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Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Christians in Baghdad Church Massacred by Al Qaeda.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:

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DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.


TAG: Religious tolerance has been on the decline in Iraq since the end of Ottoman rule in 1918.



IN THE NEWS: 100 CHRISTIAN, ASSYRIAN CATHOLIC (NESTORIAN) CONGREGANTS IN THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF SALVATION ARE TAKEN HOSTAGE DURING SUNDAY MASS BY TERRORISTS FROM AL QAEDA IN MESOPOTAMIA NUMBERING AROUND A DOZEN AND CALLING THE CHURCH 'A DIRTY DEN OF IDOLATRY'. AS MILITANTS BEGIN KILLING THE CHRISTIANS BY SUICIDE BOMBING AND SHOOTING, SECURITY FORCES STORM THE CHURCH. THE INCIDENT ENDS WITH 52 DEAD CONGREGANTS AND SECUIRTY OFFICERS. THE AL QAEDA GROUP HAS ALSO THREATENED A CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN EGYPT FOR ITS ALLEGED TREATMENT OF FEMALE MEMBERS WHO CONVERTED TO ISLAM.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:   Under Saddam Hussein, who gave a priveleged postion to his Sunni co-religionists, most religious minorities were tolerated, if barely, and forced to practice under restricted conditions, while the Shia majority were regularly subjected to wholesale persecution. Since the US occupation in 2003, the Americans' removal of Iraqi security along with the government infrastructure allowed relgious bigotry full vent and  all relgious groups in Iraq have been under attack. The Sunnis Muslims, the largest minority, have been attacked by the Shia Muslims. The majority Shia have been attacked by the Sunnis. All other relgious minorities, like Christians, Jews, Mandaens and  minority Islamic sects like the Yazidis have been under attack from radical Sunni groups like Al Qaeda. Attacks on Christians, though not frequent have been steady and when they do happen, severe. As many as half the populations of these persecuted sects and relgions have left Iraq  as refugees.


IN HISTORY: By the 4th century AD, Christian missions sent out from Edessa in northern Mesopotamia, had begn to find a centre in Persian-ruled Zoroastrian Mesopotamia in Ctesiphon, north of Baghdad. In 428, Nestorius of Antioch who was made Patriarch of Constantinople, founded what the Catholic Church condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431 as the Nestorian heresy. Formally eliminated in 451, Nestorian or Assyrian Chritianity survived in remote pockets in Iraq and elsewhere. By 600 Mesopotamia, ruled by the Persian Sassinids, was predominantly Christian before it fell to the Arab Muslims in 637 and Muslim conversion began. Afterward, the Umayyad dynasty ruled with relative tolerance, treating the remaining Jews and Christians as fellow "Peoples of the Book." Umayyad rule ended with the Sunni Abassids in 750. From 1533-1918- the Sunni Ottomans ruled with pragmatic tolerance, while making sure that Sunnis remained the governing class. In 1935, under the Birtish-installed Hashemite monarchy, Yazidi Muslims who refused military service on grounds of pacifsm were jailed or hanged. In 1970 a growing religious revival began to sweep the Middle East, with attempts, in Iraq and elsewhere, to "Islamize" the population and give a religious base to political movements, partly in reaction against western political and economic dominance. The roots of the present intolerance and both Sunni and Shia extremism lie in that period. After the 2003 American invasion and occupation,  the Sunni terror group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia (aka Al Qaeda in Iraq) was set up by a Jordanian, Abu  Musab al Zarqawi.  After enduring the killing or capture of Zarqawi and seceral successors by US and Iraqi troops, Al Qaeda in mesopotamia, formerly made up of foreign Sunni Muslims, is now made up entirely of Iraqi Sunni Muslims.


RELEVANT DATES:
-40-50 AD- legendary mission of St. Thomas to Edessa
150-300- Christian missions from Edessa on the north Euphrates into Zoroastrian Mesopotamia to Ctesiphon, north of Baghdad.
400 AD- Christianity as spread and become established in Zoroastrian Mesopotamia.
-a Christian sect develops in Dura-Europos on the upper Euphrates.
600- Mesopotamia is predominantly Christian.
637- Arab Muslims take Mesopotamia from the Persian Sassinids.
637-750- Umayyads rule with tolerance of Jews and Christians as "people of the Book"
1533-1918- Ottomans rule with relative religious tolerance.
1935- decline of relgious tolerance in Iraq:  Yezidis refuse militiary service on grounds of pacifism. The Iraqi army arrests, court martials and hangs several leaders of the Yezidi protest.
1970s- a general Islamic revivial begins throughout the Middle east. Attempts t "Islamize" the population with relgious lterature, Ramadan fasting, outlawing of gambling and alcohol. Islam used to reinforce politial movements whether secular or islamist.
-1979- Baathist al-Bakr resigns. Key base for the Sunnis is the army. Saddam Hussein used it to take control in 1979 and eliminated his rivals in what he said was the name of Arab identity.

2004- Feb 9- US discovers plot for Al Qaeda entry into Iraq by Abu Musab al Zarqawi and plans to turn Sunni and Shia against one another.

August, 2004- during US occupation: five Christian churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul are attacked by Islamists groups, killing 12 people.

-Oct- Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, leader of "Monotheism and Jihad" swears allegiance to Osama Bin Laden.
2006- June 7- Al Qaeda in iraq leader Al Zarqawi is killed in a targeted US air strike northeast of Baghdad.
2007- April 27- high Al Qaeda operative, Al Hadi Al Iraqi, is captured bu the US on his way to take over Al Qaeda operations in Iraq.

2009- Dec.-the Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda franchise, claims responsibility for a mass of bombings in Baghdad killing 127, as well as other killings in August and October killing 240.


2010- March- Iyyad Alawi's Al Iraqiya bloc wins a narrow parliamentary vote, edging out Nouri al Maliki's State of Law Party by 2 votes.

April 18- leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Omar al Baghdadi, killed outside Tikrit.
 April- Alawi protests decision to disqualify 50 Al Iraqiya candidates for links to the Baath Party.

 May-July- the Iraqi government is paralysed by political wrangling with Alawi and al Maliki deadlocked in the fight for leadership.
August, 2010- Iraqi general warns that US troop withdrawal is premature and that the Iraqi army is nopt yet ready to take command.

After five months without a government, the two contending political blocs suspend talks on settling the disputed election.

The last US combat brigade leaves Iraq.
October 31, 2010- 52 are masscred in an Al Qaeda hostage taking and attack on a Syrian Christian chruch in Baghdad.
 
CONTENTS: Scroll down for:
DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS
CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY

TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF IRAQ



DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: 1500-1958- Iraq was never a separate entity until it was constituted from remnants of the Ottoman empire by British mandate at the end of World War One. At the beginning of the 16th century, the Mesopotamian region, or Iraq, was ruled by the Safavid Shahs of Persia. By 1533 the Ottoman Turks had wrested Iraq away from the Safavids. The Safavids converted to Shiism and early Iraq is best understood as a disputed frontier region between Ottoman Turkey and Persia- a division which, in effect, has continued in modern Iraq. In the 17th century, an ongoing struggle between Shia Persia and Sunni Ottoman Turkey over Baghdad and the surrounding region soon had the character of a sectarian struggle. Persia and Turkey fought over Iraq well into the 17th century.

Ottoman Sunni control over Iraq wasn't permanently established until 1638, after which the Ottomans divided Iraq into three "veleyats" or provinces: Mosul, which was mainly Kurdish and Sunni; Baghdad which was Sunni; and Basra, in the south, which was Shia. The Ottoman sultans gave the administration over to Sunni control and the Shia stayed aloof from power and suffered relgious, political and social discrimination.

It was in the 17th century that the British first set up a residence in Basra to represent their trading interests with the Ottomans of the Persian Gulf. By the 18th century, the East India company began to spread its power westward by using Basra as a site for political intervention to promote favourable conditions for British trade between the Midddle East, the Persian Gulf and India.

Meanwhile, the three Iraqi provinces, remote from Constantinople as well as being rebellious, were never fully integrated under Ottoman rule. The result was the hardening of the local Sunni governorship. Neighbouring Shia Persia, meanwhile, maintained a more direct social and religious influence, especially in the south of Iraq. In the eighteenth century, many Persian Shia moved into southern Iraq while Persia enriched and empowered Iraq's southern Shia shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala. In an odd sense, there was a de facto underground Shia religious nation that stretched from Basra to Tehran. Many Sunnis, today, fear that spectre is becoming real. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a reforming Islamic revival served only to strengthen Iraqi Shia identity. The powerful and competitive Shia hierarchy, which would add so much strength to Shia political resistance to the US occupation, was developed during this period. In the 19th century also, the Shia population greatly increased with the migration tribes from the Arabian peninsula who converted to Shiism, althought they often asserted an Arab Shia identity against Persian Shia infleunce.

As the British pursued their trading interests in the Persian Gulf, Persian Shia continued to move into southern Iraq while Persia enriched and empowered Iraq's southern Shia shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala. In an odd sense, there was a de facto underground Shia religious nation that stretched from Basra to Tehran.

As the Shia consolidated their Shrine cities in the south, the 19th century saw the British diplomatic legations in Baghdad and in Basra develop as outposts in the resistance to Russian and German ambitions in the region. Basra was also a centre for Anglo-Indian shippping. It was the doctrine of the British Colonial Secretary, Lord Curzon, that Baghdad and Basra were the linch-pin between British empire in India and the East and British interests in the Middle East.


In 1914, the Germans, allied with Constantinople made Ottoman Empire a zone of control. The British occupied Iraq not just to expel Axis troops but also to gain control of Iraqi oil for the war effort in Europe. Indeed, most of Iraq's oil reserves were in the far south, close Basra. In 1920, after the end of the war and the fall of the Ottoman empire, Britain ruled Iraq under a League of Nations mandate. . Almost immediately, Sunnis and Shia joined in a rebellion against British rule, spearheaded by the Shia south which was in full revolt. But the upsrising was cruched by the British.

Like the Ottomans before them, the British decided Iraq was too difficult to rule and appointed the minority Sunnis to rule the country. In 1921, the British appointed King Faisal of Jordan's Hashemite Sunni dynasty as king of Iraq. In 1922, there was another revolt, this time against the imposition of a king by a foreign power. It was led by the Shia religious elite or Mujtahids. The revolt was put down by the British and their Sunni allies. Then as now, under the current US-British occupation, there was a strong suspicion of Persian complicity in the Shia rebellions

The British decided Iraq was too difficult to rule and granted it nominal independence in 1933 on the condition that Britain could maintain two air bases in Iraq, one at Basra and the other near Baghdad. For the next few years, London continued to work behind the scenes. In an attempt to get rid of British influence once and for all, Iraq allied itself with Germany in World war Two. But by 1945 Britain was victorious in Iraq as it was elsewhere in the Middle East.

While Britain and other western nations continued to maintain an interest in Iraqi oil, there were new political developments. In the 1950s under King Faisal II, Iraq joined the Baghdad Pact aligning itself with the United States, Britain and other western and Arab nations against the Soviet Union. In 1958, the Baghdad Pact collapsed and Colonel Karim Qasim took power in a Communist-backed military coup. King Faisal was executed and the British expelled once and for all.



RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: In 1958, the Shia spiritual leader, Bakr Al Sadr, aware of the threat of growing secularism, in particular Communism, founded the Al Dawa of "Islamic Call' Party, successfully modelled on the Communists' secret cell structure, a strategy which would help the Shia survive the decades of perseuction that lay ahead.

Like their predecessors under the Ottomans and the British, the Sunni Baathists had always considered the Shia a threat and rigorously excluded them from power. Though most Shia movements were still secular and communist, a burgeoning Shia relgious revivial was led by two clerics, Al Dawa's Bakr al Sadr and by Bakr al Hakim. Both were jailed repeatedly. In the early 1970s, the large Al Dawa Party experienced its first serious persecution at the hands of the Baathists.

Saddam Hussein Propaganda Poster

By 1979, a Baathist officer, Saddam Hussein, had plotted and murdered his way to the top of the party to take power in a coup d'etat. Behind the determination of the Baathist party to rule Iraq lay the age-old intention of the Sunni minority to keep the Shia, now a majority, from power. With the Shia revoution in neighbouring Iran, Shia militancy in Iraq increased. After the ascent of Iran's radical cleric and supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeni, Saddam Hussein began cracking down on the Shia in Iraq. The 500 year old Persian Shia threat from Iran was never far away. There was repression, Shia public ceremonies were banned and Bakr al Sadr was imprisoned. In 1980, al Sadr was murdered by Saddam's henchmen.

Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr


With the onset of the Iran Iraq war, the Shia were further repressed and persecuted. Thousands fled to Iran where they formed Iraqi Shia Islamist parties in exile. It was then and there that the two great Iraqi Shia parties, Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) were founded, the same parties that would represent Shia Iraq under the US occupation.

After the bulk of Saddam's army was wiped out by a US-led international invasion during the First Gulf war, in 1991, a massive Shia rebellion erupted unlike any seen since 1922. Banking on promised US support, the Shia were stranded when Washignton reneged, only to be slaughtered by Saddam's remaining security forces. Still, modernization and a history of trade between Iraq's ethnic regions had, all the while, integrated many of Iraq's Sunnis and Shia. Iraq's oil wealth and a relatively high degree of education had allowed a a good many Shia to enter the middle class- and Sunnis and Shia were already joined in many large tribes, by intermarriage, and by a new sense of Iraqi nationalism. It would take some decisive developments to tear them apart again.
Nevertheless the age of the Shia was approaching. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the recession of international Communism, there was, throughout the 1990s, an Islamic revivial and in Iraq, in particular, a Shia revivial. Washington's Clinton adminstration, meanwhile, plotted the overthrow of Saddam with the Shia parties in exile. The leader of the Shia revival inside iraq was the radical Sadiq al Sadr, a relative of al Dawa's martyred Baqr al Sadr. Repression of the Shia continued and Saddam had Sadiq al Sadr assassinated in 1999.
The late Grand Ayatollah

Sadiq al Sadr.

By the time the Bush administration was elected in 2001, the Shia and Sunni of Iraq were at a critical point. Since many had intermarried and worked together and many tribes were both Shia and Sunni, and since many Shia still maintained an Arab Shia nationalism against Iran's Persian Shiism, there was, in theoy, the possibility of an integrated Iraq. On the other hand, so many Sunnis were idenintified with Saddam, his Baath party and the persecution of the Shia, that any significant catalyst could tip the ethnic balance into a sectarian cataclysm.

The unintended catalyst was the US invasion and occupation in 2003. While the Shia mastered the situation at the outset by following the Ayatollah Sistani's injunction to remain neutral (and not "make the mistake of 1920", as Sistani put it, by leading a failed revolt that would only leave the Sunnis in power) and proceeded to restore their public ceremonies and build an immensely powerful clerical netowrk through the provision of social services. Meanwhile, US policy weakened the country by removing the Baathist administration and army wholesale. Not only did this further alienate the Sunnis, it allowed the Shia to fill the power vacuum left in the south and empowered a Sunni Islamist guerilla resistance. US troops were left alone, trying to maintain order in increasing anarchy.

Shia nationalist passions escalated as the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr's miltia battled US troops who were simultaneously engaged with Sunni guerillas. In 2004, the entry of al Qaeda into Iraq heralded attrmpts by Sunni Islamists to throw off both the US occupation and the threat of Shia rule by starting a Sunni-Shia civil war. In 2005, the election of a transitional government put the Shia majority in power, leaving the Sunnis reluctant to participate if not entirely alienated. The constituion drafted that year fulfilled the Shia-Kurd majority's dream of a federal Iraq with autonomous Shia, Kurdhish and Sunni regions and sectatrian control over natural resources, mainly oil. The Sunnis, left only with Baghdad and central Iraq, would be without resources or any power to speak of. The federalism promised by the consitution seemed to be a blueprint for civil war, if not the breakup of the country.

The election of a formal, Shia-dominated government, represented by the powerful Shia United Iraqi Alliance, in 2006, seemed to suggest a sectarian and not a national government- indeed more fuel for the growing civil war.

After the US-British invasion of Iraq, Britain administered and occupied the south around Basra while the US handled the rest of the country. Unlike the US, the British assigned some security to the Shia militias. While British success at keeping the peace and remaining on friendly terms with Iraqis was explained by their long colonial experience, the Shia saw it as a matter of time before they could fill the power vacuum left in the wake of rule by the Sunnis.

Slowly, the mood of the Shia changed. Shia nationalist passions escalated as the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr's miltia battled US troops. In 2005, the election of a transitional government put the Shia majority in power. The constituion drafted that year fulfilled the Shia-Kurd majority's dream of a federal Iraq with autonomous Shia, Kurdhish and Sunni regions and sectatrian control over natural resources, mainly oil.

The British policy of assigning security to the Shia militias began to backfire. Gradually the militias and ther religious parties took control of local governments and imposed Islamic law. Rampant criminal gangs and feuding between the main Shia parties, Moqtada al Sadr's group, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the Fadhila or 'Virtue' party and their associated militias made the south scarcely governable and brought Basra to near anarchy. The British, meanwhile, could do little but fend off increasing attacks from Sadr's Mahdi Army while Iran, clearly eyeing the region as a proectorate sent advisors, agents, supplies and arms to the militias.

REVIOUS ENTRIES:
US troops wall off Shia neighbourhood: 4/20/07
Moqtada al Sadr returns to Iraq: 5/25/07
Sunni Mosques burn after 2nd Askariya bombing: 6/14/07
Yazidi town bombed, killing 200: 8/17/07
British troops withdrawn from Basra: 9/04/07
British Fromally hand over Basra: 12/18/07
Sunni Bloc May Return to Iraqi Parl't: 11/22/07

Iraqi PM and Moqtada al Sadr both Claim Victoryt 4/01/2008


REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS. 3,000 BC- 1500 AD: Historically, Mesopotamia forms a natural region, defined by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. On the north and east it is bounded by mountains, in the south by the Arabian desert and the persian Gulf and on the west by the Syrian and Jordanian deserts. But it is also a fertile lowland region without natural defences. This has given all states that flourished in Mesopotamia the dual character of a self-defined region with clear natural boundaries on the one hand and the object of invasion and rule by outside powers on the other. For Example, Elam, an Iranian kingdom in the bordering Zagros mountains engaged both in rivalry and in cultural interhange with Sumer in Mesopotamia. To this day, a power vacuum in Iraq, caused by the US invasion, is effecting the neighbouring countries- Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran- all of whom have interests, invovling security, economic and sectarian issues. In short, from the earliest times, strong government in Mesopotamia has been the guarantor of regional security.

Within Mesopotamia itself, there was also, since the founding civilization of Sumer in the 4th century BC, an internal north-south tension between the city states of Sumer in the southern Gulf region and those of Akkad in central Mesopotamia. The north-south tension within and the external tensions from neighbouring kingdoms without, continued through the ancient period. These tensions were responsible for the development of the first centralized states in human history. (Today, it seems, a powerful state in the same region remains just as important) From northern Mesopotamia, the Assyrians built an empire in the 7th century BC. They were gradually supplanted by the Chaldean Babylonians who formed the last indigenous Mesopotamian state until modern Iraq became independent in 1933.

Around 500 BC, the Assyrians and then the Chaldeans were supplanted by Cyrus, founder of Persia's Achaemnind dynasty. Iraq was ruled by Persia for 800 years until the invasion of Alexander the Great bequeathed it to the Greek Seleucid kings. Indeed, Iraq has been periodically subject to extended foreign rule by Persia, a legacy still reflected in the tensions between Iraqi Sunnis and Shia.

By 50 BC, the Parthians of Iran had taken Mesopotamia from the Greek Seleucids. Rome was never able top conquer Parthia and Iraq remained the Parthians' celebrated frontier against the Roman Empire. The Parthian empire weakened in the second century and in the early third century it was taken from within by the Persian Saminid Dynasty. It was the Saminids who were defeated as Mesopotamia was conquered from the Arabian Peninsula by Islam in the seventh century.

The Shia-Sunni schism in Islam grew from a dispute over the succession to Mohammed between the followers of Abu Bakr, Mohammed's companion and the followers of Ali, Mohammed's cousin and son-in law. The tollowers of Abu Bakr became the Sunnis and ruled a Caliphate from Damascus. The followers of Ali became the Shia and founded their own dynasty at Kufa, near Najaf in Southern Iraq. So it was that Iraq became and remains, the original homeland of the Shia.

Exterior view of Imam Ali Shrine
Exterior view of Imam Ali Shrine

In 680, the Sunni Caliph Yazid of Damascus invaded Mesopotamia to put down what the Sunnis considered a Shia heresy. In a battle at Karbala, not far from Kufa, Hussein, the grandson of Mohammed and claimant to the rival caliphate of the Shia was defeated and killed by the forces of Yazid. (The modern Shia of Iraq, who nicknamed Saddam Hussein "Yazid" stil commemorate the matyrdom of Hussein in the festival of Ashura). Afterward, the Shia of Iraq lived mostly under Sunni rule.

From 750 the Sunni Abassid Caliphate ruled Iraq, bringing Islamic culture and society to its zenith under the Caliph, Harun Rashid. In the 9th century, Baghdad became the leading centre for the translation of Greek texts and developments in science. To this day, Iraqi Sunni nationalists look back to the Abassid Caliphate. At the same time, the Shia followed their own Imams until their 12th Imam, known as the Mahdi, was said to have disappeared from the town of Samarra, north of baghdad, into a supernatural realm. (Millenarian tendencies in Iraqi Shiism still anticipate the return of the Mahdi on Judgement Day in which the Shia will triumph over the Sunnis and all foreign and infidel influences in the Middle East; this is the inspiration of the present day movement of Moqtada al Sadr against the Sunnis and the US occupation). In the tenth century, the Abassids were weakened by a Shia dynasty, the Buyids that gained control of Baghdad. By that time, the Abassids had adopted Turkish body guards. The Turkish contingent began to amass political power in Baghdad and gradually gained control over a decaying Abassid Empire.

In th 12th century, the pattern of conquest from without resumed with the fall of Baghdad to the Seljuk Turks. The Abassid dynasty in Iraq fell to the Mongols in the following century. Iraq fell to the Central Asian armies of Tameraine in the 14th century. In the 15th century another invasion from the north ended in rule by the Turkmens. In the following century Iraq finally passed under Persian rule. The conversion of the Persian Safavids to Shiism gave new strength to Sunni-Shia rivalry in Iraq which had been relatively subdued since the martyrdom of Hussein in the 7th century.



CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Historically, the river valley of the Tigirs and Euphrates has formed a nautral power vacuum. Self-sustaining indigenous states have been few. After Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and the fall of Chaldean Babylonia to the Persians in 532 BC, Baghdad was not to be the centre of power in Mesopotamia until 750 AD when it was made the capital of the Abassid Caliphate. Even then, the Abassids could be said to have inherited their power from Damascus and the Arabian peninsula. After the fall of Abassid Iraq to the Mongols in 1258, Iraq had no status as an independent entity until the British salvaged it from the remains of the Ottoman empire after World War One. But the British were there well ahead of time. In the 17th century they had set up trade centers in Basra and Baghdad. In the 19th century, the Mesopotamian and Persian Gulf regions were considered by the British as their colonial and commercial link between between British India and her interests in the Middle East. As an independent entity, however, Iraq remained from 1500 until 1920, a marginal, frontier region between the Persian Shia and Ottoman Sunni empires- a legacy which endures today in Iraq's sectarian civil war. The British presence has had been an attenuated affair, originating in trade, progressing to an imperial political rile and finally, 1914, 1940 and 2007 to a military presence.




TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF IRAQ:
SUMERIA
3.500 BC- In southern Mesopotamia-Early Summeria- the first development of towns and cities.
3,200-2,334- Sumerian city states in southern Mesopotamia.
-Summerians united at Nippur where they gathered to worship the wind god, Enlil.
2750- the rise of Akkad in northern Mesopotamia under Sargon I.
2,334-2,191- Akkadian Dynasty of the Tigris and Euphrates.
-rivalry and cultural interchange between Mesopotamia and the Iranian Elamites to the east.
-the Gutians raid from the northeast.
2190-2080- the Gutian Dynasty.
2050- local revolt against the Gutians.
2112-2004- Third Dynasty of Ur.
2000 BC- Yazidis believed to exist in northern Iraq. They will develop into a syncretic faith of pagan, Sabean, Shamanistac, Manichaean, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian and Islamic components.
1950- Ur overthrown by the Elamites from the East and the Amorites from the west. Mesopotamia collpases into disunity.
-Amorites foound a dynasty at Babylon.
1894-1595- dynasty of Babylon.
1700- (circa)- Hammurabi of Babylon re-unites Mesopotamia- creator of the great legal code. City State veneration of the god Marduk spreads to the region as whole, parallelling increasing centralized regional control in defence against outside invaders and insurrection from within.
-Babylon falls to Kassite invaders from the north.
1415-1154- the Kassite Dynasty.
911-605- the Assyrian Empire- developes from a confederation of Hurrian tribes in Assur, along the upper Tigris.
1250 Assyrians capture Babylon from the Kassites.
-600 the rise of Nebuchadnezzar at Babylon.
612-539- the Chaldean Empire grows from the Chaldeans of the Persian Gulf region. In alliance with the Medians, the Chaldeans expand to overthrow the Assyrians in the north.
650 BC- the Median clan provides the Iranians with independence from the Assyrians.
625- Chaldeans sack the Assyrian capital at Nineveh.
650-559 BC- The Median Empire.
CYRUS THE GREAT.- THE ACHAEMINIDS.
559 BC- Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaeminid dynasty, leads a Persian revolt against the Medes.
546 BC –The Persians take Anatolia.
-Chaldean Babylon, meanwhile, remains the last indigenous power to rule Mesopotamia until moder Iraq attains independence in 1933 AD .
539- Babylon falls to Cyrus of Persia.
500-330 BC- the Persian Achaeminid Empire expands from Iran through Babylonian Mesopotamia to Egypt.
530-522- BC Cambyses, son of Cyrus takes Egypt, Libya and part of Nubia.
521-486- BC- Darius the Great extends the empire as far as the Aegean and Macedonia; and in the east as far as the Indus. He developes a sophisticated Imperial administration based on the Assyrian model.
513 BC- Darius the Great fails to defeat the Scythians.
THE GREEK-PERSIAN WARS.
512- Darius the Great takes Thrace.
490- Darius the Great invades Greece. He is defeated at Marathon.
480- Darius the Great’s army is defeated at Thermopylae; his navy is destroyed at Salamis.
404-343 BC- Egypt is independent from Persia.
ALEXANDER AND THE SELEUCIDS
323-330 BC- conquest of Mesopotamia and the Persian Empire by Alexander of Macedon.
312-63 BC- the Seleucid Empire covers most of the Middle East, save for Egypt.
PARTHIA
248 BC- the Parthians revolt and take Iran back from the Greek Seleucids.
248 BC- 224 AD- the Parthians maintain an empire in Iran.
171-138 BC- Mithridates I of Iran.
74 BC- the Parthian empire, having expanded westward, includes Mesopotamia, formerly controlled by the Seleucids.
53 BC - Parthia defeats Rome at the Battle of Carrhae.
-Parthian Empire in decline.
150-300- Christian missions from Edessa on the north Euphrates into Zoroastrian Mesopotamia to Ctesiphon, north of Baghdad. 
216-277 AD- Mani founds the Manichaean belief in Iran.
THE SASSINIDS
224- 651 AD- Sassanid Empire in Iran.
226 AD- Persian Sassinids take control of Mesopotamia from the Parthians.
239-272- Emperor of Iran- Shapur I.
259- Shapur defeats the Romans, captures Valerian.
400 AD- Christianity as spread and become established in Zoroastrian Mesopotamia.
531-579- Khosrow I Anusharvan, Sassanid emperor of Iran.
591-628- Khosrow II Parviz, Sassanid emperor of Iran.
-a Christian sect develops in Dura-Europos on the upper Euphrates.
600- Mesopotamia is mpredominantly Christian.
614-616- Sassanids conquer Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt.
627- Dastagird, the Sassanid city of palaces is sacked by the Byzantines.
ISLAM

many Muslims believe Mohammed appointed no successor.
Ali vs. Abu Bakr: the Succession
-632- 3 months before Mohammed's death, on his last pilgrimmage to mecca, Shiites believe that he stopped his caravan by a pond and said, "Do I not have more to say to you than all the others?" Followers ay 'yes'. Then he says, "All those whom I command shall also be commanded by Ali."
-but Abu Bakr, Mohammed's companion had been asked by the prophet to lead the prayers before hsi death, making him virtual leader.
-but after Mohammed's death in 632- many refuse to recongize Ali.
-Ali- the husband of the prophet's daughter fatima. Muhammed conferred on Ali the succession- to guide the faithful.
-according to Juan Cole: "The Shia developed out of the partisans of the family of the prophet. They believed that Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the propet Moahmmed should have been Islam's first vicar or caliph after the prophet's death. Ali was passed over but finally became the fourth calip in 656."
-Though Ali had been a close deputy and a military commander, Abu Bakr (632-634) became the Caliph or successor.
-Sunnis prefer choosing by consensus whereas Shia want a line of succession.
Mesopotamia.
-637- Arab Muslims take Mesopotamia from the Persian Sassinids.
636-651- the Muslim Arab conquest of Persia.

-Bakr succeeded by Omar (634-644) and then Osman- (644-656) followers from the old Arab aristocracy of Mecca- recent allies of Mohammed. Ali could not accept Osman and joined opposition because, though he differed on matters of doctrine with Bakr and Omar, his differences with Osman were severe. Osman followed by Hazrat Ali.
-Ali accepted the first two prophets Bakr and Omar
-the first 4 Caliphs: Ali and the succession dispute
-Sunnis regarded Ali as the fourth and last of the rightly-guided Caliphs succeeding Mohammed. Shiites regard Ali as the first caliph and that the three who preceded him were false, meanign that they were adminstrators and not Imams or spiritual leaders; and that the descent should only continue through direct descendants of Ali and Fatima.
Ali's followers believed that other Caliphs were unlawful.
-656- assassination of third caliph- Osman by rebels who included the son of Omar. Ali appointed to Caliphate by the rulign tribe, the Quraish. Decided not to punish the rebels severely. he was opposed by Aisha, wife of Muhammed and daughter of Abu Bakr who wanted rebels punished.
-656- Aisha's forces defeated by Ali at battle of the Camel. But he was forgiven.
-and moved to Kufa.
-controversy forced Ali to Kufa.
-657- Ali becomes the fourth Caliph. 4 year civil war starts.
-Osman's relative Muawija wants killers of Osman brought to justice and refused to recgnize Ali as Caliph. Ali and Muawija faced one another at battle of Siffin. When Ali decides to negotiate, a rebel group secedes in protest, Ali massacres tem and majority of hsi army deserts him.
-Muawija makes himself Caliph upon Ali's death.
Kufa and the origin of "Shia" as partisans of Ali.
-Majority of Muslims recongize Osman relative- Syrian Muawija as true Caliph. "Shiite Ali" or party of Ali held out against them.
-661- Kufa- assassination of Ali ibn Abi Talib- first imam- rightful succvessor to Muhammed. Killed by Kharijite extremists in the mosque of Kufa. (Shia = partisans of Ali). Shiites see this act as a rejection of the true succession by the Muslim majority. Buried at Najaf. Ali has since passed his own infallibility on to a series of Imams.
Yazid vs Hussein: the martyrdom of kabrala.
-680- Muawija dies and his son Yazid becomes Caliph in Damascus pre-empting a claim by Ali's son yonger Hussein. Ali's followers send reps to Mecca to Ali's son Hussein to make war on Yazid.
-680- Ali and Fatima's son (prophet's grandson) Hussein aspired to political power. Hussein and his family massacred at Karbala by Yazid son of the Sunni Caliph Mu'awiya. Sunnis do not defend this massacre and agree that victims are martyrs.
-first month in Islam's lunar calendar: feast commemorating the deaths of Hussein and his brother Abbas at the battle of Karbala in 680. At the battle with Yazid, Hussein's forces outnumbered and he was dying of thirst- while Abbas fought his way through to the banks of the Euphrates but was killed bringing water back to the camp. On March 2, Hussein;s followers were massacred anf their leader beheaded. His last words: death with dignity is better than life with humiliation."
-Hussein's infant son Ali survives to continue the line of Ali.
-Yazid founds the Omayyads. partisans of Yazid are Sunnis. partisans of Ali and the martyrs of Krbala are called Shia.
-failure of many Shiites to come to Hussein's aid led to a tradition of desiring expairoty death on the battlefield, and self-flagellation today.
-after the battle of Karbala- many Shia sects develope. That founded by Jafaar becomes dominant. Present day Shiism is called 'al-Jafaariya'. Jafaar's teachings diverged from the Sunnis'.
Abassids in Mesopotamia.
-750- Abassid Caliphate begins. Shiites maintain presence.
-"the tribal mode probably originated in the unstable social conditions that resiulted from the protracted decline of the Abbasid Caliphate and the siubsequent cycles of invarion and devastation." The Iraqi Information Resource.
-lack of central authority and urban society, smaller units prevailed according to their decisiveness, mobility, prowess.
-the Sheiks emerged as the warrior class. The warriror-nomad prevailed over the farmer.
786-809- Caliph harun Al Rashid rfepresents the zenith of the Abassids.
800- Baghdad- population 1 million, Centre of trade and culture.
819-1062- Persia ruled by the Sunni Saminids who win favour with the Abassids because of Shia Buwayhid (a dynasty from western Persia) rule of Baghdad.

-the Saminids restore elements of pre-Islamic Iranian culture, creating a sense of Persian nationalism.
833-841- the city of Samarra reaches its peak under the Caliph Mutasim.
836-892- the Caliph Mutasim moves his capital from Baghdad to Samarra where he institutes a corps of Turkish bodyguards.
861- the Abassids’ Turkish body-guard begins to weild authority in Samarra signaling the decline of the dynasty.
-869- son of the 11th Imam, Hassanal Askari, Mohammed al Qasim, the 12th Imam born. "Mahdi" means "the disappeared".
-870-892- Caliph al Mutamid moves the capital back from Samarra to Baghdad to escape control by the Turkish guard.
Mahdi, the 12th Imam.
-878- disappearance of mahdi in Samara, the twelfth and last hereditary Shiite Imam 'Askari' who disappeared in Samarra in 873. Went into an invisible supernatural realm as a child. From there he secretly ruels the world. Mahdi will return to lead the partisans of Ali to justice and to paradise.
-892- the capital is returned from Samarra to Baghdad.
-909-1171 (circa) the Shia Fatamids of Egypt threaten the power of the Abassids.
-930s- west Persian Buwahids seize Isfahan, Kerman, and Reyy.
-932- due to relgious laxity, the Abassid Sunni Caliph of Baghdad is supplanted by a Persian Shia Buwahid king, Muizz al Dawla al Buyd.
-941- Shiite leaders declare that the 12th Imam had disappeared to return as the Messiah at the end of time. Mahdi's return is supposed to herald a new age. Believers in this doctrine are called twelvers.
-945- the Persian Buwahids take Baghdad.
-a minority believes in the 7th Imam and calls itself Seveners.
The Shia Buyids in Baghdad.
932-1062- in Baghdad, the Shia Buwayhid dyanasty, originally adopted by the Caliphs as a counterweight to the influence of the Turks, rules the Abassids who are reduced to administrators of their former territories.
The Hawza replaces the 12th Imam.
-992- Najaf: creation of the Hawza to replace the 12th Imam.
1000, circa-- the Turks invade, making several states in Iran
1055- the Seljuk Turks take Baghdad, deposing the Buwayhids.
1057- Tusi, a leading Shiite scholar in Baghdad has his houee and books burnrd by Shiites. He migrates to Najaf. Began teachign at Najaf. His school is accepted as the foundation of all madrasas to come.
1000-1300- The Assassins of Syria make periodic sorties to assassinate sectarian enemies in Baghdad.
1127- the Seljuk Turks take Mosul.
1130 (circa) Sheikh Adi Abin Mustafa, a Muslim Mystic reforms the Yezidi sect of northern Iraq with elements of Sufism. Though a Muslim mystic, Yezidis revere Adi as a saint who became divine after the transmigration of his soul.
The Mongols- Beginning of Anarchy in Iraq.
1258- Abassids destroyed by Mongols. After this Iraq has no central governemnt.
-mid-1300s- extreme instability in Iran and Iraq
TAMERLANE
1381-1387- Persia conquered by Tamerlane.
-1393-1394- Tamerlane conquers Mesopotamia.
1410-1508- Iraq ruled by rival Anatolian Turkmen dynasties, the Ak Koyunlu and the Kara Koyunlu.
1508-1533- Iraq ruled by Persia.
THE SAFAVIDS
1501-1524- Shah Ismail founds the Iranian Safavid dynasty and establishes Shiism as the relgion of Persia.
1514- the Seljuk Turk Selim the Great defeats the Persians at Caldiran.
-1514- War between the Ottoman Sultan Selim,a fanatical Sunni and newly Shia Persia's Sha Ismail who had intervened on behalf of a Shia minority in Turkey.
-early 16th century- Savafids of Persia adopt Shiism.
1524- Persians take Iraq.
1524-1638- Baghdad taken and retaken by Persians and Turks. This conflict over Iraq between the Turkish Ottomans and the Persian Safavids has the character of a Sunni-Shia religious rivalry.
Ottomans take Iraq.
1533- Ottomans take Iraq- Iraq a frontier zone under pressure from Persian Shiite Safavids. Bedouins convert to Shiism to escape Ottoman control.
1555- Ottoman rule of Iraq is confirmed in a peace with Persia.
-Iraq divided between 3 Ottoman provinces.
-Sunnis granted key positions in Ottoman government. The Shiites stayed apart.
-when the Mahdi fails to return, spiritual power passes to an Ulema or council of 12 scholars who elect a supreme Imam.
-end of 16th century. The Shia of iraq are mostly Arab.
-17th century- the British, Dutch and Portuguese establish trading posts in Iraq. The British set up a Residence in Basra.
-1623- the Persian Safavids take Baghdad.
-1638-Ottoman rule of baghdad is restored by Sultan Murad IV.
-18th century: Power of Ottomans in region begins to decline.
-18th century- Iranian Shia begin moving into Iraq where Sunnis are still the majority. But Iraqi Shia maintain their distinctly Arab tribal values. Karbala and Najaf come into their own in historicla importance as Shia shrines.
-18th century- due to repeated wars between Persia and Afghanistan, the British move headquarters for trade westward to the Ottoman province of Basra. The East India company was able to use Basra as a base not just for trade but for political intervention in the Middle East.
It used its power to appoint and dismiss local governors and settled tribal disputes.
1766- Britian's East India company lends the Ottoman Pasha of Baghdad six ships to put down tribal insurrections.
1810- British open a diplomatic residence in Baghdad in addition to the one in Basra.
18th-19th century: Islamic revivalism begins to purge a politically frangmenting and and ecnomiclly and morally decaying Islam of impurities.
-southern migrant tribes begin converting to Shiism desite Sunni missionaries sent by Ottomans.
-most Shia families in Iraq are relatively recent converts- from the 18th and 19th centuries when the clergy of Nakja and Karbala set out to convert the tribes that migrated into the south and west from Saudi Arabia.
-Britain's policy in the 19th century is to prevent any other power from becoming strong enough to dominate the Middle East and hence threaten British India and British interests in the East.
-the British interest in the region includes the protection of trade routes to India and the blocking of German and Russian influence in Basra, Baghdad and southern Iran. By the early 19th century the Pesian Gulf is entirely British-controlled.
-the British begin developing the canals, sanitation and the postal system as well as prividing protection for Indian traders and pilgrims.
Sources of Imitation established.
-1850- Persian 'ulama' (relgious scholars) control most of the schools.
-19th c. revolution in Shiite teaching. Majority of Madrasas accept that only the most qualified jurists could etablish norms of behaviour. Rarely number more than 10- the Marja al-Taqlid or "Source of Imitation." Only a source or "Marja" can give an answer or "fataw' on a point of law.
-increasingly sedentary Iraqi population causes a decline in the power of the Sheikhs.
-Iraq becomes a colonial link to British India.
1868- the British award Basra and Baghdad the Indian Postal system.
1903- Germany, competing with Britain for trade with the Ottoman Empire, completes plans for a Berlin-Baghdad railway.
1910- German trade with the Ottoman Empire has moved from 15th to second place.
1911- Lord Curzon tells the British House of Commons that Baghdad must be included in the sphere of "indisputable" British supremacy.
-British influence against Germany is shored up as the British secure from the local Sheikh the administration of Basra and the navigation of its waterways.
-British-controlled Basra is an Anglo-Indian shipping centre.
Arrival of the British
-on the eve of the war: Sunnis participated in Ottoman Gov't, taking key positions. Shiites stayed apart.
-in an effort to calm tensions between them, Germany and Britain agree that in exhcange for the rights to build the Berlin-Baghdad railway, Germany will allow two British to serve on the railway's board.
1914- WWI-
-the Germans retain the Ottoman Empire, with the exception of Egypt, as their zone of influence.
-British interested in Mesopotamian oil reserves.
1916- the secret Sykes-Picot settlement for a post-war arrangement makes Syria, northern Iraq and the Mosul oil fields an 'independent Arab Zone" under French protection Iraq from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf and across through Jordan to Acre on the Mediterranean is to be a British protectorate. Kirkuk would be an autonomous Arab Zone under British protection.
1917- the Russian Revolution puts an end to a Russian offensive into northern Iraq.
-British civilian administrators sent from India regard Iraq as an appendage of India and want to delegate authrority to local Sheikhs. The British military ibjects throughout that such a policy is compromosing military afforts. Some British administrators demand that Baghdad and Basra be annexed as bases for Britih India.
-the sibordinates of the British High Commissioner are instructed to control Arab nationalismof the kind that TE Lawrence had let loose in Arabia.
1917- Britain invades northward from the Persian Gulf, past Baghdad, defeating Ottoman forces at the Battle of Ramadi.
-British supported an independent Arabia under the Hasemite Sheiks as a reward for fighting the Ottomans- and because they had Arabian clients in the gulf.
The End fo World War I.
-Baghdad and Basra are under British occupation. The area is administered as if it were an appendage of colonial India despite advice to the contrary from experienced Arabists Gertrude Bell and TE Lawrence who are sympathetic to Arab nationalism.
-At the end of the war: Sunni Kurds in the north Sunni Arab Bedouins in the centre and southwest- Shiite Arabs and Persians in the south and southeast.
-Shiites have oil, agricuture and a seaport. The Kurds had the largest oil reserves.
-Britain favoured Sunnis- 20 per cent of poulation at that time.
-Sunni Kurds in the north; Sunni Arab Bedouins in the centre and southwest; Shiite Arabs and Persians in the south and souteast.
-even though the power of the Sheikhs had declined, the British mandate restored their power to create a local rulign class and provide security and to protect british access to mineral and agricultural resources.
-British institute private property through land registration erodes tribal feudal governemtn by the Sheikhs. And moreso as the Sheiks exproriated tribal land for their own estates.
-as a result tribesmen are reduced to sharecroppers and labourers.
-jusicial and police powers given to the Sheiks leave peasants at the level of indebted serfs. "The social basis for Sheikhly power had been transformed from military valour and moral rectitude to an effective possession of wealth as embodied in vast ladnholdings and a claim to the greater share or the peasants; production." The Iraqi Information Resource.
-the impact of tis development was felt more in the agrcultural south than in the north.
-the biggest Sheikhly states developed in land recovered by irrigation and dams after WW I. Most autocratic were in the rice-growing Al Amarah region which exploited the greatest amount of labour.
1920- Treaty Of Sevres- all the Arab Ottoman provinces fall under French-British protection. Promises of an independent Kurdistan and an autonomous Mosul are left in limbo.
-1920- League of nations gives British a mandate to rule over Mesopotamia.

The Seeds of Revolt.

-Britain favoured Sunnis- 20 per cent of poulation at that time. Shiites and Kurds rebelled agaoinst British rule.
1919-1920- British Commissioner for Iraq, Sir Arnold Wilson, having no faith in Iraqis' ability to govern themselves, manipulates the results of plebiscites on self-government.
-Sunni Sheikhs continue to administer over the Shia on behalf of Britain, getting control of schools, the amry and the economy. Used force to repress rivals and repressed the general population.
Sunni-Shia revolt against British.
-in protest Shia refused to participate in government and boycotted elections. The centre of frevolt was the Hawza in Najaf. Since the British invaded in 1914, every secular regime has tried to break the power of the Shiite clergy.
1919-1920 -conflicts between Sunni and Shia put aside as a Sunni nationalist movement joins forces with the Mujtahids, the Shia relegious leaders of Najaf and Karbala.
-1920: Ayatollah Muhmmad Taqi al-Shirazi declared cooperation with British administration to be a violation of religious law.
-As soon as Sir Arnold Wilson announces the establishment of the British Mandate over Iraq, Shiites and Kurds rebel against British rule. Big Shiite rebellion in south.
-the revolt is crushed by the end of the summer.
-Mahdist movements among Shiites have often fought agianst western imperialism.
-British realize that direct rule of Iraq is impossible so they license the Sunnis to rule.
Hashemite King Faisal.
-Faisal set up as king by British colonial officials in 1921. A Reward for his Hashemite family's support of Britsh during WW I.
-after WWI British installed a Saudi Arabian King- Faisal I and maintained cohesion with the British army.
-Faisal or his family had no roots in Iraq. Seen in Iraq (recently part of Ottoman Empire) as a British puppet.
-Faisal set up as king by British colonial officials in 1921. A Reward for his Hashemite family's support of Britsh during WW I.
-this is the birth of the modern iraqi state.
-1921- at a conference in Cairo convened by colobial secretary Winston Churchill, the Anglo-Iraqi treaty to last 20 yrs signed by the iraqi gov't defining relations between Colonial britain and Iraqi kingdom. But it has to bve rartified by the assembly and elections for the assmebly won;t be held til 1923.
1922-the Anglo Iraqi Treaty of Alliance- recongizes Iraqi independence on condition of the presence of British advisors, a British hand in foreign policy and British control of the armmy.
The Rebellion of 1922- the Shia Mujtahids.
1922- the Shia mujtahids or high jurists who are mostly Iranian felt that Faisal had broken a promise that he would never serve foreign interests- by continually serving the British instead of freeing them from the british. They cinsidered him a British agent.
-mujtahids, worried about losing power, feared electionsthat would allow the laity to vote for reps in parliament.
-mutahids feared their own reps would not be elected and the British would put pressure for their own candidates to be elected.
-mujtahids called the elections a "death penalty for the islamic nation."
-Oct 20 Governors instructed to start preparing for elections to the Costituent assembly. Faisal allowed that the Governors be instruected to pressure the electorate to vote only for candidates who were likely to approve the Anglo-Iraqi agreement.
-5 November. Shai clerics decalre in fatwas- participation in the elections illegal- excommunication threatened. One fatwa" "We have passed judgement against the elections. Whoever takes part in them is fighting against God, the prophet and the Imams and will not be buried in Muslim cemeteries."
-in karbala and in Baquba the elections committeees tender resignations.
-Mujtahids put out more fatwas and a direct campaign agianst faisal charging him with consortingf treasonously with the British.
-Faisal, a Sunni prime minister and the British consider expelling the mujtahids to enable the elections they desire.
-Shia fatwas prevent elections in loclaities all over iraq for 9 months. In addition the makor tribal Sheikhs resent the paltry 20 of 100 seats set aside for them in the assembly- fear that the tribes wouldbe out-vote by townspeople. Sheikhs try to exploit the ftawas to put pressure on Faisal to increase their seats.
-Mujtahids increase pressure on Faisal and try to start another revolt like the one crushed in 1920. Since they are mostly Iranian this could be doen using immigration law. Decree issued against foeeginers engaged in anti-government activity.
-Leading mujtahids deported. 9 most prominent leave for exile in iran voluntarily.
-elections finally held and Anglo-American treaty is ratified. This was a historic defeat for the Shia, the mujtajids and the persian influence in iraq. Arab Shia sught to disaassociate temselves from the persian Shia and the mujtahids and to stengthen their psotions by supporting the elections.
-British agree to reduce Anglo-Iraqi agreement from 20 years to 4.
THE SHIA OF IRAQ- p. 113- Sunni educational policy.
1920s- Muslim brotherhood begins in Egypt.
1930- Anglo-Irai Treaty of Alliance renwed for 25 years : Britain would provide military protection and eventual independence if Britian could have air bases at Basra and baghdad.
Iraq Independence.
-1932- Iraq gains independence and joins the League of Nations.
1932-1945- with foreign policies "coordinated" under the treaty of 1830, almost all Iraqi policies required implicit agreement from London.
-1933- Faisal dies and Ghazi is new King. Because of weak rule, tribal and ethnic rebellions break out.
1935- Yezidis refuse militiary service on grounds of pacifism. The Iraqi army arrests, court martials and hangs several leaders of the Yezidi protest.
-1936- anti-British elements in the army seize control of governemnt. Ghazi reduced to a puppet.
1938- Nuri al-Said seizes power in a pro-British coup.
1939- Ghazi killed in a car accident. 3 year old son Faisal II becomes king. Uncle- prince Abdul Ilah rules for him.
-pro-German Iraqi Nationalists rally against Nuri Al Said.
1940-41- Rashid Ali, supported by Palestinian Arab Nationalists take power and attempt at an alliance with Germany and the Axis to get rid of British influence. German support never arrives and the British invade from the Persian Gulf.
-Rashid Ali orders the British to evacuate but the Britsh refuse. Rashid Ali's forces attack the British air base at Habbaniya and seize the Iraq Petroleum Company's oil pumps.
-Germany fails to come to Rahid's aid and the British and Transjordan forces occupy the country for the remainder of the war.
- British defeat Iraq- expel pro-axis elements.
1945- Iraq helps to form the Arab league.
-the British retain a few officers in Iraq after the war.
1948- the Treaty of Portsmouth attempts to redefine the relationship between Iraq and Britain but Iraqi nationalists mistrust the terms and refuse to ratify it.
1948- Arab league wages war on Israel.
1950-52- Iraq signs agreementds with foreign oil companies. Iraq to receive 50% of profits.
1953- The Baghdad Pact aligns Iraq with western powers and replaces the Anglo--Iraqi alliance of 1930 but Iraqi nationalists see that it allows for a continued British hand in Iraq.
1953- Faisal II turns 18 and takes control of government.
1950s- offshoot of radicals in Muslim brotherhood in Egypt wants to pujrify Islam through revolution rather than doctrine. Scholar Ibn Qutb returns from studying in America, horrified at America's 'sexual playgrouns. Wrote 'In the shade of Islam'- strict adherecne to Islam and death for alll tghe world's infidels. Qutb executed in Egypt. His brethren go into exile. Qutb's brother Mohammed flees to Saudi Arabia where he becomes professor of Islamic studies. Has a wealthy Saudi pupil- Osama Bin Laden.
1950s- Iraqis begin to oppose monarchy.
-1955- Baghdad pact- Iraq, Turkey, Irana and Pakistan in allaince with US and with sopport from British against Societ Union. Many Iraqis oppose this alliance with the West. Pan-Arab movement begins to develope.
Al-Da'awa.
-1957- Founding of Al-Da'awa. Intention is to found and Islamist state. Baqir al-Sadr a major al-Da'awa theorist- trying to build a modern Shiite ideology tat could compete with marxism.
-1955-1970- Grand Ayatollah of Shia World is Mushin al Hakim.
-Ayatollah Khomeini teaching in Najaf.
Hawza Nikita
-1950s. Amid quietist Shiite tradition a more radical form develops in iraq, the Hawza Natika- the 'otuspoken Hawza' or the thawra- 'revolutionary' hawza. Condemn the quietists as the 'Hawza samita' or silent Hawza. Coined by Sadiq al-Sadr.
Communist Qasm takes power in coup.
-Iraqi nationalists angered by contiued British influence under the Hashmenite monarchy.
1958- Baghdad pact collapses when nationalist Col. Abdel Karim Qasim -with Communist ties- stages bloody coup against monarchist gov't of Nuri al-Said. Army officers set up a 3-man governing council: A Shiite, a Sunni Arab and a Kurd. Qasm becomes premier.
-the last British air bases are closed and the British evacuate from Iraq.
Baathists move into power,
-1958- British and Saudi rulers expelled by Ba'thist nationalist coup. Power had to be kept away from Kurds and Shiites through oppression.
1958- Chalabi leaves Iraq.
-politico-military role of some tribal Sheikhs abolished by Baathists.
Tribes integrated with Baathism
-tribal system had surivied longest in the mid-Euphrates area, where there was smaller, more individual plots held to tribesmen who were not beholden to Sheikhs.
-as a result there was interaction between tribal customs, the new eduaction system and cicil servants sent to rrural areas resulting in the expansion of central power in Baghdad. Eg.- gov't hydraulic engineer would gain loacl authority and the local Sheikh would supply the labout the engineer required. This replaced military service in the minds of the tribesmen and was beneficial to them. Disputes over water rights were hand;ed by the Sheikh according to tradtiional practice.
-Today: the lack of other binding forms, allowed trbal bonds to maintain social cohesion. Tribal differecnes are also maintained. In the south, the Tigris tribes maintain an Iranian influence; and in the Euphrates tribes have historic links with the Arab Bedouin.
Baathists consider Shia a threat.
-Shiites considered a threat as a fifth column of iran and for recongizing the clerics as their supreme authority.
-Ayatollah Sayid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr co-founder with Hakim of the Islamic Movement in the 1960s. Both jailed by Baathists.
-1960- Sadiq al-Sadr joined the staff of the journal al-Awa.
1960s- Najaf and karbala fading in influence as Holy cities.
-in the 1960s- Shiite politics was still secular.
Baathists oust Qasm.
-1963- US may have backed a Baathist failed coup against pro-Communist gov't of Qasm.
1963- Qasm assassinated by officers and Baath party members. Abdul Salaam Arif becomes president. Ahamed hasan al-Bakr becomes president. Arif uses military to take over and expel the baath party.
-1964-1968- Khomeini is in exile in Najaf.
Bakr al Hakim joins Bakr al-Sadr.
-in 1960s Baqr al-Hakim joined Ayatollah Sayid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr in founding the islamic Movement. Both jailed by Baathists.
1966- Salaam Arif dies and his brother Abdul Rahman Arif becomes president.
Final Baathist Coup.
1968- Al-Bakr overthrows Arif and Baath Party takes power. Bans communists- Moderte relations with USD still iran-Iraq war.
Islamic Revival
1970s- a general Islamic revivial begins throughout the Middle east. Attempts t "Islamize" the population with relgious lterature, Ramadan fasting, outlawing of gambling and alcohol. Islam used to reinforce politial movements whether secular or islamist.
-in great shia debate of 196os and 1970s- opposed Baqr al-Sadr to Khomeini who wanted to seize power in the nme of the hidden Imam. Sistni was practising the scholarly tradtion of Allameh Hilli, Abol-Hassan Isfahani, Mushen Jakim-Talabatini, and Qadm al-Khoei.
Qasm al-Khoei
1970- Kazim al-Khoei seucceeds Mushin al Hakim in leadership.
-1972- Baqr al-Hkim imprisoned by Saddam.
-early 70s- Al Da'awa heavily persecuted by Baathists.
-1970s. Baqr al-Sadr founds a poltiical party.
-Baqr al-Hakim imprisoned 3 times in 1970s.
1973- iraq takes over all foreign oil companies.
-1975- Baath party forces Khomeini to flee Najaf for France.
Saddam Hussein takes power in a coup.
-1979- Baathist al-Bakr resigns. Key base for the Sunnis is the army. Saddam used it to take control in 1979 and eliminated his rivals in what he said was the name of Arab identity.
-Saddam put the army and the bureaucracy under control of the Ba'ath party.
-Saddam gives the Shiites official, govenrment-approved Imamas.
-tribes preserved greater autonomy than the rest of the vcountry.
-Saddam gives weapon and uthority to tribl leaders in return for their control of anti-baathist elements and for guarding the border with Iran and maintaining order. This resulted in tribal autonomy and customs such as blood feuds, honour killigns etc. But the state cold exert its authority when it felt like it.
-Baathist manipulation of the tribes and the seminaries has left a legacy in which they are inclined to form an aliance.
"Because Saddam's Baathist one-party state took over for its own purposes the universal ideologies avaiolable to Iraqis, of soicalism or Arab nationalism, dissidents -fearful of the secret police- turned inward to narrow ties of family, clan, tribe and relgion." Juan Cole 'How the US is Sowing Gridlock in Iraq' March 14, 04.
-Saddam uses differecnes between Shiites and Sunnis as well as tribal differences to divide and control.
-under Saddam- the more moderate clerics restricted themselves to deciding questions on day-to day issues- as to what activities and activities were an were not permissible under Islam..
-Saddam uses the arrival and conversion of many Arabs to Shiism in the south in the 19th C.- to portray the Shia as interlopers, an illigitmate migrant people.
1979-2003- though theYazidis were Kurds, Saddam Hussein isolated them as part of a strategy of divide and rule.
Saddam's First Shiite crackdown.
1977- Shiite demonstrations. Baaths repress Shiite relgious parties.
-Sheikh Mahdi al-Khalisi a leader of shiite demonstrations.
-1977- Bakr al-Hakim imprisoned again by Saddam. In 1972 and in 1977 Saddam forced to free A-Hakim, fearing a shiite uprising.
-1977- Sadr City gets no share in oil bonanza and there are rebellions. Terrble repression.
-1979- Khomeini in Iran sets himself up as a proxy for the returning Mahdi. Religious and political head of state and God's representative on earth.
-1979- Iranian revolution caused factional splits in Iraq.
-most Iraqis reject Khomeini's theocratic Guardianship of the Jursiprudent.
-1979. Followers of Baqr al-Sadr attempt to assassinate Iraqi foreign mimister Tariz Aziz.
Sddam cracks down hard because of the Iranian Revolution.
-because of Iranian revolution, Baathists crack down on Shiites.
-1979- Sheikh Mahdi Khalisi arrested by Baathists. Flees to Iran affter 1979 Iran Revoution- is setneced to death in absentia by Saddam.
-in Najaf Khomeinism looked attrative to Shia weary of the rule of Saddam. Baqr al-Sadr tried to lead a Khomeinist Revolution. There was an attempt at insufrreection but al Sadr was killed by Saddam.
-1980- Saddam makes membershup in Da'awa a capital crime.
Murder of Bakr al-Sadr.
-1980 Baqr al-Sadr: uncle of Moqtada al-Sadr. because he was seena s the leader of the Iraqi shiites, he was hanged by Saddam in 1980. Fundamnetalist Shia from iran were also blamed for his murder. Some even blamed Bakr al-Hakim's SCIRI
1980s- everywhere a new modern generation of an Islamic elite develops with professional training anjd qualifications.
-1980: Baqr-al-Hakim's brother, having succeeded their father Mushin is murdered by Saddam along with his sister.
Bakr al-Hakim leaves for Iran. Great Shia exodus.
-Baqr al Hakim left Iraq in 1980 after murder of Mohammad al-Sadr and settled in iran.
-1980-Saddam expels all the Iranian-influenced shiites. 40,000 leave over next years, property confiscated. Some of these "Iranian" Iraqi Shiites were given governemnt jobs in Iran.
-after 1980- al-Da'awa members arrested and party driven underground but expanded as it did so. Membership in the al-Da'awa party a capital crime. Remained string in the central Euphrates around Nasiriya.
-Shia maintain that Saddamn plundered the oil in their region to enrich his own tribal base.
-80s and 90s: al Da'awa bases were set up in Iran, in London, Nasirya and Basra. Tended to grow and evolce separately.
1980s-1990s- 200,000 Shiites in exile in Iran. Many were members in the Iran-based Da'awa which was Khomeinist.
-1982- Hezbollah formed in Lebanon to get occupiers out of Beiruit.
SCIRI developes as an iranian-backed Iraqi exile oppostion.
-1982 - Iran starts funding SCIRI as an umbrella group of all the iraqi groups for the overthrow of saddam Hussein- includes al-Da'awa.
1983- Saddam arrested 100 and murdered 16 of Hakim's relatvies in iraq accusing them of cooperating with iran. Murdering one per year in order to bring him back.
1984- Baqr al-Hakim becomes head of SCIRI. He accepts the Khmoeinst theory of the jurisprudent.
1984- al-Da'awa breaks away from SCIRI to remain independent.
-SCIRI's open alliancw with Iran during iran-Iraq war damaged its credibility within Iraq.
-some Iraqis remember Bakr al Hakim's Badr Brigade interrogating Iraqi psisoners in the Iran-Iraq war and being given a choice of joing the brigade or being tortured. And that his suport for the 1991 uprising was from Iran and was half-hearted. (NY Times, Sept. 1).
-the Shia served in the army and suffered the most durign the iran-iraq war. They say he put them in the front lines.
-1987- By end of iraq war- Khmeini is putting into pactice his Veleyat e-Faqih.
1987-1988- Iraq punished Kurds for their support of iran in the war.
1988- August- cease-fire signed with iran.
1990- Saddam occupies Kuwait.
-January 1991- First Gulf War.
-1991- US encourages a massive Shia uprising centred in basra.
1991- ShiA uprising and its ruthless sppression.
-March 1991- Shia and Kurd uprisigns.
- Al-Khoei is de facto leader of the Shia uprising.
-Majid Khoei a leader dringthe Shiite uprising in 1991. When Baathists were driven out of Najaf- formed a local council to run Najaf and issued decrees forbiddign looting.
-rebellion lasted 13 days- Saddam invades Najaf with tanks-, crushes resistance. 18,000 arrested. Khoei's brother never seen again.
-al Khoei flees to exile in London.
-1991- April- Shia uprising massively put down at end of Gulf war. Muhammad Hazmaq al Zubaydi the "Shia thug" charged with putting down the Shia uprisings of 1991.
1991- Sadr City population swells rapidly to 2 million. They retain some tribal ties and folk ways but gradually turn to the more sophisticated urban shiite scholasticism.
1991- more Sadr City riots against poverty. Terrble repression.
-1991- US pulls plug on support for Shiite uprising because o the influence of the Badr brigade -pouring over the border from Iran- and iranian influence generally. Kazim al-Khoei sent his son Majid al-Khoei to meet the Gen. Schwarzkopf- but Schwarzkopf never shopwed up.
-Bush abandoned the Shiite revolt of march 1991- because he feared Iran would take it over to make a shiite islamic reoublic.
-it is also said that the subsequent slaughter of Shiites in iran was carried out at the behest of the US in answer to Saudi Arabia's fears that a Shiite Iraq would fall into the orbit of an Iranian shiite hegemoney.
1991- Baathists arrest 108 Shia Ckerics and students incouding Kazm al Khoei and mosyt of his family and staff. Held under house arrest until death in 1992.
1991- in uprising, al-Da'awa members in iraq arrested and thousands executed and buried in mass graves.
Rise of Sadiq al-Sadr
1991- after Shia uprising- Baathists gov't asks Kelidar family of Najaf to recommend a head of the Shiites. Kelidar skips over the the leading Marjas and shooses an Arab who whill be complaint to the baathists. This is a remote cousin of Baqr al-Sadr, Sadiq a;-Sadr. Puous but not a big jurisprudent. But he was good with congregations as was accepted by ordinary Shiites as a source.
-after 1991 revolt, iranian cleric al-Sebizwary becomes president of hawza. Hawz splits into reformist faction led by Sadiq al-Sadr and traditoionalist faction led by Sistani.
-Bush abandoned the Shiite revolt of march 1991- because he feared Iran would take it over to make a shiite islamic reoublic.
1991- after Shia uprising in Iraq, Baqr al-Hakim took over father's role as unofficial leader of Shia.
-after 1991 uprising, Baath regimne began co-opting or buying off Shiite tribes.
1991- Riath al-Hakim rleased from prison. Flees to Qom.
The Islamic Revival
-move of iraq shiites toward fundamentalism begins in wake of 1991 Gulf War. Saddam hithces a ride on the Ialmic revivial by inaugurating a "campaugn of faith" which increased element of relgion in state media. Alcohol occasionally banned.
-as a result of the violent repression of 1991- many otherwise moderate Shia turned to Khomeinism.

1996- from Tehran, SCIRI , the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraqformed relations with Clinton admnistration via Nayati in London Office. They were encouraged by appointment of reform president Khatami in iran and by Congress's iraq Liberation ASct of 1998.
-SCIRI got the support of the State Dept.
--1996- UN oil for food program.
Murder of Sadiq al Sadr and others. New mass persecution.
1998-2000. Muhammed Hamza al-Zubaydi- Saddam's commander of the Central Euphrates Region charged with the continued repression of Shiites in the south. Clamping down on all political or relgious functions.
-Sadr's son, Muqtada, arrested with alot of theological students who had studied under Sadr. 19 of Sadiq Sadr's followers executed in late 1999- Imams, prayer leaders and theology students.
-in 1999 Moqtada went underground and organized poor shiites of Najaf and Kufa.
-1999-2000- 4,000 Shia expelled from Baghdad and sent to southern and western Iraq for the distubances in the wake of Sadr's death.
Sistani top ceric.
-Sistani succeeded Sadiq al-Sadr as the most prominent cleric after al-Sadr's assasination in 1999 for defying Saddam.
US plans regime change.
-Jan 2001- State of the Union address- Bush annoucnes that the obejct of US policy in iraq is Regime Change. baghdad part of Axis of Evil along with iran and North Korea.
-half million Shia marsh arabs of theMadan tribes -armers and fishermen- use swamps for underground hit and run tactics against Baathists. Organized by the Iraqi hezbollah with some help from iran. And coordinated with the badr corps. Baathists drain the swamps By 2000 only 10 percent mof swamps remain. Marsh arabs scattered and impoverished.
2002- US begins to consider invading iraq.
US gears up for invasion.
-Jan. 2003- Bush gov't split from SCIRI because of links with iran. "Attemots were made by US national Security Adviser Zalmay Khalilzad, reportedly in cordination with the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, to dilute SCIRI influence on the INC." Then at meetings with oppositon groups in Turkey Khalilzad said US would administer Iraq by itself.
Shiites decide on neutrality.
-SCIRI urged neutrality on its members during US Invasion- favoured a UN administration.
-Hezbollah leader in Beiruit, Syed Hassan Nasrallah asked Iraqi Shiites begore the war to stay on the side-lines in order to present a unifoied front to US occupying ofrces. Nasrallah has prestige for having drivne Israelis from Lebanon. Feels if Shiites side withthe US it would open up an even wider scism with the Sunnis. Fear of sectarioan fighting between Sunnis and Shiites as in iraq. He also does not trust the US to treat the Shiites or Hebollah well in any alliance
-Baqr al-Hakima nd SCIRI instruct Shiites neither to help nor hinmder US invasion.
US invasion of Iraq. Siites show theior power.
-Sistani Believed to have issued an edict (not a fatwa) during US invasion, not to resist coalition forces.
-march 7- 250 delgates of the Sgiite oppisition met a a conferecne in iran to oppose military rule by the US.
-late march- Bakr Hakim holds news conferecne in Iran saying that if the US invation turns into an occupation, Iraqis will resist using force.
-March, 2003- 800 heavily armed fighters of Badr Corps made a show of force in Darbandihkan.
-March- durign US invasion- Sadrists expelled Baath party from from Saddam City and renamed it Sadr City.
Fall of Baghdad and Saddam to US forces.
-April 9, 2003- Fall of Saddam's regime and baghdad. -huge explosion of Shia ritual and public expression -chest-beating in sadr city- held date palm leaves, green banners and clay tablets above their heads. This was not the modern seculr iraq the world knew. Chest beating for alleigiance to the Imam Hussein- gesture of catharsis and purification. Green plam leaves for ecstasy. Green banners for the Imam Ali. Clay prayer tablets made from the soil of najaf. To touch the tablet with thehead is to touchthe burial place of the first Shai Imam. No political slogans. (Jabar, Middle east Report, Summer 2003)
-in April with the fall of Saddam, Iraqis seemed paralysed; not knowing quite what to do and having no idea who was in charge. Having assumed the US was in charge having overthrown Saddam so quiclkly they realized no one was in control after the US failed to stop the looting. Americans tel the Iraqis- to the latter's bewilderment that the Iraqis tjemselves are in charge.
2003: The Shia move into power vacuum.
-in the week after the fall of baghdad- 3 million Shia pilgrims -in response to request by exiled SCIRI in iran- marched to the Imam Hussein shrine in karbala to comemorate the arabi'a- the 40 day point after the martyrdom.
-about 400 Baathist buildings and offices thoughout Baghdad taken over by Shiites and converted into mosques, religious schools, Islamic social service agencies, clinics. In otherwords a dense baathist nbetwork has been replaced by a dense Shiite netowrk.
Sistani: Don;t attack US troops.
-Sistani issues injunction (not a fatwa) not to attack US troops.
May, 2003- US Civilian Administrator Paul Bremer abolishes the Iraqi Army, the Baath party and much of the Iraqi administration.
July, 2003- Bremer inaugurates the Iraqi Giverining Council- handpicked from Iraq’s ethnic groups.
August- Al Qaeda in Iraq begins a campaign of suicide bombing.
December- US capture of Saddam Hussein.
-2003- after the US invasion, the Kurds move to include the Yazidis to increase their numbers, though Yazidis do not consider themselves Kurds. The Yezidis, protected by US troops from Sunni Islamists as well as Kurds, consider them to be liberators.

2004- March- Beginning of the Sunni Islamist bombing campaign against the Shia.
2004- March. Sunni Islamists kill almost 200 in suidice bombings of the Shia festivial of Ashura in Karbala and in Baghdad.
The Shia Uprisings of Moqtada al Sadr against the US Occupation.
April-August- The Mahdi militia of Moqtada al Sadr stages two uprisings against US forces in the Shia south of Iraq.
-June, 2004- US Administrator Bremer formally hands over the reins of the Iraqi government to Interim Prime Minister Iyyad Allawi, inaugurating a pro-forma independence for Iraq.
-the Ayatollah Sistani, by uneashing immense Shia demonstrations, faces down US administrator Paul Bremer, demanding one-person-one-vote democracy and an Iraqi constitution written and approved by Iraqis alone.
August, 2004- five Christian churches in Baghdad and one in Mosul are attacked by Islamists groups, killing 12 people.
Summer-fall- US troops lay siege to Sunni insurgents in the town of Fallujah.
2005: The Transitional Government.
2005- January 30. A Shia majority, supported by Kurds forms Iraq’s Transitional Government.
April- Iraqis choose a Kurd, Jalal Talabani, as President and the Sia Ibrahim Jafari as Prime Minister.
-violence escalates in Iraq, some of it sectarian, most of it still involving the US military campaign against allied Sunni, Baathist and Al Qaeda militants.
The Draft Constitution
August- Shia and Kurd deputies, but no Sunnis approve a draft constitution.
September- car bombings increase in Baghdad, much of it targeting the Shia.
October- commencement of Saddam Hussein’s trial for crimes against humanity.
October- Iraqis approve a new constitution which calls for a decentralized, federal Iraq- an idea favoured by Sunnis and Kurds but condemned by the Sunnis.
-15 December- Iraqis vote for their first formal, democratically elected government and parliament.
2005-2007- the perceived British wisdom of delegating much of the security in the south to a the patchwork of local Shia militias gradually begins to backfire. As more Shia become disenchanted with the Occupation, their militias begin to take over many of the local administrations despite British attempts to put in civilian, non-sectarian Iraqi governments and gradually hand over security to the Iraqi army.
-by 2006 most of southern Iraq has been brought under Sharia law by the militias of Moqtada al Sadr, the Badr Brigades of the Supreme Iraqi Isamic Council (foirmerly SCIRI) and the Fadhila or 'Virtue' party.
2006: Parliamentary Government by the Shia United Iraqi Alliance.
2006- January- when the counting is done, the large Shia coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, emerges as the governing party.
2006-2007- Feuding between all the Shia parties and miltiasas well, as countless smaller outfits, many of them criminal gangs, makes Basra for a period less governable and more dangerous even than Baghdad. Meanwhile, Iran makes its presence felt, sending arms, supplies, agents and advisors into the British occupied south raising suspicions that Tehran intends to turn southern Iraq into an Iranian protectorate. The British, meanwhile, ae forced to stand by or go on the defensive as their military installations came increasingly under attack, in particular by the Mahdi Army.
Beginning of the Sunni-Shia Civil Conflict.
2006- February- Islamist Sunni commandos blow up the Sacred Shia Al Askariya Shrine in Samarra. Retribution against Sunnis by Shia death squads and militias like the Mahdi Army and the Bard Corps ignite a growing sectarian war.
-the parliament continues to be dead-locked by in-fighting.
April- Under US pressure, the indecisive Ibrahim Jafari resigns as prime minister in favour of a new Shia choice, Nuri Al Maliki.
-killings increase as Shia-Sunni sectarian fighting takes a path toward civil war.
-June- the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Musab al Zarqawi, is killed in a US bombing raid.
-fall- training of an Iraqi army to replace US forces lags far behind schedule.
November- Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death.
2007: George Bush’s ‘New’ plan for Iraq- a surge in US troop numbers.
2007- January- US President Bush announces his new plan for the failing situation in Iraq. Rejecting recommendations of open diplomacy and the assistance of Iraq’s neighbours as recommended by the Iraq Study Group, Bush announces a “surge” of 20,000 more US troops to control Baghdad.
- (circa February)- in the town of Bashika in the Kursih north, a Yazdi girl with a Muslim boyfriend converts to Islam. Yazdis from Bashika stone her to death.
February-March- sectarian killings of Sunnis and suicide and car bombings of Shia neighbourhoods occur weekly, sometimes daily as the death toll rises in a growing civil war.

April- A suicide bombing kills lawmakers in the Iraqi legislature in the heart of the Green Zone.

April 20- The US military begins building a wall around the Sunni neighbourhood of Adhamiya in Baghdad to prevent the entry and exit of suicide bombers into surrounding Shia neighbourhoods.

April 22- afterthe broadcast of a video tape of the stoning of a Yezidi girl by Yezidi men in Bashika, Islamist extremists take 23 Yazdi men off a bus and execute them near Mosul.

- August 14- four truck bombs kill over 200 in the Yazidi town of Qahatinya in Kurdish northern Iraq.

July-August- the Mahdi repeatedly shells the British base in Basra.

-U.S. General Petraeus adopts sophisticated, modern counterinsurgency methods against Sunni insurgents as part of the troop surge. US marines make tactical alliances with Sunni Sheikhs and other former nsurgents in Anbar province who are tired of al Qaeda's excesses and violations of Islam. The Anbar Salvation Front becomes the first of several local Sunni paramilitary organizations to aly itself with the U.S..

Sept 2, Formally handing over Basra to the Iraqi army, the British manage to coordinate their retreat from Basra with a plan for a phased withdrawal from Iraq.

-scandal erupts after U.S. Blackwater Security agencyt kills 17 Baghdad civilians in a firefight.

-despite the success of the Sunni local self-defense organizations in Anbar and Diyala, fighting al Qaeda alongside U.S. forces, al Qaeda manages to assassinate come of their leaders.

-Moqtada al Sadr declares a ceasefire between his Mahdi Army and occupation forces- contributing to the peace brought about by the U.S. troop surge.

Oct.- Turkish parliament okays incursions by Turkish military into northern Iraq to deal with Kurdish rebels.

-civilian deaths by violence continue to decline since the beginning of the U.S. troop surge in early 2007.

Dec.- the Shia province of Karbala becomes the 18th to return to direct Iraqi control.

-Turkey launches air raids on Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq.

-Britain formally hands over the government and security of Basra and Shia southern Iraq to the Iraqi government and security forces.

2008- January- Iraqi government passes legislation allowing former Baathist officials to return to public life.

Feb.- suicide bombings kill 50 in Baghdad despite the growing success of the U.S. troop surge.

-Turkish troops mount a major ground incursion against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

March- Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits Baghdad, the first time in living memory that an Iranian head of state has formally visited Iraq.

-Prime Minister Maliki launches an all out assault against Shia militias in Basra in an attempt to disarm them.

-Mahdi militia leader Moqtada Al Sadr declares ceasefire.

March- Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad visits Iraq- makes deals with maliki government for reconstruction.

President Maliki orders troops to regain control of Basra sparking battles with Moqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Militia. Several hundred are killed.

July- anticpating a new security agreement with the United States, President Maliki begins to consider a date for troop withdrawal by the United States.

-the Iraqi Accord Front, the largest Sunni bloc, rejoins the Shia-led government after a year's absence.

2008- US forces turn Anbar Province over to government forces, the first province to reutrn to Iraqi control.

-Iraqi parliament passes a provincial elections law which applies everywhere except the disputed area of Kirkuk.

-October- government includes Sunni Baghdad Awakening Council of about 54,000 on payroll, along with similar militia councils.

-second in command of Al Qaeda in Iraq is killed by US military in Mosul.

November- a US-Iraqi security agreement is reached by which US troops agree to have exited Iraq by 2011.

2009- January- Baghdad's Green Zone is handed over to the Iraqi government and receives increased jurisdiction over foreign troops in the country.

February- Maliki makes large gains in provincial elections.

March- Obama announces withdrawal of most US troops by August 2010 and those remaining to instruct Iraqi troops and protect US installations will be gone by 2011.

-commander of British forces passes command over to the US, initiating the final British withdrawal from Iraq.

April-Ayad Samarrai of Sunni Arab Alliance elected speaker of the Iraqi parliament, a post reserved for Sunni Iraqis.

June -urban areas of Iraq are a evacuated by US troops, making way for Iraqi-led security.

July- the PUK and the KDP retain control of the regional parliament in Kurdistan despite considerable gains by opposition groups. Barzani is re-elected president.

-the United Iraqi Alliance, which has controlled parliament since the 2005 Iraqi elections is reformed by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki as the 40-party Shila alliance the State of Law after an earlier split in the UIA.

-near the Baghdad Green Zone, 2 car bombs explode, kiulling 155, the worst such attack since 2007.

November- Vive President Tariq al Hashemi vetoes part of the new election law, suspending preparations for the january 2010 elections because it does not include the 4 million Iraqis who have left the country since 2007.

December- as parliament passes laws to protect the rights of Sunnis and other minorities, Vice president Hashemi withdraws his veto, allowing the 2010 elections to go ahead.

-the Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda franchise, claims responsibility for a mass of bombings in Baghdad killing 127, as well as other killings in August and October killing 240.

-Tehran briefly occupies an Iraqi oilfield, raising tensions with Baghdad.

2010- January- candidates said to have Baath Party background banned from March parliamentary elections.

-"Chemical Ali"- Ali Hassan al-Majid, architect of the mass killing of Kurds- is executed.

March- Iyyad Alawi's Al Iraqiya bloc wins a narrow parliamentary vote, edging out Nouri al Maliki's State of Law Party by 2 votes.

April- Alawi protests decision to disqualify 50 Al Iraqiya candidates for links to the Baath Party.

 May-July- the Iraqi government is paralysed by political wrangling with Alawi and al Maliki deadlocked in the fight for leadership.

July 18- dozens are kiled in suicide bombings in Baghdad and Anbar Province targeting members of the Sunni Awakening Councils.

August, 2010- Iraqi general warns that US troop withdrawal is premature and that the Iraqi army is nopt yet ready to take command.

After five months without a government, the two contending political blocs suspend talks on settling the disputed election.

The last US combat brigade leaves Iraq.

September- Syria and Iraq restore diplomatic ties a year after breaking them off.

October- Wikileaks releases masses of documents of censored information on the Iraq war, much of it suggesting that civilian casualties were much higher than many, including the US, estimated.

October 31, 2010- 52 are masscred in an Al Qaeda hostage taking and attack on a Syrian Christian chruch in Baghdad.
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