Added to Various — Operation Iraqi Freedom

1 January
2009The United States handed control of the Green Zone and Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace to the Iraqi government in a ceremonial move described by the country’s prime minister as a restoration of Iraq’s sovereignty. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he would propose 1 January be declared national “Sovereignty Day”. “This palace is the symbol of Iraqi sovereignty and by restoring it, a real message is directed to all Iraqi people that Iraqi sovereignty has returned to its natural status”, al-Maliki said.

8 January
2008Operation Phantom Phoenix, a major nation-wide offensive launched by the Multinational Force Iraq (MNF-I) in an attempt to build on the success of the two previous corps-level operations, Operation Phantom Thunder and Operation Phantom Strike and further reduce violence and secure Iraq’s population, particularly in the capital Baghdad, begins. The offensive consisted of a number of joint Coalition and Iraqi Army operations throughout northern Iraq as well as in the southern Baghdad Belts. The northern operation was designated Operation Iron Harvest. Its objective was to hunt down the remaining 200 Al-Qaeda extremists remaining in the province of Diyala following the end of the previous offensive. The operation also included targeting insurgent elements in Salah ad-Din province and Nineveh province. The southern operation was designated Operation Marne Thunderbolt and targeted insurgent safe havens in the belts to the south-east of Baghdad, particularly the Arab Jabour region. Additionally, Phantom Phoenix’s aims were the remaining car, truck and suicide bomb networks in Baghdad as well as al-Qaeda’s financial network.

10 January
2007 – In a televised address to the US public, Bush proposed 21,500 more troops for Iraq, a job program for Iraqis, more reconstruction proposals, and $1.2 billion for these programs.

23 January
2007 – In the State of the Union Address, Bush announced “deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq”.

31 January
2009 – Iraq held provincial elections. Provincial candidates and those close to them faced some political assassinations and attempted assassinations, and there was also some other violence related to the election.

4 February
2005 – Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz announced that 15,000 U.S. troops whose tours of duty had been extended in order to provide election security would be pulled out of Iraq by the next month.

9 February
2003Operation Eagle Fury, a military operation led by the United States in Afghanistan involving Bravo Company, 2nd BN, 7th SFG(A) US Army Special Forces, and USN SEALs, members of the QRF 82nd Airborne Division, and loyal Afghan fighters through 28 February, began. The aim of the operation was to corner Taliban fighters and leaders in the Bahgran Valley, located in Helmand Province, in the mountains of south-east Afghanistan. As part of this operation, in mid-February 2003, the 82nd conducted the first airdrop of fuel to support Operation Enduring Freedom. They dropped 38,088 gallons of fuel, almost certainly the first combat fuel drop since the Vietnam War.

14 February
2007Operation Imposing Law, also known as Operation Law and Order, Operation Fardh al-Qanoon or Baghdad Security Plan(BSP), a joint Coalition-Iraqi security plan conducted throughout Baghdad, begins. Under the Surge plan developed in late 2006, Baghdad was to be divided into nine zones, with Iraqi and American soldiers working side-by-side to clear each sector of Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents and establish Joint Security Stations so that reconstruction programs could begin in safety. The U.S. military commander in Iraq, David Petraeus, went so far as to say Iraq would be “doomed” if this plan failed. Numerous members of Congress stated the plan was a critical period for the U.S. presence in Iraq.

15 February
2007Operation Shurta Nasir or Operation Police Victory or the Battle of Hit was an operation led by U.S. troops and Iraqi SWAT teams trying to capture the town of Hit from Al-Qaeda forces. The goal of the mission was to eject the Al-Qaeda from the city and establish three Police Stations there to cement authority to the town. The Al-Qaeda retreating would be caught in the net of encircling U.S. troops which numbered 1,000 men. The operation was a success, and Hit was captured and freed from the terrorists.
2007U.S. and Iraqi forces pushed deeper into Sunni militant strongholds in Baghdad, mainly the Doura district in the south, where car-bombs were set off in their advance. In two incidents, car-bombs blew up as U.S. and Iraqi patrols passed and there were at least four civilian casualties. The operation began with very little resistance, and was hailed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as a “brilliant success.” There was a steep decline in violence during the first few days, but American Generals were more cautious about making judgments on its success early on.

17 February
2010 – U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that as of 1 September, the name “Operation Iraqi Freedom” would be replaced by “Operation New Dawn”.

27 February
2009United States President Barack Obama gave a speech at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in the US state of North Carolina announcing that the US combat mission in Iraq would end by 31 August 2010. A “transitional force” of up to 50,000 troops tasked with training the Iraqi Security Forces, conducting counterterrorism operations, and providing general support may remain until the end of 2011, the president added.

4 March
2007 – U.S. and Iraqi forces entered Sadr City, the primary stronghold of the Mahdi Army.

6 March
2006Five United States Army soldiers of the 502nd Infantry Regiment, raped the 14-year-old Iraqi girl Abeer Hamza al-Janabi, and then murdered her, her father, her mother Fakhriya Taha Muhasen and her six-year-old sister. The soldiers then set fire to the girl’s body to conceal evidence of the crime. Four of the soldiers were convicted of rape and murder and the fifth was convicted of lesser crimes for the involvement in the war crime, that became known as the Mahmudiyah killings.

23 March
2005The Lake Tharthar Raid, an Iraqi commando raid on a large insurgent training camp at Lake Tharthar, was begun. Lake Tharthar, which is next to the Sunni Anbar and Salahuddin provinces, was the largest guerrilla training camp that had been discovered in the war by then, according to Iraqi officials. The camp was shared by Ba’ath party loyalists and members of Al-Qaeda. Between 75 and 100 Iraqi commandos as well as 9 American Cavalry Scouts from 3/69 Armor Battalion/1BCT/3ID and one local national interpreter were involved in the raid. As they approached the camp and came to only about a 400 meters from the camp the commandos encountered heavy fire from around 100 insurgents. The Iraqi commandos called in support from the American military, which sent in troop reinforcements and attack helicopters. The battle lasted one hour. The American air support killed 50 insurgents and the commandos killed another 34 during the battle. Many of those killed were reportedly Saudis and Syrians. The insurgents evacuated their positions about two hours into the battle. After entering the camp, Iraqi commandos found non-Iraqi passports, training publications, propaganda documents, weapons and ammunition. According to the papers found some of the insurgents were: Moroccans, Algerians, Sudanese, Saudi, Syrian and there was even one Egyptian. Iraqi forces also seized 30 boats at the camp which were used at the lake.

2 April
2005The Battle of Abu Ghraib was an attack on United States forces at Abu Ghraib prison, which consisted of heavy mortar and rocket fire, under which armed insurgents attacked with grenades, small arms, and two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). The U.S. Military’s munitions ran so low that orders to fix bayonets were given in preparation for hand-to-hand fighting. An estimated 80–120 armed insurgents launched a massive coordinated assault on the U.S. military facility and internment camp at Abu Ghraib, Iraq. It was considered to be the largest coordinated assault on a US base since the Vietnam War.

8 April
2008Speaking before the Congress, General David Petraeus urged delaying troop withdrawals, saying, “I’ve repeatedly noted that we haven’t turned any corners, we haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel,” referencing the comments of then President Bush and former Vietnam-era General William Westmoreland. When asked by the Senate if reasonable people could disagree on the way forward, Petraeus said, “We fight for the right of people to have other opinions.”

9 April
2009On the 6th anniversary of Baghdad’s fall to coalition forces, tens of thousands of Iraqis thronged Baghdad to mark the anniversary and demand the immediate departure of coalition forces. The crowds of Iraqis stretched from the Sadr City slum in northeast Baghdad to the square around 5 km (3.1 mi) away, where protesters burned an effigy featuring the face of U.S. President George W. Bush. There were also Sunni Muslims in the crowd. Police said many Sunnis, including prominent leaders such as a founding sheikh from the Sons of Iraq, took part.

18 April
2010US and Iraqi forces killed Abu Ayyub al-Masri the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq in a joint American and Iraqi operation near Tikrit, Iraq. The coalition forces believed al-Masri to be wearing a suicide vest and proceeded cautiously. After the lengthy exchange of fire and bombing of the house, the Iraqi troops stormed inside and found two women still alive, one of whom was al-Masri’s wife, and four dead men, identified as al-Masri, Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi, an assistant to al-Masri, and al-Baghdadi’s son. A suicide vest was indeed found on al-Masri’s corpse, as the Iraqi Army subsequently stated. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the killings of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri at a news conference in Baghdad and showed reporters photographs of their bloody corpses. “The attack was carried out by ground forces which surrounded the house, and also through the use of missiles,” Mr Maliki said. “During the operation computers were seized with e-mails and messages to the two biggest terrorists, Osama bin Laden and [his deputy] Ayman al-Zawahiri”, Maliki added. U.S. forces commander Gen. Raymond Odierno praised the operation. “The death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency”, he said. “There is still work to do but this is a significant step forward in ridding Iraq of terrorists.”

30 April
2009The United Kingdom formally ended combat operations. Prime Minister Gordon Brown characterized the operation in Iraq as a “success story” because of UK troops’ efforts. Britain handed control of Basra to the United States Armed Forces.

8 May
2005The Battle of Al Qaim (code-named Operation Matador) was a military offensive conducted by the United States Marine Corps, against insurgent positions in Iraq’s northwestern Anbar province, which ran from 8 May 2005 to 19 May 2005. It was focused on eliminating insurgents and foreign fighters in a region known as a smuggling route and a sanctuary for foreign fighters. Task Force 3/2 and elements of Task Force 3/25 (3rd Battalion/2nd Marines, 3rd Battalion/25th Marines, 4th Assault Amphibian Bn, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Bn,B Co 4th Combat Engineer Bn, 2nd Platoon A Co 1st Tank Bn, and a detachment of H-1’s from HMLA 269 ) conducted a sweep of an insurgent-held area near the Syrian border. 814th Engineer Company (MRB) led the initial offensive; breaching the river obstacle with a ribbon float bridge while conducting concurrent rafting. It lasted eleven days, during which the U.S. troops killed more than 125 suspected insurgents and captured 39 others. The Marines captured and/or destroyed many weapon caches and suffered 9 killed in action and 40 wounded in action. Notable among these casualties was a squad from 1st Platoon, Lima Company 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines which had all of its members killed or wounded, mostly while embarked in an AAV that was struck by an IED.

10 May
2007 – 144 Iraqi Parliamentary lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal.

12 May
2008Basra “residents overwhelmingly reported a substantial improvement in their everyday lives” according to the New York Times. “Government forces have now taken over Islamic militants’ headquarters and halted the death squads and ‘vice enforcers’ who attacked women, Christians, musicians, alcohol sellers and anyone suspected of collaborating with Westerners”, according to the report; however, when asked how long it would take for lawlessness to resume if the Iraqi army left, one resident replied, “one day”.

3 June
2007 – The Iraqi Parliament voted 85 to 59 to require the Iraqi government to consult with Parliament before requesting additional extensions of the UN Security Council Mandate for Coalition operations in Iraq. Despite this, the mandate was renewed on 18 December 2007, without the approval of the Iraqi parliament.

6 June
2006The United States was successful in tracking Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq who was killed in a targeted killing, while attending a meeting in an isolated safehouse approximately 8 km (5.0 mi) north of Baqubah. Having been tracked by a British UAV, radio contact was made between the controller and two United States Air Force F-16C jets which identified the house and at 14:15 GMT, the lead jet dropped two 500-pound (230 kg) guided bombs, a laser-guided GBU-12 and GPS-guided GBU-38 on the building where he was located.

16 June
2007Operation Phantom Thunder began when Multi-National Force-Iraq launched major offensive operations against al-Qaeda and other extremist terrorists operating throughout Iraq. Operation Phantom Thunder was a corps level operation, including Operation Arrowhead Ripper in Diyala Province, Operation Marne Torch and Operation Commando Eagle in Babil Province, Operation Fardh al-Qanoon in Baghdad, Operation Alljah in Anbar Province, and continuing special forces actions against the Mahdi Army in southern Iraq and against Al-Qaeda leadership throughout the country. The operation was one of the biggest military operations in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003. On 14 August, it was announced that the operation ended. Coalition and Iraqi security forces pushed into areas previously not under their control, and they also ejected insurgent groups from their strongholds in Northern Babil, eastern Anbar and Diyala provinces and on the southern outskirts of Baghdad. During the operation, Iraqi and Coalition forces conducted intelligence raids against al Qaeda in Iraq and the Iranian-backed cells nationwide, with a heavy emphasis on cells in Baghdad, Diyala, and central and northern Iraq. Operation Arrowhead Ripper continued for another five days until 19 August with more intense street fighting in Baquba. The operations continued into operation Phantom Strike.
2007Operation Marne Torch began in the Arab Jabour and Salman Pak area, conducted by the new Multinational Division Central. Arab Jabour, being only 20 kilometers southeast from Baghdad, is a major transit point for insurgent forces in and out of Baghdad. By 14 August, 2,500 Coalition and Iraqi forces had detained more than five dozen suspected extremists, destroyed 51 boats, killed 88 terrorists and discovered and destroyed 51 weapons caches.
2007Operation Alljah was being conducted by Multi-National Forces West. In the western Al Anbar province operations attacked insurgent supply lines and weapons caches, targeting the regions of Fallujah, Karma and Thar Thar. Commanders of the operation expressed belief that Fallujah would be cleared by August and that the regions of Karma and Thar Thar would be cleared by July. On 17 June, a raid near Karma killed a known Libyan Al-Qaeda fighter and six of his aides and on 21 June six al-Qaeda members were killed and five were detained during early-morning raids also near Karma. Also on 23 June, a U.S. airstrike killed five suspects and destroyed their car bomb near Fallujah. Insurgents also struck back in Fallujah with two suicide bombings and an attack on an off-duty policeman that left four policemen dead on 22 June. On 29 June, U.S. forces killed a senior al-Qaeda leader east of Fallujah. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Masri, an Egyptian, was a veteran of both battles of Fallujah. On 6 July a raid west of Fallujah resulted in the killing of an Al-Qaeda in Iraq battalion commander and two of his men and the captured of two more insurgents.

17 June
2006The Second Battle of Ramadi was fought for control of the capital of the Al Anbar Governorate in western Iraq. A combined force of U.S. Soldiers, U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy SEALs, and Iraqi Security Forces fought insurgents for control of key locations in Ramadi, including the Government Center and the General Hospital. Coalition strategy relied on establishing a number of patrol bases called Combat Operation Posts throughout the city. U.S. military officers believe that insurgent actions during the battle led to the formation of the Anbar Awakening. In August, insurgents executed a tribal sheik who was encouraging his kinsmen to join the Iraqi police and prevented his body from being buried in accordance with Islamic laws. In response, Sunni sheiks banded together to drive insurgents from Ramadi. In September 2006, Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha formed the Anbar Salvation Council, an alliance of approximately 40 Sunni tribes. The battle also marked the first use of chlorine bombs by insurgents during the war. On October 21, 2006, insurgents detonated a car-bomb with two 100-pound chlorine tanks, injuring three Iraqi policemen and a civilian in Ramadi.

18 June
2007Operation Arrowhead Ripper began when Multi-National Division-North commenced offensive operations against Al-Qaeda positions in Baquba in Diyala province where fighting had already been going on for months. The operation started with air assaults under the cover of darkness in Baquba. Heavy street fighting lasted throughout the first day of the operation, mainly in the center of the city and around the main city market. On 22 June, Coalition attack helicopters killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen and the vehicle they were using southwest of Khalis in Diyala province. By 19 August, at least 227 insurgents had been killed in Baquba.

20 June
2010 – Iraq’s Central Bank was bombed in an attack that left 15 people dead and brought much of downtown Baghdad to a standstill. The attack was claimed to have been carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq. This attack was followed by another attack on Iraq’s Bank of Trade building that killed 26 and wounded 52 people.

21 June
2007Operation Commando Eagle began in the Mahmudiyah region southwest of Baghdad, conducted by Multinational Division Central. This region contains the notorious Triangle of Death and was the location where three US soldiers were kidnapped in mid-May 2007. The operation resulted in 31 detainees and the seizure of multiple large weapons caches. The operation was described as “a mix of helicopter borne air assaults and Humvee-mounted movements.”

29 June
2009 – U.S. forces withdrew from Baghdad.

30 June
2007The Battle of Donkey Island was a skirmish that occurred on 30 June and 1 July 2007 between elements of the U.S. Army Task Force 1-77 Armor Regiment, the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines and a numerically superior force of al-Qaeda in Iraq insurgents on the banks of a canal leading from Ramadi to Lake Habbaniyah in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq. Official reports of the clash indicate that the U.S. force suffered 2 soldiers dead and 11 wounded, while an estimated 32 insurgents were killed (out of an estimated force of 40–70 fighters). The battle was a complete victory for the U.S. forces, which detected and defeated an insurgent force before it could launch a planned assault on Ramadi.

20 July
2003Operation Warrior Sweep involved a deployment of about 1,000 soldiers of the Afghan National Army, together with U.S.-led coalition troops, in the Zormat Valley region and the 3,260 meter-high peaks of the Ayubkhel Valley in the southern Paktia province in Afghanistan. The operation was in response to intelligence reports that some Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives were active in the area. It marked the first major combat operation for the Afghan troops. The Operation was completed in mid-September. By July 29, soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division were transported in by CH-47 Chinook helicopters to assist in the Operation. The coalition forces uncovered dozens of grenades, C-4 plastic explosives, a crate of dynamite, more than 20 rocket propelled grenade rounds, a box of anti-aircraft rounds and hundreds of 7.62 mm and handgun rounds. Neither Taliban nor al-Qaeda guerrillas were encountered. U.S.-led coalition forces cleared illegal checkpoints from a number of key roads, including the main road leading from Gardez to Khost. The Afghan Army secured the road leading to Zormat. When U.S. forces arrived in the village of Atel Mohammed, residents hid their Qur’ans and other religious items. They feared that U.S. soldiers would kill them if they discovered they were Muslim. U.S. soldiers explained to the villagers that this was not the case. Toward the conclusion of the Operation in mid-September, forces from the United States, Italy, Romania and Afghanistan discovered several secret caves and caches containing more than 20,000 pieces of ordnance.

28 July
2009 – Australia withdrew its combat forces as the Australian military presence in Iraq ended, per an agreement with the Iraqi government.

1 August
2005The Battle of Haditha was a battle fought between U.S. forces and Ansar al-Sunna in early August 2005 on the outskirts of the town of Haditha, Iraq, which was one of the many towns that were under insurgent control in the Euphrates River valley during 2005. On the first day of the battle, a six-man United States Marine Corps sniper unit in Haditha was attacked and overrun by a large insurgent force. All six men were found dead after the battle.

3 August
2005The Battle of Haditha continues. Two days after the deaths of six Marine snipers in Haditha, Marine forces launched Operation Quick Strike to disrupt insurgent presence in the Haditha area. Around 1000 Marines from the Regimental Combat Team 2 (RCT-2) and Iraqi soldiers started “Operation Quick Strike”, which included efforts to find the insurgents responsible, however the primary intent was to interdict and disrupt militants’ presence in the Haditha, Haqliniyah, and Barwanah areas. The operation began when Marines and Iraqi soldiers moved into Haqliniyah, about seven kilometers southwest of Haditha. 40 insurgents were killed, including four in a Super Cobra helicopter attack. On the second day of the operation, a Marine amphibious assault vehicle, which was transporting Marines to the initial assault, hit a huge roadside bomb. The vehicle was completely destroyed and 15 out of the 16 people that were inside it were killed, with only one Marine surviving. The lone surviving Marine was a young man from Mississippi. Among the killed was also an Iraqi civilian interpreter.

14 August
2007The deadliest single attack of the whole war occurred. Nearly 800 civilians were killed by a series of coordinated suicide bomb attacks on the northern Iraqi settlement of Kahtaniya. More than 100 homes and shops were destroyed in the blasts. U.S. officials blamed al-Qaeda. The targeted villagers belonged to the non-Muslim Yazidi ethnic minority. The attack may have represented the latest in a feud that erupted earlier that year when members of the Yazidi community stoned to death a teenage girl called Du’a Khalil Aswad accused of dating a Sunni Arab man and converting to Islam. The killing of the girl was recorded on camera-mobiles and the video was uploaded onto the internet.

15 August
2007Operation Phantom Strike was a major offensive launched by the Multi-National Corps – Iraq in a crackdown to disrupt Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Shia extremist operations in Iraq. It consisted of a number of simultaneous operations throughout Iraq focused on pursuing remaining AQI terrorists and Iranian-supported extremist groups. It was concluded in January 2008 and followed up with Operation Phantom Phoenix.
2007Operation Lightning Hammer began with soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, partnering with members of the 5th Iraqi Army Division, performed a late-night air assault into targeted locations to capture or kill al-Qaeda members responsible for the violence against Iraqi civilians. The operation dubbed Lightning Hammer consisted of approximately 16,000 Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces and was a large-scale offensive to defeat al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells seeking safe haven throughout the Diyala River Valley. Taking advantage of concentrated forces in Diyala province, Lightning Hammer’s goal was to target al-Qaeda elements that fled from Baqouba into the outlying regions north of Diyala’s capital city. In addition to the thousands of soldiers and their ISF counterparts participating in Lightning Hammer, attack helicopters, close-air support, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and tanks compliment the combined effort. More than 300 artillery munitions, rockets and bombs were dropped throughout the night and into morning, blocking al-Qaeda movements and suppressing suspected al-Qaeda targets. This barrage set the stage for subsequent nighttime helo-borne and ground assaults into the Diyala River Valley by 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, and 6-9 Armored Reconnaissance Squadron, respectively. These forces combined with other units already conducting operation Lightning Hammer elsewhere in Diyala and Salah ad Din provinces, totaling approximately 10,000 Coalition Forces and 6,000 Iraqi Security Forces. The 5-73 Soldiers defeated several ineffective small arms attacks, killing three al-Qaeda gunmen, detaining eight, and uncovering a weapons cache, numerous IEDs and a booby-trapped house. Operation Lightning Hammer concluded on 22 August 2007, with the death of 26 insurgents and capturing of 37 others. A follow-up operation called Lightning Hammer II was conducted in early September which killed another 16 insurgents.
2007Operation Marne Husky was launched. It targeted insurgents in the Tigris River Valley who had been forced to withdraw from safe havens in Arab Jabour and Salman Pak by previous operations. The operation involved a series of air assaults across the southern Baghdad Belts because the canals and irrigation in the area limited Coalition mobility. Seven air assaults were launched by soldiers from the 4th BCT/25th Infantry Division and pilots from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division. 80 insurgents were captured and 43 killed as a result of this operation, which also saw the first sustainable Concerned Local Citizen movements south of Baghdad. In September 2007, Marne Husky evolved into Operation Marne Torch II. This operation involved the continued development and support of the Concerned Local Citizen groups by the Coalition forces, particularly the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) of the 3rd Infantry Division. A force of between 700-1000 men was raised which enabled the Coalition forces to target al Qaida in Iraq with greater precision. Approximately 250 AQI operatives were killed or captured during the operation, including 6 high-valued targets. Marne Torch II was followed in mid-October by Operation Marne Anvil. Instead of previous operations which focused on Sunni extremists and AQI, Marne Anvil targeted Shia extremists linked with Muqtada al-Sadr’s Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) located east of Baghdad. It was succeeded by Operation Marne Courageous in November.

19 August
2010The last US combat brigades departed Iraq in the early morning. Convoys of US troops had been moving out of Iraq to Kuwait for several days, and NBC News broadcast live from Iraq as the last convoy crossed the border. While all combat brigades left the country, an additional 50,000 personnel (including Advise and Assist Brigades) remained in the country to provide support for the Iraqi military.

30 August
2003In Operation Mountain Viper, the United States Army and the Afghan National Army (nearly 1000 in number) worked together into early September, 2003, to uncover hundreds of suspected Taliban rebels dug into the mountains of Daychopan district, Zabul province, Afghanistan. The Operation killed an estimated 124 militants. Five Afghan Army personnel were killed and seven were injured. One U.S. soldier died in an accidental fall.

31 August
2010 – Gen. Ray Odierno was replaced by Gen. Lloyd Austin as Commander of US forces in Iraq.

1 September
2005The Battle of Tal Afar was a military offensive conducted by the United States Army and supported by Iraqi forces, against Al Qaeda insurgents in the city of Tal Afar, Iraq in response to the growing increase of insurgent attacks against U.S. and Iraqi positions in the area. The offensive was launched as a joint United States Army and New Iraqi Army operation to destroy suspected insurgents havens and base of operations in Tal Afar. The initial fighting was heavy, but most of the city was secured on September 3. Although sporadic fighting and attacks would continue through most of September until the operation was declared finished on September 18.
2010 – The name “Operation Iraqi Freedom” is replaced by “Operation New Dawn”.

8 September
2010– The U.S. Army announced the arrival in Iraq of the first specifically-designated Advise and Assist Brigade, the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment. It was announced that the unit would assume responsibilities in five southern provinces.

10 September
2007 – In a speech made to Congress, General Petraeus “envisioned the withdrawal of roughly 30,000 U.S. troops by next summer, beginning with a Marine contingent [in September].”
2010The Battle of the Palm Grove, a 4 day engagement, took place during the Iraq War when elements of the Second Advise and Assist Brigade (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), 25th ID of the US Army supported 200 Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police in a search and sweep operation against 15-25 insurgents planting IEDs in Hudaidy, Diyala Province. During the fighting, Apache attack helicopters and Air Force F-16 fighters were called in. The fighter jets dropped two 500-lb. bombs, but it seemed to no effect. After three days of clashes, the insurgent force managed to withdraw without suffering any casualties, while up to 33 members of the Iraqi security forces were killed or wounded and even two U.S. soldiers were also injured. The battle showed the continuing struggle of the Iraqi security forces with their abilities to take control of the security in the country, without the U.S. military. In the words of an Iraqi lieutenant, If it wasn’t for the American air support and artillery we would never have dreamed of entering that orchard. It was also the last major battle of the war involving U.S. forces against insurgent elements.

13 September
2007Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was killed in a bomb attack in the city of Ramadi. He was an important U.S. ally because he led the “Anbar Awakening”, an alliance of Sunni Arab tribes that opposed al-Qaeda. The latter organization claimed responsibility for the attack. A statement posted on the Internet by the shadowy Islamic State of Iraq called Abu Risha “one of the dogs of Bush” and described Thursday’s killing as a “heroic operation that took over a month to prepare”.

14 September
2007 – President Bush backed a limited withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Bush said 5,700 personnel would be home by Christmas 2007, and expected thousands more to return by July 2008. The plan would take troop numbers back to their level before the surge at the beginning of 2007.

17 September
2007 – The Iraqi government announced that it was revoking the license of the U.S. security firm Blackwater USA over the firm’s involvement in the killing of eight civilians, including a woman and an infant, in a firefight that followed a car bomb explosion near a State Department motorcade.

15 October
2005 – In a referendum, the new Iraqi constitution was ratified.

21 October
2011 – With the collapse of the discussions about extending the stay of any U.S. troops beyond 2011, where they would not be granted any immunity from the Iraqi government President Obama announced at a White House press conference that all remaining U.S. troops and trainers would leave Iraq by the end of the year as previously scheduled, bringing the U.S. mission in Iraq to an end.

5 November
2005Operation Steel Curtain was a military endeavor executed by coalition forces in early November 2005 to reduce the flow of foreign insurgents crossing the border and joining the Iraqi insurgency. The operation was important in that it was the first large scale deployment of the New Iraqi Army. This offensive was part of the larger Operation Sayeed (Hunter), designed to prevent al Qaeda in Iraq from operating in the Euphrates River Valley and throughout Al Anbar and to establish a permanent Iraqi Army presence in the Al Qa’im region. Marines from 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines and 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines began their assault on insurgent-held Karabilah, and had cleared the city four days later. Then on 6 November the coalition forces began to attack the city of Husaybah and pursue any insurgents who fled Karabilah. After four more days of fighting in Husaybah, the coalition troops launched another phase of the operation into the city of Ubaydi, an insurgent haven and site of the earlier Operation Matador. The fortified city fell to coalition forces after seven days of fighting, bringing a conclusion to Operation Steel Curtain. The assault on Sadah and a small portion of Karabilah was known as “Operation: Iron Fist”. The assault of Husaybah and Karabilah was “Operation: Steel Curtain”. So named because the resident leader of anti-coalition forces, al-Zarqawi, said they would hold onto Husaybah with an “iron fist”. Named by Coalition Commanders, “Operation Steel Curtain”, was a hardened sweep and clear mission hence “steel curtain” because American and New Iraqi Army flooded the two cities, and closed and secured the objective like a curtain made of steel.

15 November
2006The battle of Turki began after Lt. Col. Andrew Poppas, commander of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry, a unit of the 82nd Airborne Division, and other soldiers flew over the area on a reconnaissance mission on November 12. From the helicopters, they spotted a white car covered by shrubbery and a hole in the ground that appeared to be a hiding place. The colonel dropped off an eight-man team and later sent other soldiers to sweep the area. Gunfire erupted on November 15 when C Troop paratroopers ran into an ambush near the village of Turki. Several insurgents feigned surrender to lure American troops out of their up-armored humvees and onto the ground. This tactic would be repeated to draw in members from A and B Troops in other locations. Officers said that in this battle, unlike the vast majority of engagements in Diyala, insurgents stood and fought, even deploying a platoon-sized unit that showed remarkable discipline and that one captain said was in “perfect military formation.” Insurgents throughout Iraq usually avoid direct confrontation with the Americans, preferring to use hit-and-run tactics and melting away at the sight of American armored vehicles. The insurgents had built a labyrinth network of trenches in the farmland, with sleeping areas and significant weapons caches. Two anti-aircraft guns had been hidden away. The fighting eventually became so intense that the Americans called in airstrikes, provided by both helicopter gunships and F16s. American commanders said they called in 12 hours of airstrikes while soldiers shot their way through a reed-strewn network of canals in extremely close combat. The fighting lasted for more than 40 hours. High level terrorist leaders were thought to have been present. The stiff resistance from insurgent fighters was believed to have given these leaders time to escape. In the end the 5th Squadron managed to destroy the insurgent trench system established in the area. Six insurgent weapons caches were also uncovered during the battle. The caches included more than 400,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition, 15,000 rounds of heavy machine gun ammunition, five mortar bipods, three heavy machine guns, three anti-tank weapons, two recoilless rifles and numerous mortar rounds, grenades, flares and other artillery rounds. But many more insurgent training camps remain in the area. An American captain and a lieutenant, both West Point graduates, were killed in the battle along with 72 insurgents and 20 insurgents were captured.

16 November
2007 – Marne Courageous was launched, targeting key AQI supply depots in the Yusufiyah area of the Euphrates River Valley, south east of Baghdad. It began with a major air assault conducted by 450 soldiers of the 3BCT/101st Airborne Division, 150 Iraqi soldiers and 70 Concerned Local Citizens near the villages of Owesat and al-Betra.

4 December
2008The U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement was approved by the Iraqi government. It establishes that U.S. combat forces will withdraw from Iraqi cities by 30 June 2009, and that all U.S. forces will be completely out of Iraq by 31 December 2011. The pact is subject to possible negotiations which could delay withdrawal and a referendum scheduled for mid-2009 in Iraq which may require all U.S. forces to completely leave by the middle of 2010. The pact requires criminal charges for holding prisoners over 24 hours, and requires a warrant for searches of homes and buildings that are not related to combat.

6 December
2006The Iraq Study Group Report was released. Iraq Study Group, made up of people from both of the major U.S. parties, was led by co-chairs James Baker, a former Secretary of State (Republican), and Lee H. Hamilton, a former U.S. Representative (Democrat). It concluded that “the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating” and “U.S. forces seem to be caught in a mission that has no foreseeable end.” The report’s 79 recommendations include increasing diplomatic measures with Iran and Syria and intensifying efforts to train Iraqi troops.

15 December
2007The focus of this operation was Iskandariyah, Babil province. On the first day of the operation, Coalition forces uncovered and destroyed a large tunnel network used by AQI to hide weapons and fighters along the banks of the Euphrates River. A large cache was turned over to coalition forces by a Concerned Local Citizen group on the same day. Operation Marne Roundup concluded at the beginning of January 2008.

18 December
2011 – The last U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq, although the US embassy and consulates continues to maintain a staff of more than 20,000 including US Marine Embassy Guards and between 4,000 and 5,000 private military contractors.

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