Thursday, April 05, 2007

Occupation by Coalition Forces

Iraq was invaded in March 2003 by a United States-organized coalition with the stated reasons that Iraq had not abandoned its nuclear and chemical weapons development program according to United Nations resolution 687. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, United Nations Security Council, under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, adopted resolution 678, authorizing armed action against Iraq. Resolution 678 contained vague language authorizing U.N. member states to use "all necessary means" to "restore international peace and security in the area." After Iraq was expelled from Kuwait, the United Nations passed a cease-fire resolution 687. The agreement included provisions obligating Iraq to discontinue its nuclear weapons program. United States asserted that because Iraq was in "material breach" of resolution 687, the armed forces authorization of resolution 678 was revived.

Downtown Baghdad monument of Saddam Hussein vandalized by Iraqis shortly after the Occupation of Coalition Forces in April 2003.The public justifications, given for invasion included purported Iraqi government links to Al Qaeda, claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the opportunity to remove an oppressive dictator from power, and the bringing of democracy to Iraq. In his State of Union Address on January 29, 2002, the American President George W. Bush declared Iraq as being a member of the "axis of evil". Like North Korea and Iran, Iraq's attempt to acquire weapons of mass destruction gave credentials to claim that the Iraqi government caused a serious threat to America's national security. "Iraq continues to flaunt its hostilities toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade... This is a regime that agreed to international inspections--then kicked out inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world... By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes [Iran, Iraq and North Korea] pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred."

The United States established the Coalition Provisional Authority to govern Iraq. Government authority was transferred to an Iraqi Interim Government in 2004 and a permanent government was elected in October 2005. Over 140,000 Coalition troops remain in Iraq in order to assist the government.

Studies have placed the number of civilians deaths as high as 655,000 (see The Lancet study), though most studies have put the number much lower, such as the Iraq Body Count project, which uses a figure at less than 10% of The Lancet Study. However, the Iraq Body Count website points out "Our maximum therefore refers to reported deaths - which can only be a sample of true deaths unless one assumes that every civilian death has been reported. It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media." .

After the invasion, al-Qaeda was able to exploit the insurgency to establish its organization in the country in concurrency with a Arab-Sunni led insurgency and sectarian violence. In 2006, Foreign Policy Magazine named Iraq as the fourth most unstable nation in the world.

On December 30, 2006, Saddam Hussein was hanged to death. Hussein's half-brother and former intelligence chief Barzan Hassan and former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court Awad Hamed al-Bandar were similarly executed on January 15, 2007. Later, Taha Yassin Ramadan, Saddam's former deputy and former vice-president (originally sentenced to life in prison but later to death by hanging), was likewise executed on March 20, 2007, the fourth and last man in the al-Dujail trial to die by hanging for crimes against humanity.