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Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

Map of Iraq

Simultaneous to the war in Afghanistan, the United States and its allies threatened military action if Iraq did not abide by all of the numerous UN resolutions of the past ten years, including UN Security Council Resolution 1441 (2002), which called on Iraq to cooperate unconditionally with UN weapons inspectors to verify that Iraq was not in possession of WMD and ballistic missiles. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) found no evidence of WMD, but could not verify the accuracy of Iraq's weapons declarations.

On March 20, 2003, in the face of Iraq's resistance to open inspections by UN weapons inspectors, the U.S. and coalition forces launched Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, a combined air and ground assault. U.S. troops seized Baghdad after just twenty-one days. A broad insurgency that ebbed and flowed over the next seven years challenged efforts to create a democratic Iraqi government and threatened open sectarian warfare between minority Sunni and majority Shia, with northern Kurds aspiring to regional autonomy amid the unrest.

On May 1st, 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush declared the end to major combat operations in Iraq.