Iraq War

2003–2011 war after an American-led invasion

The Iraq War was an armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that toppled the government of Saddam Hussein.

Iraq War
Part of the Iraqi conflict and the War on Terror

Clockwise from top: U.S. troops at Uday and Qusay Hussein's hideout; insurgents in northern Iraq; the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue in Firdos Square
Date20 March 2003 – 18 December 2011 (2011-12-18)
(8 years and 8 or 9 months)



Invasion phase (2003)
 United States
 United Kingdom

Supported by:
Invasion phase (2003)


 United States
 United Kingdom


Supported by:

Iran Iran[3][4]
 Iraqi Kurdistan

Post-invasion (2003–11)
Ba'ath loyalists

Sunni insurgents

Shia insurgents

supported by:

For fighting between insurgent groups, see Sectarian violence in Iraq (2006–08).
Commanders and leaders
Ayad Allawi
Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Nouri al-Maliki
Ricardo Sanchez
George W. Casey, Jr.
David Petraeus
Raymond T. Odierno
Lloyd Austin
George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Tommy Franks
Donald Rumsfeld
Robert Gates
Tony Blair
Gordon Brown
David Cameron
John Howard
Kevin Rudd
Silvio Berlusconi
Walter Natynczyk
José María Aznar
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Aleksander Kwaśniewski

Ba'ath Party
Saddam Hussein (POW)
Izzat Ibrahim ad-Douri
Iraq Qusay Hussein 
Iraq Uday Hussein 
Iraq Abid Hamid Mahmud (POW)
Iraq Ali Hassan al-Majid (POW)
Iraq Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti (POW)
Iraq Taha Yasin Ramadan (POW)
Iraq Tariq Aziz (POW)
Iraq Mohammed Younis al-Ahmed

Sunni insurgency
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi 
Abu Ayyub al-Masri 
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi 
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Ishmael Jubouri
Abu Abdullah al-Shafi'i (POW)

Shia insurgency
Muqtada al-Sadr
Abu Deraa
Qais al-Khazali
Akram al-Kaabi


Invasion forces (2003)
 United States: 192,000[19]
 United Kingdom: 45,000
 Australia: 2,000
 Poland: 194
Iraqi Kurdistan Peshmerga: 70,000

Coalition forces (2004–09)
176,000 at peak
United States Forces – Iraq (2010–11)
112,000 at activation
Security contractors 6,000–7,000 (estimate)[20]
Iraqi security forces
805,269 (military and paramilitary: 578,269,[21] police: 227,000)

Awakening militias
≈103,000 (2008)[22]
Iraqi Kurdistan
≈400,000 (Kurdish Border Guard: 30,000,[23] Peshmerga 375,000)

Iraqi Armed Forces: 375,000 (disbanded in 2003)
Special Iraqi Republican Guard: 12,000
Iraqi Republican Guard: 70,000–75,000
Fedayeen Saddam: 30,000

Sunni Insurgents
≈70,000 (2007)[24]
≈1,300 (2006)[25]

Islamic State of Iraq
≈1,000 (2008)
Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order
≈500–1,000 (2007)
Casualties and losses

Iraqi security forces (post-Saddam)
Killed: 17,690[26]
Wounded: 40,000+[27]
Coalition forces
Killed: 4,815[28][29] (4,496 U.S.,[30] 179 UK,[31] 139 other)[28]
Missing/captured (U.S.): 17 (8 rescued, 9 died in captivity)[32]
Wounded: 32,776+ (32,252 U.S.,[30] 315 UK, 212+ other[33])[34][35][36][37]
Injured/diseases/other medical*: 51,139 (47,541 U.S.,[38] 3,598 UK)[34][36][37]
Killed: 1,554[39][40]
Wounded & injured: 43,880[39][40]
Awakening Councils
Killed: 1,002+[41]
Wounded: 500+ (2007),[42] 828 (2008)[43]

Total dead: 25,285 (+12,000 policemen killed 2003–2005)
Total wounded: 117,961

Iraqi combatant dead (invasion period): 7,600–10,800[44][45]
Insurgents (post-Saddam)
Killed: 26,544 (2003–11)[46]
Detainees: 12,000 (Iraqi-held)[47]

Total dead: 34,144–37,344

Estimated deaths:
Lancet survey** (March 2003 – July 2006): 654,965 (95% CI: 392,979–942,636)[48][49]
Iraq Family Health Survey*** (March 2003 – July 2006): 151,000 (95% CI: 104,000–223,000)[50]
PLOS Medicine Study**: (March 2003 – June 2011): 405,000 (95% CI: 48,000–751,000), in addition to 55,000 deaths missed due to emigration.[51]

Documented deaths from violence:
Iraq Body Count (2003 – 14 December 2011): 103,160–113,728 civilian deaths recorded,[52] and 12,438 new deaths added from the Iraq War Logs[53]
Associated Press (March 2003 – April 2009): 110,600[54]

For more information see: Casualties of the Iraq War
* "injured, diseased, or other medical": required medical air transport. UK number includes "aeromed evacuations".
** Total excess deaths include all additional deaths due to increased lawlessness, degraded infrastructure, poorer healthcare, etc.
*** Violent deaths only – does not include excess deaths due to increased lawlessness, poorer healthcare, etc.

The conflict continued for much of the next ten years as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government.[55] An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first 3–4 years of conflict. The United States officially withdrew from the country in 2011 but left private security contractors in its place to continue the war.[56] In 2014 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant conquered much of northern Iraq. An American-led new coalition sent troops to help the government of Iraq.

Australia, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Poland were also involved in the war with support from the Kurdish Peshmerga.



After the Gulf War of 1990-1991 during which a US-led coalition retook Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion, Iraq was severely damaged both economically and socially. Numerous penalties were imposed on the crumbling state of Iraq, including a no-fly zone (essentially barring any civilian and military planes from flying over Iraq), along with UN weapon inspections to ensure that Saddam was not stockpiling WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). In 1998, the Iraqi government stopped allowing these inspections to continue after allegations that the inspectors were spying for the US.


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  26. 260 killed in 2003,260 Iraqi police killed in attacks: official - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) 15,196 killed from 2004 through 2009 (with the exceptions of May 2004 and March 2009),Iraq war logs reveal 15,000 previously unlisted civilian deaths | World news | The Guardian 67 killed in March 2009,News352 - La actualidad de Luxemburgo en hispano Archived 26 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine 1,100 killed in 2010,[1] Archived 16 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine and 1,067 killed in 2011,[2] thus giving a total of 17,690 dead
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  33. 33 Ukrainians [3], 31+ Italians Attack on Italian police kills 26 in Iraq / Gasoline truck crashes into compound - SFGate [4] Archived 28 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine, 30 Bulgarians BBC NEWS | Europe | Bulgaria mourns its dead soldiers 3 Bulgarian Soldiers Wounded in Iraq - - Sofia News Agency, 20 Salvadorans El Salvador withdraws last soldiers from Iraq -, 19 Georgians Civil.Ge | Georgian Soldier Killed in Iraq Archived 2011-05-13 at the Wayback Machine, 18 Estonians Estonian troops may go to Afghanistan, not Iraq, 16+ Poles 3 Bulgarian Soldiers Wounded, Driver Shot Dead in Iraq - - Sofia News Agency "The Iraq Page: Tomasz Jura". Archived from the original on 12 June 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2011. "Two Polish Soldiers Dead, Five Injured in Iraq -PAP". Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2011. [5] "Three Polish soldiers injured in patrol skirmish in Iraq". Archived from the original on 2011-05-01., 15 Spaniards [6] Archived 29 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine [7] Archived 2019-04-02 at the Wayback Machine Five Spanish soldiers, four US troops injured in Iraq bomb attacks | Al Bawaba Three Spanish soldiers wounded in Iraq, 10 Romanians Romania's last contingent in Iraq returns home - People's Daily Online, 6 Australians "Combat troops pull out of Iraq - Local News - News - General - the Canberra Times". Archived from the original on 28 April 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011., 5 Albanians, 4 Kazakhs "The Iraq Page: Bomb blast kills 7 Ukrainians, 1 Kazakh serving with coalition in Iraq". Archived from the original on 30 January 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2011., 3 Filipinos "ASIAN JOURNAL a San Diego original. The 1st Asian Journal in Ca,USA. A Filipino American weekly. Online | Digital | Print Editions". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011. and 2 Thais First Thai soldier injured in Iraq - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) [8] for a total of 212+
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  46. 597 killed in 2003,19,000 insurgents killed in Iraq since '03 -, 23,984 killed from 2004 through 2009 (with the exceptions of May 2004 and March 2009),Iraq war logs reveal 15,000 previously unlisted civilian deaths | World news | The Guardian 652 killed in May 2004,[11] 45 killed in March 2009,[12] Archived 2009-09-03 at the Wayback Machine 676 killed in 2010,Bloomberg - Are you a robot? and 590 killed in 2011,[13] thus giving a total of 26,544 dead
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