The US initiates the second Gulf War. The target: To throw over the regime of Iraqi Saddam Hussein.
Saddam’s assassination attempt had failed, giving the signal for a combined aerial and ground attack on Iraq. The war in Iraq lasted for exactly 44 days, until president Bush’s announcement at May 1st 2003 on the termination of all fighting activities. Since then the Americans continued to suffer from terrorist acts against their forces in Iraq on a daily basis. The last American achievement in Iraq is the capture of Saddam Hussein, the overthrown dictator, after nine months in which he hid in the vicinity of his birth town – Tikrit.
Prominent events during the war:
19.3.2003: The aerial assassination attempt of Saddam Hussein, his sons and high-ranking officers fails. President Bush declares the war with Iraq has begun.
20.3.2003: Preliminary American and British ground forces invade Iraq’s territory from Kuwait. The Americans from south, while the British invade Umm-Kasser, a harbor town in the south-west of Iraq.
21.3.2004: Friday eve marks the start of the heavy aerial attack on Baghdad. For hours aircrafts pounded the Iraqi capital, during the “Shock and Awe” campaign. The forces of the American army, led by the forth infantry division penetrate dozens of kilometers into the territory of Iraq. Heavy bombings are induced on Kirkuk and Musol in north Iraq.
22.3.2003: The American forces proceed to a distance of 150 miles from Baghdad, crossing the bridges on the rivers Tigris & Euphrates.
23.3.2003: Great armor battle next to Nasiriya ends in a full American victory. The British forces enhance their hold of Basra in the south. First American captives fall into Iraqi hands.
25.3.2003: Large sand storm engulfs the oncoming American forces.
26.3.2003: American Airborne forces land for the first time in north Iraq and join the Kurdian forces in the area.
28.3.2003: Iraq launches missiles at Kuwait.
1.4.2003: Fierce battles between Marine forces and republican guard divisions surround Baghdad in a defense ring. The Americans close in on the Iraqi capital.
2.4.2003: American helicopter is shot down in Iraq.
3.4.2003: First American forces invade to the Baghdad airport. The Iraqi information minister denies that the city holds American military presence, but in conjunction the television networks present American forces few hundred meters away from the city’s center.
5.4.2003: American forces arrive and conquer the center of Baghdad – Local residents drop Saddam’s statue in the city’s main mosques’ court. Live feed is broadcasted to the rest of the world.
11.4.2003: The Americans evaluate that the Iraqi regime has ceased to exist. Their next target is Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birth city.
24.4.2003: Tarek Aziz, deputy of the Iraqi prime minister and right hand of Saddam Hussein is captured.
1.5.2003: President of the US, George Bush declares: “All combat activity in Iraq has come to an end”. The allied force’s casualties stand at two hundred.
Ever since the war’s official ending, the American forces in Iraq encountered increasing terrorist resistance from the remains of Saddam’s Regime, aided by terrorists who came from other countries. In these acts 200 more American soldiers were killed. Most of the criticism against Iraq was directed at the disorder remaining in Iraq and the ongoing occupation.
In these circumstances, the capture of Saddam Hussein next to Tikrit count as the US’s greatest achievement. Saddam was captured in an operation in which 600 elite soldiers from various units took part. The operation was based on accurate intelligence information received about Saddam’s whereabouts. The former president of Iraq was discovered hiding in a hole in the ground, in an agricultural farm next to the town of Tikrit. Saddam was captured without a struggle and was taken for questioning. He is expected to be put on trial for war crimes.