Iraq Timeline: 2009
by Beth Rowen
|Jan. 1, 2009|
The Iraqi government takes control of the Green Zone, the heavily fortified area that houses the offices and homes of most American and Iraqi government officials. The U.S. had been responsible for security in the Green Zone until this point.
|Jan. 31, 2009|
Iraq holds local elections to create provincial councils. The elections are notable for their lack of violence and the noticeably diminished role the U.S. plays in their implementation. Voter turnout varies widely by area, with some regions reporting less than 50% participation and others more than 75%.
|Feb. 9, 2009|
In the worst single loss to the American military in nine months, a suicide bomber kills four American soldiers in the northern Iraq city of Mosul. The bomber's vehicle exploded as the soldiers' Humvee drove past. Three of the soldiers died at the scene while the other later died at a nearby hospital. Three Iraqis were also injured in the blast.
|Feb. 13, 2009|
A female suicide bomber kills 35 Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad, the deadliest attack in a string of bombings. Most of the dead are women and children, who were walking in an annual procession to the holy city of Karbala "to commemorate Arbaeen, which marks the end of the mourning period for Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad," according to The New York Times.
|Feb. 27, 2009|
In front of a crowd of Marines in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, President Obama announced his intention to withdraw most American troops out of Iraq by August 31, 2010. As many as 50,000 troops will remain there for smaller missions and to train Iraqi soldiers. Camp Lejeune is the largest marine camp on the East Coast, and 8,000 troops there will soon be shipped to Afghanistan.
|Mar. 8, 2009|
A suicide bomber killed 28 people and injured 57 when his motorcycle, laden with explosives, blew up near a Police Academy in Baghdad. Five of the dead were police officers.
|Mar. 10, 2009|
Another 33 people are killed by a suicide bomber in Baghdad, this time aimed at a group of Iraqi army officers. 46 others were injured.
|Apr. 10, 2009|
A suicide bomb in Mosul, Iraq kills 5 U.S. soldiers and 2 Iraqis, the deadlist attack against the American military in Iraq in 13 months. The bombing took place at the police headquarters of the city. At least 70 people in the area are wounded.
|Apr. 23, 2009|
At least 80 people are killed in three separate suicide bombings in Baghdad, Iraq. This is the largest death-toll due to attacks since February 2008. One of the bombings was reportedly set off by a female, who was standing among a group of women and children receiving food aid.
|Apr. 24, 2009|
Another 60 people have been killed in two more attacks, this time set off outside the holiest Shiite site in Baghdad, the shrine of Imam Musa al-Kadhim. At least 140 people killed and 240 wounded in Iraq in the past two days.
|May 11, 2009|
An American soldier being treated at a counseling center in Baghdad kills 5 fellow servicemen. The shooter, Sergeant John M. Russell, is serving his third tour in Iraq, and had been ordered recently to undergo psychological counseling and relinquish his gun. The shooting occurred at Camp Liberty, a large American military base.
|June 30, 2009|
As a signal of the United States' diminishing role in Iraq, and in compliance with the status of forces agreement between the U.S. and Iraq, U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from Iraqi cities, including Baghdad, and transferred the responsibility of securing the cities to Iraqi troops. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki names June 30 "National Sovereignty Day" and declares a public holiday.
|August 19, 2009|
Two massive bomb attacks kill at least 95 and wounds over 600 in Baghdad, Iraq. Though violence has been escalating in recent weeks, this is the worst attack in the region since the U.S. military ceded control of the security of the country back to its government, on June 30.
|October 25, 2009|
Two suicide bombings in Baghdad kill at least 155 people and wound 700 others. These are the deadliest attacks in the country since 2007, and they raise the question of the safety of Iraq, despite Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's recent assurances that the country is becoming safer. The Islamic State of Iraq al-Qaeda claims responsibility for the attack.
|December 8, 2009|
Five bombs kill at least 120 people and wound some 400 at or near government buildings in Baghdad. The Islamic State of Iraq al-Qaeda says it carried out the attacks. Authorities suspect that the Sunni insurgents are attempting to discourage cooperation between Shia and Sunnis and destablize the country in the weeks leading up to the election.