominent during the run up to the war and formed the main backdrop for Secretary of State Colin Powell's address to the Security Council one month before the invasion. According to an independent commission of inquiry set up by the government of the Netherlands, UN resolution 1441 "cannot reasonably be interpreted (as the Dutch government did) as authorising individual member states to use military force to compel Iraq to comply with the Security Council's resolutions." Accordingly, the Dutch commission concluded that the 2003 invasion violated international law.

At the same time, Bush Administration officials advanced a parallel legal argument using the earlier resolutions, which authorized force in response to Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Under this reasoning, by failing to disarm and submit to weapons inspections, Iraq was in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 660 and 678, and the U.S. could legally compel Iraq's compliance through military means.

Critics and proponents of the legal rationale based on the U.N. resolutions argue that the legal right to determine how to enforce its resolutions lies with the Security Council alone, not with individual nations.

In February 2006, Luis Moreno Ocampo, the lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, reported that he had received 240 separate communications regarding the legality of the war, many of which concerned British participation in the invasion. In a letter addressed to the complainants, Mr. Moreno Ocampo explained that he could only consider issues related to conduct during the war and not to its underlying legality as a possible crime of aggression because no provision had yet been adopted which "defines the crime and sets out the conditions under which the Court may exercise jurisdiction with respect to it." In a March 2007 interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Moreno Ocampo encouraged Iraq to sign up with the court so that it could bring cases related to alleged war crimes.

United States Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich held a press conference on the evening of April 24, 2007, revealing US House Resolution 333 and the three articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney. He charges Cheney with manipulating the evidence of Iraq's weapons program, deceiving the nation about Iraq's connection to al-Qaeda, and threatening aggression against Iran in violation of the United Nations Charter.

Casus Belli and Rationale for the Iraq War

George Bush, speaking in October 2002, said that “The stated policy of the United States is regime change… However, if Hussein were to meet all the conditions of the United Nations, the conditions that I have described very clearly in terms that everybody can understand, that in itself will signal the regime has changed”. Based on claims from certain intelligence sources, Bush stated on March 6, 2003 that he believed that Hussein was not complying with UN Resolution 1441.

In September 2002, Tony Blair stated, in an answer to a parliamentary question, that “Regime change in Iraq would be a wonderful thing. That is not the purpose of our action; our purpose is to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction” In November of that year, Blair further stated that, “So far as our objective, it is disarmament, not rĂ©gime change - that is our objective. Now I happen to believe the regime of Saddam is a very brutal and repressive regime, I think it does enormous damage to the Iraqi people... so I have got no doubt Saddam is very bad for Iraq, but on the other hand I have got no doubt either that the purpose of our challenge from the United Nations is disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, it is not regime change.”

At a press conference on January 31, 2003, Bush again reiterated that the single trigger for the invasion would be Iraq’s failure to disarm, “Saddam Hussein must understand that if he does not disarm, for the sake of peace, we, along with others, will go disarm Saddam Hussein.” As late as February 25, 2003, it was still the official line that the only cause of invasion would be a failure to disarm. As Blair made clear in a statement to the House of Commons, “I detest his regime. But even now he can save it by complying with the UN's demand. Even now, we are prepared to go the extra step to achieve disarmament peacefully.”

Additional justifications used at various times included Iraqi violation of UN resolutions, the Iraqi government's repression of its citizens, and Iraqi violations of the 1991 cease-fire.

The main allegations were that Hussein possessed or was attempting to produce weapons of mass destruction which Saddam Hussein, had used such as in Halabja, possessed, and made efforts to acquire. Particularly considering two previous attacks on Baghdad nuclear weapons production facilities by both Iran and Israel which was alleged to have postponed weapons development progress. And that he had ties to terrorists, specifically al-Qaeda.

While it never made an explicit connection between Iraq and the September 11 attacks, the George W. Bush administration repeatedly insinuated a link, thereby creating a false impression for the US public. Grand jury testimony from the 1993 World Trade Center attack trials cited numerous direct linkages from the bombers to Baghdad and Department 13 of the Iraqi Intelligence Service in that initial attack marking the second anniversary to vindicate the surrender of Iraqi armed forces in Operation Desert Storm. For example, The Washington Post has noted that,

While not explicitly declaring Iraqi culpability in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, administration officials did, at various times, imply a link. In late 2001, Cheney said it was "pretty well confirmed" that attack mastermind Mohamed Atta had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence official. Later, Cheney called Iraq the "geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland, observed in March 2003 that "The administration has succeeded in creating a sense that there is some connection [between Sept. 11 and Saddam Hussein]". This was following a New York Times/CBS poll that showed 45% of Americans believing Saddam Hussein was "personally involved" in the September 11 atrocities. As the Christian Science Monitor observed at the time, while "Sources knowledgeable about US intelligence say there is no evidence that Hussein played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks, nor that he has been or is currently aiding Al Qaeda... the White House appears to be encouraging this false impression, as it seeks to maintain American support for a possible war against Iraq and demonstrate seriousness of purpose to Hussein's regime." The CSM went on to report that, while polling data collected "right after Sept. 11, 2001" showed that only 3 percent mentioned Iraq or Saddam Hussein, by January 2003 attitudes "had been transformed" with a Knight Ridder poll showing that 44% of Americans believed "most" or "some" of the September 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens.

The BBC has also noted that while President Bush, "never directly accused the former Iraqi leader of having a hand in the attacks on New York and Washington", he, "repeatedly associated the two in keynote addresses delivered since September 11", adding that, "Senior members of his administration have similarly conflated the two." For instance, the BBC report quotes Colin Powell in February 2003, stating that, "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September 11, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America." The same BBC report also noted the results of a recent opinion poll, which suggested that "70% of Americans believe the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks."

Also in September 2003, the Boston Globe reported that "Vice President Dick Cheney, anxious to defend the White House foreign policy amid ongoing violence in Iraq, stunned intelligence analysts and even members of his own administration this week by failing to dismiss a widely discredited claim: that Saddam Hussein might have played a role in the Sept. 11 attacks." A year later, presidential candidate John Kerry alleged that Cheney was continuing "to intentionally mislead the American public by drawing a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 in an attempt to make the invasion of Iraq part of the global war on terror."

Throughout 2002, the Bush administration insisted that removing Hussein from power to restore international peace and security was a major goal. The principal stated justifications for this policy of "regime change" were that Iraq's continuing production of weapons of mass destruction and known ties to terrorist organizations, as well as Iraq's continued violations of UN Security Council resolutions, amounted to a threat to the US and the world community.

The Bush administration's overall rationale for the invasion of Iraq was presented in detail by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003. In summary, he stated,
We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction; he's determined to make more. Given Saddam Hussein's history of aggression... given what we know of his terrorist associations and given his determination to exact revenge on those who oppose him, should we take the risk that he will not some day use these weapons at a time and the place and in the manner of his choosing at a time when the world is in a much weaker position to respond? The United States will not and cannot run that risk to the American people. Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in a post-September 11 world.

Since the invasion, the US and British government claims concerning Iraqi weapons programs and links to terrorist organizations have been discredited. While the debate of whether Iraq intended to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons in the future remains open, no WMDs have been found in Iraq since the invasion despite comprehensive inspections lasting more than 18 months. In Cairo, on February 24, 2001, Colin Powell had predicted as much, saying, "Hussein has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours." Similarly, assertions of significant operational links between the Iraqi regime and al Qaeda have largely been discredited by the intelligence community, and Secretary Powell himself eventually admitted he had no incontrovertible proof.

In September 2002, the Bush administration said attempts by Iraq to acquire thousands of high-strength aluminium tubes pointed to a clandestine program to make enriched uranium for nuclear bombs. Powell, in his address to the UN Security Council just before the war, referred to the aluminium tubes. A report released by the Institute for Science and International Security in 2002, however, reported that it was highly unlikely that the tubes could be used to enrich uranium. Powell later admitted he had presented an inaccurate case to the United Nations on Iraqi weapons, based on sourcing that was wrong and in some cases "deliberately misleading."

The Bush administration asserted that the Hussein government had sought to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger. On March 7, 2003, the US submitted intelligence documents as evidence to the International Atomic Energy Agency. These documents were dismissed by the IAEA as forgeries, with the concurrence in that judgment of outside experts. At the time, a US official claimed that the evidence was submitted to the IAEA without knowledge of its provenance and characterized any mistakes as "more likely due to incompetence not malice".

Unmanned Iraqi drones

In October 2002, a few days before the US Senate vote on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution, about 75 senators were told in closed session that the Iraqi government had the means of delivering biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction by unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drones that could be launched from ships off the US' Atlantic coast to attack US eastern seaboard cities. Colin Powell suggested in his presentation to the United Nations that UAVs were transported out of Iraq and could be launched against the US. In fact, Iraq had no offensive UAV fleet or any capability of putting UAVs on ships. Iraq's UAV fleet consisted of less than a handful of outdated Czech training drones. At the time, there was a vigorous dispute within the intelligence community whether the CIA's conclusions about Iraq's UAV fleet were accurate. The US Air Force agency denied outright that Iraq possessed any offensive UAV capability.

Human rights

As evidence supporting U.S. and British claims about Iraqi WMDs and links to terrorism weakened, some claim supporters of the invasion have increasingly shifted their justification to the human rights violations of the Hussein government. Leading human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have argued, however, that they believe human rights concerns were never a central justification for the invasion, nor do they believe that military intervention was justifiable on humanitarian grounds, most significantly because "the killing in Iraq at the time was not of the exceptional nature that would justify such intervention." Many supporters of the war, however, claim from the start human rights concerns were among the reasons given for the invasion, and that the threat of weapons of mass destruction was emphasized at the United Nations, since this dealt with Iraq flouting UN resolutions. They further claim human rights groups that oppose the war have no objective standard regarding when to invade a country.

Attempts to Avoid Iraq War

Attempts to Avoid Iraq War: In December 2002, a representative of the head of Iraqi Intelligence, General Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, contacted former Central Intelligence Agency Counterterrorism Department head Vincent Cannistraro stating that Hussein "knew there was a campaign to link him to September 11 and prove he had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)." Cannistraro further added that "the Iraqis were prepared to satisfy these concerns. I reported the conversation to senior levels of the state department and I was told to stand aside and they would handle it." Cannistraro stated that the offers made were all "killed" by the George W. Bush administration because they allowed Hussein to remain in power, an outcome viewed as unacceptable. It has been suggested that Saddam Hussein was prepared to go into exile if allowed to keep $1 billion USD.

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's national security advisor, Osama El-Baz, sent a message to the US State Department that the Iraqis wanted to discuss the accusations that the country had weapons of mass destruction and ties with al-Qaeda. Iraq also attempted to reach the US through the Syrian, French, German, and Russian intelligence services. Nothing came of the attempts.

In January 2003, Lebanese-American Imad Hage met with Michael Maloof of the US Department of Defense's Office of Special Plans. Hage, a resident of Beirut, had been recruited by the department to assist in the "War on Terrorism". He reported that Mohammed Nassif, a close aide to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, had expressed frustrations about the difficulties of Syria contacting the United States, and had attempted to use him as an intermediary. Maloof arranged for Hage to meet with civilian Richard Perle, then head of the Defense Policy Board.

In January 2003, Hage met with the chief of Iraqi intelligence's foreign operations, Hassan al-Obeidi. Obeidi told Hage that Baghdad didn't understand why they were being targeted, and that they had no WMDs. He then made the offer for Washington to send in 2000 FBI agents to confirm this. He additionally offered petroleum concessions, but stopped short of having Hussein give up power, instead suggesting that elections could be held in two years. Later, Obeidi suggested that Hage travel to Baghdad for talks; he accepted.

Later that month, Hage met with General Habbush and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. He was offered top priority to US firms in oil and mining rights, UN-supervised elections, US inspections (with up to 5,000 inspectors), to have al-Qaeda agent Abdul Rahman Yasin (in Iraqi custody since 1994) handed over as a sign of good faith, and to give "full support for any US plan" in the Arab-Israeli peace process. They also wished to meet with high-ranking US officials. On February 19, Hage faxed Maloof his report of the trip. Maloof reports having brought the proposal to Jamie Duran. The Pentagon denies that either Wolfowitz or Rumsfeld, Duran's bosses, were aware of the plan.

On February 21, Maloof informed Duran in an email that Richard Perle wished to meet with Hage and the Iraqis if the Pentagon would clear it. Duran responded "Mike, working this. Keep this close hold." On March 7, Perle met with Hage in Knightsbridge, and stated that he wanted to pursue the matter further with people in Washington (both have acknowledged the meeting). A few days later, he informed Hage that Washington refused to let him meet with Habbush to discuss the offer (Hage stated that Perle's response was "that the consensus in Washington was it was a no-go"). Perle told The Times, "The message was 'Tell them that we will see them in Baghdad.' "

US Preparations for Invasion of Iraq

Countdown Time fo Iraq War: While there had been some earlier talk of action against Iraq, the Bush administration waited until September 2002 to call for action, with White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card saying, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." Bush began formally making his case to the international community for an invasion of Iraq in his September 12, 2002 address to the UN Security Council. Key US allies in NATO, such as the United Kingdom, agreed with the US actions, while France and Germany were critical of plans to invade Iraq, arguing instead for continued diplomacy and weapons inspections. After considerable debate, the UN Security Council adopted a compromise resolution, UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which authorized the resumption of weapons inspections and promised "serious consequences" for noncompliance. Security Council members France and Russia made clear that they did not consider these consequences to include the use of force to overthrow the Iraqi government. Both the US ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, and the UK ambassador, Jeremy Greenstock, publicly confirmed this reading of the resolution, assuring that Resolution 1441 provided no "automaticity" or "hidden triggers" for an invasion without further consultation of the Security Council.

Resolution 1441 gave Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" and set up inspections by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Hussein accepted the resolution on November 13 and inspectors returned to Iraq under the direction of UNMOVIC chairman Hans Blix and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. As of February 2003, the IAEA "found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq"; the IAEA concluded that certain items which could have been used in nuclear enrichment centrifuges, such as aluminum tubes, were in fact intended for other uses. UNMOVIC "did not find evidence of the continuation or resumption of programs of weapons of mass destruction" or significant quantities of proscribed items. UNMOVIC did supervise the destruction of a small number of empty chemical rocket warheads, 50 liters of mustard gas that had been declared by Iraq and sealed by UNSCOM in 1998, and laboratory quantities of a mustard gas precursor, along with about 50 Al-Samoud missiles of a design that Iraq claimed did not exceed the permitted 150 km range, but which had travelled up to 183 km in tests. Shortly before the invasion, UNMOVIC stated that it would take "months" to verify Iraqi compliance with resolution 1441.

In October 2002 the US Congress passed a "Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq". The resolution authorized the President to "use any means necessary" against Iraq, Americans polled in January 2003 widely favored further diplomacy over an invasion. Later that year, however, Americans began to agree with Bush's plan. The US government engaged in an elaborate domestic public relations campaign to market the war to its citizens. Americans overwhelmingly believed Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction: 85% said so, even though the inspectors had not uncovered those weapons. Of those who thought Iraq had weapons sequestered somewhere, about half responded that said weapons would not be found in combat. By February 2003, 74% of Americans supported taking military action to remove Hussein from power.

The Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division (SAD) teams were the first US forces to enter Iraq, in July 2002, before the main invasion. Once on the ground, they prepared for the subsequent arrival of US Army Special Forces to organize the Kurdish Peshmerga. This joint team (called the Northern Iraq Liaison Element (NILE)) combined to defeat Ansar al-Islam, a group with ties to al Qaeda, in Iraqi Kurdistan. This battle was for control of the territory that was occupied by Ansar al-Islam and took place before the invasion. It was carried out by Paramilitary Operations Officers from SAD and the Army's 10th Special Forces Group. This battle resulted in the defeat of Ansar and the capture of a chemical weapons facility at Sargat. Sargat was the only facility of its type discovered in the Iraq war.

SAD teams also conducted missions behind enemy lines to identify leadership targets. These missions led to the initial air strikes against Hussein and his generals. Although the strike against Hussein was unsuccessful in killing him, it effectively ended his ability to command and control his forces. Strikes against Iraq's generals were more successful and significantly degraded the Iraqi command's ability to react to, and maneuver against the US-led invasion force. SAD operations officers were also successful in convincing key Iraqi Army officers into surrendering their units once the fighting started.

NATO member Turkey refused to allow the US army across its territory into northern Iraq. Therefore, joint SAD and Army Special forces teams and the Pershmerga were the entire Northern force against the Iraqi army. They managed to keep the northern divisions in place rather than allowing them to aid their colleagues against the US led coalition force coming from the south. Four of these CIA officers were awarded the Intelligence Star for their actions.

In February 2003, US Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the United Nations General Assembly, continuing US efforts to gain UN authorization for an invasion. Powell presented evidence alleging that Iraq was actively producing chemical and biological weapons and had ties to al-Qaeda. As a follow-up to Powell’s presentation, the United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Japan, and Spain proposed a resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, but NATO members like Canada, France, and Germany, together with Russia, strongly urged continued diplomacy. Facing a losing vote as well as a likely veto from France and Russia, the US, UK, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Italy, Japan, and Australia eventually withdrew their resolution.

The decision to invade was widely unpopular worldwide, and opposition to the invasion coalesced on February 15 in a worldwide anti-war protest that attracted between six and ten million people in more than 800 cities, the largest such protest in human history according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

In March 2003, the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Poland, Denmark, and Italy began preparing for the invasion of Iraq, with a host of public relations and military moves. In his March 17, 2003 address to the nation, Bush demanded that Hussein and his two sons, Uday and Qusay, surrender and leave Iraq, giving them a 48-hour deadline. But the US began the bombing of Iraq on the day before the deadline expired. On March 18, 2003, the bombing of Iraq by the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Poland, Australia, and Denmark began. Unlike the first Gulf War or the war in Afghanistan (2001–present), this war had no explicit UN authorisation.

The UK Parliament held a debate on going to war on March 18, 2003 where the government motion was approved 412 to 149. The vote was a key moment in the history of the Blair administration, as the number government MPs that rebelled against the vote was the greatest since the repeal of the Corn Laws. Three government ministers resigned in protest at the war, John Denham, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, and the then Leader of the House of Commons Robin Cook. Speaking in the House of Commons after his resignation he made a passionate speech. He said, "What has come to trouble me is the suspicion that if the 'hanging chads' of Florida had gone the other way and Al Gore had been elected, we would not now be about to commit British troops to action in Iraq." During the debate it was stated that the Attorney General had advised that the war was legal under previous UN Resolutions.

Iraq War 2003 Statistic

The Iraq War ( Occupation of Iraq, the Second Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom) statistics:

Iraq War
Part of the War on Terror
Iraq header 2.jpg
Clockwise, starting at top left: a joint patrol in Samarra; the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue in Firdos Square; an Iraqi Army soldier readies his rifle during an assault; a roadside bomb detonates in South Baghdad.
Date March 20, 2003 – present
(&00000000000000070000007 years, &0000000000000171000000171 days)
Operation Iraqi Freedom: March 20, 2003 – August 31, 2010
Operation New Dawn: September 1, 2010 – present
Location Iraq
Status Combat operations concluded
  • Invasion of Iraq
  • Overthrow of Baath Party government and execution of Saddam Hussein
  • Occupation of Iraq
  • Iraqi insurgency and outbreak of sectarian violence.
  • Foreign terrorist operations in Iraq
  • Elections held in Iraq
  • Status of Forces Agreement and Strategic Framework Agreement
  • Most of the Iraqi Insurgency destroyed
  • Presence of American troops in advise and assist role until late 2011
Belligerents
United States

Iraq
Iraqi Kurdistan Peshmerga
Iraq Awakening Councils
Withdrawn Coalition forces:

  • United Kingdom (2003–09)
  • Australia (2003–09)
  • Poland (2003–08)
  • Republic of Korea (2003–08)
  • Italy (2003–06)
  • Georgia (2003–08)
  • Ukraine (2003–08)
  • Netherlands (2003–05)
  • Spain (2003–04)
  • MNF–I (04-10)
  • 30 other countries

Turkey

Insurgent groups:
  • Baath Party Loyalists
  • Islamic State of Iraq
    • al-Qaeda in Iraq
  • Mahdi Army
    • Special Groups
  • Islamic Army of Iraq
  • Ansar al-Sunnah

Iraq Iraq under Saddam Hussein


Kurdistan Workers' Party


For fighting between insurgent groups, see Civil war in Iraq.

Commanders and leaders
Iraq Jalal Talabani

Iraq Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Iraq Nouri al-Maliki
Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani
Iraqi Kurdistan Masrour Barzani
Iraq Abdul Sattar Abu Risha (K.I.A.)
Iraq Ahmad Abu Risha
United States Barack Obama
United States George W. Bush
United States Ray Odierno
United States David Petraeus
United States George W. Casey, Jr.
United States Ricardo Sanchez
United States Tommy Franks
United Kingdom John Cooper
United Kingdom Andy Salmon
United Kingdom Richard Shirreff

Iraq Saddam Hussein
(P.O.W.)

Iraq Qusay Hussein (K.I.A.)
Iraq Uday Hussein (K.I.A.)
Iraq Tariq Aziz


Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi (K.I.A.)
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (K.I.A.)
Abu Ayyub al-Masri (K.I.A.)
Muqtada al-Sadr
Abu Deraa
Ishmael Jubouri
Abu Abdullah al-Shafi'i (P.O.W.)


Strength
Iraqi Security Forces
650,000 (Army: 273,000, Police: 227,000, FPS: 150,000)
United States Forces
50,000 (current)
Peshmerga
50,000 invasion
~375,000 current
Invasion Forces (2003–2004)
~300,000
Coalition Forces (2004–2010)
176,000 at peak


Awakening militias
~103,000 (2008)


Turkish Armed Forces: ~3,000–10,000

Total: ~365,000 (invasion)

Total: 1,347,970–1,354,970+ (current)

Iraqi Army: 375,000 (disbanded in 2003)

Sunni Insurgents
~70,000 (2007)
Mahdi Army
~60,000 (2007)
al-Qaeda/others
~1,300 (2006)


PKK: ~4,000–8,000.

Casualties and losses
Iraqi Security Forces (post-Saddam): 11,900 killed
94 MIA/POW

Total: 375,000+ (invasion)

Total: 135,300–139,300+ (current) Coalition Forces
Killed: 4,735 (4,417 U.S., 179 U.K.,] 139 other)
Missing or captured (U.S.): 1
Wounded: 31,716 U.S., 315 U.K.
Injured/diseased/other medical:** 47,541 U.S., 3,598 U.K.

Contractors
Killed: 1,323 (U.S. 244)
Missing or captured: 16 (U.S. 5)
Wounded & injured: 10,569

Awakening Councils
Killed:760+


Turkish Armed Forces:
27 killed

Total killed: 18,795

Iraqi combatant dead (invasion period): 13,500–45,000

Insurgents (post-Saddam): ~55,000

Detainees: 8,300 (U.S.-held)
24,200 (Iraqi-held)


PKK: 537 killed (Turkish claim), 9 killed (PKK claim), 230 (official army figures claim)

Documented "unnecessary" violent civilian deaths, Iraq Body Count – January 2009: 95,158–103,819

Total excess deaths, (Lancet) – December 2009: 1,366,350*** (highest estimate)