The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. US troops were officially withdrawn in 2011. However, following the spread of the Syrian Civil War (with the insurgency there supported by the United States and others) and the territorial gains of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, US forces were again sent to Iraq in 2014. Iraq captured ISIL's last major strongholds in 2017 and declared the war over, but a lower-scale insurgency continues.
The start of the conflict is associated with the aftermath of the earlier Gulf War, the 9/11 attacks, and claims of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. However, there was no cooperation between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, and it has been argued that Western intelligence agencies before the war knew this or only had non-reliable evidence.
Some critics (such as Noam Chomsky) have argued that the war is an "oil war". However, this has also been criticized as a smokescreen or only a partial cause. The war has not been financially beneficial for the United States but has instead been enormously costly (see below).
The influence of the Israel lobby and neoconservatives have often been argued to be a major cause, in for example The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, but sources such as Wikipedia states nothing on this in its articles on Iraq War.
Some of the current results of the war include that
- A relatively stable and secular country that was hostile to Israel has been devastated and greatly weakened.
- The war, civil war, terrorism, and other war associated effects causing large scale combat casualties, mass killings/deaths of civilians, and other atrocities
- Enormous financial costs.
- Increased tensions between NATO and Russia.
- Increased tensions between Shia and Sunni Muslims and Shia and Sunni majority countries.
- Rising religious fundamentalism and terrorism in Iraq and elsewhere.
- A mass migration with individuals claiming to be refugees from the war arriving mainly to Europe.
- Terrorists from the war arriving mainly to Europe.
These results are often similar to those from other recent wars in Muslim countries with outside interventions.
- 189,000 direct war deaths.
- More than a half a million deaths from war related causes (including from violence but also from causes such as destroyed infrastructure due to the war).
- Many more physically and psychologically injured.
- 4,488 U.S. service personnel killed directly and 32,223 injured (not including psychological injuries such as PTSD).
- A financial cost for the US alone of $1.7 trillion. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have been estimated to cost the US alone $4 trillion.
- Many trillions more in cost for the US alone on interest payments due to the wars being paid for by borrowed money. The cost of the Iraq war alone for the US could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest.
These estimates were only for some of the costs for the time period before the recent large increase in fighting and violence associated with ISIS.
- A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm
- Civil war - on "regime changes", democracy, and civil wars
- Syrian Civil War
- The Staggering Cost Of The Last Decade's US War In Iraq — In Numbers http://www.businessinsider.com/the-iraq-war-by-numbers-2014-6
- Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-war-anniversary-idUSBRE92D0PG20130314