Iraq Timeline: 2010
by Beth Rowen
A parliamentary panel recommended that 500 candidates (out of a total of 6,500) be banned from participating in the election because of their alleged former association with Saddam Hussein's Baath party. The move outraged many Iraqi Sunnis, who threatened to boycott the elections, and intensified sectarian tension.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was known as "Chemical Ali" and was a cousin and close associate of Hussein, was executed for his role in the 1988 poison-gas attack on the village of Halabja, where 5,000 Kurds were killed. He was also a member of the group of leaders responsible for the deaths of approximately 180,000 Kurds in the Iraq-Iran War.
A panel of seven judges overturned January's ban on parliamentary candidates but said the candidates who run in the elections may still be investigated later for their ties to the Baath party. Maliki called an emergency session of Parliament to review the ruling.
Explosions marked general election day, March 7, in Iraq, where two bombs killed at least 38 people. Iraq's election commission reports that 62% of Iraqis voted in the election, though that number drops to just 53% in Baghdad, where the violence occurred.
Final results, released in late March, gave the Iraqi National Movement, led by former prime minister Ayad Allawi, 91 seats in Parliament out of 325. The State of Law alliance, headed by Prime Minister Maliki came in a close second with 89 seats. Both fell far short of the 163 seats needed to form a majority in Parliament. A Shia religious movement, including followers of radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr, won 70. The two main Kurdish parties together received 43 seats. Maliki challenged the results, and a recount of votes in the Baghdad region confirmed Allawi's slim lead. During the recount process, Maliki formed an alliance with another Shiite bloc, which put him close to a majority of seats. Many members of the alliance, however, did not support giving Maliki a second term as prime minister, and electing a compromise candidate seemed imminent.
On August 17, a suicide bomber blew himself up at an Iraqi Army recruiting office, killing at least 48 army recruits and soldiers, and wounding 120 others. The attack occurred just one day before the U.S. State Department announced that it will increase the presence of civilian contractors in 2011 as the military prepared to leave the country. Contractors will be responsible for training Iraqi police and preventing confrontations between the Iraqi Army and civilian groups.
On August 31, over seven years after the war in Iraq began, President Obama announced the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom with a withdrawal of combat troops. Obama emphasized that U.S. domestic problems, mainly the flailing economy and widespread unemployment, are more pressing matters to his country. The U.S. will continue to be a presence in Iraq, mainly with civilian contractors but also with a smaller military contingent of approximately 50,000 troops. The remaining troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
As the U.S. was making plans to withdraw troops from Iraq in late summer and fall of 2011, the ongoing insurgent activity in the country cast doubt on the long-term security of the region. This uncertainty was highlighted on Aug. 15, 2011, when insurgents launched more than 40 coordinated attacks throughout the country, mostly on civilians. A total of 89 people died and more than 300 were wounded in the violence, which came in the form of suicide attacks, car bombs, and gunfire. Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia took credit for the attacks, saying they were retribution for the killing of Osama bin Laden. The lethality of the incursions made it clear that Iraq is far from secure and remains a hotbed of terrorist activity.
The U.S.-led war in Iraq officially ended on Dec. 15, 2011. The war, launched in March 2003 based on faulty evidence of weapons of mass destruction and a dubious connection to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, lasted nearly nine years, killed more than 4,440 U.S. troops, and cost about $1 trillion. Iraq announced the "complete closure" of Abu Ghraib, the infamous prison in which members of the U.S. military physically and sexually abused Iraqi prisoners. Images of the abuse were publicized in April 2004. Saddam Hussein also used the prison to torture and execute inmates.
Iraq announced the "complete closure" of Abu Ghraib, the infamous prison in which members of the U.S. military physically and sexually abused Iraqi prisoners. Images of the abuse were publicized in April 2004. Abu Ghraib was a notorious prison and torture center during the rule of Saddam Hussein.