This article is about the war that started in 2003 and ended in 2011.
For the initial invasion, see 2003 invasion of Iraq.
was a protracted armed conflict that began with the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition. involvement in Iraq accelerated under President Barack Obama. The Bush administration based its rationale for war principally on the assertion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and that Saddam's government posed an immediate threat to the United States and its coalition allies.
The invasion regime toppled the government of Saddam Hussein. began withdrawing its troops in the winter of 2007–08. After the invasion, no substantial evidence was found to verify the initial claims about WMDs. In the aftermath of the invasion, Iraq held multi-party elections in 2005.
Western companies, primarily in Germany and Great Britain, but also in the United States, sold Iraq the key technology for its chemical, missile, and nuclear programs. [M]any Western governments seemed remarkably indifferent, if not enthusiastic, about those deals. [I]n Washington, the government consistently followed a policy which allowed and perhaps encouraged the extraordinary growth of Saddam Hussein's arsenal and his power."See also: Lead up to the Iraq War, Rationale for the Iraq War, Public relations preparations for 2003 invasion of Iraq, Governments' pre-war positions on invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, and Stovepiping Prior to September 2002, the CIA was the Bush administration's main provider of intelligence on Iraq. intelligence agents supplied the United States with a direct feed of conversations between Iraqi security agencies as well as other information. President George Bush repeatedly warned of military action against Iraq unless inspections were allowed to progress unfettered. With the cooperation of the Iraqis, a third weapons inspection team in 2003 led by David Kelly viewed and photographed two alleged mobile weapons laboratories, which were actually facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill artillery balloons.
However, the conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba'athist government; Saddam was captured during Operation Red Dawn in December of that same year and executed by a military court three years later. The United States responded with a troop surge in 2007 to attempt to reduce the violence. The rationale and misrepresentation of pre-war intelligence faced heavy criticism within the U. Nouri al-Maliki became Prime Minister in 2006 and remained in office until 2014.An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first 3–4 years of conflict. However, the power vacuum following Saddam's demise and the mismanagement of the occupation led to widespread sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis, as well as a lengthy insurgency against U. The al-Maliki government enacted policies that were widely seen as having the effect of alienating the country's Sunni minority and worsening sectarian tensions.