The Iraq War 20 years on explained for Generation Z

The Iraq War 20 years on explained for Generation Z
Iraq & the war on terror: Taking stock of the effects of …

20 years ago today, the war in Iraq began.

It was a huge event that changed the course of geopolitical history.

It is likely that you have heard of the conflict. But if you are in a younger generation, chances are you were a toddler or not even born when it started so may not know much about it.

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Here is a summary of the major events of the war.

Who was involved and why?

The US and the UK invaded Iraq in 2003 because they believed the dictator of the country, Saddam Hussein, was building weapons of mass destruction. He had a terrible record of human rights abuses spanning the decades that he was in power.

In a televised address, then-US president George W Bush announced the invasion. He said: "At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."

The leader of the UK at the time was Tony Blair while there was a parliamentary vote on the war, there was also a lot of public unrest with many protesting against it.

How did the war unfold?

Upon the troops arrival in the country, Hussein went into hiding and US forces toppled his regime in just three weeks. But despite defeating his official military, in the years that followed, guerrilla armies remained who were fighting back against America and so the conflict continued for years and years.

Hussein was found in 2005 and put on trial after interrogation by the US. He was executed by hanging a year later for crimes against humanity when he was leader of Iraq but the war continued as the West attempted to create a provisional government.

The war officially ended in 2011, after no weapons of mass destruction were found, and a new government had been installed in the country.

What were the impacts of the war?

The war displaced some 9 million people, killed at least 300,000 Iraqi civilians.

Over 4,400 Americans were also killed and close to 32,000 have been wounded.

In 2016, an inquiry into Britain's role in the war was published. The Chilcot Inquiry found that Hussein did not pose a threat to Britain when the war began and that there was not a great deal of evidence that he had weapons of mass destruction.

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