In October 1998, removing the Iraqi government became official U. foreign policy with enactment of the Iraq Liberation Act.Enacted following the expulsion of UN weapons inspectors the preceding August (after some had been accused of spying for the U. moved towards a more aggressive policy toward Iraq.*** Violent deaths only - does not include excess deaths due to increased lawlessness, poorer healthcare, etc. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba'athist government; Saddam was captured during Operation Red Dawn in December of that same year and executed by a military court three years later. Many violent insurgent groups were supported by Iran and al-Qaeda in Iraq. involvement in Iraq accelerated under President Barack Obama. The Bush administration based its rationale for the war principally on the assertion that Iraq, which had been viewed by the US as a rogue state since the Persian Gulf War, possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and that the Iraqi government posed an immediate threat to the United States and its coalition allies.

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In the days immediately following 9/11, the Bush Administration national security team actively debated an invasion of Iraq. On 5 February 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared before the UN to present evidence that Iraq was hiding unconventional weapons. In particular, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members France, Germany and Canada and non-NATO member Russia were opposed to military intervention in Iraq, due to the high level of risk to the international community's security, and defended disarmament through diplomacy. Bush and Tony Blair took place on 31 January 2003, in the White House.

Iraqi scientist Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed "Curveball", admitted in February 2011 that he had lied to the CIA about biological weapons in order to get the U. A secret memo of this meeting purportedly showed that the Bush administration had already decided on the invasion of Iraq at that point.

S.), the act provided $97 million for Iraqi "democratic opposition organizations" to "establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq." One month after the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act, the U. and UK launched a bombardment campaign of Iraq called Operation Desert Fox. The Republican Party's campaign platform in the 2000 election called for "full implementation" of the Iraq Liberation Act as "a starting point" in a plan to "remove" Saddam. Bush administration, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said that an attack on Iraq had been planned since Bush's inauguration, and that the first United States National Security Council meeting involved discussion of an invasion.

The campaign's express rationale was to hamper Saddam Hussein's government's ability to produce chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, but U. intelligence personnel also hoped it would help weaken Saddam's grip on power. O'Neill later backtracked, saying that these discussions were part of a continuation of foreign policy first put into place by the Clinton administration.

Nouri al-Maliki became Prime Minister in 2006 and remained in office until 2014.

The al-Maliki government enacted policies that were widely seen as having the effect of alienating the country's Sunni minority and worsening sectarian tensions.

Iraqi military helicopters and planes regularly contested the no-fly zones.

It was revealed that a biological weapons (BW) program in Iraq had begun in the early 1980s with help from the U. and Europe in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) of 1972.

The majority of casualties occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts between 20. and its allies tried to keep Saddam in check with a policy of containment.

and in 1991 a military coalition led by the United States launched the Gulf War to expel Iraq from Kuwait. This policy involved numerous economic sanctions by the UN Security Council; the enforcement of Iraqi no-fly zones declared by the U. and the UK to protect the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan and Shias in the south from aerial attacks by the Iraqi government; and ongoing inspections.

This announcement was accompanied by the doctrine of "pre-emptive" military action, later termed the Bush Doctrine. The resolution granted the authorization by the Constitution of the United States and the United States Congress for the President to command the military to fight anti-United States violence.