Chronology of the Iraq War: 2004

Article excerpt

Social Education Staff

The November-December 2002 issue of SOCIAL EDUCATION included a timeline of the history of Iraq (pp. 422-23). In our January/February 2004 issue, we published a chronology of events affecting Iraq in 2003, the year of the U.S. invasion (pp. 41-45). The following chronology provides an update for 2004.

January

11 Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani criticizes the U.S. plan to establish an Iraqi Transitional National Assembly to succeed the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) on June 30. Under the plan, members of the assembly will be elected by caucuses whose members have been chosen or vetted by the CPA and IGC. Sistani calls for elections instead of caucuses.

15 An estimated 30,000 Iraqis demonstrate in the southern Iraqi town of Basra in favor of Ayatollah Sistani's call for elections.

17 The number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the invasion in March climbs to 500.

18 A suicide bomber detonates a pick-up truck laden with 500kg of explosives at the main gate of the U.S. headquarters in Baghdad's "Green Zone" (the heavily fortified administrative and military zone guarded by U.S. troops), killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 100.

19 About 100,000 Shia Muslims demonstrate in Baghdad in support of Ayatollah Sistani's demand for prompt elections.

28 David Kay, the former head of the U.S. weapons inspection teams in Iraq, tells a senate committee "we were almost all wrong" in believing before the war that Saddam Hussein had chemical or biological arms.

February

1 More than 60 people are killed and more than 200 wounded when two suicide bombers blow themselves up at the offices in Irbil of the two main Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

3 After a meeting between President Bush and UN Secretary General Annan, Bush announces his support for a UN role in arranging the transition in Iraq from direct U.S. rule through the CPA to a new Iraqi government and in judging how early it is feasible to hold elections in Iraq.

9 The U.S. releases a letter it says is from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Al Qaeda's leadership asking for help in launching attacks against Shia Muslims to undermine the future Iraqi government. Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born leader with previous links to Al Qaeda, is trying to rally Iraq's Sunni Muslims to his jihadist movement fighting in Iraq against the U.S. and its Iraqi allies.

10 A car bomb outside a police station in the central Iraqi town of Iskandariya kills about 50, mainly would-be police recruits, and injures about 100.

11 More than 40 Iraqis are killed in a suicide car bomb attack on a recruitment center for Iraqi security forces in Baghdad.

12 Senior UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi meets Ayatollah Sistani at his home in Najaf to discuss the prospects of holding elections in Iraq. Insurgents in Falluja open fire on a convoy carrying the U.S. senior commander in Iraq, General John Abizaid.

14 Iraqi insurgents launch an organized raid on a police station in Falluja, killing more than 20 Iraqi policemen.

18 At least 13 people are killed, and many civilians and coalition troops injured, in an attack by two explosive-laden trucks on a Polish military camp in Hilla, a town south of Baghdad.

19 UN Secretary General Annan tells diplomats that it is not practical to hold elections in Iraq before the planned handover of power on June 30, and the earliest date for elections will be late in 2004 or early in 2005. He is willing to send his envoy Lakhdar Brahimi back to Iraq to negotiate the formation of an Iraqi caretaker government to take power on June 30 and prepare for elections.

20 The Washington Post reports that the U.S. has dropped its plan for a caucus-selected assembly to elect the post-June 30 Iraqi government. …