“The Iraq War was the first conflict in western history in which an imperialist war was massively protested against before it had even been launched.”

–Noam Chomsky


20th March 2003 saw the launch of a ground invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition, marking the beginning of the Iraq War. The invasion phase lasted just over one month, including 21 days of major combat operations, in which a combined troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland launched the offensive. 36 other countries were involved in its aftermath. According to U.S. President George W. Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, the coalition aimed “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.”

Other justifications included Saddam’s alleged support of al-Qaeda, which had committed the 9/11 attacks two years prior. After the invasion, no weapons of mass destruction were found, and claims of Iraqi officials working with al-Qaeda were found to be false.

The conflict was intensely controversial, and led Iraq to a descent into years of vicious sectarian violence as through the breeding of various insurgent groups. According to Iraq Body Count, approximately 7,500 civilians were killed during the invasion phase.