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Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Timeline: Iraq

A chronology of key events:

1920 25 April - Iraq is placed under British mandate.

1921 23 August - Faysal, son of Hussein Bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca, is crowned Iraq's first king.

Shrine of Imam Ali, Najaf
Shrine of the Imam Ali, one of Shia Islam's holiest places

1932 3 October - Iraq becomes an independent state.

1958 14 July - The monarchy is overthrown in a military coup led by Brig Abd-al-Karim Qasim and Col Abd-al-Salam Muhammad Arif. Iraq is declared a republic and Qasim becomes prime minister.

1963 8 February - Qasim is ousted in a coup led by the Arab Socialist Baath Party (ASBP). Arif becomes president.

1963 18 November - The Baathist government is overthrown by Arif and a group of officers.

1966 17 April - After Arif is killed in a helicopter crash on 13 April, his elder brother, Maj-Gen Abd-al-Rahman Muhammad Arif, succeeds him as president.

1968 17 July - A Baathist led-coup ousts Arif and Gen Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr becomes president.

1970 11 March - The Revolution Command Council (RCC) and Mullah Mustafa Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), sign a peace agreement.

1972 - A 15-year Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation is signed between Iraq and the Soviet Union.

Petroleum firm nationalised

1972 - Iraq nationalises the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC).

1974 - In implementation of the 1970 agreement, Iraq grants limited autonomy to the Kurds but the KDP rejects it.

1975 March - At a meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) in Algiers, Iraq and Iran sign a treaty ending their border disputes.

1979 16 July - President Al-Bakr resigns and is succeeded by Vice-President Saddam Hussein.

1980 1 April - The pro-Iranian Dawah Party claims responsibility for an attack on Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, at Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad.

Iran-Iraq war

1980 4 September - Iran shells Iraqi border towns (Iraq considers this as the start of the Iran/Iraq war).

Iraqi soldiers return remains of fallen Iranians at border ceremony, 2002
Almost one million people died in the conflict; exchanges of war dead continued for years

1980 17 September - Iraq abrogates the 1975 treaty with Iran.

1980 22 September - Iraq attacks Iranian air bases.

1980 23 September - Iran bombs Iraqi military and economic targets.

1981 7 June - Israel attacks an Iraqi nuclear research centre at Tuwaythah near Baghdad.

Chemical attack on Kurds

1988 16 March - Iraq is said to have used chemical weapons against the Kurdish town of Halabjah.

1988 20 August - A ceasefire comes into effect to be monitored by the UN Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (Uniimog).

1990 15 March - Farzad Bazoft, an Iranian-born journalist with London's Observer newspaper, accused of spying on a military installation, is hanged in Baghdad.

Iraq invades Kuwait

1990 2 August - Iraq invades Kuwait and is condemned by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 660 which calls for full withdrawal.

1990 6 August - UNSC Resolution 661 imposes economic sanctions on Iraq.

An Iraqi tank burns after being destroyed by allied forces in Kuwait
Iraq's army was all but destroyed in the 1991 Gulf War

1990 8 August - Iraq announces the merger of Iraq and Kuwait.

1990 29 November - UNSC Resolution 678 authorizes the states cooperating with Kuwait to use "all necessary means" to uphold UNSC Resolution 660.

1991 16 -17 January - The Gulf War starts when the coalition forces begin aerial bombing of Iraq ("Operation Desert Storm").

1991 13 February - US planes destroy an air raid shelter at Amiriyah in Baghdad, killing more than 300 people.

1991 24 February - The start of a ground operation which results in the liberation of Kuwait on 27 February.


1991 3 March - Iraq accepts the terms of a ceasefire.

1991 Mid-March/early April - Iraqi forces suppress rebellions in the south and the north of the country.

1991 8 April - A plan to establish a UN safe-haven in northern Iraq to protect the Kurds is approved at a European Union meeting. On 10 April the USA orders Iraq to end all military activity in this area.

1992 26 August - A no-fly zone, which Iraqi planes are not allowed to enter, is set up in southern Iraq, south of latitude 32 degrees north.

1993 27 June - US forces launch a cruise missile attack on Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad in retaliation for the attempted assassination of US President George Bush in Kuwait in April.

1994 29 May - Saddam Hussein becomes prime minister.

1994 10 November - Iraqi National Assembly recognises Kuwait's borders and its independence.


1995 14 April - UNSC Resolution 986 allows the partial resumption of Iraq's oil exports to buy food and medicine ( the "oil-for-food programme"). It is not accepted by Iraq until May 1996 and is not implemented until December 1996.

1995 August - Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Gen Hussein Kamil Hasan al-Majid, his brother and their families leave Iraq and are granted asylum in Jordan.

1995 15 October - Saddam Hussein wins a referendum allowing him to remain president for another seven years.

1996 20 February - Hussein Kamil Hasan al-Majid and his brother, promised a pardon by Saddam Hussein, return to Baghdad and are killed on 23 February.

Bullet-damaged mural of Saddam Hussein in northern Iraq, 2003
Saddam Hussein was tracked down in his home town

1996 31 August - After call for aid from KDP, Iraqi forces launch offensive into northern no-fly zone and capture Irbil.

1996 3 September - US extends northern limit of southern no-fly zone to latitude 33 degrees north, just south of Baghdad.

1996 12 December - Saddam Hussein's elder son, Uday, is seriously wounded in an assassination attempt in Baghdad.

1998 31 October - Iraq ends cooperation with UN Special Commission to Oversee the Destruction of Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (Unscom).

Operation Desert Fox

1998 16-19 December - After UN staff are evacuated from Baghdad, the US and UK launch a bombing campaign, "Operation Desert Fox", to destroy Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes.

1999 19 February - Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, spiritual leader of the Shia community, is assassinated in Najaf.

Unscom staff prepare to destroy rockets filled with chemical nerve agent Sarin
UN inspectors sought to destory Iraqi WMD in the 1990s

1999 17 December - UNSC Resolution 1284 creates the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) to replace Unscom. Iraq rejects the resolution.

2001 February - Britain, US carry out bombing raids to try to disable Iraq's air defence network. The bombings have little international support.

2001 May - Saddam's son Qusay elected to the leadership of the ruling Baath Party, fuelling speculation that he's being groomed to succeed his father.

2002 April - Baghdad suspends oil exports to protest against Israeli incursions into Palestinian territories. Despite calls by Saddam Hussein, no other Arab countries follow suit. Exports resume after 30 days.

Weapons inspectors return

2002 September - US President George W Bush tells sceptical world leaders at a UN General Assembly session to confront the "grave and gathering danger" of Iraq - or stand aside as the US acts. In the same month British Prime Minister Tony Blair publishes a dossier on Iraq's military capability.

In Iraq a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilised world - and we will not allow it
US President George W Bush, February 2003

2002 November - UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq backed by a UN resolution which threatens serious consequences if Iraq is in "material breach" of its terms.

2003 March - Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix reports that Iraq has accelerated its cooperation but says inspectors need more time to verify Iraq's compliance.

Saddam ousted

2003 17 March - UK's ambassador to the UN says the diplomatic process on Iraq has ended; arms inspectors evacuate; US President George W Bush gives Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq or face war.

2003 20 March - American missiles hit targets in Baghdad, marking the start of a US-led campaign to topple Saddam Hussein. In the following days US and British ground troops enter Iraq from the south.

A bronze statue of Saddam Hussein is pulled down in central Baghdad after US forces enter the city
Baghdad, 9 April 2003: A symbol of Saddam's power tumbles

2003 9 April - US forces advance into central Baghdad. Saddam Hussein's grip on the city is broken. In the following days Kurdish fighters and US forces take control of the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. There is looting in Baghdad and elsewhere.

2003 April - US lists 55 most-wanted members of former regime in the form of a deck of cards. Former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz is taken into custody.

2003 May - UN Security Council backs US-led administration in Iraq and lifts economic sanctions. US administrator abolishes Baath Party and institutions of former regime.

2003 July - US-appointed Governing Council meets for first time. Commander of US forces says his troops face low-intensity guerrilla-style war. Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay killed in gun battle in Mosul.

Insurgency intensifies

2003 August - Deadly bomb attacks on Jordanian embassy and UN HQ in Baghdad. Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, or Chemical Ali, captured. Car bomb in Najaf kills 125 including Shia leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim.

US soldiers after car bomb blast January 2004
Soldiers and civilians are targets in ongoing violence

2003 14 December - Saddam Hussein captured in Tikrit.

2004 February - More than 100 killed in Irbil in suicide attacks on offices of main Kurdish factions.

2004 March - Suicide bombers attack Shia festival-goers in Karbala and Baghdad, killing 140 people.

2004 April-May - Shia militias loyal to radical cleric Moqtada Sadr take on coalition forces.

Hundreds are reported killed in fighting during the month-long US military siege of the Sunni Muslim city of Falluja.

Photographic evidence emerges of abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops.

Sovereignty and elections

2004 June - US hands sovereignty to interim government headed by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Saddam Hussein transferred to Iraqi legal custody.

2004 August - Fighting in Najaf between US forces and Shia militia of radical cleric Moqtada Sadr.

2004 November - Major US-led offensive against insurgents in Falluja.

Voters in Az Zubayr, southern Iraq
Religious, ethnic fault lines run through Iraqi politics

2005 30 January - An estimated eight million people vote in elections for a Transitional National Assembly. The Shia United Iraqi Alliance wins a majority of assembly seats. Kurdish parties come second.

2005 28 February - At least 114 people are killed by a massive car bomb in Hilla, south of Baghdad. It is the worst single such incident since the US-led invasion.

2005 April - Amid escalating violence, parliament selects Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani as president. Ibrahim Jaafari, a Shia, is named as prime minister.

2005 May onwards - Surge in car bombings, bomb explosions and shootings: Iraqi ministries put the civilian death toll for May at 672, up from 364 in April.

2005 June - Massoud Barzani is sworn in as regional president of Iraqi Kurdistan.

2005 July - Study compiled by the non-governmental Iraq Body Count organisation estimates that nearly 25,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Saddam Hussein prepares to face trial
Saddam was executed for crimes against humanity

2005 August - Draft constitution is endorsed by Shia and Kurdish negotiators, but not by Sunni representatives.

More than 1,000 people are killed during a stampede at a Shia ceremony in Baghdad.

2005 September - 182 people are killed in attacks in Baghdad, including a car bomb attack on a group of workers in a mainly-Shia district.

Saddam on trial

2005 October - Saddam Hussein goes on trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

Voters approve a new constitution, which aims to create an Islamic federal democracy.

2005 15 December - Iraqis vote for the first, full-term government and parliament since the US-led invasion.

2006 20 January - Shia-led United Iraqi Alliance emerges as the winner of December's parliamentary elections, but fails to gain an absolute majority.

Sectarian violence

2006 February onwards - A bomb attack on an important Shia shrine in Samarra unleashes a wave of sectarian violence in which hundreds of people are killed.

2006 22 April - Newly re-elected President Talabani asks Shia compromise candidate Jawad al-Maliki to form a new government. The move ends four months of political deadlock.

Moqtada Sadr
Radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr - a key power broker

2006 May and June - An average of more than 100 civilians per day are killed in violence in Iraq, the UN says.

2006 7 June - Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is killed in an air strike.

2006 September - A much-anticipated ceremony to transfer operational command from US-led forces to Iraq's new army is postponed.

2006 November - Saddam Hussein is found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death.

Iraq and Syria restore diplomatic relations after nearly a quarter century.

More than 200 die in car bombings in the mostly Shia area of Sadr City in Baghdad. An indefinite curfew is imposed after what is considered the worst attack on the capital since the US-led invasion of 2003.

2006 December - Iraq Study Group report making recommendations to President Bush on future policy in Iraq describes the situation as grave and deteriorating. It warns of the prospect of a slide towards chaos, triggering the collapse of the government and a humanitarian catastrophe.

Saddam executed

2006 30 December - Saddam Hussein is executed by hanging.

Aftermath of attack on Sadriya market, Baghdad, February 2007
Bombers have repeatedly targeted markets

2007 January - US President Bush announces a new Iraq strategy; thousands more US troops will be dispatched to shore up security in Baghdad.

Barzan Ibrahim - Saddam Hussein's half-brother - and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former head of the Revolutionary Court, are executed by hanging.

UN says more than 34,000 civilians were killed in violence during 2006; the figure surpasses official Iraqi estimates threefold.

2007 February - A bomb in Baghdad's Sadriya market kills more than 130 people. It is the worst single bombing since 2003.

2007 March - Insurgents detonate three trucks with toxic chlorine gas in Falluja and Ramadi, injuring hundreds.

Former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan is executed on the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion.

2007 12 April - A bomb blast rocks parliament, killing an MP.

18 April - Bombings in Baghdad kill nearly 200 people in the worst day of violence since a US-led security drive began in the capital in February.

2007 May - The leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, is reported killed.

2007 July - President Bush says there's been only limited military and political progress in Iraq following his decision to reinforce US troops levels there.

2007 August - The main Sunni Arab political bloc in Iraq, the Iraqi Accordance Front, withdraws from the cabinet following a dispute over power-sharing.

Truck and car bombs hit two villages of Yazidi Kurds, killing at least 250 people - the deadliest attack since 2003.

Kurdish and Shia leaders form an alliance to support Prime Minister Maliki's government but fail to bring in Sunni leaders.

Blackwater shootings

2007 September - Controversy over private security contractors after Blackwater security guards allegedly fire at civilians, killing 17.

2007 October - Turkish parliament gives go-ahead for military operations in Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels. Turkey comes under international pressure to avoid an invasion.

The number of violent civilian and military deaths continues to drop, as does the frequency of rocket attacks.

Karbala, the mainly Shia province, becomes the 18th province to be transferred to local control.

Turkish raids

2007 December - Turkey launches an air raid on fighters from the Kurdish PKK movement inside Iraq.

Britain hands over security of Basra province to Iraqi forces, effectively marking the end of nearly five years of British control of southern Iraq.

2008 January - Parliament passes legislation allowing former officials from Saddam Hussein's Baath party to return to public life.

2008 February - Suicide bombings at pet markets in Baghdad kill more than 50 people in the deadliest attacks in the capital in months.

Turkish forces mount a ground offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

Iraqi troops in Basra
Iraqi troops crack down on militia loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr in Basra

2008 March - Unprecedented two-day visit by Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to Iraq.

Prime Minister Maliki orders crackdown on militia in Basra, sparking pitched battles with Moqtada Sadr's Mehdi Army. Hundreds are killed.

2008 April - Sadr threatens to scrap Mehdi Army truce which he declared in August 2007.

US military commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, tells Congress he plans to halt US troop withdrawals because of fragile security gains.

2008 June - Australia ends its combat operations in Iraq.

Mr Maliki pays third visit to Iran since taking office as premier. He seeks to allay Iranian fears over proposed indefinite extension of US military presence in Iraq by saying he will not allow his country to be used as a launch pad for an American attack on Iran.

2008 July - Prime Minister Maliki for the first time raises the prospect of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops as part of negotiations over a new security agreement with Washington.

The main Sunni Arab bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front, rejoins the Shia-led government almost a year after it pulled out.

2008 September - US forces hand over control of the western province of Anbar to the Iraqi government. Once a flashpoint of the anti-US insurgency and later an al-Qaeda stronghold, Anbar is the first Sunni province to be returned to Baghdad's Shia-led government.

Iraqi parliament passes provincial elections law after long debates. Issue of contested city of Kirkuk set aside so that elections can go ahead elsewhere.

2008 October - Members of the Baghdad Awakening Council, estimated to number about 54,000, move to the Iraqi government payroll, with other members of the Sunni militia councils set to follow.

The US military says al-Qaeda in Iraq's second-in-command has been killed during a raid in the northern city of Mosul, and that the group's top commander in east Baghdad has also been killed.

The government sends extra police to Mosul to protect the city's Christians after a spate of killings blamed on al-Qaeda.

Security pact approved

2008 November - The Iraqi parliament approves a security pact with the United States under which all US troops are due to leave the country by the end of 2011.

2009 January - Iraq takes control of security in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone and assumes more powers over foreign troops based in the country. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki welcomes the move as Iraq's "day of sovereignty".

A suicide bomber kills and wounds dozens at a feast for Sunni Arab electoral candidates and tribal leaders in the town of Yusufiyah, near Baghdad.

The new US embassy in Baghdad - one of the largest and most expensive ever built - is officially opened amid heavy security.

2009 February - The political bloc headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki scores big wins in provincial elections.

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