CBC In Depth
Soldiers from the U.S. 24 Infantry Regiment search for insurgents in Mosul, Iraq, Nov. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)
CBC News Online | July 25, 2006

April 2009

On a surprise trip to Baghdad, U.S. President Barack Obama repeats his pledge to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by 2011. "It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis. They need to take responsibility for their country," as about 600 troops cheered at Camp Victory, a U.S. military base. "You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement."

After six years of combat missions, the British military ends its operations in Iraq by handing over control of its main base in Basra to an American brigade. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says it is the "closing chapter" for Britain's mission in Iraq. "Today, Iraq is a success story," Brown says after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in London. The U.K. lost 179 military personnel during the war.

January 2009

Provincial elections in Iraq proceed amid heavy security, but with only a few reports of violence. More than 15 million people were eligible to cast ballots for influential regional councils. Voters had to pass through security checkpoints and razor-wire cordons to reach polling stations. Authorities took the extra precautions of sealing borders, closing airports and banning traffic in major cities.

December 2008

Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi throws two shoes at then U.S. president George W. Bush and calls him a "dog" during a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes is a sign of contempt. Al-Zeidi would later be convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting a foreign leader.

June 2008

Australia ends its combat operations in Iraq, pulling its last 500 troops from the country. Australia joined the U.S.-led campaign in Iraq in early 2003. There have been several injuries but no deaths of Australian troops in Iraq attributed to hostile action. Several hundred Australian troops will remain in Iraq to act as security and headquarters liaisons and to guard diplomats.

March 2008

In an especially bloody month, several attacks took place across Iraq. A roadside bomb hit a bus travelling in southern Iraq killed at least 16 civilians. A female suicide bomber targeted a group of Shia worshippers near an Iraqi mosque near Baghdad, killing up to 43 people. And in a single day, March 24, a series of attacks across Iraq, including rocket and mortar attacks on Baghdad's U.S.-protected Green Zone, killed at least 78 people.

February 2008

More than 10,000 Turkish troops launch a ground incursion into northern Iraq to pursue Kurdish guerrillas there. The Iraqi government, U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates all urge Turkey to withdraw as soon as possible. Turkey pulls its troops back to their bases a week after the incursion.

February 2007

In the deadliest single bombing since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, at least 135 people are killed in an attack on a market in a mainly Shia Muslim area of Baghdad. Later in the month, two car bombs explode in an outdoor market in Baghdad, killing at least 63 people.

January 2007

U.S. President George W. Bush says his strategy in Iraq has not been working and announces a plan to send 21,500 more American troops into Iraq and to spend billions more dollars.

November-December 2006

Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator who was captured in December 2003 following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, is convicted of committing crimes against humanity in the slaughter of 148 Shia Muslims in the northern city of Dujail in 1982. He is sentenced to death and executed by hanging.

November 2006

More than 200 people are killed after Sunni insurgents blow up five car bombs and fire mortars shells on Sadr City, Baghdad's largest Shia district. Iraq's government imposes the curfew in the capital. Mortar rounds then hit the Sunnis' holiest shrine in Baghdad, the Abu Hanifa mosque, and the offices of the Association of Muslim Scholars, the top Sunni Muslim organization in Iraq, apparently in retaliation for the attack on Sadr City.

JULY 2006
On July 25, U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki meet in the White House. The U.S. announces it will relocate its troops from other parts of Iraq to Baghdad to enhance operations between U.S. military police and Iraqi police. The U.S. also says it will provide Iraqi security forces with better equipment and firepower.

On July 23, bomb blasts in Baghdad and Kirkuk kill more than 60 people.

The first of two Baghdad bombings occurs when a suicide driver detonates an explosives-laden minivan at the entrance to a crowded market in the Sadr City slum, which is mainly Shia. The Iraqi army says 34 people are killed and 73 are wounded. Eight more people are killed and 20 wounded when a second bomb explodes at a municipal government building in the same area. Radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is blamed for much of the sectarian violence.

In Kirkuk, a car bomb detonates near a courthouse, killing 20 and wounding more than 150.

JUNE 2006
On June 19, the mutilated bodies of two U.S. soldiers are found in Yusufiya after an intensive search for the soldiers, who had been kidnapped at a checkpoint by gunmen four days earlier. A third soldier who had been with them when they were ambushed was killed instantly. The attack occurred in a Sunni-dominated region 20 kilometres south of Baghdad that is known as the Triangle of Death because of its high number of insurgent attacks.

An Iraqi militant group that identifies itself as the Mujahedeen Shura Council claimed it had abducted the two men. The group also claimed responsibility for the abductions of four Russian diplomats earlier in the month.

Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the insurgent known as the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, is killed in a U.S. air raid north of Baghdad on June 7, 2006.

Unidentified gunmen, dressed as police, forced at least 50 people into waiting vans in the Salihiya area of Baghdad on June 5. The motive for the abduction is not known.

An Iraqi man, Mustafa Salman, is sentenced to life in jail for helping the abductors who seized British aid worker Margaret Hassan in October 2004. Her body has never been found. She is assumed to be dead.

On June 4, masked militants stop two minivans full of students just north of Baghdad and execute 21 Shias among them. They let the four Sunni Muslims passengers go.

Three investigations into allegations of wrongdoings by U.S. forces in Iraq are underway. U.S. troops are accused of massacres in Ishaqi, Haditha and Hamandiya.

The Isaqi charges allege that U.S. troops shot and killed 11 family members, including five children in March 2006.

The Haditha charges allege that marines executed 24 civilians in revenge for a bombing that killed a fellow marine in November 2005.

In Hamandiya, seven marines and a navy corpsman are accused of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in the April 2005 shooting of an Iraqi man.

On June 1, the top U.S. general in Iraq, Lt.-Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, said troops will be given a refresher course in "core warrior values" and "the importance of adhering to legal, moral and ethical standards on the battlefield." The classes are scheduled to take place before the end of the month.

MAY 2006
On May 30, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said his government will investigate the Haditha allegations.

On May 29, two journalists are killed while covering the war in Iraq and a third is seriously injured when a roadside bomb strikes their vehicle in Baghdad. All three worked for the U.S. television network CBS.

Nouri al-Maliki is sworn in as head of a national unity government on May 20. The Shias have been promised the Interior Ministry, and the Sunnis promised Defence Ministry.

Al-Maliki, a Shia, is the acting interior minister, and Salam Zikam al-Zubaie, a Sunni, is temporary defence minister.

APRIL 2006

Iraq's re-elected President Jalal Talabani, names Jawad al-Maliki as prime minister-designate, April 22, 2006. Al-Maliki is given 30 days to form a government of national unity by appointing a cabinet including Kurds, Shia and Sunni Arabs. If Iraq's National Assembly confirms his appointment, Al-Maliki will be Iraq's first post-Saddam full-term prime minister elected for a four-year period.

A roadside bomb in Baghdad kills four U.S. soldiers, April 22, 2006. Also on that day, an Australian soldier died after shooting himself in the head - he was that country's first casualty in Iraq and two Iraqis were killed and 17 wounded by bombs in a market in Muqdadiyah, about 100 kilometres northeast of Baghdad. American casualties for April are on pace to top the previous highest monthly total of 84, recorded in November 2005. An estimated 132,500 U.S. troops are in Iraq.

Seven car bombs exploded on the streets of Baghdad April 24, 2006, killing at least eight people and wounding more than 80 others.

On April 26, 2006, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meet Iraq's prime minister-designate while on an unannounced trip to Baghdad.

Mayson Ahmed Bakir al-Hashimi, the sister of Iraq's new Sunni vice-president Tariq al-Hashimi is assassinated, April 27, 2006. This follows the assassination of his brother who was also killed in Baghdad two weeks earlier.

Three Italian soldiers and Romanian soldier are killed April 27, 2006, died when a bomb explodes near their convoy in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. Other soldiers were injured. More than 2,000 Italian troops are stationed in the city, which is about 350 kilometres south of Baghdad.

MARCH 2006

Three Iraqis die and another 15 are injured when a bomb explodes near a police patrol in Baghdad. About an hour later, another bombing explodes near a police office in a Shia neighbourhood, killing at least 23 people and injuring another 58.

More than 50 suspected Sunni insurgents attack a brick factory in the town of Nahrawan, near Baghdad, around dusk, killing at least 25 Shia workers.

The Iraqi government reimposes a curfew in Baghdad and its suburbs, banning vehicles from the streets on Friday, March 2, the Muslim day of prayer. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari appears on television and urges Sunni and Shia clerics to avoid using inflammatory language while preaching.

A car bomb explodes at a market in Baqouba, 55 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, killing at least six civilians and injuring 23 people, including four police officers.

The Arab all-news satellite channel, Al-Jazeera, broadcasts a brief videotape showing three of the four peace activists taken hostage in Iraq. Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Sooden, and Briton Norman Kember appear on the tape.

As many as 35 gunmen storm the offices of the al-Rawafid Security Co., a private Iraqi-owned business in Baghdad, and kidnap about 50 employees.

Police find 18 bodies in an abandoned minibus. All the victims were men who were either shot or hanged and all were found handcuffed and blindfolded.

The U.S. military announces it will, over the next several months, transfer thousands of prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison to other military jails and then hand over the prison to the Iraqi government.

The U.S. State Department announces that Tom Fox, the American working for Christian Peacemaker Teams who was kidnapped with two Canadians and a Briton, has been killed in Iraq. Spokesman Noel Clay says the FBI has verified that a body found in Iraq was that of Fox, 54. Iraqi police later say Fox was tortured and shot.

British Defence Secretary John Reid announces that Britain will cut its forces in Iraq by 10 per cent and pull out 800 soldiers in the next few months. Reid says more Iraqi soldiers are taking over duties performed by British troops.

Saddam Hussein returns to a special tribunal, clashes with the chief judge during the opening statement of his defence and claims to be the Iraq head of state. The judge orders the session closed and tells reporters to leave. Hours later, the trial is adjourned until April 5.

American and Iraqi troops launch Operation Swarmer, an assault on a "suspected insurgent operating area" northeast of the city of Samarra. The U.S. military says this is its largest air offensive in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

Kurdish demonstrators set fire to a memorial marking the 1988 poison-gas attack that killed 5,000 Kurds in Halabja. The destruction of the memorial also kills one person and injures several others. Villagers say the memorial means very little to them, and they would rather have financial assistance to rebuild the village.

Iraq's new parliament meets for the first time in a 20-minute ceremonial session. The same day, 27 more bodies are found throughout Baghdad. All the victims are male, and many had their hands bound and were shot.

Several events mark the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003:

Ayad Allawi, the former interim prime minister of Iraq, tells the BBC the conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq can only be described as a "civil war."

U.S. Representative Jack Murtha, a Democrat, war veteran and vocal cirtic of the Iraq war echoes Allawi's sentiments: "It is a civil war. Twenty-five thousand insurgents are fighting with each other inside the country for supremacy. That's the definition of a civil war."

U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney denies that Iraq is in a state of civil war: "What we've seen is a serious effort by [militants] to foment a civil war, but I don't think they've been successful."

U.S. President George W. Bush, in a brief speech at the White House, calls the U.S. invasion the beginning of the liberation of Iraq.

Antiwar protesters hold rallies in cities across the world, the largest in London with 15,000 participants, Portland (10,000) and Chicago (7,000). Protests in the U.S. are smaller than those marking previous anniversaries. At least 17 demonstrators are arrested in New York's Times Square for blocking traffic.

Three million Shia Muslims assemble in Karbala, a city 100 kilometres south of Baghdad, to mark the death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, in AD 680. Security forces maintain a high alert during the ceremony. A roadside bomb explodes in southern Baghdad, killing one person. Insurgents fire a mortar round, which explodes in a parking lot about one kilometre from the shrine where the pilgrims were meetings. No one is hurt.

The Pentagon begins a criminal investigation after a videotape, shot by a young Iraqi journalism student, emerges suggesting U.S. marines killed at least 15 unarmed civilians in November 2005 in the town of Haditha.

One British and two Canadian hostages are freed by an international military operation. Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, and Briton Norman Kember had been held for four months. The body of a fourth hostage, American Tom Fox, was found March 10 with gunshot wounds in his head and chest. All four were members of Christian Peacemaker Teams, an international peace activist group.

American reporter Jill Carroll is released after three months as a hostage. Carroll says she doesn't know why her kidnappers released her and dropped her off outside the Baghdad offices of the Sunni Arab Iraqi Islamic Party.


The trial of former dictator Saddam Hussein continues, despite Hussein himself, and four other accused, refusing to appear to protest the new chief judge.

Thousands of Iraqis protest the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's leading Shia cleric, condemns the cartoons, but also says Islamic extremists involved in suicide bombing are responsible for distorting the image of Islam.

The bodies of 14 Sunni men are found in the back of a truck in Baghdad. The Iraqi Interior Ministry's head of intelligence says the men were shot multiple times, but could not confirm reports that the victims had been arrested by Shia-led forces the previous week. The leader of a Sunni political group accuses the government of pushing Iraq toward civil war.

Danish troops in Qurnah, southern Iraq, are shot at and stoned in the protests against the Prophet Muhammad cartoons.

Iraqi lawmakers vote 64-63 to allow Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to lead the first full-term government since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The British newspaper News of the World publishes pictures from a video appearing to show British soldiers beating Iraqi youths. The cameraman in the video is heard laughing as the beatings take place, and at one point says "naughty little boys." British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the allegations of mistreatment by U.K. soldiers "will be investigated very fully indeed." British military police arrest one man that night in connection with the video, but refuse to identify him or to confirm that he is a serving soldier. Two of the alleged victims would later threaten to sue.

Australia's Special Broadcasting Service shows 18 new images of Iraqi prisoners abused by American guards at Abu Ghraib. The photos were taken about the same time as previous pictures that led to military trials and prison sentences. Some of the photos are more graphic than ones previously published. Prime Minister al-Jaafari's office releases a statement saying the government "strongly denounces such acts."

In a speech in New York City, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the controversial Pentagon practice of paying to plant stories in Iraqi media has been stopped. He would later say that he had "misstated the facts," and the Pentagon is reviewing the practice, but it had not been stopped.

Twelve people are killed when a suicide bomber detonates an explosive-filled belt on a bus in Kazimiyah, a heavily Shia district of Baghdad.

A remote-control car bomb explodes on a street packed with shoppers in Baghdad, killing 22 people and wounding 28. The attack takes place in a Shia part of Dora, a predominantly Sunni district of Baghdad and one of the most dangerous parts of the city. It is the deadliest bomb attack in the Iraqi capital in a month.

A bombing destroys the golden dome of the Askariya Shrine, in Samarra, about 95 kilometres north of Baghdad. The attack on one of the most revered Shia shrines, kills no one, but sparks protests and attacks on dozens of Sunni Muslim mosques, killing close to 130 people. Political and religious leaders urge Iraqis not to let the country slide into a civil war over the bombing. The government imposes a daytime curfew on Baghdad and three Iraqi provinces, banning all vehicles from driving in the capitol and the neighbouring areas, effectively canceling Friday prayers at many mosques. Thousands of people defy the bans and attend prayers anyway.

Despite an extension of the curfew in Baghdad and surrounding neighbourhoods, violence continues. Fourteen police officers are found dead with their three burned vehicles near a Sunni mosque in Baghdad. A car bomb kills at least five people and injures more than 30 in Karbala, a city not covered by the daytime curfew. In Buhriz, a city covered by the curfew and considered a stronghold for Sunni militants, gunmen burst into a Shia house and kill 13 men from one family.

Iraqi officials lift the four-day curfew and ease travel restrictions near the end of the month, citing a drop in attacks.


On the first day of 2006, 13 car bombs explode across Iraq, including eight within a three-hour period in Baghdad. Twenty people are injured in the blasts.

An American air strike on a house in northern Iraq kills six people, all members of the same family. U.S. troops say they saw three men suspected of planting a bomb enter the building.

A suicide bomb attack on a Shia funeral north of Baghdad kills 36 mourners.

Two insurgent suicide attacks in the cities of Kerbala and Ramadi kill more than 130 people. One attack targets a mosque, the other a group of military recruits.

French engineer Bernard Planche, taken hostage Dec. 5, 2005, is pushed out of a car at a checkpoint near the Abu Ghraib prision in western Baghdad. A French government spokesman calls Planche's release a "happy outcome."

An American Blackhawk helicopter crashes in northern Iraq, near the Syrian border, killing all 12 passengers and crew.

A U.S. air strike targets al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, in Pakistan. Al-Zawahri survives but 17 others are killed, four of them al-Qaeda militants.

Rizgar Mohammed Amin, the leading judge in Saddam Hussein's trial, submits his resignation.

U.S. and Iraqi officials release about 500 Iraqis from Abu Ghraib prison after they promise to be "good citizens."

The kidnappers of American journalist Jill Carroll demand the release of all female Iraqi prisoners within 72 hours.

Two suicide bomb attacks occur nearly simultaneously in Baghdad, together killing at least 15 people and wounding 26 more.

Al Jazeera television airs an audiotape from Osama bin Laden saying al-Qaeda is preparing for attacks in the United States. He also makes a vague reference of a "long-term truce" to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. The CIA later authenticates the voice on the tape as that of bin Laden.

Iraq's election commission says an alliance of Shia religious parties, the United Iraqi Alliance, won the most seats in Iraq's new National Assembly following the legislative elections in December.

The kidnappers of four western peace activists, including Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, say U.S.-led forces in Iraq have one "last chance" to release Iraqi prisoners or they will kill the hostages.

American news anchor Bob Woodruff and his Canadian cameraman, Doug Vogt, are wounded when a roadside bomb explodes near the Iraqi personnel carrier in which they are travelling.

Saddam launches into a tirade at the new judge in his trial, shouting "down with traitors."

Al-Jazeera television airs a videotape of Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahri, mocking the U.S. for failing to kill him in an air strike earlier in the month. "Butcher of Washington, you are not only defeated and a liar, but also a failure," al-Zawahri says, addressing U.S. President George W. Bush.

On Dec. 2, a roadside bomb killed 10 U.S. marines and wounded 11 others near Fallujah. The marines were on foot patrol at the time. They were hit by what the military calls an improvised explosive device, made from several large artillery shells.

The next day, militants ambushed an Iraqi army patrol, killing 19 soldiers and wounding two others. The soldiers were travelling in a five-vehicle patrol near Adhaim, about 100 kilometres northeast of Baghdad. According to officials, after a roadside bomb detonated, the militants opened fire.

Former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi escaped what "appeared to be an assassination attempt." Allawi said he had been invited to pray in the Imam Ali shrine, when he was forced to leave as an estimated 60 armed men tried to attack him. Seven shots were fired from the crowd armed with guns and knives, he said.

The torture-murder trial of Saddam Hussein resumed Dec. 5, quickly turning into a shouting match as the legal team for the former Iraqi leader questioned the court's legitimacy and then walked out for about 90 minutes. The most recent delay had been granted to give Saddam's legal team more time to prepare and to find replacements for two defence lawyers who'd been assassinated and for a third lawyer who'd fled out of fear for his safety. Less than two days after the trial resumed, the trial was adjourned for two weeks after the former Iraqi leader began boycotting the proceedings. He claimed that he and his co-defendants had been mistreated. The trial resumed again Dec. 21. But after a brief calm,Saddam launched into a lengthy outburst, claiming he was beaten while in jail awaiting trial.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the police academy in Baghdad, killing at least 43 people and wounding more than 70 others in the deadliest attack on Iraqi security forces since February.

U.S. President George W. Bush says "tangible progress" has been made in stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq, but admits the campaign "has not always gone as well as we had hoped."

Thirty people died and 40 were injured in a suicide bombing on a bus in Baghdad. The bomber detonated his explosives just as the bus was about to depart for the city of Nasiriyah. The explosion engulfed the bus in flames as passengers were trapped inside.

Dec. 10, the deadline for the release of the two Canadian hostages passed with no word on their condition.

Iraqis start voting in advance polls two days ahead of the Dec. 15 national elections amid threats by insurgents they would step up attacks. Iraqis were voting for a 275-member assembly, the first fully constitutional parliament for the country since the end of Saddam Hussein�s reign in 2003. The parliament will run the country's affairs for the next four years.

On Dec. 15, polls were kept open late after strong voter turnout. Millions of people showed up to vote and a 70 per cent turnout was reported. Iraq sealed its borders, and banned traffic leading up to the voting, but it didn�t stop the violence. One person was killed and two others injured in a blast near a polling station in Mosul.

German hostage Susanne Osthoff was released. She is an archeologist who had worked in Iraq for more than 10 years and who was an opponent of the U.S.-led attack on Iraq in 2003.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair travelled to Iraq in a pre-Christmas visit to his country's troops.

Seven Sudanese were taken hostage in Iraq, including a senior diplomat. The same day, eight Iraqi soldiers died and 17 others were wounded in an attack on a military checkpoint.

The United States announced plans to begin reducing its military presence in Iraq. Some 5,000 to 9,000 troops will be withdrawn by early 2006. U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made the announcement during a visit to the Fallujah area.

In late December, families of the Canadian, British and U.S. hostages captured in late November, placed ads in radio and newspapers to persuade their captors to release them.

On Dec. 26, at least 19 people were killed in a series of attacks across Iraq. Gunmen killed five police officers and wounded four others at a checkpoint north of Baghdad. A suicide car bomber slammed into a police patrol in Baghdad, killing three people. Also, at least two people were killed and 26 injured when a suicide motorcycle bomber rammed into a Shia funeral ceremony. Four other car bombs killed at least two people and wounded 15.

A mass grave was uncovered in the Shia holy city of Karbala. Believed to date back to 1991, it was uncovered by municipal workers digging to install a new water pipe. On the same day, at least three police officers and two civilian bystanders were killed in clashes with gunmen, a roadside bomb killed two officers in Kirkuk and at least one officer was killed and another one wounded in fighting with gunmen.

Eight people were killed in a Baghdad jail when a prisoner grabbed a guard's assault rifle and opened fire in what is believed to be an attempt to escape. Four of those killed were guards and the other four were inmates. Another three people were wounded.

As many as 14 people from one Shia family who had been warned to leave a Sunni district south of Baghdad were killed after assailants broke into their home. Also, a suicide bomber disguised as an Iraqi police officer detonated himself, killing three officers and a civilian. Five others were wounded in the attack at the main gate to Iraq's Interior Ministry in Baghdad.

Violence in November started early with at least 22 Iraqis killed and dozens more injured when a suicide car bomb exploded near an outdoor market, a restaurant, a mosque and a bus station in Musayyib, about 65 kilometres south of Baghdad. Also on Nov. 2, the U.S. military reported two U.S. marines were killed in a helicopter crash near Ramadi.

Days later, U.S. and Iraqi troops launched a major attack against Sunni Muslim insurgents in western Iraq. It was the largest U.S. offensive in the Anbar province since insurgents were forced from the city of Fallujah a year before. It also marked the first time that the U.S. military has used local troops in the region. About 2,500 U.S. marines and 1,000 local Iraqi soldiers met sporadic resistance as they moved through the area.

On Nov. 8, gunmen shot and killed a defence lawyer for one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants, making him the second lawyer in the trial killed in less than a month. After the incident, the trial was adjourned until Nov. 28.

Police officers stopping for breakfast appear to have been the target of two suicide bombers who attacked a busy restaurant in Baghdad. Seven police officers were among the 35 people killed. Another 24 people were injured. In a separate attack, a car bomb in Tikrit killed seven new military recruits and wounded 13 people.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an appeal for Sunni Arab co-operation in Iraq's upcoming elections while on a surprise visit to Iraq Nov. 11.

The next day, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan flew in to Baghdad on a surprise one-day visit, where a car bomb went off in a busy market in a mostly Shia district of southeastern Baghdad, killing four women and wounding 40 other people.

On Nov. 15, more than 170 prisoners were discovered in a government bunker in Baghdad. Many were starved, beaten and tortured. Within days, the UN's high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour (a former judge on the Supreme Court of Canada), called for an international investigation into the condition of detainees in Iraq.

U.S. officials admitted soldiers used white phosphorus as an "incendiary weapon" while trying to flush out insurgents in the northern Iraqi city of Fallujah a year ago. High-ranking U.S. officials had earlier insisted that the substance, which can burn skin to the bone, was used only to help illuminate battle scenes. There have been reports that an unknown number of Iraqi women and children died of phosphorus burns during the hostilities.

A pair of suicide attacks within hours killed at least 73 people and wounded dozens more. In Khanaqin, located about 150 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, two suicide bombers detonated explosives inside two crowded Shia mosques during midday prayers killing at least 65 people and wounding another 75. Earlier, two truck bombs targeted the Hamra Hotel in Baghdad, killing at least eight people and injuring 43. The hotel is used as a base for several foreign journalists.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives forced a swift rejection of a proposed troop withdrawal from Iraq.

At least 30 people died when a suicide car bomb went off outside a hospital in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad. Four police guards were also killed in the attack.

Four foreign aid workers, including two Canadians were reported abducted in Iraq. The Canadians would later be identified as 32-year-old Harmeet Singh Sooden and 41-year-old James Loney.

On Nov. 28, Saddam Hussein�s trial resumed, but was promptly adjourned until Dec. 5. The adjournment was called to allow time for replacements to be found for three defence lawyers. Two were assassinated during the trial and the third fled Iraq after he was wounded.

U.S. President George W. Bush released a document outlining the strategy for victory in Iraq in an attempt to rally support for the war among the American public. The National Strategy for Victory in Iraq describes how Iraqi forces were being trained to allow for an eventual U.S. pullout, but gives no indication when the pullout will occur.

The U.S. launches a major offensive, involving about 1,000 troops backed by helicopters, in an attempt to rout al-Qaeda militants near the border with Syria.

A car bomber blows himself him at the entrance to Baghdad's Green Zone, killing himself and three others, and injuring six.

Iraq's National Assembly votes to change the rules for the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum, making it harder for Sunni Arabs to veto the constitution. Three days later, under pressure from the UN, the National Assembly reverses the rule change.

A suicide car bomb hits a police patrol near the Iraqi Oil Ministry in Baghdad, killing nine people and injuring nine others.

Four days before a scheduled referendum on the Iraqi constitution, a deal is reach on the document's draft. One of Iraq's main Sunni Arab parties reverses its stance on the draft constitution and supports it.

The day after the referendum, the Iraqi government announces that it appears voters have approved the country's constitution. Final results more than a week later confirm that 79 per cent of Iraqis voted Yes.

U.S. helicopters and warplanes conduct air strikes on two Iraqi villages near Ramadi, killing about 70 people. The U.S. military says the targets were militants, but witnesses say at least 14 of the dead were civilians.

Saddam Hussein's trial begins in Baghdad.

An explosion blows apart a section of northern Iraq's main pipeline, setting it on fire. Officials blame militants for the explosion.

Three bombs, including a cement truck packed with explosives, explode outside the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, killing as many as 20 people. The hotel houses many foreign journalists.

The American military death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000 with the death of Staff Sgt. George Alexander, who was injured when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Samarra, north of Baghdad. He was transported to Texas, where he later died.

Explosives hidden on a truck packed with dates explode in Huweder, 60 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, killing at least 25 people.

A car bomb in a commercial district of Basra kills at least 20 people and injures dozens more. The bomb was placed near shops and restaurants where Muslims were breaking their Ramadan fast.

Four U.S. soldiers die when their patrol strikes a roadside bomb in Youssifiyah, 20 kilometres south of Baghdad.

U.S. military deaths: 99

The U.S. military hands over control of the southern city of Najaf to Iraqi forces.

U.S. and Iraqi troops sweep through the northern town of Talafar, saying it has been used as a staging ground for foreign fighters. The Iraqi Defence Ministry says about 150 insurgents were killed in two days of fighting there.

Iraqi firefighters try to extinguish burning vehicles at the site of a suicide attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005. (AP Photo)
Adnan Badran, prime minister of Jordan, visits Baghdad and meets with Iraqi Vice-President Adel Abdul Mehdi and Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari. It is the first visit to Iraq by an Arab neighbour since the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

The final report of the panel investigating the UN oil-for-food program in Iraq condemns the "illicit, unethical and corrupt" behaviour shown in its administration. The report blames UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for mismanagement. Annan calls the scandal "deeply embarrassing."

Iraq closes a border crossing point with Syria to all unauthorized vehicles. The U.S. says foreign fighters have been crossing the border at Rabiah and gathering in Talafar, in northern Iraq.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani tells the Washington Post that the U.S. could withdraw up to 50,000 of its soldiers from Iraq by the end of the year. Talabani later clarifies his statement, saying that no specific dates have been set.

A week-long surge of violence begins Aug. 14 with a suicide car bomb explosion in Baghdad's Oruba Square that kills 114 people, mostly Shia labourers. The same day, a suicide bomber blows himself up in a line for people waiting to fill gasoline cans, killing himself and 11 others. After several more suicide bomb attacks and shootings that day, al-Qaeda in Iraq announces it is waging a countrywide campaign of violence in response to the military attack on the northern town of Talafar. In all, 182 people are killed in the series of attacks.

At least 29 people are killed in Baghdad in another day of bombings and shootings on Aug. 15.

A car bomb explosion at a market in Nahrwan, near Baghdad, leaves at least 30 dead.

Faris Hussein, a member of parliament from the Kurdish region of Iraq, is killed by gunmen, along with his driver and at least one other person. Another Iraqi MP is wounded in the attack.

Pte. Lynndie England is sentenced to three years in prison for her role in the abuse of detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. She faced a possible nine-year sentence. England is also given a dishonourable discharge.

A female suicide bomber pushes her way into a crowd at an army recruitment centre and blows herself up, killing eight people. Al-Qaeda in Iraq claims responsibility for the attack, the first female suicide bomber of the Iraq insurgency.

Three co-ordinated car bombs in Balad, 80 kilometres north of Baghdad, kill over 100 people. The explosions occur in a busy vegetable market near a bank and a police station.

U.S. military deaths: 72

Six U.S. marines die near Haditha, in eastern Iraq. The Ansar al-Sunnah Army claims responsibility. Two days later, a roadside bomb explodes outside Haditha, killing 14 U.S. marines and a civilian interpreter. The attack, one of the deadliest for the U.S. military, prompts new calls for a withdrawal from Iraq.

U.S. troops load a bodybag into an army ambulance following a suicide car bomb explosion, Aug. 9, 2005, in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Mohammed Hato)
A suicide car bomb explodes in a crowded square in Baghdad, killing six civilians and a U.S. soldier. The next day, a second car bomb targeting a police patrol kills four civilians and three police officers.

Three days before the Aug. 15 deadline for a constitution, talks snag on a territorial dispute between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Captured insurgents lead Iraqi authorities to a two-week-old mass grave in Baghdad containing 30 bodies.

On Aug. 15, the original deadline for the country's draft constitution, the Iraqi parliament extends the deadline by one week. The committee writing the constitution is deadlocked over several issues, including federalism for Kurds and Shias.

Three car bombs explode in a co-ordinated attack on a Baghdad bus station, killing 43 people.

On Aug. 22, Iraqi lawmakers fail to meet their deadline for a draft constitution and extend their discussion for three days. That deadline passes without a breakthrough, although a draft version is released.

Thousands of Sunni Muslims in Baquba, some of them carrying pictures of Saddam Hussein, protest against the draft constitution, saying Kurdish and Shia federalism would lead to the breakup of Iraq.

Amr Moussa, secretary general of the Arab League, calls the draft Iraqi constitution "dangerous" because it doesn't describe Iraq as an Arab state.

The completed draft of the Iraqi constitution is presented to parliament. It allows for the forming of semi-autonomous regions within Iraq, describes power sharing between the president, parliament and government, and seeks to eliminate the influence of the Baathist party regime of Saddam Hussein.

To be ratified, the constitution requires approval of a majority of voters across Iraq and needs to not be rejected by two-thirds of the voters in three or more governorates. Sunni leaders vow to reject the constitution.

Nearly 1,000 Shia pilgrims die in a stampede of people fleeing a rumoured suicide bomb threat. It is the single largest loss of life since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

JULY 2005
U.S. military deaths: 54

Al-Qaeda in Iraq claims it has executed Egypt's top envoy in Iraq, Ihab al-Sherif.

Top envoys of Bahrain and Pakistan are attacked in Baghdad, but both manage to survive. Pakistan's Mohammed Younis Khan comes under fire from gunmen in two cars. On the same day, attackers try to abduct Bahrain's top envoy, Malallah al-nsari.

Two Sunni Muslim members of the committee drafting Iraq's constitution are shot to death. A top leader in Basra province is injured by gunmen.

A study co-authored by British and U.S. think tanks says the invasion of Iraq gave al-Qaeda a fundraising boost and helped recruitment. The British government denies suggestions that the July London transit system bombings are linked to the Iraq war.

A suicide bomber targets American soldiers handing out candy to Iraqi children, killing 27 people, 18 of them children.

A new study puts the Iraqi civilian death toll since the start of the war at more than 25,000. Iraq Body Count says that 37 per cent of the deaths were caused by the U.S.-led forces, and that 30 per cent happened during the invasion phase of the war.

Three British soldiers are charged with war crimes for alleged abuse of detainees in Iraq. Cpl. Donald Payne, 34, is charged with manslaughter in the death of an Iraqi civilian and with abusing eight Iraqi detainees. Lance Cpl. Wayne Crowcroft, 21, and Pte. Darren Fallon, 22, are also charged with inhumane treatment of detainees.

JUNE 2005
U.S. military deaths: 78

Prosecutors in the case against Saddam Hussein present information to the court for the trial that could start within two months. The former Iraqi dictator will face a dozen charges that include the 1988 slaughter of Kurds in Halabja and the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

At least 34 people die in a day of violence in northern Iraq. Bombs explode outside a restaurant and a coffee shop. A suicide bomber targets a convoy of Italian contractors, killing at least four bystanders. In Baghdad, gunmen opened fire from speeding cars killing nine people in a crowded market area.

An overnight attack in a remote village north of Baghdad kills 49 people. Meanwhile, Iraq's government launches its toughest crackdown in Baghdad, called Operation Lightning. Dozens of new checkpoints and around 40,000 troops have appeared on the streets of the city.

At least 18 people are killed when four bombs explode within minutes of each other in northern Iraq.

Iraqi security officials say their aim is to drive insurgents out of Baghdad and capture them before they can regroup.

The bodies of 16 people apparently executed by insurgents are found in western Iraq. A group of Iraqi soldiers had been kidnapped earlier.

About 40 insurgents are killed in U.S. military air strikes in western Iraq. The men were armed with AK-47 assault rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers, according to the military.

Gunmen attack a busload of construction workers south of Baghdad, killing at least 11 people and wounding three others. A suicide bomber kills three police officers in Baghdad.

On June 15, Australian hostage Douglas Wood is freed in a military operation after six weeks in captivity. The 63-year-old engineer was held by a group known as the Shura Council of Mujahedeen, which demanded the withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq. The military operation is carried out by Iraqi and U.S. forces.

A deal is reached to involve Sunni Arabs in the drafting of the new Iraqi constitution. The hope is that this will help quell the insurgency, largely blamed on Sunni Arabs who were privileged under Saddam Hussein's regime.

Two suicide bombers kill 25 Iraqi soldiers and eight police officers in separate attacks. One of the bombers, wearing an army uniform, waits until soldiers are gathered for lunch at a restaurant before blowing himself up.

A 37-year-old U.S. staff sergeant is charged with the murder of his two commanders in Iraq. Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez is placed in a military detention facility in Kuwait. This is the first case of alleged "fragging" – a term used in cases when soldiers kill their superiors.

At least 23 people die when four separate car bombs go off in the western part of Baghdad. Officials say 56 people are left injured.

Dozens of people die in a series of car bombings in Baghdad.

At least 20 traffic officers are killed and dozens are injured in a suicide car bombing in the northern city of Irbil. In Baghdad, eight officers and an eight-month-old baby are killed when insurgents attack a police station.

U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that the Iraqi insurgency could carry on for more than a decade. He says the coalition forces will create an environment for Iraqi forces to defeat the militants but will not be the ones fighting them.

U.S. President Bush says no timetable exists for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. It will happen when the mission has been completed. Meanwhile, in the city of Fallujah, two marines are killed by a suicide bomber. Four others are missing and presumed dead.

Senior Democrats call for a full investigation into the Downing Street Memo that may prove that U.S. President Bush deceived the American public about the reasons for war in Iraq. The "top secret" memo is based on a briefing given to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top security advisers by the Bush administration eight months before the war.

A news report says that a briefing paper written for Blair eight months before the start of the Iraq war warned that the United States was giving "little thought" to post-war occupation of Iraq. The White House reacts angrily to news of this memo, saying "significant post-war planning" was being done in the lead-up to the war.

Three suicide bomb attacks in and around northern Iraq kill more than 30 people in a day. A police station and a nearby street market are destroyed killing 13 policemen and two civilians. A strike at an Iraqi military base kills 16 civilians and injures seven others. A suicide bomber later walks into the hospital where victims of the previous attack are being treated and sets off his bomb.

A senior Iraqi Shia legislator and his son are among those killed in a suicide car bombing near Baghdad. Dhari Ali al-Fayadh, 80, was acting Speaker of the new parliament.

Two pilots on board a U.S. Apache helicopter are killed in a crash near Baghdad. According to an eyewitness account, the helicopter was hit by a rocket.

Four people die as a bomb explodes near a police patrol in Baghdad.

The U.S. forces commander in the Persian Gulf tells the Senate that the Iraqi insurgency seems to be getting only stronger. He attributes it to foreign fighters coming into Iraq.

June 28 marks the first anniversary of the sovereignty handover to Iraqis. In Iraq, it was another day of violence with at least eight people killed in bombings.

Iraqi forces arrest an al-Qaeda leader, Sami Ammar Hamid Mahmud, who is allegedly responsible for kidnapping Iraqis and foreigners for ransom.

Egypt becomes the first Arab nation to send an ambassador to Iraq since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. Iraq Ihab al-Sherif arrives in the country to be officially named ambassador.

French journalist Florence Aubenas and her Iraqi assistant are released after being held hostage for five months. At home, Aubenas is greeted by President Jacques Chirac with a kiss on the cheek.

MAY 2005
U.S. military deaths: 83
Iraqi civilian deaths: 652-739

About 30 Iraqis are killed and more than 50 wounded when a bomb explodes at the funeral of a Kurdish official in Tal Arar in northern Iraq.

U.S. and Iraqi forces find some of the belongings of murdered British aid worker Margaret Hassan during a raid. They also detain a number of suspects in her murder.

Australian television airs a video showing hostage Douglas Wood, 63, pleading for his life. Insurgents calling themselves the Shura Council of the Mujahedeen of Iraq released the video and demanded that Australia pull its troops from Iraq. Australia rushes an emergency response team to Iraq to attempt to seek Wood's release.

At her court martial in Fort Hood, Texas, Pte. Lynndie England, an army reservist who worked in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, pleads guilty to two counts of conspiracy to maltreat prisoners, four counts of maltreating prisoners and one count of committing an indecent act. Later, during the testimony of a defence witness at England's sentencing hearing, military judge Col. James Pohl reprimands her lawyers for entering evidence that goes against her guilty plea. Pohl declares a mistrial, saying he is not convinced England understood her actions were wrong at the time.

Italian investigators conclude that stress, fatigue and inexperience on the part of U.S. soldiers led to the shooting death of an Italian intelligence officer at a checkpoint in Baghdad. The report says they found no evidence the death was deliberate.

Two U.S. marine F/A-18 Hornet jets from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson collide in midair over Iraq. Both pilots are killed.

Iraq's new prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, and members of his cabinet are sworn in.

A suicide bomber blows himself up near a lineup of people applying for police jobs in Arbil in northern Iraq, killing more than 60 people.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer appears on Al-Jazeera television to appeal for the freedom of hostage Douglas Wood.

Iraqi militants holding Douglas Wood give the Australian government 72 hours to start pulling its troops out of Iraq. Foreign Minister Downer confirms Australia won't pull its troops.

Hisham al-Shibli, the Sunni Muslim named to be Iraq's human rights minister, turns down the job, saying he could not accept it because cabinet positions were awarded based on religious beliefs.

U.S. soldiers kill as many as 100 militants in a major offensive near the Syrian border in Anbar province, which includes Fallujah.

Anbar's governor, Raja Nawaf Farhan al-Mahalawi, is kidnapped while driving to Ramadi, the province's capital. He would be found dead in a collapsed house where he was being held near Rawah on May 29.

A wave of suicide bombings kills nearly 70 people in one day, including a suicide car bombing near a police station in Tikrit that kills at least 33 people.

The U.S. military releases a statement saying its operation near the Syrian border is over and the insurgency there quelled.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes a surprise visit to Iraq to meet with members of the new government.

U.S. army Spc. Sabrina Harman, 27, is convicted on six of seven counts against her for her role in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. Harman appeared in some of the best-known photographs from the prison. She would be sentenced to six months in prison.

British MP George Galloway testifies at a U.S. Senate subcommittee and denies he received vouchers from Saddam Hussein to buy millions of barrels of Iraqi oil. He blasts the Senate's "bizarre, grotesque" investigation process.

Britain's Sun newspaper and the New York Post run front-page photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear and other photos of the former Iraqi ruler in U.S. custody. A U.S. military spokesman says the photo was likely taken more than a year ago. Saddam's lawyer, Ziad Al-Khasawneh, says he plans to take legal action against the papers, both owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Three Romanian journalists and their Iraqi-American guide are freed after nearly two months in captivity in Iraq. The journalists were kidnapped in a Baghdad suburb on March 28 while on a short reporting trip.

On its website, the Iraq branch of al-Qaeda calls on supporters to pray for rebel leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who they say has been injured. The Iraqi government later confirms that al-Zarqawi is injured, but officials don't know how severely.

After two days of violence that leave nearly 50 people dead, two top Shia and Sunni organizations agree to try to curb sectarian tensions.

The U.S. military and Iraqi security forces step up their search for insurgents around Baghdad. The U.S. calls the crackdown Operation Lightning and describes it as the largest military operation in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Two suicide bombers blow themselves up among a crowd of police officers in Hillah, south of Baghdad, killing 30 people and wounding dozens of others.

APRIL 2005
U.S. military deaths: 84
Iraqi civilian deaths: 340-371

Members of Iraq's National Assembly elect a speaker and two deputies. The speaker is the Sunni Industry Minister Hajim al-Hassani. One deputy is a Kurd and the other a Shia.

Parliament elects Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani interim president, marking the first time a Kurd has been Iraq's president. The two elected vice-presidents are Abdel Abdul Mahdi, a Shia, and Ghazi Yawar, a Sunni.

Talabani and his two vice-presidents name Shia Arab Ibrahim al-Jaafari as interim prime minister. Al-Jaafari has two weeks to name a cabinet, which will enable the new government to begin drafting a permanent constitution.

Ten of thousands of Iraqis march through Baghdad to mark the second anniversary of Saddam Hussein's ouster and to demand the end of the U.S.-led occupation.

U.S. President Bush tells soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, that their work in Iraq isn't over. "There's a lot of work ahead. The Iraqi people face brutal and determined enemies," he says.

Al-Jazeera television airs a video showing an American contractor, Jeffrey Ake, who was kidnapped in Iraq days earlier. On the tape, Ake urges the U.S. government to withdraw from Iraq.

A pair of car bombs explode near government offices in Baghdad, killing 18 people and wounding 36.

U.S. federal prosecutors announce that three people, including a businessman from Texas, face charges for channelling kickbacks to Saddam in the UN oil-for-food scandal. A South Korean citizen is also charged with conspiracy to act as an illegal agent for the Iraqi government in the program.

Iraqi security forces surround Madain, a town south of Baghdad, after reports that Sunni militants abducted dozens, or as many as 150, Shias. Some reports say the forces clashed with militants in Madain. Some Sunni leaders question whether the hostage-taking ever took place.

The bodies of more than 50 Iraqis are pulled from Baghdad's Tigris River. As well, the bodies of 19 Iraqis are discovered in a soccer stadium in the town of Haditha, northwest of Baghdad. The victims are believed to be Iraqi soldiers kidnapped by insurgents.

At least 11 people, including six Americans and three Bulgarians, are killed when a helicopter chartered by the U.S. Defence Department is shot down north of Baghdad.

Charles Duelfer, head of the CIA's Iraq Survey Group, ends his hunt for weapons of mass destruction. Duelfer filed a report in October 2004 stating that Saddam Hussein had no such weapons, but wanted them.

A female member of the Iraqi assembly, Lameah Abed Khadouri, is shot and killed when she answers the door of her home in eastern Baghdad.

Al-Jaafari submits his proposed cabinet for approval by interim president Talabani. Al-Jaafari says the cabinet includes Shias, Sunnis and Kurds, but while Sunni factions were promised six ministers and one deputy prime minister, they received only four minor portfolios.

A day later, Iraq's National Assembly approves al-Jaafari's Shia-dominated cabinet.

Some 40 people are killed and dozens more are wounded after 11 car bombings occur in Baghdad and the nearby town of Madain.

MARCH 2005
U.S. military deaths: 36
Iraqi civilian deaths: 240
Iraqi police and guardsmen deaths: estimated 200

On the first day of March, at least 115 Iraqis die when a car bomb explodes in a crowd of police and Iraqi National Guard recruits lined up outside a medical clinic.

Militants shoot dead the Iraqi judge and his lawyer son who were working on the tribunal for the trial of Saddam Hussein. The two came under fire from a speeding car outside their home, just a day after the announcement that five former Baathist party officials would stand trial for crimes against humanity.

An official with the tribunal says the killing is connected to a personal issue, but the judge's family says it is connected to the work of the tribunal.

Ukraine's President Victor Yushchenko says that all 1,600 Ukrainian troops in Iraq will be withdrawn by mid-October. The first of the troops will start coming back this month. Ukraine, which had one of the largest force contingents in Iraq, will be participating in the reconstruction effort.

Insurgents in Northern Iraq bring gas production to a halt when they blow up a pipeline feeding a major power station.

Italy's joy at the release of journalist Giuliana Sgrena in Iraq quickly turns into grief over the death of the intelligence officer who negotiated Sgrena's release with her hostage-takers.

Nicola Calipari died when the car he and Sgrena were riding in came under U.S. fire. He shielded Sgrena with his own body and died in her arms from a head wound.

The U.S. administration apologizes for the accident and promises an investigation. In Italy, as many as 20,000 mourners pay their respects to Calipari at a state funeral.

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi makes a surprise announcement that Italian troops will begin to withdraw from Iraq in September. Italy has 3,000 troops in Iraq, and the withdrawal schedule will depend on the capability of Iraqi forces to handle security.

An American army lieutenant is sentenced to 45 days in jail on two counts of assault. He was initially charged with manslaughter and counts of conspiracy and lying to investigators about his role in forcing three Iraqis into the Tigris River. But all those charges were dropped in a plea deal, according to which he will testify against a higher-ranking officer.

The two-year anniversary of the war in Iraq is marked with tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrations in cities in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Iraqi and American troops kill about 85 opposition fighters in a single battle west of Tikrit, according to Iraqi military sources.

U.S. military deaths: 58
Iraqi civilian deaths: estimated 484

At least 110 people are killed when a suicide bomber explodes a car in the middle of a crowd of police and Iraqi National Guard recruits. The bombing occurs outside a medical clinic in Hilla, about 100 kilometres south of Baghdad, in the midst of a group of people lined up for checkups.

Iraqi security forces capture a key aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He is the al-Qaeda-linked militant leader Talib Mikhlif Arsan Walman al-Dulaymi, also known as Abu Qutaybah.

Three U.S. troops are killed and eight others injured in a roadside bombing northeast of Baghdad.

A series of attacks across Iraq kill at least 30 people, including 15 police officers who die when a uniformed man sets off a car bomb at a parking lot inside police headquarters in Tikrit.

A military court finds two British soldiers guilty of physically abusing Iraqi civilian detainees two years ago.

Australia announces it will send 450 more troops to Iraq. They are to provide security for Japanese engineers. Australia initially sent 2,000 troops to the war in Iraq and still has nearly 900 troops in or around the country.

The United Iraqi Alliance, Iraq's main Shia bloc, selects Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a conservative with close ties to Iran, as its candidate for prime minister after his main competitor, former Pentagon favourite Ahmad Chalabi, withdraws from the race.

Al-Jaafari's only opponent for prime minister is interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. With 48 per cent of the vote, the United Iraqi Alliance will likely form a coalition government with Kurdish parties, who won 26 per cent of the vote. Four Egyptians are freed by their abductors. The four technicians, who worked for an Iraqi mobile phone company, were kidnapped while on their way to work.

Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter for the left-wing paper Il Manifesto is kidnapped.

Insurgents attack a police station south of Baghdad. The hour-long gunfight kills 22 Iraqi security forces and 14 attackers.

At least 28 people are killed in insurgent attacks after a lull in violence following the elections.

U.S. deaths: 110
Iraqi civilian deaths: An estimate 428-456

A suicide car bomb kills 18 members of the Iraqi National Guard near a U.S. base north of Baghdad.

Three suicide car bombs explode in a single day, Jan. 3, killing at least 16 people. One of the bombs explodes near the party headquarters of Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Iraqi Defence Minister Hazem Shaalan suggests delaying the election at the end of January to try to convince the country's Sunnis not to boycott the vote.

An explosion at an ammunition dump south of Baghdad kills eight soldiers from Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Another 11 soldiers are wounded.

Britain pledges an extra 400 troops to prepare for the elections Jan. 30.

An audit reveals that the UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq wasted millions of dollars. Officials didn't monitor the program properly, allowing contractors to skip money from their contracts.

Ukraine's parliament unanimously votes to pull its troops from Iraq. The vote is non-binding and the decision will be up to incoming president Viktor Yushchenko.

The Iraqi Survey Group, a team of 1,200 U.S. military specialists, stops actively looking for weapons of mass destruction.

Militants gun down an aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's top Shia cleric, as well as the aide's son and four bodyguards. Iraqi officials accuse Sunni insurgents of inflaming the country's sectarian divisions before the election.

U.S. army Spc. Charles Graner Jr. is convicted on five charges related to abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. He is sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Two separate attacks in the areas of Suwaira and Kut kill 17 people. The areas had been used as a safe travelling route between Baghdad on southern Iraq.

Insurgents kill eight soldiers in the Iraqi National Guard at a checkpoint northeast of Baghdad. In a separate attack, eight people are killed in a suicide bombing at a police station in Beiji, north of Baghdad.

Three candidates for the Iraqi national election are killed in two attacks. All of the candidates are Shia, two from Prime Minister Allawi's political coalition.

Iraqi insurgents threaten to kill eight Chinese hostages unless China explains why it is helping to build facilities for the U.S.

A series of four suicide bombing across Baghdad within a 90-minute span kills at least 26 people. A group led by Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claims responsibility for the attacks, including one on the Australian Embassy.

An audiotape attributed to al-Zarqawi urges militants to be prepared for a lengthy holy war against U.S.-led forces in Iraq.

A car bomb explodes outside a Shia mosque in Baghdad just before Friday evening prayers on one of Islam's most important holidays, Eid al-Adha, killing 14 people. A separate suicide attack on a wedding near Youssifiyah, south of Baghdad, kills 16 people.

Iraqi militants free eight Chinese construction workers. The kidnappers say China agreed to discourage its citizens from travelling to Iraq.

An audio tape by al-Zarqawi declares all-out war on the Iraqi election, "the principle of democracy and all those who seek to enact it." The tape calls democracy "un-Islamic" because it violates the principle that laws must come from a divine source.

Iraqi authorities say they are holding Abu Omar al-Kurdi, a lieutenant to al-Zarqawi. A government statement says al-Kurdi was captured Jan. 15 following a car bomb near Prime Minister Allawi's Baghdad headquarters.

A U.S. military transport helicopter crashes during a sandstorm in Iraq's western desert near Jordan, killing 31 American marines. Five other U.S. troops are killed in two separate attacks.

Militants carry out six car bombings and other attacks on schools to be used as polling stations for the election. One of the attacks is a truck bombing near the offices of a major Kurdish party in northwestern Iraq that kills 15 people and injures 30 more.

At least 30 people are killed in separate attacks in Iraq, three days before the election. A suicide bomber rams a patrol in Samarra, north of Baghdad. A second car bomb strikes as rescue crews move in to the site of the first bombing, killing eight Iraqi soldiers and three civilians.

The Iraqi Electoral Commission publishes the candidates' list on its website four days before election day. Many of the candidates had kept their names secret until this time, fearing that extremists would target them for murder.

Two days before election day, Iraq seals its borders, restricts travel and expands curfews. Jan. 29-31 are also declared holidays. Driving on the streets will be restricted to election officials and vehicles will be prevented from travelling between provinces. Authorities say they have arrested three of al-Zarqawi's close associates.

Violence intensifies the day before the election. Polling stations are attacked in cities across Iraq. In Khaldiyah, militants force everyone out of a school used by the Iraqi National Guard and destroy it. A suicide bomber kills eight people outside a police station in Khanaqin. Five Iraqis are found slain in the street, their hands tied behind their backs, one of them decapitated. Militants accused them of working for the Americans.

On voting day, 44 people die in attacks across the country, including several in Baghdad. Nine suicide attackers target polling stations. Still, millions of Iraqi turn out to vote. The Electoral Commission puts the turnout at 60 per cent. "The Iraqis have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists," says U.S. President George W. Bush. Turnout is low, however, in Sunni areas of the country.

A British transport place crashes north of Baghdad, killing 10 British soldiers. The Iraqi militant group Ansar al-Islam claims on its website that it shot down the transport with an anti-tank missile.

Iraqi officials begin counting ballots, a process expected to take two weeks. Prime Minister Allawi calls on Iraqis to set aside their differences and work toward peace. Two of the strongest critics of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, France and Germany, praise Iraq's strong voter turnout. China welcomes the election as a way to make Iraqis "master of their country."

U.S. deaths: 66
Iraqi civilian deaths: 287-302

The Pentagon announces it will increase the American military presence in Iraq to 150,000 troops by ordering more soldiers to the country and extending the tours of duty of troops already there.

Thirty people, 16 of them police officers, are killed in two attacks on Baghdad police stations.

Two car bombs explode near a police station outside of Baghdad's Green Zone, killing seven police officers and wounding about 60 others. The Green Zone is the area housing the U.S. and British embassies and the offices of the Iraqi government.

Seven gunmen in two cars fire on a bus full of Iraqis working for the U.S. military, killing 21 and wounding 13 in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown.

Prime Minister Paul Martin again rules out sending Canadian troops into Iraq.

The U.S. reports on Dec. 7 that the 1,000th American soldier was killed in combat in Iraq since the start of the invasion. At this point, 1,275 U.S. service personnel have died in Iraq.

Eight U.S. soldiers file a lawsuit to get released from the American military, saying they have been kept in longer than their terms of enlistment specified.

At a question and answer period with U.S. troops, U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld answers a question on why many army vehicles lack armour protection, forcing soldiers to use scrap metal for protection. "You go to war with the army you have," Rumsfeld says, "not the army you might want or wish to have."

Japan extends the country's deployment of 550 non-combat troops in Iraq by one more year.

NATO officials expand the alliance's training mission in Iraq, but a number of member countries, including Canada, stand by their pledge to keep soldiers out of Iraq.

American soldier Staff Sgt. Johnny Horne pleads guilty to killing an injured Iraqi teenager in Sadr City in August. Witnesses describe the incident as a mercy killing, as the teen had suffered severe injuries when the soldiers found him and decided "to put him out of his misery."

A memorial is held in London's Westminster Cathedral for aid worker Margaret Hassan, believed killed by Iraqi insurgents. Her body has never been found.

The U.S. military denies a report that Saddam Hussein and 11 former members of his regime are on a hunger strike. Saddam's lawyers ask the International Red Cross to investigate.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq claims responsibility for a suicide car bombing at a checkpoint near Baghdad's Green Zone. The attack kills 13 people on the first anniversary of the capture of Saddam Hussein.

A suicide car bomb at a checkpoint leading into Baghdad's Green Zone kills seven Iraqis.

For the first time since his arrest a year ago, Saddam Hussein is allowed to meet with a lawyer.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali" for his role in chemical attacks on Iraqi Kurds in 1988, appears at a pre-trial hearing. Iraqi officials say he will be the first former member of the Saddam regime to go on trial for war crimes, possibly in mid-January 2005.

A mortar attack on an election office in Baghdad kills two and wounds eight, including six Iraqi National Guards.

A suicide bomber blows up his vehicle at the entrance of a bus station in Karbala, killing at least 14 people and wounding about 40 others. A car bomb in Najaf detonates in Maidan Square, near the Imam Ali Shrine, during a funeral procession, killing 54 people and wounding 142. The attacks are blamed on Sunni Muslim extremists hoping to derail the national elections in January 2005.

In Baghdad, 30 armed insurgents stop a car carrying five Iraqi electoral officials. The gunmen drag three of the men from the car and shoot them at point-black range.

Iraqi authorities arrest 50 people in Najaf in connection to the Maidan Square bombing.

New allegations of Iraqi prisoner abuse at the hands of U.S. soldiers are made public. Internal FBI memos, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, include details of detainees in Iraq being chained for long periods and left in cold prison cells. There are also accounts of torture at the Guantanamo Bay prisoner camp in Cuba.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair makes a surprise visit to Baghdad for talks with Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

An explosion in a mess tent in Mosel kills 22 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers, and wounds 69 others. U.S. military officials initially say the cause of the exposition was a rocket, and later say it was likely a suicide bomber wearing an Iraqi army uniform. It is the single deadliest attack against U.S. troops since the beginning of the invasion.

Two French reporters, kidnapped in August 2004, are released and return to Paris. "We told them we were not American," says Georges Malbrunot. "We immediately played the French journalist card."

Fighting begins again in Fallujah, as U.S. warplanes drop bombs on the outskirts of the city. The renewed fighting comes on the day authorities were expected to allow Fallujah residents who fled the city to return.

A U.S. Army soldier guards the site of a car bomb explosion near an office of the Iraqi Ministry of Education in Baghdad, Iraq Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004.(AP Photo/Mohammed Uraibi)
U.S. deaths: 137
Iraqi civilian deaths: 265-300

Voter registration in Iraq begins.

The deputy governor of Baghdad is killed while driving to work.

The Pentagon orders 6,500 troops in Iraq to extend their tours of duty for two months, until the expected end of the Iraqi elections in January 2005.

A car bomb explodes near the Iraqi Ministry of Education in Baghdad, killing at least five people.

George W. Bush wins re-election in the U.S. presidential vote.

The kidnappers of aid worker Margaret Hassan say they will hand her over to a group linked to al-Qaeda if Britain does not pull its troops from Iraq within 48 hours.

M�decins Sans Fronti�res, also known as Doctors Without Borders, closes its three clinics in Baghdad, saying the recent kidnapping of aid worker Margaret Hassan shows that it's "impossible for MSF as an organization to guarantee an acceptable level of security for our staff."

A suicide car bomber kills three British soldiers and an Iraqi civilian at a checkpoint south of Baghdad. The attack comes shortly after Black Watch troops, originally deployed in the south, took over for American troops in the central part of Iraq. In all, 73 British troops have been killed in Iraq.

Hungary announces it will withdraw 300 non-combat troops from Iraq by March 21, 2005.

American forces launch air strikes and artillery shells on rebel-held parts of Fallujah, as about 10,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops surround the city, cutting off all roads in and out. An estimated 80 per cent of the population of Fallujah has fled the city by this point. U.S. troops seize a hospital and two bridges over the Euphrates River in western Fallujah.

Iraq imposes emergency law across the country, except for the Kurd-controlled north. Vehicular traffic is banned. Men between the ages of 15 and 55 are forbidden from going outside.

On the first day of an all-out assault on Fallujah, U.S. marines and soldiers push into the city's northwest Jolan district and northeast Askari district.

U.S. and Iraqi troops push into the centre of Fallujah on the second day of the assault.

The U.S. military claims to control 70 per cent of Fallujah after the third day of the assault on the city. It says hundreds of insurgents have died in the attack.

Police forces in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul are overwhelmed by insurgent attacks, prompting the Iraqi government to send troops to quell the uprising. Insurgents targeted police stations and key bridges in the city.

Five days into the assault on Fallujah, the U.S. claims it controls 80 per cent of the city. A marine commander says troops have insurgents cornered in the southwest section of Fallujah.

After six days of fighting, the U.S. military declares Fallujah occupied. Iraqi officials admit to two failures in the assault: insurgent leaders Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Sheik Abdullah al-Janabi were not captured.

U.S. warplanes are used to strike at pockets of resistance in Fallujah.

Margaret Hassan, director of CARE International in Iraq, is killed nearly a month after being kidnapped in Baghdad. Al-Jazeera says it received a tape showing Hassan being shot. Her husband, Tahseen Hassan, pleads for her body to be returned to him.

U.S. and Iraqi forces launch an assault on Mosul to retake key positions from rebels.

The U.S. military begins an investigation into the alleged shooting of a wounded Iraqi by a U.S. marine in a mosque in Fallujah, apparently captured on tape by an American reporter.

The assault on Fallujah kills 51 U.S. troops, eight Iraqi government soldiers, and about 1,200 Iraqi insurgents. More than 425 U.S. soldiers were wounded in the attacks.

A suicide bomber drives his car into an American convoy, killing at least 10 Iraqis in Beiji, 250 kilometres north of Baghdad.

The International Committee of the Red Cross appeals for civilians still in Fallujah. The Iraqi government says it will send food and medical teams to the city.

Iraqi and U.S. forces storm a Sunni Muslim mosque in Baghdad, killing at least three people. The attack comes a day after the government warned that religious leaders who incited violence would be considered supporters of terrorism.

Teresa Borcz Khalifa, a Polish-born woman who was taken hostage in November, is released and returns to Warsaw. Khalifa says her captors treated her "properly."

In Mosul, U.S. troops find the bodies of nine Iraqi soldiers, all shot in the back of the head.

The Iraqi Electoral Commission announces the country will hold a national election Jan. 20, 2005.

A group of 19 countries, including the U.S., Russia, Japan and Canada, agree to write off billions of dollars of debt for Iraq.

A study by Iraq's health minister and the UN suggests malnutrition among Iraqi children has nearly doubled since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

About 5,000 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers sweep through towns southwest of Baghdad capturing 32 suspected insurgents.

The Pentagon says the number of U.S. soldiers wounded during the invasion and occupation of Iraq has topped 9,000.

At a diplomatic meeting in Egypt, 20 countries agree to support the U.S.-backed interim government in Iraq. Many of the 20 opposed the U.S.-led invasion.

U.S. military officials say the amount of weapons troops seized from rebels in Fallujah was "stunning," enough to control the entire country.

Several Iraqi political parties call for a postponement of the national election for at least six months, until the safety of voters can be guaranteed. Prime Minister Ayad Allawi rejects any delay to the election.

About 100 militants storm government buildings in Al Khalis, 65 kilometres north of Baghdad, occupying the City Hall for a brief time before U.S. and Iraqi troops recapture the building, after a two-hour gun battle.

Iraqi insurgents explode a car bomb near a police checkpoint in western Iraq, killing at least seven people.

In the last two weeks of November, dozens of Iraqi police, National Guard and government soldiers are killed in clashes with insurgents across the country.

U.S. deaths: 63
Iraqi civilian deaths: 292-311

The U.S. military claims success in controlling the Iraqi city of Samarra, an insurgent stronghold. About 3,000 U.S. and 2,000 Iraqi soldiers capture key sites in the city. Iraq's defence minister announces on television that fighting is over in the city.

Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S. weapons inspector, presents a report to the Senate showing that, although Saddam Hussein wanted to acquire them, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Vice-President Dick Cheney says the report supports, rather than undermines, the decision to invade Iraq.

A car bomb explodes near a civil defence building in Anah, killing 10 National Guard recruits and wounding more than 20 others.

Followers of Muqtada al-Sadr agree to a ceasefire in Sadr City. Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi says the Iraqi government will not negotiate or sign anything to confirm the agreement.

British hostage Kenneth Bigley is beheaded by his captors, Tawhid and Jihad, a group linked with al-Qaeda. British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he feels "utter revulsion� at the barbaric nature of the killing."

Two car bombs explode in Baghdad, killing at least 11 people, including a U.S. soldier.

Ten Turkish hostages are released after their employer, a construction company, agrees to stop work in Iraq.

American and Iraqi investigators unearth a mass grave containing 100 bodies near Hatra in northern Iraq. It's believed the bodies are those of Kurds killed during the late 1980s.

The U.S. begins an investigation into the actions of a group of army reservists who refused to go on a supply mission. The soldiers claim they were ordered to transport contaminated fuel in unarmoured and poorly maintained vehicles to an army base in an area where insurgents were active.

Staff Sgt. Ivan (Chip) Frederick pleads guilty to five charges in connection to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, including conspiracy, dereliction of duty, maltreatment of detainees, assault and committing an indecent act. He is sentenced to eight years in prison.

Margaret Hassan, a British-Irish-Iraqi aid worker for CARE International, is kidnapped. The organization suspends operations in the country and her husband, Tahseen Ali Hassan, pleads for her release.

U.K. Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon announces that 850 British troops and support staff would be deployed to Baghdad to free up U.S. troops there.

Margaret Hassan appears in a videotape aired by Al-Jazeera, pleading for her life and begging Britain to pull its troops out of Iraq.

A car bomb outside the gates of a U.S. marine base in the city of Ramadi in western Iraq kills 16 Iraqi police officers and wounds 40 others.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the group formerly known as Tawhid and Jihad, attacks a convoy carrying recent Iraqi army recruits near Mandali in eastern Iraq, killing 49 of them. Gunmen shoot 37 of the recruits in the back of the head with their hands tied behind their backs, and the bodies of 12 others are found in a burned bus.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that 350 tonnes of explosives are missing and probably looted from Al Qaqaa, a former Iraqi military facility.

British troops begin moving from Basra in southern Iraq to Baghdad.

Margaret Hassan appears in another videotape, appealing to British Prime Minister Tony Blair not to send soldiers to Baghdad and to release female prisoners.

The Ansar al-Sunnah Army posts a video on its website showing the execution of 11 Iraqi troops, who were kidnapped in Baghdad. One of the soldiers is beheaded and the others shot.

A study in The Lancet medical journal estimates that the war in Iraq caused nearly 100,000 Iraqi deaths that would not have occurred otherwise.

Japanese tourist Shosei Koda is kidnapped from a bus station in Baghdad and killed. His captors wanted Japan to pull its troops from Iraq.

A suicide car bomb explodes and kills eight U.S. marines and wounds nine others in Anbar province, where Fallujah and Ramadi are located.

A car bomb explodes outside the Arab television station Al-Arabiya, killing seven people and wounding 19 others.

U.S. deaths: 76
Iraqi civilian deaths: 233-256

Gunmen ambush the convoy of Ahmed Chalabi, former president of the Iraqi Governing Council, wounding two of his bodyguards. Hours later, Chalabi announces that counterfeiting charges against him have been dropped.

A suicide bombing outside the police academy in Kirkuk kills at least 20 people.

A suicide bomber blows himself up near two U.S. marine vehicles, killing seven American marines and three Iraqi soldiers.

The Associated Press reports that the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq has passed 1,000.

A U.S. military court sentences military intelligence soldier Spec. Armin J. Cruz to eight months in prison after he pleaded guilty to abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison. Cruz confessed to forcing inmates to crawl naked on the floor and making them simulate sex acts.

Fighting in Baghdad and Tara, in eastern Iraq, kills more than 100 Iraqis in a single day.

Nearly 60 people are killed when a car bomb explodes near a police station in Baghdad where dozens of people are lined up to apply to join the police force. The same day, gunmen open fire on police near Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad, killing 11 officers and one civilian.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan tells the BBC the U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq without Security Council approval was illegal.

At least 13 people are killed and 50 injured when a car bomb explodes in front of a row of parked police cars in Baghdad.

A suicide bomber blows up a car near the headquarters of the Iraqi National Guard in Kirkuk, killing 20 people lining up to apply for jobs there.

Members of the al-Qaeda-linked group Tawhid and Jihad kidnap two Americans and a Briton from a house in an upscale Baghdad neighbourhood. Al-Jazeera television later releases video footage of the hostages and says a militant group threatened to behead the men unless its demands, including the release of all Iraqi women prisoners, were met.

A website used by Islamic militant groups posts a video showing the apparent beheading of one of the American hostages, identified as Eugene Armstrong. The website later reports that the other American hostage has been killed. The bodies of both men would later be recovered.

The website later posts a videotape of the British hostage, Kenneth Bigley, pleading for his life. "Please, please release the female prisoners that are held in Iraqi prisons," he says. British Prime Minister Tony Blair says there's little he can do to secure Bigley's release.

Al-Jazeera airs another videotape, showing a sobbing Bigley, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, talking behind an iron cage as his hands and legs are chained. Once again he pleads with Blair to help win his release.

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi speaks to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress and thanks the U.S. for liberating his country.

At a conference for the British Labour party in Brighton, U.K., Blair defends his government's action in invading Iraq. "The world is a better place with Saddam in prison and out of power," he says.

At least 35 children and seven adults are killed in a series of bombings in Baghdad. The blasts also injured 141 people, including U.S. soldiers. U.S. troops were handing out candy to children at a ceremony opening a new sewage treatment plant.

U.S. deaths: 65
Iraqi civilian deaths: 180-203

A video posted on the internet appears to show a Turkish hostage being executed by members of Tawhid and Jihad, a militant group linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

A military investigator testifies that U.S. soldiers charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison were "joking around, having some fun during the night shift." The hearing is held to decide whether Pte. 1st Class Lynndie England should face a court martial for her alleged participation in the abuse. England's lawyers claim she was following orders.

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi signs an amnesty deal for Iraqis "who have committed minor crimes and have not yet been apprehended or prosecuted."

Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi opposition leader whom the U.S. once favoured to lead post-Saddam Iraq, is accused of counterfeiting old Iraqi dinars. His nephew, Salem Chalabi, the head of the tribunal trying Saddam, is accused in the killing of the director general of the finance minister.

The Iraqi government restores the death penalty.

American warplanes and helicopters attack suspected militant positions in Najaf, where insurgents loyal to Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are based. Fighting spreads from Najaf to other Shia areas of the country. Al-Sadr says he will continue to fight the U.S. occupation in Iraq "until the last drop of my blood has been spilled."

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says American forces in Najaf are "squeezing the city� to help stabilize the situation and deal with the Mahdi Army." About 2,000 U.S. marines and 1,800 Iraqi soldiers form a perimeter around the city while Iraqi officials negotiate with al-Sadr's supporters.

Talks between Iraqi officials and Shia militants in Najaf break down. Al-Sadr had demanded that the U.S. withdraw its soldiers from the city. He also wanted amnesty for his fighters in exchange for disarming the militia and pulling them out of the Imam Ali shrine.

An official with the Iraqi interior ministry says all journalists have been ordered to leave Najaf for their safety.

A U.S. warplane drops a bomb on Najaf's major cemetery, adjacent to the Imam Ali shrine, where militants loyal to al-Sadr have been stationed. The Iraqi interim government sends a delegation to meet with the militants.

Al-Sadr agrees to disarm his Mahdi Army, leave the Imam Ali shrine and transform the militia into a political party. Al-Sadr later rescinds the agreement via a text message to the Iraqi cabinet: "Either martyrdom or victory."

U.S. tanks, warplanes and helicopters bombard targets near the Imam Ali mosque for five hours. Iraq's health ministry would later say that 77 Iraqis died during the bombing. The shrine itself appears undamaged.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a top Shia cleric, agrees to take control of the Imam Ali shrine to break the two-week standoff between militants there, and Iraqi and U.S. troops.

Fighting continues as U.S. tanks move in towards the shrine. The shrine's outer wall is damaged in the battle and an aide to al-Sadr claims shrapnel hit the shrine's golden dome. The U.S. military denies damaging the shrine.

Al-Sistani brokers a peace deal between the Iraqi government and the militants, promising amnesty to al-Sadr. Iraqi police and national guardsmen surround the shrine, as thousands of pilgrims, who had accompanied al-Sistani, flood into the holy site.

An aide to al-Sadr says he has called for a countrywide ceasefire.

An independent commission into the Abu Ghriab prison abuses says senior Pentagon officials share part of the blame for the "sadism" and "chaos" that occurred there. Another report on the prison blames individual misconduct and a failure of leadership for the abuse.

JULY 2004
U.S. deaths: 54
Iraqi civilian deaths: 245-254

Deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein appears in a Baghdad courtroom to be arraigned on seven charges. "This is theatre. The real criminal is Bush," says Saddam, who identifies himself to the court as "Saddam Hussein Al-Majeed, president of the Republic of Iraq." Saddam refuses to sign court documents without the presence of his lawyer.

The U.S. Senate releases a scathing report saying pre-war intelligence claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction was wrong and overstated. "That information was flawed," says Senator Pat Roberts, the Republican committee chair. Democratic Senator John Rockefeller calls it "the most devastating losses and intelligence failures in the history of the nation."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair accepts responsibility for flaws in the country's pre-war intelligence on Iraq's weapons program. Lord Robin Butler, leader of a five-month inquiry into the intelligence dossier, said Saddam "did not have significant, if any, stocks of chemical or biological weapons in a state fit for deployment or developed plans for using them."

The U.S. launches an air strike on a suspected safehouse used by foreign militants in Fallujah. Hospital officials say 11 people are killed in the strike.

Iraqi militants free Filipino truck driver Angelo de la Cruz two weeks after taking him hostage to force the Philippine government to pull its troops from Iraq. De la Cruz is dropped off on the steps of the United Arab Emirates' Embassy in Baghdad. The Philippines withdrew its 51 soldiers from Iraq a month early meet the demands of the kidnappers.

A roadside bomb kills a member of the 1st Infantry Division. The Associated Press says the incident puts the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq at 900.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell meets with Saudi leaders in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. They discuss a proposal for a stabilization force in Iraq made up of soldiers from Muslim countries that don't border Iraq, such as Malaysia, Algeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Morocco. Pakistan announces it could also send troops to join the force.

Militants announce they have killed two Pakistani hostages because Pakistan is considering sending troops to Iraq.

Powell also meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi in Saudi Arabia. Allawi throws his support behind the plan for a Muslim force in Iraq. Powell then makes a surprise visit to Baghdad, where he meets with John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer and Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh.

At least 68 people die when a truck bomb explodes in a crowd gathered to register for police jobs in Baqouba, 55 kilometres northeast of Baghdad.

JUNE 2004
U.S. deaths: 42
Iraqi civilian deaths: 311-342

Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, the head of Iraq's Governing Council, is named president of the country after the Americans' preferred candidate, Adnan Pachachi, turned down the post. Al-Yawer has been critical of security under the U.S.-led occupation. The new Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, and the rest of the cabinet are also named.

Allawi tells his people the U.S.-led occupation should remain in Iraq even after the June 30 handover of power. He also announces an agreement that will see nine Iraqi militias disband. The militias involved in the deal do not include the al-Mahdi Army, followers of Muqtada al-Sadr.

Two car bombings, one in Baqouba in the north and one in Mosul, kill 14 Iraqis and an American soldier, and injure dozens of others.

The UN Security Council unanimously votes to transfer sovereignty in Iraq to a national government and end the rule of the Coalition Provisional Authority on June 30.

The U.S. commission investigating the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, reports that there is "no credible evidence" that Iraq and al-Qaeda co-operated in the attacks.

A sport utility vehicle filled with artillery shells explodes outside a crowded Iraqi army recruiting office in Baghdad, killing 41 people and injuring 150 others.

A U.S. aircraft fires two missiles at a house in a residential neighbourhood in Fallujah, killing 22 people, including three women and five children. The explosion destroys two buildings and damages six others. U.S. officials say the house was used by associates of Iraq's most wanted militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Iraqi militants, purportedly linked to al-Qaeda, release a videotape showing 33-year-old Korean hostage Kim Sun-il pleading for his life. The militants demand that South Korea stop its planned deployment of 3,000 more troops to Iraq. Seoul refuses. South Korea's foreign minister later confirms that militants in Iraq have beheaded Kim.

Co-ordinated attacks on government and police buildings across Iraq kill about 100 people and injure another 320. Tawhid and Jihad, a wing of a group led by militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has been linked to al-Qaeda, claims responsibility.

The U.S. launches an air strike on a building in Fallujah suspected of being the hideout of militants linked to al-Qaeda, killing 25 people.

The U.S. transfers sovereignty to Iraq two days ahead of schedule in an apparent bid to foil disruptions by insurgents. The country's new government is formally sworn in and former U.S. governor Paul Bremer leaves the country.

Iraqis are given legal custody of Saddam Hussein and 11 others, including former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz and Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali." The 12 are now criminal defendants, not prisoners of war, although they are still being held in prisons run by the U.S. and guarded by the U.S. military.

MAY 2004
U.S. deaths: 80
Iraqi civilian deaths: 187-206

About 700 U.S. marines leave Fallujah as part of a pullout plan. Scores of Iraqis take to the street in celebration.

President Bush appears on two Arabic-language TV stations and vows that those responsible for the "abhorrent" abuse of Iraqi prisoners will be "held to account" for their crimes.

With King Abdullah of Jordan at his side, President Bush issues an apology for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners from the White House Rose Garden. Bush promises a full investigation.

U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld apologizes for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. "As secretary of defence, I am accountable for them. I take full responsibility," he says.

Sabrina Harman, one of the American soldiers charged in the prison abuse scandal, says she and her fellow military police were following orders from military intelligence.

U.S. President George W. Bush stands by his defence secretary in the face of increasing calls for his resignation, saying Donald Rumsfeld is "doing a superb job."

A video on a website linked to al-Qaeda shows a captured American civilian, who identifies himself as Nick Berg, being beheaded with a knife. One of the five men, wearing headscarves, is shown holding the head to the camera as the men shout "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great." The man who cuts Berg's head off is identified as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. The killing is apparently in retaliation for the abuse of Iraqi soldiers by U.S. troops. "The dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib [prison] and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls," says one of the men.

Members of the U.S. Congress view new photos and videos of prisoner abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison. The abuse includes forced simulated acts of homosexual sex, dogs snarling at prisoners, and female prisoners ordered to exposes their breasts. "Take the worst case and multiply it several times over," said Democratic Senator Ron Wyden.

The U.S. frees nearly 300 Iraqis from Abu Ghraib prison. Some of the former prisoners tell reporters they saw evidence of abuse of other prisoners and were forced to undress in front of female guards. Some say were never told why they were arrested.

Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits is sentenced to a year in prison for his role in the abuse of Iraqi detainees in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison.

Iraqi officials claim more than 40 people are killed when an American helicopter fired on a wedding party in al-Qaim, Iraq.

The final group of Spanish soldiers leaves Iraq.

Hussain al-Sharistani, a nuclear scientist who earned his doctorate at the University of Toronto, turns down an offer to serve as Iraqi prime minister.

Iraq's Governing Council names Ayad Allawi as the man who will become prime minister once the Americans hand power to an interim government. The former Baath Party loyalist had returned to Iraq after Saddam was ousted. He had lived in exile since 1971 and had formed the opposition Iraqi National Accord.

APRIL 2004
U.S. deaths: 135
Iraqi civilian deaths: 338-345*

Twelve U.S. marines are killed when a group of Iraqis attack their position near the governor's palace in Ramadi. The Iraqi insurgents also take heavy casualties. American troops block the entrances to Fallujah and attack militant positions deep in the city.

A U.S. helicopter fires three missiles into a mosque in Fallujah, killing at least 40 people.

A ceasefire is declared in Fallujah, where at least 600 Iraqis have died since the fighting broke out.

Bush appears in a prime-time televised new conference and stands by his policy on Iraq, saying, "We're changing the world." U.S. forces set up checkpoints around Najaf to try to find Muqtada al-Sadr, a Muslim cleric suspected of leading rebel forces.

Arab network al-Jazeera receives a videotape showing the killing of an Italian hostage.

Muqtada al-Sadr calls for a two-day ceasefire to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad's death, but talks to end clashes break down.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero orders all Spanish troops out of Iraq as soon as possible.

Honduras announces it will withdraw its troops as soon as possible.

U.S. President Bush nominates UN Ambassador John Negroponte as the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

Four car bombs explode in Basra, a British-controlled city in southern Iraq, near three police stations and a police academy. An hour later, a fifth car bomb explodes at another academy. The attacks kill 68 people, including 16 school children, and injure more than 200 others. A ceasefire in Fallujah fails and fighting between U.S. troops and Sunni insurgents resumes.

Iraq's Governing Council picks a new flag for the country, featuring blue and yellow stripes and a pale blue crescent, only to have it criticized for being too similar to Israel's.

The U.S. military charges six soldiers after photographs of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners are published. The British military also begins investigating the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. Both governments stress that they were the acts of individual soldiers.

A former general in Saddam Hussein's army is slated to lead the Fallujah Protective Army, a force of some 1,100 Iraqi soldiers that will be responsible for the city's security.

MARCH 2004
U.S. deaths: 50
Iraqi civilian deaths: 675-693*

Iraq's interim government council agrees on a temporary constitution that limits the role of Islamic law in the country, making it one source for the country's civil law, but not the primary one. It also allows some autonomy for Kurds in the northern part of Iraq and sets aside 25 per cent of the seats in the legislature for women.

At least 58 people are killed and 200 wounded when at least three suicide bombers set off their explosives in a mosque in northern Baghdad as tens of thousands of Shias marked the climax of the Ashoura festival. In the holy city of Karbala, at least 85 people die and 100 are injured in another attack.

U.S. President George W. Bush marks the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by calling the first day of the war a "day of deliverance" for the Iraqi people.

Millions of people around the world take to the streets to protest against the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and to mark the first anniversary of the U.S. war aimed at ousting Saddam Hussein.

Four U.S. civilian contractors are killed when Iraqi gunmen attack their two four-wheel drive vehicles. The four bodies are taken from the burning vehicles, dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge. Some of the bodies are dismembered.

U.S. deaths: 20
Iraqi civilian deaths: 647-663*

More than 100 people are killed in suicide bomb attacks on two Kurdish party headquarters in Irbil in northern Iraq.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan announces that the UN will send a transition team to Iraq to help establish a new provisional government.

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's top Shia cleric, survives an assassination attempt in Najaf after gunmen fired on his car. Sistani had spoken out against the U.S. plan for transferring power back to Iraqis through indirect regional caucuses, preferring direct elections.

A blast outside a police station in Iskandariyah, about 50 kilometres south of Baghdad, kills 53 people and injures as many as 75.

An army recruiting centre in Baghdad is the target of a suicide car bombing that kills 47 people.

Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, says elections in Iraq may be delayed until 2005 because of a lack of elections laws or a reliable voters list.

U.S. deaths: 47
Iraqi civilian deaths: 466-482*

Japan sends 30 members of its Ground Self Defence Force to Iraq as an advance team to give humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. The full deployment would eventually include as many as 600 ground troops and 400 sailors. Is it Japan's largest overseas military mission since the Second World War.

About 30 people are killed in a suicide car bombing near the main gate of the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, formerly one of Saddam Hussein's palaces.

David Kay steps down as the chief U.S. arms inspector. He later says after nine months of searching he doubts Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. He also questions the abilities of the American intelligence services.

U.S. deaths: 40
Iraqi civilian deaths: 423-439*

The convoy of U.S. administrator Paul Bremer hits an explosive device and comes under gunfire in Baghdad. Bremer escapes uninjured.

Saddam Hussein is captured in a tiny bunker near his hometown of Tikrit. "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him. The tyrant is a prisoner," the chief civilian administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, would announce the next day.

A car bomb explosion outside a police station west of Baghdad kills at least 17 people and injures 33.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says the UN must take a leading role in rebuilding the country and accuses the organization of not helping Iraq in the past by allowing Saddam Hussein to stay in power.

U.S. deaths: 82
Iraqi civilian deaths: 469-484*

The UN Security Council unanimously approves a U.S.-sponsored resolution calling for financial and military aid in the reconstruction of Iraq.

U.S. President George W. Bush signs a bill giving more than $87 billion to finance the occupation of Iraq. U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld alerts nearly 130,000 to prepare for a year-long tour in Iraq.

The International Committee of the Red Cross closes its offices in Baghdad and Basra because of the increased violence.

About 32 people are killed, including 19 Italian soldiers and eight Iraqis, when a truck bomb explodes outside Italian police headquarters in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah.

The Iraqi governing council sets a timetable for the handover of power in the country, setting June 2004 as a deadline for having a provisional government in place.

President George W. Bush makes a surprise visit to Baghdad for Thanksgiving dinner with American troops. Bush is on the ground for about 2� hours.

U.S. deaths: 44
Iraqi civilian deaths: 469-501*

Iraq removes Saddam Hussein's image from its currency.

At least 10 people are dead after a suicide car bomb explodes at a police station in the Shia district of Sadr City, northeast of Baghdad.

Thirty-five people are killed, and more than 200 injured in four separate car bombings in Baghdad. One explodes outside the headquarters of International Committee of the Red Cross, three others outside or near Iraqi police stations. A suspected car bomber is detained outside another police station.

U.S. deaths: 30
Iraqi civilian deaths: 522-533*

Car bomb kills one at police headquarters in Baghdad

A car bomb wounds 53 people, including six American military personnel, in Irbil, northern Iraq. Only the bomber is killed.

Iraq's former defence minister accepts a negotiated surrender and turns himself over to U.S. custody.

Two people are killed, including the bomber, in a car bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.

A bomb planted on a roadway destroys two buses in Baghdad. One person is killed and more than 20 wounded. The same day, an explosion in a cinema in Mosul kills two and injures up to 20.

U.S. deaths: 35
Iraqi civilian deaths: 379-405*

At least 17 people are killed in a bombing at the Jordanian Embassy.

Twenty-three people are dead, including UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and two Canadians, after a bombing at the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

A Pentagon official announces that former Iraqi defence minister Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali," is in U.S. custody.

Shia Muslim leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim is among 125 dead after a car bomb explodes at the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf.

JULY 2003
U.S. deaths: 47
Iraqi civilian deaths: 375-398*

A blast kills seven Iraqi police recruits at their graduation ceremony in Ramadi.

Washington admits that claims President Bush made in his state of the union message about Iraq's nuclear program were wrong.

U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld says the U.S. didn't declare war on Iraq because of new evidence of banned weapons, but because existing evidence was seen in a new light after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The director of the CIA says his agency was to blame for Bush's false claim that Iraq was seeking nuclear material from Africa.

The U.S. administration in Iraq appoints a new governing council, which quickly cancels all holidays associated with the Saddam regime and declares April 9, the date of Saddam's deposement, a national holiday.

U.S. administrator Paul Bremer predicts that Iraqis could be voting in a general election by mid-2004.

JUNE 2003
U.S. deaths: 30
Iraqi civilian deaths: 412-443*

Bush tells U.S. troops in Qatar the invasion of Iraq was justified and vows to "reveal the truth" about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

An explosion beside a mosque in Fallujah kills nine Iraqis, including an imam.

Six British soldiers are killed in two attacks in Basra.

MAY 2003
U.S. deaths: 37

A jet carrying U.S. President George W. President Bush, dressed in a navy flight suit, lands on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. Later, with a banner reading "Mission Accomplished" behind him, Bush declares an end to major conflict and thanks American troops for a "job well done."

The UN Security Council lifts economic sanctions against Iraq and gives the U.S. and U.K. control of the country until a government is formed.

Source: CBC, AP, iraqbodycount.net

* These death figures are estimates based on figures from iraqbodycount.net that span several months, for example, deaths recorded in Iraqi morgues. The figures have been averaged over the months they span.


REALITY CHECK: Death toll, the numbers debate
PHOTO GALLERIES: Iraq: Insurgency and Uncertainty Iraq: Dangerous Days Saddam Hussein Saddam captured: Editorial cartoons Saddam: The Rise and Fall

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Progress or Peril? Measuring Iraq's Reconstruction from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (.pdf document)

The Department of Foreign Affairs



U.S. Department of Defence contracts

Iraq Program Management Office

Wolfowitz Memo (.pdf document)

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