Iraq Timeline: 2006
by Borgna Brunner
|Jan. 20, 2006|
Preliminary election results are reported for the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections. The Shiite United Iraqi Alliance—an alliance of Shiite religious parties—captured 128 of the 275 parliamentary seats. It did not succeed in winning the two-thirds majority needed to rule without coalition partners, and will seek to form a coalition over the next weeks.
Eleven other political groups won seats: an alliance of the two major Kurdish parties won 53 seats; the Iraqi Accordance Front (Sunni Arab), 44 seats; Iraqi Front for National Dialogue (Sunni Arab), 11 seats; Iraqi National List (secular), 25 seats; Islamic Part of Kurdistan, 5; Reconciliation and Liberation Bloc (Sunni Arab), 3; Risaliyoun (Shiite), 2, Turkomen Iraqi Front (ethnic Turks), 1; Iraqi Nation List (Sunni), 1; Yazidi minority religious sect, 1; Al-Rafidian List (Christian), 1.
|Jan. 23, 2006|
Report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction finds evidence of fraud, that money for rebuilding was casually and insecurely stored, and contract work was improperly certified as complete
|Feb. 15, 2006|
A U.S. Senate report on progress in Iraq indicates that despite the U.S. spending $16 billion on reconstruction, every major area of Iraq's infrastructure is below prewar levels. This includes electricity, drinkable water, heating oil production, crude oil production, and sewage service. The report also indicates that the number of insurgent attacks has increased: between March 2004 and Dec. 2005, they have grown by more that 200%.
|Feb. 22, 2006|
Inurgents bomb and seriously damage the golden dome atop the Shiite's most revered shrine in Iraq, the Askariya Shrine, in Samarra. The bombings ignited ferocious sectarian attacks between Shiites and Sunnis. More than a thousand people were killed over several days, and Iraq seemed poised for civil war.
|March 7, 2006|
The bodies of 24 men are found in five locations in Baghdad.
|March 8, 2006|
Gunmen kidnap about 50 employees of a Sunni-owned security company in Baghdad. Witnesses say the gunmen were wearing police paramilitary uniforms.
|March 12, 2006|
Six car bombs explode in Shiite section of Baghdad, killing nearly 50 people and wounding 200.
|March 15, 2006|
Saddam Hussein testifies for the first time in his lengthy trial. He is charged with ordering the killing of 148 villagers in Dujail in 1982.
|March 16, 2006|
The U.S. military and Iraqi forces launch "Operation Swarmer" near Samarra, a massive attack against insurgents. It is the largest air assault since the beginning of the war in 2003.
Iraq's new parliament meets for the first time since its election in December 2005. Leaders continue to struggle to form a government of national unity with little success. Parliament was quickly adjourned after the various factions of Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds deadlocked on the positions of prime minister, president, speaker, and cabinet members. Many Shiites back Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister—he currently holds that post—but Sunni, Kurd, and secular groups are set against him.
|March 21, 2006|
Over a two-week period, nearly 200 bodies are found in Baghdad. Most of the victims had been executed or tortured.
|April 4, 2006|
Iraqi court charges Saddam Hussein and six other defendants with genocide in attempting to eradicate Iraq's Kurdish population in 1988. More than 50,000 people were killed in the military campaign that destroyed about 2,000 villages.
|April 5, 2006|
Four months after elections, the appointment of Jaafari as prime minister is still not confirmed—Sunni Arab and Kurdish officials continue to reject him. Jaafari, a religious Shiite, is considered by many to be a divisive figure incapable of forming the government of national unity that is desperately needed for a country deeply enmeshed in deep sectarian violence. Iraqi and U.S. officials have urged him to step down; Jaafari refuses, asserting that his appointment was reached by democratic means and that the Iraqi people "will react if they see the rules of democracy being disobeyed."
|April 7, 2006|
Suicide bombings kill at least 50 people at a Baghdad mosque.
|April 22, 2006|
Nuri al-Maliki of the Shiite Dawa party, is approved as prime minister, ending four months of political stalemate.
|April 29, 2006|
The Los Angeles Times reports that Parsons, the U.S. company awarded multibillion dollar contracts to rebuild Iraq's health and security infrastructure, will finish only 20 of 150 planned health clinics planned. It has spent $60 million of the budgeted $186 million for its own management and administration. On June 19, the Army Corps of Engineers announces it has canceled a $99.1 million contract with Parsons, to build a prison. The company was more than two years behind schedule and was expected to go millions of dollars over budget.
|April 30, 2006|
According to the April report of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), more than 75% of oil and gas restoration projects are incomplete, as well as 50% of electrical and 40% of water and sanitation projects. Yet the most of the $20 billion Congress has allocated for reconstruction has been spent. Insurgent attacks have hindered reconstruction progress and security concerns have added to the costs. In addition, incompetence and fraud have characterized numerous projects. Stuart Bowen, Jr., the Special Inspector General, is currently pursuing 72 investigations into corruption by firms involved in reconstruction.
|May 10, 2006|
President Jalal Talabani announces that more the 1,000 people were killed in Baghdad during April.
|May 15, 2006|
Saddam Hussein is charged with crimes against humanity. Ruling is part of his trial that focuses on the execution about nearly 150 Shiites in Dujail in 1982.
|May 17, 2006|
Congressman John Murtha holds a press conference discussing a not-yet-released official military report that U.S. Marines had killed 24 innocent Iraqis, "in cold blood" in the city of Haditha last Nov. 19. The alleged massacre, which included women and children, were said to have been revenge for a bombing that killed a Marine. The marines are also alleged to have covered up the killings. The military did not launch a criminal investigation until mid-March, four months after the incident, and two months after Time Magazine had reported the allegations to the military In the weeks after Murtha called the press conference, several additional sets of separate allegations of civilian murders by U.S. troops have surfaced.
|May 20, 2006|
A bomb kills 19 in Baghdad.
|May 23, 2006|
Bombs kill 20 in Baghdad.
|June 2, 2006|
A suicide bomber kills 33 in Basra.
|June 4, 2006|
Terrorists kill 21 in Baquba.
|June 7, 2006|
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the most-wanted terrorist in the country, is killed when U.S. warplanes dropped 500-lb. bombs on his safe house. Zarqawi was responsible for many of the most brutal and horrific attacks in Iraqi, and his death is considered a major victory.
|June 15, 2006|
The Congressional Committee on Government Reform's Minority reports that despite $50 billion in expenditures, oil and electricity production remain well below pre-war levels.
|June 26, 2006|
A bombing in Hilla kills 30.
|July 1, 2006|
A bombing kills 66 in a Baghdad market.
|July 3, 2006|
A former U.S. soldier, Steven D. Green, is charged in a U.S. federal court of raping and murdering an Iraqi girl as well as murdering her parents and young sister. Three other U.S. soldiers are believed to have been involved in the murders in Mahmoudiya, which took place in March 2006.
|July 10, 2006|
A Government Accountability Office, and independent investigative branch of Congress, releases a report the maintains that the Bush administration's Iraq strategy is inadequate and was poorly planned.
|July 10-15, 2006|
Nearly 150 people are killed in five days of suicide bombings, mortar attacks, and shootings that bring the country to the brink of civil war. The U.S. increases its troop presence in the city to help quell the violence.
|July 11, 2006|
The U.S. Army announces that it is discontinuing its multibillion-dollar deal with military contractor Halliburton, which has provided service to the military in Iraq and elsewhwere. Government audits have uncovered more the $1 billion in questionable charges.
|July 18, 2006|
The UN announces that during June, an average of more than 100 civilians were killed in Iraq each day. During the first six months of the year, civilian deaths increased by 77%, reflecting the serious spike in sectarian violence in the country.
A suicide bomber in the Shi'ite city of Kufa kills 59.
|July 25, 2006|
The U.S. announces it will move more U.S. troops into Bagdad from other regions of Iraq, in an attempt to bring security to the country's capital, which has increasingly been subject to lawlessness, violence, and sectarian strife.
|July 27, 2006|
The trial of Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president who faces charges of crimes against humanity, ends after nine months. He is accused of ordering the 1982 execution of 148 men and boys in a Shiite village.
|July 28, 2006|
Audit finds that the United States Agency for International Development used an accounting scheme to mask budget overruns on reconstruction projects in Iraq.
|Aug. 3, 2006|
Gen. John Abizaid, the U.S. military's top commander in Asia (CENTCOM), announced to a Senate panel that sectarian violence in Iraq has grown so strong that civil war was a distinct possibility.
|Aug. 10, 2006|
A suicide bomber attempts to blow up the Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, killing 35 people and wounding more than 120.
|Aug. 15, 2006|
According to Iraq's health ministry and the Baghdad morgue, a total of 3,438 civilians were killed in July, an increase of 9% over June.
|Aug. 30, 2006|
Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, estimated that Iraqi security forces would need another 12 to 18 months before they could take over from American troops.
|Sept. 1, 2006|
A Pentagon report finds that since the new Iraqi government was established in May, civilian and security forces casualties have increased by 51%.
|Sept. 3, 2006|
U.S. and Iraqi troops capture Hamid Juma Faris Jouri al-Saeedi, a senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. He is thought to have overseen the bombing of the Shiite Askariya shrine in February that resulted in days of deadly sectarian violence
|Sept. 23, 2006|
A classified National Intelligence Estimatea consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, signed off by Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte—is leaked to several newspapers. It concludes that “the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse.”
|Oct. 11, 2006|
The Iraqi Parliament votes in favor of a law that would allow provinces to unite and form semi-independent regions. Sunnis in parliament, who oppose the move out of fear that Shiites and Kurds will control most of the country's oil, boycott the vote.
|Oct. 17, 2006|
Under pressure to control violence that has spiraled out of control, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki fires two police generals. The security forces have been criticized for having been infiltrated by members of Shiite militias, which have tortured and killed hundreds of civilians.
|Oct. 19, 2006|
The U.S. military acknowledges that its 12-week-old campaign to establish security in Baghdad, which has been wracked by sectarian death squads and insurgents, had been unsuccessful. Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV conceded that the campaign %ldquo;has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence.” The military had deployed 15,600 troops, and about 9,600 Iraqi Army soldiers and 30,000 Iraqi policemen assisted them.
|Oct. 20, 2006|
Shiite militias battle for control of the city of Amarra. The Mahdi Army, which is connected to Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, and the Badr Organization destroy police stations and bring the city to a standstill.
|Oct. 29, 2006|
Report by the Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction says the U.S. military has not appropriately tracked or maintained thousands of weapons that were sent to Iraq.
|Oct. 31, 2006|
Following the demand of Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, the U.S. military removes checkpoints from Baghdad streets. The military had set up the checkpoints in an attempt to find a U.S. soldier who had been kidnapped.
|Nov. 3, 2006|
The New York Times reveals that a military authorization bill signed by President Bush in October includes a provision that will terminate the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction on Oct. 1, 2007. This federal oversight agency, headed by respected Republican lawyer Stuart Bowen, has been pursuing more than 82 investigations into corruption and waste in Iraq by corporations such as Halliburton, Bechtel, and Parsons. The clause was inserted by the head of the House Armed Services Committee, Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and provoked outrage among Democrats, who felt the move was covering up the Bush administration's handling of the war.
|Nov. 6, 2006|
Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death by hanging. He is found guilty of crimes against humanity for the execution of 148 Shiite men and boys from the town of Dujail.
|Nov. 22, 2006|
Civilian deaths reach a record high in Iraq: some 3,700 Iraqi civilians died in October, the highest toll since the war began in 2003, according to the United Nations. Report also says that about 100,000 Iraqis flee each month to Jordan and Syria.
|Nov. 23, 2006|
More than 200 people die when five car bombs and a mortar shell explode in the Shiite-dominated Sadr City district of Baghdad. On Nov. 24, Shiites retaliate against Sunnis, attacking mosques in Baghdad and Baquba. Dozens die in the attacks.
|Dec. 6, 2006|
A bipartisan report by the Iraq Study Group is released. Led by former secretary of state James Baker and former Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton, it concludes 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 reaching out diplomatically to Iran and Syria and having the U.S. military intensify its efforts to train Iraqi troops.
|Dec. 18, 2006|
A Pentagon report finds that attacks on Americans and Iraqis average about 960 a week, the highest number since it began writing the reports in 2005.
|Dec. 20, 2006|
Americans formally give control of the troubled province to the Iraqi government. It is the first time since the war began that the U.S. relinquishes control of a province.
|Dec. 21, 2006|
Military prosecutors charge the Marines with the murder of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in November 2005. Ten of the casualties were women and children. Four officers are also charged with dereliction of duty.
|Dec. 30, 2006|
Saddam Hussein is hanged. On Nov. 5, a court had sentenced Saddam to death for the killing of 148 Shiites in Dujail in 1982. On Dec. 28, an Iraqi appellate court chief upheld the death sentence, and the execution was scheduled for two days later.
|Dec. 31, 2006|
The American death toll in the Iraq war reaches 3,000.
The UN reports that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed from violence in 2006.