Iraq Timeline: 2007
by Beth Rowen
|Jan. 4, 2007||
Lt. Gen. David Petraeus is named the top commander in Iraq. He replaces Gen. George Casey, Jr. Adm. William Fallon succeeds Gen. John Abizaid as the head of Central Command.
|Jan. 10, 2007||
In a nationally televised address, President Bush announces an additional 20,000 troops will be deployed to Baghdad to try to stem the sectarian fighting. He also says Iraq will take control of its forces and commit to a number of "benchmarks," including increasing troop presence in Baghdad and passing oil-revenue-sharing and jobs-creation plans.
|Jan. 11, 2007||U.S. troops storm an Iranian diplomatic office in Erbil, Iraq, a Kurdish-controlled city, and detain five people. Kurdish officials are outraged at the move.|
|Jan. 16, 2007||The tally of death certificates and reports from morgues, hospitals, and other institutions indicates more than 34,000 Iraqi civilians died in 2006.|
|Jan. 28, 2007||As many as 250 are killed near Najaf as American and Iraqi troops fight with a Shiite militia. An American helicopter is shot down in the battle.|
|Jan. 24, 2007||Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes, 12–9, in favor of a nonbinding resolution that denounces President Bush's plan to deploy additional troops to Iraq.|
|Feb. 2, 2007||National Intelligence Estimate finds the Iraqi leadership is likely too weak to hold the country together, the military is ill-equipped to rein in militias, and U.S. troops are necessary to stabilize Iraq.|
|Feb. 7, 2007||The U.S. and Iraq begin a new offensive in an attempt to increase security in Baghdad and quell the increasingly deadly attacks by insurgents and militias.|
|Feb. 11, 2007||Officials show weapons, including mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades, and explosively formed penetrators, that they say were used by Iraqi troops and manufactured in Iranian factories. They also claim that Iranian government officials sanctioned the transfer of the weapons to Iraq.|
|Feb. 16, 2007||
Despite an increase in violence in Bagdhad, Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki called the security offensive a "dazzling success."
The House of Representatives votes, 246–182, in favor of a nonbinding resolution that expresses support for U.S. troops but criticizes President Bush’s “surge” that calls for some 20,000 additional troops to be sent to Iraq. Seventeen Republicans voted to adopt the resolution.
|Feb. 17, 2007||Senate Democrats fall four votes short of forcing a debate on the troop buildup in Iraq. In the vote, 56–34, seven Republicans join Democrats in supporting the vote.|
|Feb. 21, 2007||British prime minister Tony Blair says as many as 1,600 of the 7,100 troops stationed in southern Iraq will leave in the next few months. "What all this means is not that Basra is how we want it to be, but it does mean that the next chapter in Basra’s history can be written by Iraqis," Blair said.|
|Feb. 26, 2007||The Iraqi cabinet passes a draft law on oil revenues that calls on the government to distribute oil revenues to regions based on their populations and allows regions to negotiate contracts with foreign companies to explore and develop oil fields.
In a policy shift, U.S. officials say they will participate in high-level talks with Iran and Syria at an upcoing meeting about Iraq.
|March 28, 2007||Seasoned diplomat Ryan Crocker replaces Zalmay Khalizad as U.S. ambassador to Iraq.|
|April 12, 2007||Eight people, including two Iraqi legislators, die when a suicide bomber strikes inside the Parliament building, which is located in Baghdad's fortified International Zone. An organization that includes al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia claims responsibility for the bold attack. In another attack, the Sarafiya Bridge that spans the Tigris River is destroyed.|
|April 18, 2007||Five bombs targeting Shiite neighborhoods kill about 200 people and ravage the Iraqi capital in the worst violence in weeks. One bomb alone kills about 140 in Sadr City area.|
|April 30, 2007||Stuart Bowen, Jr., head of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, faults both the U.S. and Iraq in his criticism of the poor construction and maintenance of several projects throughout Iraq. Problems include power generators that don't work, overflowing sewage systems, and faulty electrical systems.|
|May 1, 2007||President Bush vetoes the $124 billion spending bill passed in late April by Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill called on the Bush administration to establish benchmarks for the Iraqi government that, if met, set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. It was only the second time in Bush's presidency that he used the veto. "Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible," Bush said.|
|May 3, 2007||Muharib Abdul Latif al-Jubouri, a leader of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, dies in a raid north of Baghdad. U.S. officials say that Jubouri was involved in the kidnapping of American reporter Jill Carroll.|
|May 12, 2007||Four soldiers die and three are captured in an attack near Mahmudiya, a mostly Sunni area. The Islamic State of Iraq, an insurgent group that includes al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, says it is holding the soldiers.|
|May 15, 2007||President Bush selects Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute to oversee war policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lute serves as the top operations officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Senate must confirm Lute's nomination.|
|May 23, 2007||The body of one of the soldiers who was abducted on May 12, Pfc. Joseph Anzack, is found in the Euphrates River.|
|May 25, 2007||Moktada al-Sadr, leader of the Mahdi Army militia and an opponent of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, reemerges from hiding for the first time since January. In a speech, he calls for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.|
|May 31, 2007||With 127 deaths, May is the deadliest month for U.S. troops since November 2004.|
|June 13, 2007||The revered Shiite Askariya mosque at Samarra is bombed for the second time in 16 months. Sunni militants connected to al-Qaeda are suspected in the attack.|
|June 16, 2007||U.S. forces begin a new offensive, targeting al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia in areas around Baghdad, where car bombings and other insurgent attacks have intensified.|
|June 24, 2007||Three Iraqi army officials, including Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein who was known as "Chemical Ali, are convicted and sentenced to death for carrying out the murder of about 50,000 Kurds in 1988—what was called the Anfal campaign.|
|July 3, 2007||The Iraqi cabinet approves the hydrocarbon framework law, one component of a larger legislative package, which states that the revenue from oil sales belongs to all Iraqis and outlines the function of the oil and gas council. Parliament must also approve the legislation.|
|July 7, 2007||A truck filled with explosives destroys dozens of homes and shops in Amerli, a Shiite village north of Baghdad. Hundreds are wounded in the attack.|
|Aug. 1 , 2007||The Iraqi Consensus Front, the largest Sunni faction in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's cabinet, resigns, citing the Shiite-led government's failure to stem violence by militias, follow through with reforms, and involve Sunnis in decisions on security.|
|Aug. 14, 2007||Two pairs of truck bombs explode about five miles apart in the remote, northwestern Iraqi towns of Qahtaniya and Jazeera. At least 500 members of the minority Yazidi community are reported killed and hundreds more are wounded, making it the single deadliest insurgent attack of the war.|
|Aug. 24, 2007||A review of progress in Iraq, called the National Intelligence Estimate, says the Iraqi government has failed to end sectarian violence even with the surge of American troops. The report also says, however, that a withdrawal of troops, a move supported by many Democrats, would "erode security gains achieved thus far."|
|Aug. 26, 2007||In an attempt at national reconciliation, a group of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Vice President Tarqi al-Hashemi, and President Jalal Talabani, announce that former Baathists, members of the party loyal to Saddam Hussein, could regain their government jobs that were lost in 2003's de-Baathification process.|
|Aug. 28, 2007||More than 50 people are killed and hundreds are wounded when members of the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, and the Badr Organization, a group of fighters that supports Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki battle in the streets of Karbala during a pilgrimage celebrating the birth of Muhammad al-Mahdi. The following day, Moktada al-Sadr announces that he has ordered the Mahdi Army to suspend its military operations for six months.|
|Sept. 3, 2007||President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates make a surprise visit to Iraq and visit Anbar Province, a Sunni stronghold. They meet with Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki and other leaders. Bush stresses that progress in security and reconciliation have been made in Anbar and hints that a troop withdrawal may start if such gains continue.|
|Sept. 10, 2007||In highly anticipated testimony, Gen. David Petraeus tells members of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees that the U.S. military needs more time to meet its goals in Iraq. He says the number of troops in Iraq may be reduced from 20 brigades to 15, or from 160,000 troops to 130,000, beginning in July 2008. Petraeus rejects suggestions that the U.S. shift from a counterinsurgency operation to training Iraqi forces and fighting terrorists. Instead, he says the U.S. must continue all three missions. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker also testifies, expressing frustration about the situation in Iraq. He said that while Iraqi leaders and the people are capable of—and desire to—bridge the sectarian divide, "I frankly do not expect that we will see rapid progress," he said.|
|Sept. 11, 2007||Gen. David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker face more intense and critical questioning from members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees. They failed to answer definitely repeated questions about how long U.S. troops would be in Iraq. Senator Carl Levin, Democrat from Michigan, said, "Year after year, the president and the administration have touted progress in Iraq and called for patience. It has been a litany of delusion."|
|Sept. 13, 2007||In a nationally televised address, President Bush outlines a plan for withdrawing troops from Iraq. He said by July 2008 troop levels would drop from the current high of 169,000 to 130,000. Calling the move a "return on success," Bush said the progress from the surge of troops would be diminished if more troops returned from Iraq too quickly.|
|Sept. 13, 2007||Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi, a leader of Sunni tribes in Anbar Province that have joined forces with the U.S. to fight Sunni militants, such as al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, dies in a bombing. Such cooperation is credited with bringing relative peace and stability to Anbar Province.|
|Sept. 16, 2007||Seventeen Iraqi civilians, including a couple and their infant, are killed when employees of private security company Blackwater USA, which was escorting a diplomatic convoy, reportedly fire on a car that failed to stop at the request of a police officer. Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki threatens to evict Blackwater employees from Iraq.|
|Oct. 8, 2007||British prime minister Gordon Brown announces that half of the country's 5,000 troops stationed in Basra will be removed by the end of 2008.|
|Oct. 12, 2007||Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, criticizes the Bush administration for its "catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan." Sanchez, who retired after being replaced amid the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, also said, "After more than four years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism."|
|Oct. 17, 2007||Turkey's Parliament votes, 507 to 19, to allow the deployment of troops into northern Iraq to deal with attacks on Turkey by Kurdish rebels in Iraq.|
|Oct. 21, 2007||Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, members of the Kurdistan Workers Party, attack and kill 12 Turkish soldiers about three miles inside Turkey.|
|Nov. 6, 2007||Six American soldiers are killed in Iraq, bringing the total deaths in 2007 to 852, the highest annual total since the war began in 2003.|
|Nov. 13, 2007||FBI investigators report that 14 of the 17 shootings of Iraqis on Sept. 16 by Blackwater guards were unjustified and the guards were reckless in their use of deadly force.|
|Nov. 18, 2007||U.S. military reports that for three consecutive weeks, the number of car bombs, roadside bombs, mines, rocket attacks, and other violence have fallen to the lowest level since January 2006.|
|Nov. 24, 2007||A brigade of 5,000 U.S. troops starts to leave Diyala Province, the first significant pullback of troops. Once the withdrawal is complete, there will be 157,000 soldiers in Iraq, from a high of 162,000.|
|Dec. 16, 2007||With the help of the U.S. military, Turkish fighter jets bomb areas in Dohuk Province in northern Iraq, targeting the Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party. At least one civilian is reported to have died in the attack.
The British military transfers military control of Basra to the Iraqi government. It was the last region that was still under British control.
|Dec. 29, 2007||Gen. David Petraeus reports that car bombs and suicide attacks have dropped by 60% since June 2007. He also says that al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia remains the greatest threat to Iraq's security.|