Iraq: A Timeline: - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iraq: A Timeline:

Iraq: A Timeline:

Published February 11, 2005

3000 BCE: The city of Babylon arises in the region that is now Iraq.

August 1920: British forces, having already taken over much of Iraq, struggle to seize control over Fallujah. In the ensuing battle, over 1000 British and Indian troops and around 10,000 Fallujans die.

October 1932: Iraq becomes an independent state.

June 1979: Saddam Hussein becomes Iraqi president through a coup d’etat.

August 1990: Iraq invades Kuwait. Saddam Hussein would later say, in court, that he did this to control the price of oil.

January 1991: UN Security Council passes Resolution 678, approving military action against Iraq.

March 1991: Iraq accepts UN terms for cease-fire and UN sanctions are imposed. Official reports of Iraqi casualties are reported between 20,000 and 35,000.

1991 – 2003: As a result of sanctions and intermittent air attacks, anywhere between half a million and a million Iraqis die.

September 2002: US President George W Bush, in an address to the UN, pushes for military action against Iraq.

February 2003: US military aircraft on their way to Iraq stop in Iceland

Feb 15: Day of global protest against war in Iraq, including hundreds of Icelanders, who march on parliament.

March 18 2003: A statement of support for the US-lead invasion of Iraq from then Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson appears on the White House webpage.

March 20 2003: US-lead military operations begin in Iraq, with Iceland listed as a member of “the coalition of the willing.”
March 21 2003: Member of parliament Þórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir asks then-Foreign Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson how Iceland ended up in the coalition of the willing. His response is that this happened in a conversation between officials in the Foreign Ministry and officials of the President three days earlier.
April 2003 – May 2004: Apart from several opinion pieces debating the pros and cons of supporting the US-lead war effort in Iraq, the media is largely silent on the Issue

January 2004: Discovery of “mustard gas shells” by joint Icelandic-Danish team in southern Iraq turns out to be erroneous.

June 2004: Movement for Active Democracy formed

October 2004: Movement for Active Democracy calls for resignation of the ruling party or vote of no confidence

January 5 2005: According to a Gallup poll conducted at the end of 2004, 84% of Icelanders do not want Iceland to be in the “coalition of the willing.”

January 9 2005: Össur Skarphéðinsson, chairman of the Social Democratic party, says that both Foreign Minister Davíð Oddsson and Prime Minister Halldor Ásgrimmsson broke the law by signing Iceland into the coalition without bringing the question before the public or members of parliament.

January 11 2005: IMG Gallup announces after a meeting yesterday that they stand by the results of the poll. Halldór Ásgrímsson, Davíð Oddsson and Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason each respond to the poll by saying that it was vague and the questions unclear.

January 13 2005: Halldór Ásgrímsson says on an interview on RÚV, “I am quite sure that Icelanders support developing democracy in Iraq, the elections there and the reconstruction which lies ahead.”

January 20 2005: It comes to light that Iraq was only mentioned twice during meetings of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the winter of 2002 to 2003. At neither one of these meetings was the possibility of Iceland´s support for the war effort in Iraq ever discussed.
January 21 2005: Pétur Gunnarsson, the office manager of the Progressive Party, offers his own explanation as to how Iceland ended up as one of the nations in the coalition that invaded Iraq, saying that Iceland was added by the US as a “public relations move.”

January 22 2005: A full page statement from the Movement for Active Democracy appears in the New York Times yesterday entitled “The Invasion of Iraq – not in our name”.

January 23 2005: Reuters erroneously reports that Iceland is no longer on any list of American allies of the war in Iraq.

January 25 2005: Halldór Ásgrímsson admits on television station Stöð 2 that he allowed military aircraft on their way to Iraq to stopover in Keflavík in February 2003.

January 26 2005: Jón Ásgeir Sigurðsson of “Spegillinn” confirms on radio station Rás 1 that after speaking with officials for the US State Department, the White House, and the National Security Advisor that Iceland is still in fact a part of the coalition of nations supporting the US-lead war effort in Iraq. Iceland is even still listed on the White House´s own webpage concerning the nations in this coalition.

Today: Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, half of whom are women and children, have died as a result of the invasion. Over 1600 coalition forces have lost their lives. Aid workers continue to be kidnapped and/or executed on a weekly basis.

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