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Timeline of events leading up to Iraq election

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Timeline of events leading up to Iraq election

The Associated Press

Thursday, March 4, 2010 | 7:15 a.m.

A timeline of key events in Iraq beginning with the U.S.-led invasion to the March 7 parliamentary elections:

_ 2003:

March 20: The U.S.-led invasion is launched.

April 9: American Marines help Iraqis pull down statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

May 1: On an aircraft carrier under a "Mission Accomplished" banner, President Bush declares major combat operations in Iraq over.

May: L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, issues de-Baathification decree barring thousands from Saddam's Baath Party from government jobs and disbands Iraqi Army.

July 22: Saddam's sons Odai and Qusai die in firefight with U.S. Marines.

Aug. 19: Bomb explodes at UN headquarters, killing 22 people, including the U.N. envoy.

Aug. 29: Bomb outside Najaf mosque kills more than 85 people, including Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim.

Oct. 16: U.N. Security Council adopts resolution giving U.S. military authority to operate in Iraq.

Dec. 13: Saddam Hussein is captured.


March 8: Iraqi Governing Council signs interim constitution.

March 31: Gunmen in Fallujah kill four Blackwater contractors, prompting U.S. offensive in the city.

April 28-30: Pictures of American abuse at Abu Ghraib prompt worldwide outrage.

May 11: A video posted on an al-Qaida-linked Web site shows the beheading of Nicholas Berg.

June 28: The U.S.-led occupation authority turns over power to interim Iraqi government two days ahead of schedule.

Oct. 6: U.S. arms inspector finds no evidence Saddam Hussein's regime produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991.

Nov. 8: U.S. launches second major offensive to retake Fallujah from insurgents.


Jan. 30: Sunnis largely boycott Iraq's first national elections since Saddam's fall. Shiite-dominated coalition wins 48 percent of 275-seat National Assembly.

April 6: Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani elected president.

May 3: The first democratically elected Iraqi government is sworn in.

Oct. 15: Iraqi voters approve constitution with strong Shiite, Kurdish support; Sunni Arabs largely oppose.

Oct. 19: Saddam goes on trial in Baghdad.

Dec. 15: Iraqis elect new parliament with Shiite parties winning biggest bloc.


Feb. 22: In Samarra, suspected Sunni insurgents bomb the landmark golden dome of the revered Shiite Askariya shrine. The attack sparks months of sectarian slaughter.

May 20: Nouri al-Maliki is sworn in as prime minister.

June 7: American air strike kills al-Qaida in Iraq founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

September: First meeting in Anbar of what becomes known as the Awakening Councils. Set up to fight al-Qaida in Iraq, the groups lead to drop in violence in later years.

Nov 5: Saddam sentenced to death.

Dec. 30: Saddam executed.

Dec. 31: U.S. troop deaths reach 3,000.


Jan. 10: President Bush announces extra troops being sent to Iraq in mission dubbed "the surge."

Aug. 29: Anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr calls cease-fire.

Sept. 16: Blackwater security contractors kill 17 Iraqis in a shooting in downtown Baghdad.

Oct. 23: U.N. says more than 2 million people are displaced in Iraq, and more than 2 million have fled the country.


Sept. 1: The U.S. military passes security control of Anbar province to the Iraqis.

Dec. 4: Iraq's presidential council approves a security pact with the U.S. requiring American troops to leave Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, and the entire country by the end of 2011.

Dec. 14: Iraqi journalist throws his shoes at President Bush during a press conference in the Green Zone.


Jan. 1: The U.S. hands over control of the Green Zone to Iraqis; opens new American Embassy.

Feb. 27: President Obama announces Aug. 31, 2010, deadline to withdraw combat troops; all troops to leave by end of 2011.

June 30: U.S. troops withdraw from urban areas.

Aug. 19: Suicide bombers strike finance and foreign ministries, killing more than 100 people.

Aug. 26: Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who headed Iraq's biggest Shiite political party, dies in Iran.

Oct. 25: Two car bombs explode in downtown Baghdad, killing at least 155 people.

Dec. 8: Bombs in Baghdad kill at least 127; March 7 set for national elections.


Jan. 25: Saddam's cousin, known as "Chemical Ali," is executed.

Feb. 14: A Shiite-led political vetting panel bans hundreds of candidates with suspected ties to Saddam Hussein's Baath party from running.

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