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Key dates in Iraq's political transition

At a trillion dollars, regime change in Iraq has been a very expensive affair and puts into perspective how cheap the recent US election was in reality.
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) Jan 1, 2009
With the dawn of the new year, the United Nations mandate on the presence of foreign troops in Iraq ran out and the embattled country took another step towards full sovereignty, more than five years after it was invaded by US-led forces.

Here is a chronology of key dates in the process of the creation of an Iraqi state after the toppling of dictator Saddam Hussein in April 2003.

2003

MARCH

- 20 US-led forces bomb and then invade Iraq, where they allege that president Saddam Hussein is building weapons of mass destruction.

APRIL

- 9: US forces penetrate the heart of Baghdad, where they topple a large statue of Saddam, an act held as symbolising the toppling of the regime.

MAY

- 1: Six weeks after the start of the US-led invasion of Iraq, US President George W. Bush announced the "end of combat" but the continuation of the "war against terrorism."

- 6: Paul Bremer, a US counter-terrorism specialist, is named civil administrator.

- 16: Bremer forbids all high-ranking Baath party officials from holding public sector jobs.

- 23: Bremer announces the dissolution of the Iraqi military, the information ministry and other state security organisations.

JULY

- 6: Bremer announces the creation of an interim Governing Council equipped with real executive powers, but he reserves veto power. It holds a first meeting one week later.

AUGUST

- 08: Creation of a new army.

- 14: UN resolution 1500 "welcomes the establishment" of the transitional government, but without explicit recognition.

SEPTEMBER

- 03: The first post-Saddam cabinet is sworn in.

OCTOBER

- 15: New Iraqi dinar starts circulation.

- 16: UN resolution 1511 preserves almost absolute control of Iraq to Washington and authorises the deployment of foreign troops on Iraqi soil.

NOVEMBER

- 15: Agreement between Bremer and the interim Governing Council on a timetable for transfer of power (constitution, interim government before June 2004, elections before end 2005).

2004

MARCH

- 08: A provisional constitution is signed, opening the way for a transfer of power to a transitional Iraqi authority by June 30.

- 28: The first of 25 government ministries is handed over to Iraq's interim leadership.

JUNE

- 01: Interim government unveiled in Baghdad as Governing Council dissolved.

- 08: UN passes resolution 1546 on the transfer of sovereignty.

- 28: The US-led occupation formally hands over power to Iraq, two days earlier than expected.

2005

JANUARY

- 30: Iraqis go to the polls for the first in free elections in 50 years despite a spate of deadly attacks but disenchanted Sunni Arabs largely boycott the vote.

MARCH

- 16: Transitional National Assembly meets for first time.

APRIL

- 06: Jalal Talabani is chosen to be Iraq's new president, the first Kurd to hold such a post in Iraq's modern history.

- 07: Shiite Ibrahim Jaafari is named prime minister.

- 27: Jaafari says he has formed a cabinet, almost three months after the elections.

- 28: Parliament passes a vote of confidence in the government.

MAY

- 08: Formation of the new government.

- 10: Iraq's parliament forms a committee tasked with drafting a permanent constitution, a crucial and sensitive issue in the country's political transition.

JUNE

- 16: Kurds and Shiite leaders agree to co-opt Sunni Arabs onto the parliamentary committee charged with drafting a new constitution to compensate for lack of representation in the legislature.

AUGUST

- 01: Drafting committee chairman Sheikh Humam Hammudi tells parliament he expects a final draft of the new constitution to be ready for debate on August 15.

- 15: Negotiators fail to reach a deal by the deadline, with differences ranging from federalism to the role of Islam and the sharing of oil wealth. MPs grant a one-week extension.

- 22: Kurdish and Shiite negotiators reach an agreement on the draft and say it will be put to parliament by the midnight deadline.

OCTOBER

- 15: Iraqis vote in force -- 78 percent -- on a draft constitution that turns another page on the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein.

DECEMBER

- 15: The conservative Shiite United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), wins most seats in the December parliamentary election.

2006

APRIL

- 22: Jalal Talabani re-elected as president. Nuri al-Maliki (Shiite) forms a government in May.

JULY

Coalition forces pass the baton to the Iraqis to control security in Muthanna province in the south. In the following two and half years, another 13 of 18 provinces are handed over.

OCTOBER

- 11: A law establishing federal provinces is passed.

2007 --

2008 --

AUGUST

- 11: King Abdullah II of Jordan becomes the first Arab head of state to visit Iraq since 2003.

SEPTEMBER

- 01: The US military transfers control of western province of Anbar to Iraqi forces, the first Sunni-majority province to be handed over.

NOVEMBER

- 16: The Iraqi government adopts a draft security agreement which foresees the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

- 27: Parliament ratifies the Iraq-US security agreement which gives American troops a legal basis to stay in Iraq.

DECEMBER

- 23: Parliament mandates the government to sign agreements with Britain, Australia, Estonia, Romania and NATO that legalises their troops presence until end July following the December 31 expiry of the UN mandate.

- 30: Baghdad signs military accords with Britain and Australia.

- 31: The UN mandate contained in Resolution 1511 of October 16, 2003, expires at midnight.

2009

JANUARY

- 1: The US hands back control of Green Zone and other key installations to Iraq.

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