Office of the Historian
THE UNITED STATES AND THE GLOBAL COALITION AGAINST TERRORISM, SEPTEMBER 2001-DECEMBER 2003
January 4, 2003:
January 4, 2003:Philippine soldiers reported killing at least 5 Abu Sayyaf members in a 3-hour battle on Jolo Island. Two days earlier, Abu Sayyaf leader Merang Abante had been arrested near Zamboanga.
January 5, 2003: British police arrested 6 suspects in London. After a search of an apartment above a pharmacy found traces of ricin, four of the suspects, all of whom held Algerian passports, faced terrorism and chemical weapons charges.
January 7, 2003: Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri posted an e-mail on the website of Egyptian lawyer Montasser al-Zayat, in which he urged al-Zayat not to discourage young Arabs from killing Americans. Al-Zayat had earlier urged al-Qaeda to end its campaign against the United States.
January 10, 2003: German police arrested two Yemeni al-Qaeda suspects in Frankfurt. One of them, Sheikh Muhammed Ali Hassan al-Mouyad, was said to be a major fund-raiser. The Justice Department said on January 15 that it would seek their extradition.
The Turkish Government announced that it would allow a U.S. military team to survey bases for possible use by U.S. forces in a war against Iraq.
January 10-11, 2003: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld signed orders that would send 62,000 U.S. military personnel to the Persian Gulf to join the 60,000 already there.
January 11, 2003: Britain sent the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal to the Persian Gulf.
January 12, 2002: British Prime Minister Blair warned that if the UN inspectors found Iraqi non-compliance, "Saddam will be disarmed by force."
January 14, 2003: National Security Advisor Rice met with Blix in New York and urged him not to schedule a follow-up report, in March, on Iraqi disarmament. Blix in turn told the UN Security Council that the 1999 resolution that created UNMOVIC required one. President Bush said: "Time is running out for Saddam Hussein … I’m sick and tired of games and deception, and that’s my view of timetables." Secretary-General Annan said that he was still "hopeful and optimistic" about a diplomatic solution.
January 15, 2003: UN weapons inspectors visited a second presidential site, a palace complex in central Baghdad.
January 16, 2003: UN weapons inspectors found 12 warheads capable of containing chemical weapons in an ammunition depot about 100 miles south of Baghdad that might not have been listed in Iraq’s December report to the United Nations. Lt. Gen. Hussam Mohammed Amin, head of Iraq’s National Monitoring Directorate, said that he was surprised that empty warheads dating from the 1980s should be considered significant. The inspectors also visited the Baghdad homes of two Iraqi scientists.
At the United Nations, the United States was unable to prevent Blix from scheduling a follow-up report on Iraqi disarmament for late in March. His January 27 report would be an interim one.
In Stuttgart, Germany, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz called for NATO military assistance against Iraq.
January 17, 2003: President Saddam Hussein commemorated the 12th anniversary of the Gulf War with a speech comparing the United States to the Mongols who had devastated Baghdad in 1258 and predicting that Iraq would defeat the U.S. invasion.
January 18, 2003: Anti-war demonstrations took place in many cities in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Japan. Those in Washington numbered between 100,000 and 500,000.
January 19, 2003: Secretary of State Powell, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and National Security Advisor Rice all said that they would welcome Saddam’s acceptance of exile as an alternative to war. Rumsfeld suggested that he might be offered immunity from war crimes charges.
The London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat published a lengthy statement from Osama bin Laden that urged Muslims to unite against a Western "crusader coalition."
January 20, 2003: At the United Nations, Foreign Ministers from 13 of the 15 members of the Security Council met to discuss international terrorism. French Foreign Minister de Villepin hinted that he would veto any U.S resolution calling for military action against Iraq. German Foreign Minister Fischer urged that the UN inspectors be given "all the time which is needed." Secretary of State Powell reminded his colleagues that Resolution 1441 was Iraq’s "last chance" to disarm. British Foreign Secretary Straw said that, although "time was running out," he would prefer another resolution before force was used.
Blix and al-Baradei announced that they had reached a ten-point agreement with Iraq concerning cooperation with the UN inspectors. The only demand that Iraq rejected was for the use of a U.S. Air Force U-2 to assist the inspectors. Iraq agreed to establish its own inspection teams and to allow Iraqi scientists to be interviewed without Iraqi officials being present.
U.S. Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with his Turkish counterpart and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul in Ankara to discuss the possible deployment of U.S. forces to Turkey against Iraq. Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said that Turkey had agreed to a smaller deployment than the 80,000 that the U.S. had sought.
The British Government announced that it would send 26,000 troops to the Persian Gulf to join the 5,000 already there.
January 21, 2003: French Foreign Minister de Villepin said in Brussels that his government would urge the European Union to oppose military action against Iraq at a forthcoming EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
A Kuwaiti gunman fired on a car near Camp Doha, killing a U.S. civilian contract employee and wounding another. The suspect was later arrested while trying to cross into Saudi Arabia and reportedly confessed to being an al-Qaeda member.
January 22, 2003: French President Chirac and German Chancellor Schroeder met in Paris and commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1963 Franco-German friendship treaty by issuing a joint statement opposing military action against Iraq without the approval of the UN Security Council. Both agreed to work for a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis. France and Germany, supported by Belgium and Luxembourg, successfully opposed a U.S. request for NATO military assistance against Iraq.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld called French and German opposition a "problem," but dismissed France and Germany as "old Europe." NATO’s center of gravity was shifting eastward, and newer members in Eastern Europe were more sympathetic to the U.S. position. He also announced that the Pentagon had begun broadcasting Arabic translations of its daily briefings to Iraq.
The Defense Department announced that over 20,000 more Reserve and National Guard personnel had been mobilized, bringing the total to 79,000.
The Senate voted, 94 to 0, to confirm Tom Ridge as Secretary for Homeland Security.
January 23, 2003: Secretary of State Powell said after a meeting with visiting British Foreign Secretary Straw that he was not worried about having to act unilaterally and he was sure that "many nations" would support the United States when necessary.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz told the Council of Foreign Relations that Iraq had coached its scientists on what to tell inspectors and had threatened to execute scientists (and their families) who were too cooperative with them.
The Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Jordan met in Istanbul and issued a joint declaration urging Iraq "to demonstrate a more active approach" to cooperation with UN inspectors in order to avoid war.
January 26, 2003: Secretary of State Powell addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and said, "Multilateralism cannot become an excuse for inaction." The United States was prepared to act against Iraq either alone or "in a coalition of the willing."
Prime Minister Blair said that Britain would take part in an attack on Iraq without a Security Council resolution if the UN inspectors found Iraq to be "not cooperating" or "in breach of the resolution passed in November," and if another permanent member vetoed a new resolution.
January 27, 2003: Blix presented his report to the UN Security Council on Iraq’s cooperation with the UNMOVIC inspectors. He said that Iraq had cooperated with the "process" by allowing access to specified sites, but had not cooperated with the "substance:" known stocks of prohibited weapons were still un-accounted for. IAEA chief al-Baradei also reported to the Security Council. His inspectors had found no evidence of a renewed Iraqi nuclear weapons program, but had not gotten "optimal cooperation" in Iraq. Iraq denied the charges.
Secretary of State Powell stressed Iraq’s noncompliance and warned that time was running out. Representatives of other members of the Security Council favored giving the inspection program more time.
EU Foreign Ministers met in Brussels and issued a statement demanding that Iraq cooperate completely with UN inspectors. They could not agree on whether to set a deadline for the inspection process.
Representatives of Iraqi opposition groups led by Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress held a press conference in Tehran. Chalabi said the he intended to hold another meeting in February in a Kurdish zone of northern Iraq.
January 28, 2003: In his State of the Union address, President Bush said that he would ask the UN Security Council to hold a special session in which Secretary of State Powell could prevent evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs and terrorist connections. He also warned U.S. military personnel to prepare for war. White House Press Secretary Fleischer said that another Security Council resolution was "desirable" but not "mandatory."
The State of the Union address also called for the establishment of a Terrorist Threat Integration Center that would include elements of the CIA, FBI, the Defense Department, and the Department of Homeland Security. CIA Director Tenet would be its director.
British Foreign Secretary Straw concluded that Iraq was in "material breach" of Resolution 1441. Russian President Putin said that he might support a "tougher" resolution if it were proved that Iraq had obstructed the inspections.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud met with President Chirac in Paris to discuss means of averting war.
January 29, 2003: British Prime Minister Blair met with Italian Prime Minister Belusconi in London; Berlusconi met with President Bush in Washington the next day. Prince Saud also met with Prime Minister Blair in London.
JCS Chairman Gen. Myers confirmed that some U.S. troops were already in northern Iraq. These were believed to be Special Operations units working with the Kurds. The Defense Department announced the mobilization of 16,000 more reservists, bringing the total to 95,000. The Coast Guard announced that it would send eight 110-foot cutters and 600 personnel to the Persian Gulf.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy introduced a resolution calling on President Bush to obtain Congressional approval before attacking Iraq. Senator Robert C. Byrd introduced another that called on the United States to seek another UN Security Council resolution as well.
The Turkish Government announced that it was assembling military supplies and equipment along its border with Iraq, but the deployment did not mean that either war was imminent or that Turkey would participate.
January 30, 2003: The leaders of eight European countries (Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic) signed a letter to the press supporting the U.S. position in the Iraq crisis.
Prince Saud met with President Bush and senior U.S. officials in Washington, apparently to discuss a proposal that would allow Saddam Hussein to go into exile.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela addressed the International Women’s Forum in Johannesburg and said President Bush wanted to "plunge the world into a holocaust" by attacking Iraq. However, he said he would support intervention if it had UN support.
The U.S. District Court in Boston sentenced an unrepentant Richard Reid to life imprisonment plus 110 years for his attempt to blow up an airliner with explosives hidden in his shoe.
January 31, 2003: British Prime Minister Blair met with President Bush to discuss the Iraq crisis. Bush said that although he would "welcome" a second UN resolution, he believed that Resolution 1441 gave sufficient authority for military action against Iraq. They agreed that Iraq had "weeks, not months," to show that it would comply with UN inspectors.
February 3, 2003: Prime Minister Blair told Britain’s House of Commons that a second UN resolution should be sought if UNMOVIC found continued Iraqi non-compliance with its efforts.
A Kuwaiti court convicted four suspected al-Qaeda members of charges relating to national security and sentenced them to 5 years’ imprisonment.
February 4, 2003: British Prime Minister Blair and French President Chirac met in Le Touquet, France. Although they agreed on the need to eliminate Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and on the need to work through the United Nations, they continued to disagree about whether military action was needed.
The Kuwaiti Government announced that it would close off the northern part of the country to make it available for military use.
February 5, 2003: Secretary of State Powell made an 80-minute presentation to the United Nations that used satellite photos, communications intercepts, and reports from defectors to demonstrate that Iraq was obstructing UN inspections, continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction, and working with terrorist groups. The representatives of France, China, and Spain said that the presentation showed the need for more inspections. Iraqi representative Mohammed al-Douri called Powell’s presentation "utterly unrelated to the truth."
The Defense Department announced the mobilization of 17,000 more National Guard and reserve personnel, bringing the total to 112,000.
In Australia, Prime Minister Howard lost a vote of confidence in the Senate concerning the deployment of 2,000 troops to the Middle East for possible use in Iraq. The vote was 34 to 31 and was largely symbolic.
February 6, 2003: Britain’s "Channel Four News" reported that part of the British case against Iraq was based not on "intelligence material," but had been taken almost completely from an article in the Middle East Review of International Affairs and from articles in Jane’s Intelligence Review. British officials said that their dossier was still "solid" and accurate.
A group of 10 eastern European countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) signed a declaration supporting U.S. policy in the Iraq crisis.
Turkey’s Grand National Assembly voted (308-193) to allow certain ports and airfields to be upgraded by U.S. military personnel. Disagreements over levels of U.S. aid and over a possible Turkish role in the occupation of northern Iraq delayed the deployment of U.S. forces to Turkey.
France, Germany, and Belgium announced that they would not allow NATO to deploy military equipment to Turkey for its defense in the event of war with Iraq. Secretary-General Lord Robertson insisted that they state their objections by February 10.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced the deployment of the 101st Airborne Division and the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk to the Persian Gulf.
February 7, 2003: White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said that the United States planned a 2-week diplomatic campaign to pass a second Security Council resolution calling for Iraqi disarmament.
A car bomb exploded outside a night club in Bogota, Colombia, killing 32 persons and wounding 160. No group claimed responsibility, but Colombian authorities suspected the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) of committing the worst terrorist attack in the country in a decade.
HAMAS founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin called on Muslims to attack "Western interests" if the United States attacked Iraq and also called for a boycott of products made by the United States and its allies.
February 9, 2003: National Security Advisor Rice said that the United States intended to stabilize Iraq and to promote democracy there even if Saddam Hussein went into exile.
Hans Blix of UNMOVIC and Muhammad al-Baradei of the IAEA concluded a 2-day visit to Baghdad and said that they hoped to see more cooperation from Iraq.
February 10, 2003: Russian President Putin made a state visit to France in an effort to seek a common position on the Iraq crisis.
France, Belgium, and Germany acted to prevent NATO from activating plans to defend Turkey against a possible attack by Iraq. Turkey responded by invoking Article IV of the North Atlantic Treaty and calling for consultations for its defense.
February 11, 2003: Al-Jazeera broadcast a videotape in which Osama bin Laden urged Muslims to resist any U.S. attack on Iraq even though, as far as he was concerned, Iraq was governed by "apostates." Secretary of State Powell later mentioned the broadcast as evidence of contacts between al-Qaeda and the Government of Iraq.
In Indonesia, Ali Imrom confessed to having assembled the bombs and parked the larger of the car bombs used in the October 2002 bombing in Bali. Imron said that he had been trained in Afghanistan, but denied that his group was linked to al-Qaeda or to any other foreign organization.
February 12, 2003: Missile experts consulted by UNMOVIC reported that Iraq had modified its al-Samoud missiles so that they could exceed the 150-kilometer range that was permitted under previous UN resolutions.
February 14, 2003: Blix reported to the UN Security Council on the progress of the UN inspectors in Iraq, in which he said that there was an "impression" of Iraqi cooperation. After more than 400 inspections at over 300 sites, only a few empty chemical weapons had been found. Blix did not rule out the possibility that proscribed weapons might still be found. UNMOVIC’s role would be "open-ended until the Council decides otherwise."
Russia’s Supreme Court designated 15 groups to be terrorist organizations. Most were Chechen groups, but al-Qaeda was included.
February 15-16, 2003: Large-scale demonstrations against a possible war with Iraq took place in major U.S. and European cities.
February 17, 2003: The European Council held an emergency meeting in Brussels in an unsuccessful attempt to devise a united position on the Iraq crisis. They agreed to support UN efforts to secure the disarmament of Iraq and to give UN inspectors more time to do their work. They urged Iraq to comply with UN efforts and said that force would only be a last resort.
In Pakistan, the Afghan Islamic Press reported that Taliban leader Mullah Omar had issued a message urging all Afghans to resist U.S. forces and the Karzai government.
February 18, 2003: During the EU Summit meeting, French President Chirac warned eastern European countries considering EU membership that support for the U.S. position in the Iraq crisis would jeopardize their admission.
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef ibn Abdul Aziz announced that 90 Saudi al-Qaeda suspects would face trial; 150 had been released and 250 more were still being questioned.
February 19, 2003: A German court convicted Mounir Motassadeq of being an accessory to the September 11 attacks on the United States and of being a member of al-Qaeda. He was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment.
NATO’s Defense Planning Committee devised a compromise with France and Germany that would allow defensive weapons to be deployed in Turkey.
February 20, 2003: Professor Sami Amin al-Arian of the University of South Florida was arrested and charged with being the U.S. leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The State Department announced that three Chechen groups (Riyad us-Saliheyn, the Congress of the Peoples of Chechnya and Dagestan, and the Supreme Military Majlis ul-Shura of the Mujaheddin) had been designated as terrorist organizations.
Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council announced that it would be willing to provide a battalion of anti-nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons specialists to assist the United States in the Persian Gulf.
February 21, 2003: U.S. military advisers arrived in the Philippines to take part in operations against Abu Sayyaf guerrillas on Jolo Island. Although Defense Department spokesmen said that the troops would be involved in combat operations, Philippine spokesmen said their constitution prohibited a combat role and that U.S. forces would only be involved in training and surveillance.
February 23, 2003: Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov visited Iraq in an effort to persuade Saddam Hussein to comply with UN resolutions.
February 24, 2003: The United States, Great Britain, and Spain introduced a new UN Security Council draft resolution that contended that Iraq had failed to comply with Resolution 1441 and would "face serious consequences" if it continued to do so.
Russian presidential chief of staff Aleksandr Voloshin visited Washington to discuss the Iraq crisis.
February 26, 2003: After a visit to Moscow by German Chancellor Schroeder, President Putin said: "Russia is not ready to support any UN resolution that opens the way for the automatic use of military force against Iraq."
February 28, 2003: An Afghan gunman killed two policemen and wounded five other people outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi. He was arrested afterwards. The attack followed a visit to Pakistan by Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca, who urged the Pakistani Government to support a UN Security Council resolution supporting military action against Iraq.
March 1, 2003: Pakistani police arrested Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the reputed al-Qaeda chief of operations, in Rawalpindi. It was later reported that U.S. electronic surveillance had made Mohammed’s capture possible. According to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), Mohammed had last seen bin Laden "in a mountainous region" in December.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly rejected, by three votes, a motion to permit the deployment of up to 62,000 U.S. troops, primarily the Fourth Infantry Division, in preparation for a war with Iraq.
Iraq began destroying its stocks of al-Samoud missiles.
March 4, 2003: During a visit to London, Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov said that his government would not support a war with Iraq and would veto any UN Security Council draft resolution on the subject. Secretary of State Powell said that the United States was prepared to go to war with or without a second UN resolution.
A bomb explosion at the Davao airport on Mindanao killed 23 persons, including a U.S. missionary, and wounded 147 others. Philippine authorities blamed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, although the Abu Sayyaf Group claimed responsibility.
March 5, 2003: French Foreign Minister de Villepin said that France would oppose a second UN resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference held an emergency summit meeting in Doha, Qatar in an attempt to prevent a war with Iraq. Participants rejected an invasion of Iraq or threats to the security of other member states. Earlier in the meeting, the Iraqi and Kuwaiti representatives exchanged insults.
Philippine President Macapagal-Arroyo said that U.S. forces would not be involved in combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group. A presidential spokesman also announced that a joint military exercise on Sulu lsland would be postponed indefinitely.
March 7, 2003: Blix reported to the UN Security Council on the progress of UNMOVIC’s inspection program. Although Iraqi compliance had not been "immediate," there had been cooperation, and Iraq’s destruction of its al-Samoud missiles was "a substantial measure of disarmament." Iraq was also trying to account for biological weapons said to have been destroyed in 1991. IAEA Director al-Baradei said that U.S. and British reports that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from Niger were "unfounded," while high-strength aluminum tubes were not suitable for use in uranium enrichment centrifuges. The Foreign Ministers of Security Council member states debated the reports in an attempt to win approval of a draft resolution calling on Iraq to demonstrate "full, unconditional, immediate, and active cooperation" with Resolution 1441 by March 17.
March 10, 2003: French President Chirac announced that his country would veto any UN resolution authorizing war with Iraq. UN Secretary-General Annan said that without such a resolution, the legitimacy of such a war would be "seriously impaired."
A German court in Frankfurt convicted four Algerian Islamists of plotting a terrorist attack in Strasbourg on New Year’s Eve. They were sentenced to 10-12 years’ imprisonment. A fifth Algerian had been acquitted.
March 11, 2003: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that 16 prisoners captured in Afghanistan and held at the Guantanamo Naval Base could not challenge their detention through the federal courts since the United States had no legal jurisdiction over the base.
March 12, 2003: At the United Nations, Great Britain circulated a draft statement in the Security Council that proposed six steps that Iraq could take to prove its willingness to disarm. France rejected the plan the next day.
March 16, 2003: President Bush, British Prime Minister Blair, and Spanish Prime Minister Aznar held a meeting at Lajes Field in the Azores Islands to discuss a last-minute UN initiative concerning Iraq. At the end of the meeting, they gave President Hussein and his two sons 48 hours to leave Iraq or be attacked.
March 17, 2003: At the UN, British Permanent Representative Sir Jeremy Greenstock said that a consensus on a draft resolution authorizing military action against Iraq "will not be possible" and hinted that France was determined to veto any such resolution. French Permanent Representative Jean-Marc de la Sablière denied Greenstock’s charge. U.S. Permanent Representative Negroponte said that, except for the prospect of a veto, the vote would have been close. Secretary-General Annan deplored the inability of the Security Council to reach a consensus and announced the withdrawal of all UN personnel from Iraq.
Secretary of Homeland Security Ridge announced that persons from 33 countries (primarily in the Middle East and South Asia) who sought asylum in the United States would be detained until their applications could be processed. He also announced that the IFB would interview about 11,000 Iraqi-born citizens and Iraqi residents to obtain information about the activities of terrorist groups sponsored by the Government of Iraq.
March 18, 2003: The State Department announced that 30 countries had joined the United States in a "coalition of the willing" to disarm Iraq. Only Great Britain and Australia were providing direct military support, though others would provide access, basing, or overflight rights or expressed interest in helping with postwar reconstruction. Spokesman Boucher said that at least 15 other countries had expressed private support for the U.S. position.
French President Chirac denounced the U.S. and British decision to attack Iraq as having put "the use of force above the rule of law."
The British House of Commons voted to authorize "all means necessary" to disarm Iraq. The vote was 412 to 149, but 139 members of the ruling Labour Party voted for an amendment stating that the case for war was "not yet proven."
March 19, 2003: Kenyan authorities announced the arrest of a suspect in the November attack on a Mombasa hotel; Somali leaders were said to have cooperated.
March 20, 2003: The United States and its allies began military operations against Iraq.
U.S. forces in Afghanistan also launched Operation Valiant Strike against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in the Sami Ghar Mountains east of Kandahar.
The United States withdrew an offer of $6 billion in aid and $24 billion in loans to Turkey in view of Turkey’s refusal to permit the deployment of U.S. troops.
March 23, 2003: U.S. authorities announced the release of 19 Afghans who had been held at Guantanamo Bay.
March 26, 2003: Prime Minister Blair flew to the United States to meet with President Bush at Camp David. They discussed the progress of the war in Iraq and what role the United Nations should play in postwar reconstruction.
March 28, 2003: The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution to resume Iraq’s "oil for food" program. It also unanimously approved Resolution 1471, which extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) until March 2004.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld warned Syria not to supply Iraq with night-vision goggles and other military equipment. A Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson called his statement "unfounded and irresponsible."
March 30, 2003: A suicide bombing in a café in Netanya, Israel, wounded 38 persons. Only the bomber was killed. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility and called the attack a "gift to the people of Iraq."
April 1, 2003: Secretary of State Powell began a 2-day visit to Turkey. He and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul reached an agreement to allow supplies for U.S. troops in northern Iraq to pass through Turkey, and to allow damaged U.S. aircraft and wounded U.S. military personnel to enter Turkish territory. In turn, northern Iraq would be under Coalition rather than Kurdish control and that Turkey would be consulted in the reconstruction of the area.
British Home Secretary David Blunkett met with Homeland Security Secretary Ridge met in Washington to establish a joint working group on counter-terrorism.
April 2, 2003: U.S. forces launched a campaign against Taliban and al-Qaeda members in southern Afghanistan’s Tor Ghar mountains.
South Korea’s National Assembly approved a motion to send 700 non-combatant troops to Iraq by a vote of 179 to 68.
April 3, 2003: Secretary of State Powell met with NATO and EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels in an effort to mend U.S.-European relations. He said that the United States would still play the primary role in reconstructing Iraq, but did not rule out a future, unspecified, UN role.
April 7-8, 2003: President Bush met with Prime Minister Blair in Belfast. During a joint press conference on April 8, they outlined plans to establish a democratic government in Iraq and agreed to give the UN "a vital role." In Paris, French President Chirac responded that the reconstruction of Iraq was "a matter for the United Nations and it alone."
April 7, 2003: As the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division entered central Baghdad, a U.S. B-1 bomber attacked a building where President Hussein and his sons Udai and Qusai were thought to be meeting with senior officials. Hussein and his sons had left before the attack.
April 8, 2003: Osama bin Laden issued a message calling for suicide attacks on Coalition forces in Iraq.
April 9, 2003: U.S. soldiers helped pull down a large statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad, symbolizing the end of his rule over Iraq. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that Hussein had joined Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, and Ceausescu in "the pantheon of failed, brutal dictators," but warned that there would still be "difficult and dangerous" combat ahead.
April 10, 2003: Forces of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan captured Kirkuk. The Turkish Government immediately expressed concern, and U.S. soldiers entered the city the next day.
President Bush said that the United States intended to "build a peaceful and representative government [in Iraq] that protects the rights of all citizens. And then our military forces will leave."
April 11, 2003: The leaders of France, Germany, and Russia met in St. Petersburg to discuss the situation in Iraq. They agreed that the United Nations should coordinate relief and reconstruction, and said that they would consider writing off debts acquired by the Hussein government. They still questioned the need for military action, with Russian President Putin expressing surprise that, if Iraq had had weapons of mass destruction, it had not used them when in extremis.
Ten al-Qaeda suspects in the U.S.S. Cole bombing escaped from a prison in Aden.
April 13, 2003: Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of the U.S. Central Command, said that the occupation of Iraq might last at least a year. He told television reporters that many villages and towns had been bypassed, and that it might take a year to search up to 3,000 sites for weapons of mass destruction.
President Bush warned Syria not to interfere with U.S. military operations in Iraq. Secretary of State Powell also warned Syria against sheltering fugitive Iraqi officials, noting that the United States had long been concerned with Syrian support for terrorism.
April 14, 2003: U.S. Marines entered Saddam’s home town of Tikrit. The Defense Department announced that major combat in Iraq had ended and that most naval forces would be withdrawn from the Persian Gulf. In London, Prime Minister Blair announced "victory" to the House of Commons and urged the international community to "make the peace worth the war."
White House Press Secretary Fleischer called Syria a "terrorist state" and a "rogue nation" and warned of possible diplomatic and economic sanctions in view of its weapons of mass destruction. In London, Prime Minister Blair told the House of Commons that "there are no plans to invade Syria" and that Britain sought "dialogue and partnership" instead.
An anti-terrorism court in Karachi convicted 4 members of Harakat-ul-Mujdaheddin al-Alami of planning the June 14, 2002 suicide bombing of the U.S. Consulate. Two were sentenced to death, two to life imprisonment, while a fifth was acquitted.
April 15, 2003: Retired General Jay Garner, head of the Defense Department’s Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, convened a meeting of Iraqi notables in Nasiriyah as a first step toward forming a postwar government.
Philippine Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes announced that joint maneuvers with U.S. forces would be held in northern Luzon and southwestern Sulu. Reyes later said that U.S. forces would not be allowed to take part in combat patrols.
April 16-17, 2003: The EU Summit Meeting in Athens, despite continuing disagreement between supporters and opponents of the war in Iraq, issued a statement calling for a central role for the United Nations and a significant role for the European Union in Iraq’s reconstruction.
April 22, 2003: President Bush issued a statement in which he said that he believed the Syrian Government’s assurances that it wanted to cooperate with the United States.
April 22, 2003: At the United Nations, France proposed an immediate end to sanctions against Iraq and that UNMOVIC should join Coalition forces in verifying Iraq’s disarmament.
April 22-23, 2003: Afghan Interim President Karzai made an official visit to Pakistan, and claimed that he and President Musharraf had agreed to cooperate against cross-border attacks by Taliban and al-Qaeda forces.
April 24, 2003: The UN Security Council approved Resolution 1476, extending the "oil for food" program in Iraq until June 3.
April 25, 2003: Afghan Interim President Karzai announced the appointment of a 33-member commission that would help draft a new constitution.
April 29, 2003: During a visit to Saudi Arabia, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced that the United States would withdraw its forces from the country, leaving only a small training mission. Air operations would be directed from the al-Udeid base in Qatar, which had been CENTCOM’s headquarters during the war with Iraq.
British Prime Minister Blair met with Russian President Putin in Moscow. Putin said that UN sanctions against Iraq should remain in effect until it had been confirmed that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction.
Pakistani police announced the arrest of six al-Qaeda suspects in Karachi, including Walid Mohammed bin-Attach, who was suspected of planning the U.S.S. Cole bombing.
May 1, 2003: President Bush flew to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln as the ship returned from the Persian Gulf to San Diego, and announced that major combat operations in Iraq were over. He still warned that there was "difficult work to do in Iraq."
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld also announced the end of major combat operations in Afghanistan during a visit to Kabul. Although "pockets of resistance" remained, "the bulk of the country" was secure and U.S. forces would shift their efforts to stabilization and reconstruction.
May 2, 2003: Coalition authorities in Baghdad asked former police officers to resume their duties in view of continuing lawlessness.
May 3, 2003: Secretary of State Powell visited Syria. After returning to Washington, Powell said that he had told President Bashar al-Assad that the United States would be observing and measuring Syria’s performance concerning terrorism and Iraq. Powell also visited Lebanon and expressed concern about the continued activities of Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.
May 5, 2003: The Defense Department announced that it planned to release about 30 Taliban and al-Qaeda members who were being held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base.
The FARC killed 10 hostages when Colombian special forces tried to rescue them from a jungle hideout near Urrao, in Colombia’s Antioquia State. The dead included Governor Guillermo Gavira and former Defense Minister Gilberto Echeverri Mejia, who had been kidnapped in April 2002.
May 6, 2003: President Bush announced the appointment of former Ambassador L. Paul Bremer as head of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq. Bremer assumed his duties on May 12.
May 7-8, 2003: Deputy Secretary of State Armitage and Assistant Secretary of State Christine Rocca visited Pakistan. Armitage expressed "deep appreciation" for Pakistan’s contribution to the war on terrorism.
May 7, 2003: During a visit to Washington by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, President Bush declared Batasuna, the political wing of the militant Basque separatist group ETA, to be a terrorist organization.
The Defense Department announced the discovery of a mobile biological weapons laboratory in Iraq. This was the first item associated with weapons of mass destruction to have been found since the start of the war.
May 10, 2003: Gen. Franks announced the dissolution of the Baath Party. Party property and records were to be turned over to Coalition forces.
May 11, 2003: A major shakeup occurred within the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) in Iraq. State Department personnel who were replaced included Barbara Bodine, Margaret Tutwiler, and John Limbert.
May 12, 2003: Suicide bombers attacked three residential compounds for foreign workers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The 34 dead included 9 attackers, 7 other Saudis, 9 U.S. citizens, and one citizen each from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Philippines. Another American died on June 1. It was the first major attack on U.S. targets in Saudi Arabia since the end of major combat operations in Iraq. After visiting the scene of the attack on May 13, Secretary of State Powell said that the attack had "all the fingerprints of an al-Qaeda operation." Saudi authorities arrested 11 al-Qaeda suspects on May 28.
A truck bomb explosion demolished a government compound in Znamenskoye, Chechnya, killing 54 persons. Russian authorities blamed followers of a Saudi-born Islamist named Abu Walid. President Vladimir Putin said that he suspected an al-Qaeda connection. Also in Chechnya, two female suicide bombers attacked Administrator Mufti Akhmed Kadyrov during a religious festival in Iliskhan Yurt. Kadyrov escaped injury, but 14 persons were killed and 43 were wounded. Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility.
The trial of Amrozi, the first of 33 suspects in the Bali bombing, began in Denpasar. Amrozi was charged with buying chemicals for the bomb and the van used to transport it.
In Buffalo’s U.S. District Court, Yasein Taher, one of the so-called "Lackawana Six," pleaded guilty to supporting al-Qaeda. He admitted to having attended al-Qaeda’s al-Farooq training camp in Afghanistan and to having heard a speech by Osama bin Ladin.
May 13, 2003: The Independent reported that there had been high-level meetings between U.S. and Iranian officials in Geneva; the chief U.S. representative was Zalmay Khalilzad, the special envoy for Iraq and Afghanistan. National Security Advisor Rice said that the contacts were about "practical issues" concerning these countries and not about normalization of relations.
May 15, 2003: Attorney-General Ashcroft announced the indictments of Yemeni citizens Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Qasaa and Jamal Mohammen Badawi for involvement in the Cole bombing. Both had escaped from a prison in Aden in April.
In Washington, French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte wrote a letter to the President, Congress, and the media asserting that stories that France had provided diplomatic and military aid to Iraq before the war, and had helped Iraqi officials escape to Europe afterwards were "a disinformation campaign aimed as sullying France’s image."
May 16, 2003: A team of 12 suicide bombers attacked five targets in Casablanca, Morocco, killing 43 persons and wounding 100. The targets were a Spanish restaurant, a Jewish community, a Jewish cemetery, a hotel, and the Belgian Consulate. The Moroccan Government blamed the Islamist al-Assirat al-Moustaquim (The Righteous Path), but foreign commentators suspected an al-Qaeda connection.
The Coalition announced that holders of the four highest ranks in the Baath Party would be excluded from holding office in Iraq. Officials in the three highest levels of government would be screened for Party membership.
May 19, 2003: During a state visit to Washington by President Macapagal-Arroyo, President Bush announced that he was designating the Philippines as a "major non-NATO ally." An unspecified number of U.S. troops would support Philippine operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group, and the Philippines would receive 20 military helicopters and $65 million for anti-terrorism training.
Under Secretary for Homeland Security Asa Hutchinson announced that, starting in January 2004, foreign visitors requiring visas would be photographed and fingerprinted when they entered the United States so that they could be compared with lists of designated terrorists.
Senator Sam Brownback introduced the Iran Democracy Act, which would provide $50 million to opposition groups in Iran and would support a referendum concerning the establishment of a secular democracy there.
In Buffalo’s U.S. District Court, Mukhtar al-Bakri, the last of the so-called "Lackawanna Six," pleaded guilty to having supported al-Qaeda. In addition to having attended a training camp in Afghanistan, he said that he had even had an audience with Osama bin Laden.
May 20, 2003: The United States, Britain, Germany, and Italy closed their diplomatic and consular missions in Saudi Arabia in view of warnings of terrorist attacks. The United States reopened its missions the next day; the other countries did so on May 24.
May 21, 2003: U.S. forces were placed on maximum alert and the Department of Homeland Security declared the second-highest level of domestic alert after al-Jazeera broadcast an audiotape from al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who called for attacks on U.S., British, Australian, and Norwegian Embassies, companies, and employees in response to the U.S. war with Iraq. Norwegians were puzzled to be on al-Qaeda’s target list; although Norway had taken part in the campaign in Afghanistan, it had not been involved in the war with Iraq.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that al-Qaeda leaders were active in Iran. Since the Riyadh bombings were attributed to al-Qaeda members operating from Iran, future meetings with Iranian officials in Geneva were postponed.
May 22, 2003: The UN Security Council (except Syria) adopted Resolution 1483, recognizing the United States and Great Britain as the occupying powers in Iraq, supporting the establishment of an Interim Iraqi Administration, providing for an end to sanctions and the establishment of a development fund based on oil sales. The "oil for food" program would continue for 6 more months, after which funds remaining in the account would be transferred to a development fund in the central bank. The United Nations was urged to assume an unspecified role in Iraq.
During a G-8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Paris, Secretary of State Powell praised France for voting for Resolution 1483, but warned that "disagreements of the past" had not been forgotten. He also denied that Defense Department decisions not to invite France to military exercises and to limit U.S. participation in the Paris Air Show were not part of "overall administration policy."
May 23, 2003: U.S. authorities announced the dissolution of the Iraqi Army, the Republican Guard, and the Defense Ministry.
May 24, 2003: Secretary-General Annan announced the appointment of Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello as the UN Special Representative in Iraq.
May 26, 2003: Chairman of the JCS Gen. Myers said on NBC-TV’s "Today" show that al-Qaeda had been in Iran "off and on for some time, particularly after our actions in Afghanistan." Iran’s official radio station announced that several al-Qaeda members had been arrested, but none were senior members.
May 27, 2003: Secretary of State Powell denied that the United States sought "regime change" in Iran; "Our policies with respect to Iran have not changed." White House Press Secretary Fleischer called Iran’s measures against al-Qaeda "insufficient." Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld warned Iran not to interfere with U.S. efforts to reconstruct Iraq during a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
May 28, 2003: Moroccan officials announced that the death in prison of the "general coordinator" of the May 16 bombings in Casablanca.
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef announced the arrest of 11 al-Qaeda members in Medina who were suspects in the May 12 bombings in Riyadh.
May 29, 2003: British Prime Minister Blair visited Iraq, met with British and U.S. officials, and addressed British soldiers in Basra. Meanwhile the BBC claimed that Blair had pressured British officials to "transform" and "sex up" the September 2002 report on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Blair denied the allegation the next day.
In Baghdad, Lt. Gen. David McKiernan, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, declared that "the war has not ended." Attacks on U.S. forces "are not criminal activities, they are combat activities." He added, "We’re still in the process of removing the regime."
May 30, 2003: Homeland Security Secretary Ridge announced that the U.S. terror alert level would be lowered from "orange" (high risk) to "yellow" (elevated risk) after 10 days of heightened alert.
The Defense Department announced that it would send an Iraq Survey Group comprising 1,300-1,400 personnel to search for weapons of mass destruction. The Group replaced the 200-member 75th Exploitation Force.
Secretary of State Powell and CIA Director Tenet both defended the intelligence on which U.S. actions against Iraq had been based.
At the end of a meeting of Organization of the Islamic Conference Foreign Ministers in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi denied U.S. charges that his country was harboring al-Qaeda fugitives, developing nuclear weapons, or aiding the anti-U.S. resistance in Iraq.
May 31, 2003: During a visit to Krakow, Poland, President Bush proposed a Proliferation Security Initiative, according to which the United States and its allies could search and seize ships or aircraft carrying materials usable in weapons of mass destruction.
June 1, 2003: The United States and Britain announced the appointment of an Iraqi advisory council to advise the Coalition.
June 2, 2003: Blix reported once more to the UN Security Council and said that UNMOVIC had been unable to prove or disprove that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. While no evidence had been found of "continuation or resumption" of weapons programs, a "long list of proscribed items" were still un-accounted for. He urged the Security Council to keep his inspection team in being for future use.
During the G-8 Economic Summit in Evian, France, British Prime Minister Blair insisted he was "100% behind the evidence" of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and denied that he and President Bush had made a secret agreement in September to attack Iraq. President Bush attempted to mend relations with French President Chirac, who still said that he believed the war with Iraq was "illegitimate and illegal" in the absence of UN approval. The Summit issued a communiqué describing the combination of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction as "the pre-eminent threat to international security" and warning Iran and North Korea to end their nuclear weapons program or face "if necessary, other measures in accordance with international law." President Chirac denied that the communiqué implied any threat of force. The communiqué also did not include a proposal by Bush that ships and aircraft suspected of carrying prohibited weapons materials could be searched or seized in international waters or airspace.
In Rome, Secretary of State Powell again insisted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, Senator John Warner (R-Virginia) announced that the Senate Armed Services Committee would hold hearings on the failure to them. The next day, Senator Pat Roberts announced that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would also investigate U.S. prewar intelligence.
As Iraqi political groups held an emergency meeting to discuss U.S. plans to establish an advisory council, Administrator Bremer said that the plan was in accord with Resolution 1483, which guaranteed U.S. and British authority in Iraq pending the election of a new government.
June 3, 2003: The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of Britain’s House of Commons began investigating the intelligence behind the war with Iraq, with special interest in reports about alleged weapons of mass destruction.
June 5, 2003: A female Chechen suicide bomber blew up a bus near Mozdok, killing 17 persons. Twelve of the dead were Russian military personnel.
June 6, 2003: The Defense Department released a declassified version of a September 2002 DIA study that noted the lack of "reliable information" about the state of Iraq’s chemical weapons programs. Hans Blix, meanwhile, told the BBC that inspections initiated on the basis of U.S. and British intelligence had failed to find anything.
June 7, 2003: The New York Times reported that 13,000 out of 82,000 Arab and Muslim men who had registered with immigration authorities could be deported for violation of immigration regulations. Only 11 were suspected of terrorist connections.
A car bomb explosion in Kabul killed four German peacekeeping troops and one Afghan. German Defense Minister Struck suspected that it was a suicide bombing; Afghan officials suspected an al-Qaeda connection.
June 9, 2003: U.S. and British forensic experts concluded that a mass grave found near Salman Pak contained at least 100 Iraqi political prisoners and deserters who apparently had been executed shortly before the war.
Russia’s Federal Security Service announced the arrest in Moscow of 55 members of a radical Islamic group named Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation). Most were said to be from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, or Uzbekistan, and they were suspected of planning attacks in Moscow and Chechnya.
June 10, 2003: Secretary-General Annan announced that Demitrius Perricos would replace Hans Blix as head of UNMOVIC; Perricos was the deputy executive chairman.
June 11, 2003: A suicide bombing aboard a bus in Jerusalem killed 16 persons and wounded at least 70, one of whom died later. HAMAS claimed that the attack was revenge for an Israeli helicopter attack on HAMAS leader Abdelaziz al-Rantisi in Gaza City the day before.
June 12, 2003: NATO Defense Ministers met in Brussels. They agreed that NATO would assume charge of peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan in August, as well as providing technical support for a Polish-led multinational force in Iraq. Countries announcing that they would provide troops for service in Iraq included Spain (1,200), Ukraine (1,700), Bulgaria (500), and Poland (2,300).
June 13, 2003: Thai police arrested Narong Penanam for having 66 pounds of radioactive material intended for use in a "dirty bomb." Narong was said to have obtained cesium-137 from Russia by way of Laos.
June 14, 2003: Thai Premier Thaksin Shinawatra announced that police had thwarted a plot by Jemaah Islamiah to bomb embassies in Bangkok during the October APEC Forum meeting. Three suspects had been arrested and the bomb-maker was being sought. Their trials began September 2.
June 16, 2003: Britain appointed UN Ambassador Greenstock as its special envoy to Iraq.
June 17, 2003: Senior U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani officials met in Islamabad to form a new commission on terrorism and border security. They agreed to hold regular meetings.
June 18, 2003: U.S. forces in Iraq arrested 50 members of Saddam Hussein’s security services near Tikrit and seized more that $8.5 million in cash and over $1 million in jewels. In Baghdad, U.S. soldiers fired on a crowd of discharged Iraqi soldiers demanding back pay and pensions, killing two. Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz said that a "guerrilla war" was taking place in Iraq, but "we can win it."
U.S. aircraft attacked a three-vehicle convoy with missiles near the Iraq-Syrian border. One vehicle was apparently destroyed on the Syrian side of the border; 5 Syrian border guards were wounded and were held by U.S. forces until June 29. U.S. forces were unable to prove that senior Iraqi officials were in the convoy; it was thought that Saddam Hussein might have been there.
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace told the House Armed Services Committee that 20,000 troops from at least 12 nations would begin relieving some U.S. forces in Iraq within 2 to 3 months. Britain and Poland would lead two multinational divisions that would include contingents from Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Honduras, Denmark, the Netherlands, and El Salvador.
During a visit to London, Pakistani President Musharraf said that although he agreed "in principle" about sending peacekeeping forces to Iraq, his country could not afford it and it would be politically impossible to be the only Muslim country to do so or to do it without UN approval. He said that peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan should be expanded from 14,000 to 40 to 50,000 so that the new government could exert authority in the provinces.
June 19, 2003: Attorney General Ashcroft announced the arrest of Iyman Faris, a Kashmiri-born U.S. citizen, on charges of plotting with al-Qaeda to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. Faris pleaded guilty.
June 20, 2003: Secretary of State Powell said that Syrian measures to control terrorist groups were "totally inadequate."
During the EU Summit meeting in Porto Carras, Greece, the European Union announced a new security paper. Although it agreed with the United States about the threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, it said that the European Union should use armed force only with UN approval and after diplomatic and economic measures had failed. It urged HAMAS to give up violence and warned that restrictions on its fund-raising might follow.
The United States closed its embassy in Nairobi for 5 days, citing possible terrorist threats. When the embassy reopened, a spokesman said that business hours would be varied.
June 21, 2003: In his weekly radio address, President Bush said that "dangerous pockets of the old regime" and "their terrorist allies" were responsible for continuing attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. He said that the search for weapons of mass destruction would continue "no matter how long it takes."
On the eve of the resumption of Iraq’s oil exports, an explosion damaged an oil pipeline in Hit. Sabotage was suspected.
June 22, 2003: Iraq resumed oil exports with the sale of a million barrels to Turkey. A second explosion damaged an oil pipeline near the Syrian border; sabotage was again suspected.
June 23, 2003: Walter Slocombe of the Coalition Provisional Authority said that a new Iraqi army of 40,000 would be organized within 3 years, 12,000 within the first year. An additional 200-250,000 former soldiers would receive monthly stipends ranging from $50 to $150 if they renounced participation in the Baath Party.
Malawi announced the arrest of 5 al-Qaeda suspects in Blantyre.. One each came from Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya; the other two were Turks. The CIA apparently provided assistance.
June 24, 2003: Iraqi insurgents killed six British soldiers in the southern Iraqi town of Majar al-Kabir. Defense Secretary Hoon said that attacks on Coalition forces were not a sign of increasing instability.
Kenya arrested four suspects in the November 2002 attack on an Israeli hotel in Mombasa.
Pakistani President Musharraf met with President Bush at Camp David, and was offered $3 billion in economic and military aid. He agreed to take steps toward democracy, suspend weapons technology exchanges with North Korea, and to fight terrorist groups more effectively.
June 25, 2003: The annual U.S.-EU Summit in Washington issued a joint statement in which they agreed to "strengthen identification, control, and interdiction" of illegal weapons shipment and to increase funding for the IAEA. They also signed an agreement for the extradition of terrorist suspects as long as they did not face capital punishment in the United States. President Bush was unable to persuade the EU to end funding of the political wing of HAMAS.
In response to sabotage of Baghdad’s electrical system, Administrator Bremer announced the establishment of a security force of former Iraqi soldiers that would protect utilities and oil facilities.
Iraqi scientist Mahdi Obeidi turned over to U.S. forces blueprints and equipment for enriching uranium that had been buried in his rose garden since 1991. The IAEA said that the finding showed that the prospect of UN inspections had halted Iraq’s nuclear program; the United States said that the finding showed that the program had only been suspended.
June 26, 2003: The New York Times reported that the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research disputed the CIA’s conclusion that two Iraqi trailers were mobile biological weapons laboratories.
June 29, 2003: As attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq continued, they responded with a campaign in central Iraq known as "Operation Sidewinder."
July 2, 2003: Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski announced that his country would send 9,200 troops to central Iraq by September.
July 3, 2003: President Bush announced that six foreign nationals being held at Guantanamo Bay would be suitable for trial by a military tribunal. The six were al-Qaeda members.
The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1490, ending the mandate of the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) and terminating the Iraq-Kuwait demilitarized zone, effective October 6.
July 5, 2003: Two female suicide bombers attacked a rock festival outside Moscow, killing 13 other persons. The bombers were believed to be Chechen rebels. President Putin later claimed that there was a connection with international terrorist groups.
July 6, 2003: The New York Times published an article in which former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson described his mission to Niger, in which he had been unable to find evidence that Iraq had attempted to purchase uranium there. The next day, the White House conceded that President Bush had relied on "incomplete and possibly inaccurate information" when he mentioned in his State of the Union address that, according to the British Government, Iraq had tried to obtain uranium in Africa.
July 7, 2003: Civil Administrator Bremer announced that new banknotes would be printed to replace the "Saddam dinar" on a one-for-one basis, starting in mid-October. Bremer also announced the inauguration of an elected 37-member city council in Baghdad.
July 13, 2003: The Iraqi Governing Council held its first meeting in Baghdad. The Council had been formed by Civil Administrator Bremer and a seven-member "leadership council." Its 25 members comprised 13 Shi’ites, 5 Sunnis, 5 Kurds, 1 Christian, and 1 Turkmen. Two members were women. The Council’s first decision was to abolish holidays associated with Saddam Hussein’s rule and to declare April 9 a national holiday.
July 14, 2003: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer began a 4-day official visit to Washington in an attempt to mend relations with the United States. In the course of the visit, Fischer said that German troops would only go to Iraq at the invitation of a "legitimate" Iraqi provisional government and under a UN Security Council mandate.
Indian External Affairs Minister Yashwant Singh announced that his government would not send troops to Iraq without a UN mandate.
July 16, 2003: Gen. John Abizaid, who had succeeded Gen. Franks as chief of CENTCOM, held a press conference in Qatar and admitted that U.S. forces faced "a classical guerrilla-type campaign" in Iraq.
Britain assumed charge of a multinational force in southeast Iraq, with its headquarters in Basra.
July 17, 2003: British Prime Minister Blair visited Washington, met with President Bush, and addressed a joint session of Congress. He said that he still expected Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to be found, and even if they were not, the United States and Great Britain had been justified in removing "a threat that is at its least responsible for human carnage and suffering."
Eleven al-Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo Bay were returned to Pakistan.
July 18, 2003: The White House announced that two al-Qaeda members who were British subjects and were held at Guantanamo Bay would not be tried by a military tribunal and would not be subject to the death penalty.
UN Secretary-General Annan called on the occupying powers in Iraq to establish "a clear timetable leading to the full restoration of sovereignty."
July 21, 2003: A German court approved the extradition to the United States of two Yemeni nationals who were al-Qaeda suspects on condition that they would not be tried by a military tribunal and would not face the death penalty.
July 22, 2003: Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division killed Saddam Hussein’s sons Udai and Qusai in a 5-hour gun battle in Mosul. A son of Qusai and an Iraqi bodyguard were also killed; five other Iraqis and four U.S. soldiers were wounded.
July 23, 2003: After a 5-day visit to Iraq, Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz said that although many worst-case scenarios had not taken place in Iraq, the United States had not expected that there would be continued resistance by Baath Party loyalists.
President Bush announced that Civil Administrator Bremer had devised a "comprehensive strategy" to measure progress toward establishing a new government in Iraq.
July 24, 2003: Congress released a declassified version of a report by a joint panel of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about the intelligence background of the September 11 attacks. Twenty-eight pages dealing with the possible involvement of foreign governments were heavily censored, leading to speculation about whether they described the funding of al-Qaeda terrorists by Saudi nationals. Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan called the claims "outrageous."
July 26, 2003: The House of Councillors of Japan’s Diet voted (136 to 102) to send Japanese Self-Defense Force personnel to Iraq to take part in humanitarian and logistical operations in "safe areas."
July 29, 2003: President Bush declined a request by the Saudi Government for declassification of the censored parts of the September 11 report, saying that it would hamper further investigations.
The al-Arabiya television network broadcast an audiotape by Saddam Hussein in which he described his dead sons as "the honor of this nation" and predicted that "America will be defeated."
July 30, 2003: President Bush said during a news conference that he was ultimately responsible for the inclusion in his State of the Union address of an erroneous report about Iraqi attempts to purchase nuclear materials. He said that close examination of "miles of documents" captured in Iraq ultimately would verify Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs.
The Iraqi Governing Council agreed on who would be its presiding officers. Eight of its 25 members would serve rotating, month-long terms as chairman. Ibrahim Jaaferi, leader of the Shi’ite Da’wa Party, was the Council’s first chairman.
August 1, 2003: A suicide truck bomb exploded outside a Russian military hospital in Mozdok, killing 50 persons and wounding 70. The bomber was thought to be a Chechen rebel affiliated with Shamil Basayev. Basayev later denied responsibility.
August 5, 2003: A car bomb exploded outside the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 10 persons and wounding 150. One of the dead was a Dutch citizen. The wounded included an American, a Canadian, an Australian, and two Chinese. Indonesian authorities suspected the Jemaah Islamiah, which had carried out the October 12, 2002, bombing in Bali.
The first death of a U.S. contract employee in Iraq occurred when a truck carrying an employee of the Halliburton Company hit a land mine north of Tikrit.
August 7, 2003: A car bomb exploded outside the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 19 persons and wounding 65. Most of the victims were apparently Iraqis, including 5 police officers. No group claimed responsibility.
Gen. Abizaid, chief of CENTCOM, met with Kurdish leaders in Mosul and made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade them to allow Turkish troops to enter Iraq for peacekeeping operations.
An Indonesian court in Denpasar, Bali, convicted Amrozi of involvement in the Bali bombing and sentenced him to death. Amrozi had admitted to buying the explosives, but denied taking part in the planning; his lawyers planned to appeal.
August 10, 2003: Administrator Bremer told The New York Times that the Ansar al-Islam group, which was thought to have connections with al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, may have been involved in the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy.
August 11, 2003: NATO assumed control of the ISAF in Afghanistan.
August 12, 2003: The first suicide bombings since the June 29 Israeli-Palestinian truce took place. The first, in a supermarket at Rosh Haayin, Israel, killed 1 person and wounded 14. The second, at a bus stop near the Ariel settlement in the West Bank, killed 1 person and wounded 3. The al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the first; HAMAS claimed responsibility for the second.
Hemant Lakhani, a British international arms dealer, was arrested near the Newark Airport for attempting to smuggle a Russian-made surface-to-air missile into the United States for sale to Islamist terrorists. The arrest followed 18 months of cooperation between U.S., British, and Russian intelligence services. Lakhani was not known to have al-Qaeda connections.
August 13, 2003: The Iraqi Governing Council announced the formation of a 25-member committee to discuss plans for a new constitution.
August 14, 2003: Thai police assisted by CIA agents arrested Ridaun Isamuddin, better known as Hanbali, in Ayutthaya. Hanbali, former operations chief of Jemaah Islamiah, was suspected of organizing bombings in Indonesia and the Philippines and was said to be the most senior non-Arab member of al-Qaeda.
In Hamburg, Abdelghani Mzoudi went on trial for having aided the September 11 terrorists as part of al-Qaeda’s "Hamburg cell."
The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1500, establishing a UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), with a staff of 300 and an initial mandate of 12 months. The resolution also welcomed the establishment of the Iraqi Governing Council as a first step toward establishment of a new government. The vote was 14 to 0, with Syria abstaining.
August 18, 2003: The al-Arabiya television network broadcast a purported statement by al-Qaeda that claimed that Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar were still alive and that foreign Islamist jihadis were involved in recent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.
August 19, 2003: A truck loaded with surplus Iraqi ordnance exploded outside the UN Headquarters in Baghdad’s Canal Hotel. A hospital across the street was also heavily damaged. The 23 dead included UN Special Representative Sergio Viera de Mello. More than 100 persons were wounded. It was not clear whether the bomber was a Baath Party loyalist or a foreign Islamic militant.
A suicide bombing aboard a bus in Jerusalem killed 20 persons and injured at least 100, one of whom died later. Five of the dead were American citizens. HAMAS and Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, although HAMAS leader al-Rantisi said that his organization remained committed to the Israeli-Palestinian truce while reserving the right to respond to Israeli military actions.
August 21, 2003: U.S. forces in Iraq announced the capture of Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein who was known as "Chemical Ali" for his use of poison gas against Kurdish rebels and civilians in the 1980s.
August 26, 2003: A roadside bomb explosion in Iraq killed a U.S. soldier, bringing the U.S. postwar death toll in Iraq to 139 and exceeding the number of combat deaths during the war.
The Treasury Department announced that an agreement with Saudi Arabia would allow 15 FBI and IRS agents to be stationed in the country to track the financial connections of terrorist groups.
August 29, 2003: A car bomb explosion outside the Shrine of the Imam Ali in Najaf, Iraq, killed at least 81 persons and wounded at least 140. The dead included the Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir al-Hakim, one of four leading Shi’ite clerics in Iraq. Al-Hakim had been the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) since its establishment in 1982, and SCIRI had recently agreed to work with the U.S.-sponsored Iraqi Governing Council. It was not known whether the perpetrators were Baath Party loyalists, rival Shi’ites, or foreign Islamists.
September 1, 2003: The Iraqi Governing Council announced the formation of a new Cabinet. The 25-member body included 13 Shi’ites, 5 Sunni Muslims, 5 Kurds, a Turkoman, and an Assyrian Christian. The one female member was Public Works Minister Nesreen Berwari, a Kurd. The Cabinet assumed office September 3.
British troops captured Haji Qalam at his home in Kabul; Qalam was believed to have planned the June suicide bombing of a German army bus.
September 2, 2003: An Indonesian court convicted Abu Bakar Bashir, alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), of subversion and sentenced him to 4 years’ imprisonment. Bashir was acquitted of treason; judges claimed there was insufficient evidence that he was head of JI. The judges also found evidence linking him to specific terrorist attacks to be insufficient.
September 3, 2003: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld visited Baghdad and said that his highest priority would be to recruit, train, and deploy Iraqi security forces. He had said earlier that all former military personnel up to the rank of lieutenant-colonel were potentially eligible.
An international division under Polish command assumed responsibility for south-central Iraq.
International financial experts met in Brussels to plan for a conference to be held in Madrid to discuss the economic reconstruction of Iraq.
September 4, 2003: Vanity Fair magazine published an article in which former White House adviser Richard Clarke confirmed that, after the September 11 attacks, senior officials had allowed a number of prominent Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, to leave the country. Dale Watson, formerly of the FBI, said that none had been interviewed by law enforcement agencies.
September 6, 2003: EU Foreign Ministers placed the political wing of HAMAS on its list of organizations supporting terrorism.
September 7, 2003: President Bush delivered an address to the nation in which he called Iraq the "central front" of the war on terrorism. He announced a request for a supplemental appropriation of $87 billion: $66 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, $20 billion for reconstruction in Iraq, and $800 million for reconstruction in Afghanistan. He said that he expected other countries to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq, and urged them to consider sending peacekeeping forces there.
September 8, 2003: The British Government announced that it would send 1,200 more troops to Iraq. Up to 1,000 more might follow after a review of the situation.
September 9, 2003: Two suicide bombings took place in Israel. The first, at a bus stop near the Tsrifin army base southeast of Tel Aviv, killed 7 soldiers and wounded 14 soldiers and a civilian. The second, at a café in Jerusalem’s German Colony neighborhood, killed 6 persons and wounded 40. HAMAS claimed responsibility the next day.
Iraq sent a delegation headed by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari to an Arab League Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Cairo. Zebari announced that Iraq would "adopt a new foreign policy" based on peaceful relations with neighboring countries.
September 10, 2003: In a speech at the FBI training academy at Quantico, Virginia, President Bush said that he might ask Congress to pass another Patriot Act that would expand the use of capital punishment in terrorist cases, restrict bail for suspected terrorists, and make it easier for law enforcement to seize documents.
James Yee, a Muslim chaplain in the U.S. Army at Guantanamo Bay, was arrested for unauthorized possession of classified materials, leading to suspicions that there was an al-Qaeda spy ring on the base. Two other arrests followed: Airman Ahmad al-Halabi and civilian translator Ahmed Mehalba.
An Indonesian court on Bali convicted Imam Samudra of plotting the October 12, 2002 bombings and sentenced him to death. Samudra denied belonging to Jemaah Islamiah but was otherwise unrepentant.
September 11, 2003: Spanish police arrested Syrian-born al-Jazeera reporter Tayseer Alouni and charged him with supplying money and information to al-Qaeda Alouni denied the charges.
September 13, 2003: Secretary of State Powell attended a meeting in Geneva of Foreign Ministers of the other permanent members of the UN Security Council and found them cool to the U.S. plan for the political reconstruction of Iraq.
September 14, 2003: Secretary of State Powell visited Baghdad and warned that a too-rapid transfer of power in Iraq would fail.
September 16, 2003: Under Secretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton told the House International Relations Committee that Syria was still developing weapons of mass destruction, supporting terrorist groups, and had failed to prevent Islamic militants from crossing into Iraq. Syrian Foreign Minister al-Sharaa denied the charges.
September 17, 2003: President Bush said that although no evidence had yet been found, "there’s no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaeda ties."
Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon issued an international arrest order for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda members on the grounds that the September 11 attacks had been "planned partially in Spain."
The al-Arabiya television network broadcast an audiotape in which Saddam Hussein urged U.S. forces to leave Iraq or face the consequences.
September 18, 2003: An Indonesian court on Bali convicted Ali Imron of participating in the October 2002 bombings. Since he had cooperated with authorities and shown remorse, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to close mosques where "extremist Islam" was being preached and to expel foreign-born imams who preached fundamentalist sermons.
September 20, 2003: Gunmen shot and seriously wounded Akila Hashimi, one of three female members of the Iraqi Governing Council, near her home in Baghdad. She died September 25.
The leaders of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom met in Berlin, but were unable to agree on a common position regarding a UN Security Council draft resolution on Iraq. The next day, French President Chirac proposed an immediate transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi Governing Council, with a gradual transfer of power taking place over 6 to 9 months.
September 22, 2003: A second suicide bomb attack on the UN Headquarters in Baghdad killed the bomber and an Iraqi security guard and wounded 19 other persons. Secretary-General Annan then considered withdrawing all UN personnel from Iraq.
September 23, 2003: President Bush addressed the UN General Assembly and defended the U.S. war on terrorism. He also called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to criminalize the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He faced much criticism of U.S. unilateral action, notably from Secretary-General Annan and French President Chirac. His efforts to persuade other countries to contribute troops or funds for the reconstruction of Iraq were unsuccessful.
A brigade comprising Spanish and Central American soldiers assumed responsibility for the city of Najaf.
September 24, 2003: Saudi Arabian officials announced that suspected al-Qaeda member Zubayr Rimi had been killed in a gun battle with security forces in Jizan. Rimi was suspected of involvement in the May 12 bombings in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia also transferred nine suspects to Yemen. Some were suspected of involvement in the bombing of the French tanker Limburg.
September 25, 2003: Secretary-General Annan announced that most of the UN’s 86 relief workers in Iraq would be "temporarily" withdrawn to Jordan
Philippines President Macapagal-Arroyo expressed willingness to send troops and aid to Iraq if a UN role could be defined.
September 26, 2003: Secretary of State Powell announced that the United States would give the Iraqi Governing Council six months to draft a new constitution.
Administrator L. Paul Bremer told a Pentagon news conference that U.S. forces in Iraq held 248 non-Iraqis, including 19 suspected al-Qaeda members.
September 27, 2003: After meeting with President Bush at Camp David, Russian President Putin said during a joint news conference that their friendship had enabled him to prevent Russia from opposing the U.S. war with the Taliban. He said that Russian participation in the reconstruction of Iraq would depend on passage of a UN resolution. He also denied that Russia was helping Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
September 28, 2003: The al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya networks played an audiotape from al-Qaeda’s Ayman Zawahiri in which he called for the overthrow of Pakistan’s President Musharraf and urged Muslims to fight the "Christian-Zionist crusade."
September 30, 2003: A Belgian court convicted two Tunisian members of al-Qaeda. Nizar Trabelsi was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for plotting an attack on a U.S. military base, and Tarek Maroufi got 6 years for being an al-Qaeda recruiter. Sixteen other North Africans were convicted of lesser charges.
October 2, 2003: David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group, gave closed briefings to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. His group concluded that Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was in "the very most rudimentary state." While no chemical or biological weapons had been found, "significant amounts of equipment " and "dozens of WMD-related program activities" had been found. The investigation had been hampered by looting of Iraqi laboratories and records areas and the apparent destruction of documents. Kay estimated that 6 to 9 more months would be needed for further investigations. Only 10 out of 130 Iraqi weapons depots had been thoroughly inspected.
Federal Judge Leonie M. Brinkema forbade the prosecution to present evidence that suspected hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui had been involved in the September 11 attacks and ruled that Moussaoui would not be eligible for the death penalty if he were convicted of being part of an al-Qaeda conspiracy.
Pakistani authorities reported the killing of 8 suspected al-Qaeda members and the capture of 18 and the seizure of ordnance and surveillance equipment in the South Waziristan tribal area.
An Indonesian court sentenced Islamic religious teacher Ali Gufron, known as Mukhlas, to death for his role in organizing the Bali bombing.
October 4, 2003: A female Palestinian suicide bomber attacked a restaurant in Haifa, killing 19 Israelis and wounding at least 55. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. Israel responded by bombing a terrorist training camp in Syria the next day.
October 6, 2003: President Bush announced the formation of an Iraq Stabilization Group that would be headed by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. The Group would coordinate the efforts of government agencies involved in the reconstruction of Iraq.
October 7, 2003: U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad warned that the Taliban and al-Qaeda might be planning "more spectacular attacks" to disrupt the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
After an informal meeting of NATO Defense Ministers in Colorado Springs, NATO agreed in principle to authorize the International Security Assistance Force to operate outside Kabul.
The Turkish Parliament voted (358 to 183) to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq. The Iraqi Governing Council, particularly its Kurdish members, was hostile to the idea.
The House International Relations Committee voted (33 to 2) to impose economic sanctions on Syria until the President had certified that it had ended its support for terrorist groups, its occupation of Lebanon, its missile and weapons of mass destruction programs, and its support for insurgents in Iraq. The sanctions could be waived except for those preventing the dale of "dual use" technology.
October 9, 2003: Three terrorist incidents in Baghdad caused 12 deaths. Gunmen assassinated a Spanish military attaché. An ambush in Sadr City killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded four; an ambush in the town of Baqubah killed another soldier. A suicide car bomb attack on a Baghdad police station killed 8 Iraqis and wounded 40 as they were about to be paid.
During the NATO Defense Ministers’ meeting in Colorado Springs, Russian Defense Minister Ivanov said that he expected U.S. forces to withdraw from bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan after Afghanistan had been stabilized. He also said that Russia reserved the right to intervene in former Soviet republics if the rights of their ethnic Russian communities were threatened.
October 11, 2003: Organization of the Islamic Conference representatives met in Putrajaya, Malaysia and called for the prompt withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq and UN administration of the reconstruction process. Iraqi Governing Council spokesman Riyadh al-Fadhli opposed the deployment of peacekeeping forces from Turkey or from other neighboring countries.
Secretary of State Powell said that he was seeking support for a new Security Council resolution concerning Iraq, and hoped to reach a decision by October 13.
October 12, 2003: Two suicide car bombs exploded outside the Baghdad Hotel, killing 8 persons and wounding 32. The hotel was said to house U.S. officials; 3 of whom were slightly wounded. Iraqi and U.S. guards apparently kept the vehicles from actually reaching the hotel.
Philippine police on Mindanao Island shot and killed Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi, a leader of Jemaah Islamiah, who had escaped from prison in Manila on July 14. Al-Ghozi had been arrested in Manila in January and had been convicted of plotting to bomb the U.S. Embassy and other Western targets in Singapore. He was suspected of bombing the home of the Philippine ambassador to Indonesia in August 2000, and of a series of bombings in December 2000 that killed 22 people in Manila.
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation, Vice President Cheney defended U.S. policy in Iraq and said that the United States did not need "unanimous international assent" to act against security threats.
October 13, 2003: The United States outlined a draft resolution for the UN Security Council that would define the terms of its role in Iraq. The draft set a December 15 deadline for the Iraqi Governing Council to produce a timetable for drafting a constitution and holding elections, and spoke of a wider UN role in the reconstruction of Iraq "as circumstances permit."
The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution that would authorize peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan to operate outside Kabul.
Participants in the OIC meeting in Malaysia sought to decide what role Islamic countries should play in the reconstruction of Iraq. The consensus appeared to be that no active role was likely until the United Nations authorized such a role.
October 14, 2003: At the United Nations, a U.S.-sponsored draft resolution concerning Iraq gained ground as Russia, France, and Germany agreed to amendments that conceded U.S. control over the transfer of power to a future Iraqi government. They still favored a stronger Security Council role in monitoring the transition process. Secretary-General Annan was also said to be displeased with the U.S. draft resolution. Ambassador Negroponte said that he intended to seek a vote on October 15.
As President Bush prepared for a trip to Asia, National Security Advisor Rice said that he intended to seek more assistance for the war on terrorism and for the reconstruction of Iraq. She called Southeast Asia "an area of great concern on the terrorism front" and said that Bush would offer support to countries of the region in their campaigns against terrorism.
The U.S. Treasury Department declared Pakistan’s Al Akhtar Trust International to be a sponsor of terrorist activity in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
A car bomb exploded outside the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad, killing the bomber and in Iraqi bystander. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the attack would not change Turkey’s plans to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq.
The United States and Germany signed an agreement to allow the sharing of evidence in major international criminal cases. In a bow to German objections to capital punishment, the agreement allowed either side to deny information "if essential interests" of either side would be harmed.
October 15, 2003: Ambassador Negroponte reported that an agreement had been reached with Russia, China, and Pakistan on a UN Security Council resolution concerning Iraq. Under the latest version of the resolution, U.S. forces would be part of a UN-mandated force whose mandate would expire when a new Iraqi government took office. After meeting with his French and German counterparts, Russian Permanent Representative Sergei Lavrov asked that the vote be delayed for a day so that he could consult with his government, and so that President Putin could consult with the leaders of France and Germany.
The House of Representatives approved by a vote of 398 to 4 a resolution calling on the President to impose economic sanctions on Syria if it continued to support terrorist groups, to occupy Lebanon, and to seek weapons of mass destruction.
A remote-controlled bomb destroyed a car in a U.S. diplomatic convoy in the northern Gaza Strip. Three security guards were killed and a fourth was wounded. President Arafat and Prime Minister Qurei condemned the attack, while the major Palestinian militant groups denied responsibility. The next day, Palestinian security forces arrested several suspects, some of whom belonged to the Popular Resistance Committees.
October 16, 2003: The UN Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 1511, which authorized a multinational force under U.S. command in Iraq and set a December 15 deadline for the Iraqi Governing Council to draft a timetable to draft a constitution and hold elections for a new government. Both the timetable and the role of the multinational force would be subject to review, and the force’s mandate would expire when the new government took office. The resolution also provided for a broader UN role in the reconstruction of Iraq, condemned recent terrorist attacks there, and called on member states to prevent terrorists from going to Iraq and urged them to contribute to the reconstruction.
After the vote, France, Russia, Germany, and Pakistan announced that they did not plan to make any new contributions to reconstructing Iraq and regretted that the resolution did not provide more authority to the UN. Secretary of State Powell called the resolution "a great achievement," but did not expect immediate results in terms of contributions.
During a stop in California while en route to Asia, President Bush said: "America is following a new strategy. We are not waiting for further attacks. We are striking our enemies before they can strike us again." He also said that he would discuss the importance of bringing Islamic militants to justice when he visited Indonesia. In an interview with Indonesian television, Bush said that he was ready to resume military-to-military cooperation with Indonesia.
In Portland, Oregon, the last two members of a reputed terrorist cell pleaded guilty to having attempted to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban. The plot had failed when Pakistani officials refused to give them visas. Four members of the "Portland Seven" had already pleaded guilty; another, a Jordanian, remained at large. Attorney-General Ashcroft told reporters that the Patriot Act had been instrumental in securing the pleas.
October 17, 2003: During a visit to Japan, President Bush thanked Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi for pledging $1.5 billion in reconstruction aid and peacekeeping troops for Iraq.
Saudi authorities said that they had disrupted an al-Qaeda cell during the summer. One of the seven to ten suspects was said to be a Saudi-born American citizen.
October 18, 2002: President Bush visited Manila and addressed a joint session of the Philippine Congress. He called terrorists the latest totalitarian threat to civilization, warned that nations not taking part in the war on terrorism endangered others, and specifically mentioned Jamaah Islamiya and Abu Sayyaf as regional threats. He promised a 5-year program to upgrade the Philippine armed forces.
Al-Jazeera broadcast an audiotape in which Osama bin Laden urged Iraqis to resist the U.S. occupation and youths from neighboring countries to join a jihad against it. He also promised more "martyrdom operations inside and outside the United States."
October 20, 2003: The Federal Register announced the freezing of the U.S. assets of the Algerian-based Dhamat Houmet Daawa Salafia, which was said to have terrorist connections.
The Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry announced the arrest of a large number of terrorist subjects and the seizure of a large quantity of weapons and ammunition.
October 21, 2003: The APEC Economic Cooperation Summit, which President Bush attended, issued a communiqué in which it called the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction a challenge to promoting free and prosperous economies. It also promised to ensure the security of its peoples. Participants were working on an agreement to control the production, storage, and export of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.
After leaving the APEC Summit, President Bush flew from Bangkok to Singapore for a meeting with Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Singapore subsequently sent one transport plane and one warship to Iraq.
The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. officials now believed that captured al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed may have killed reporter Daniel Pearl.
October 22, 2003: President Bush met with Indonesian President Sukarnoputri on Bali and offered $157 million to assist the Indonesian educational system. He also met with religious leaders and assured them that the war on terrorism was not a war on Islam.
The United Nations released a report that was highly critical of its failure to provide security for its office in Baghdad, which was destroyed by a truck bomb on August 19.
In a memorandum to senior Defense Department officials, dated October 16, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld suggested that the Defense Department was ill-suited to conducting a war on terrorism and that a new organization might be needed for the purpose. He predicted that there would be a "long, hard slog" before victory was reached in Afghanistan and Iraq.
October 23, 2003: President Bush addressed the Australian Parliament in Canberra and warned against terrorists who hoped to gain chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons and praised Prime Minister Howard for his country’s military support in Afghanistan and Iraq.
October 24, 2003: The International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq ended in Madrid with a total of $9 billion in loans and $4 billion in grants having been pledged. These sums, plus the $20 billion pledged by the United States, were well short of the $56 billion that the United Nations and the World Bank had said would be needed within 5 years. Secretary of State Powell said that the sum was still larger than expected, and Treasury Secretary Snow called the conference "an enormous success."
The British Government warned of possible terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and repeated that its warning against unnecessary travel there remained in effect.
October 25, 2003: A convoy of civilian contract employees was attacked near Habbaniya with a roadside bomb, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms fire. Three employees of the British-based firm European Landmines Solutions were killed and two were wounded.
Opponents of the war in Iraq demonstrated in major U.S. and European cities.
October 26, 2003: Iraqis using an improvised rocket launcher bombarded the al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad, killing 1 U.S. Army officer and wounding 17 persons. The wounded included 4 U.S. military personnel and 7 American civilians. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz, who was staying at the hotel, was not injured. After visiting the wounded, he said of the perpetrators, "They’re not going to scare us away; we’re not giving up on this job."
October 27, 2003: A series of suicide car bombings in Baghdad killed 35 persons and wounded at least 230. One U.S. soldier was killed and 8 were wounded. Four attacks were directed at Iraqi police stations, the fifth and most destructive was directed at the International Committee of the Red Cross headquarters, where at least 12 persons were killed. A sixth attack failed when a car bomb failed to explode and the bomber was wounded and captured by Iraqi police. U.S. and Iraqi officials suspected that foreign terrorists were involved; the unsuccessful bomber said he was a Syrian national and carried a Syrian passport. After a meeting with Administrator Bremer, President Bush said, "The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react."
Secretary of State Powell said that while he expected international organizations to reassess their security needs, he hoped that they would be able to stay in Iraq: "Their work is needed. And if they are driven out, the terrorists win."
October 28, 2003: U.S. officials announced that Faris Abdul Razaq al-Assam, one of three deputy mayors of Baghdad, had been assassinated by two gunmen on October 26. President Bush, meanwhile, said during a press conference that although Baath Party loyalists and "foreign terrorists" made Iraq "dangerous," no additional U.S. troops would be needed there.
Deputy Secretary of State Armitage told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that although Iran’s nuclear program and its sheltering of al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam members were still matters of concern, the United States was "prepared to engage in limited discussions . . . about areas of mutual interest, as appropriate." Normalizing relations was not being considered, but, in a reply to Senator Chuck Hagel, Armitage said that the United States was not seeking "regime change" in Iran.
CIA operatives William Carlson and Christopher Mueller were killed in an ambush in southeastern Afghanistan. Both were members of the Directorate of Operations and were veterans of the Army and Navy Special Operations forces, respectively. The Agency did not say whether Carlson and Mueller had taken part in a battle in Paktika Province in which 18 Taliban rebels were killed and 6 Afghan militiamen were wounded.
October 29, 2003: International organization responded to the latest bombings in Iraq by announcing the withdrawal of most of their personnel. The United Nations intended to withdraw its last 17 staff from Baghdad to either Cyprus or Jordan, ostensibly for consultation and pending review of security arrangements. Forty-three personnel would remain in Irbil. The International Committee of the Red Cross announced that it would withdraw some of its personnel from Iraq, while Doctors Without Borders said that all 7 non-Iraqi personnel would move to Jordan.
Iranian spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh responded to Armitage’s pronouncements by saying that his government would not share information about terrorists, turn over suspects, or resume dialogue until the United States ended sanctions and undertook other confidence-building measures.
October 30, 2003: An explosion of undetermined origin set fire to several buildings near Baghdad’s bazaar. One person was killed and several others injured.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said during a news conference that videotapes shown on Fox News in which Iraqi militiamen tortured, maimed, and killed prisoners "portray a regime that was about a vicious as any regime could conceivably be."
Former President Clinton met with UN Secretary-General Annan in New York and praised the creation of a fund that would allow donations for Iraqi reconstruction to be made outside the control of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
October 31, 2003: The U.S. Army reported that a Special Forces soldier had been fatally wounded in a battle with the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.
UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno told the Security Council that the Taliban controlled three districts in Afghanistan that adjoined Pakistan. The United Nations had suspended operations in four southern provinces and in much of Kandahar province.
Secretary of State Powell told ABC "Nightline" that he was skeptical about reports that either Saddam Hussein or Izzat Ibrahim was coordinating attacks in Iraq.
The Federal Register announced the designation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as a terrorist organization under Executive Order 13224, thereby blocking its assets in the United States and barring most transactions with it.
November 1, 2003: Taliban rebels kidnapped Turkish engineer Hasan Onal and his Afghan driver as they worked on reconstruction of the Kabul-Kandahar highway in eastern Afghanistan. They demanded the release of six Taliban prisoners. Onal was released "without conditions" November 29 after negotiations between his captors and tribal authorities.
In Baghdad, leaflets warning of a "day of resistance" reduced daily commerce and led most students to stay away from school. During a news conference, Bremer spoke of the need to include members of Iraq’s former army in the country’s new army. The goal was to expand Iraq’s new army to 200,000 by September 2004.
In his weekly radio address, President Bush said, "Leaving Iraq prematurely would only embolden the terrorists and increase the danger to America."
November 2, 2003: Iraqi insurgents shot down a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter near Fallujah, apparently with an SA-7 shoulder-fired missile. Fifteen soldiers were killed and 25 wounded. Another soldier died November 6.
Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Iran, and Arab countries bordering Iraq concluded a 2-day meeting in Damascus. They condemned terrorist attacks in Iraq and called for cooperation to control their borders with Iraq. Hoshayr Zebari, Foreign Minister of the Iraqi Governing Council, had declined a last-minute invitation to the conference and said that the Council would not be bound by its decisions.
November 3, 2003: The Afghan Government released a new constitution drafted by a 35-member commission. The document proposed an elected president and vice president who would serve 5-year terms, a bicameral legislature, an independent judiciary, a central bank, and a human rights commission. The president’s nominations to his cabinet and the supreme court would be approved by the legislature. The president would appoint a third of the legislature’s upper house, and a third of the appointees were to be women. Each province was to elect a woman to the lower house. While not mandating Islamic law and providing for freedom of religion, the constitution said that no law could be contrary to Islam and declared Afghanistan to be an Islamic Republic. Approval would follow a December meeting of a 500-member loya jirga, or national assembly. Presidential elections would be held 6 months after the constitution’s approval, with legislative elections to follow a year later.
November 4, 2003: Administrator Bremer said that he was more favorably disposed to a proposal by the Iraqi Governing Council to organize a paramilitary security force that would include a domestic intelligence capability. Meanwhile four persons were wounded in an apparent mortar or rocket attack on the U.S. headquarters compound in Baghdad.
In Washington, Turkish Ambassador Osman Faruk Logoglu said that his government was still willing to send troops to Iraq, but only if the Iraqi Governing Council formally invited them.
Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio announced that all but four or five embassy personnel would be withdrawn from Baghdad to Amman, and that the remaining staff would move to a more secure location. The Polish Government announced that it was considering moving its embassy staff to southern Iraq, where Polish troops had been deployed.
November 5, 2003: In a luncheon address to the Council on Foreign Relations, Senator John McCain said that more U.S. troops should be sent to Iraq and more needed to be done to establish Iraqi authority.
Jalal Talabani, interim head of the Iraqi Governing Council, said, "The question of sending Turkish troops is closed." He also said that if an Iraqi counterterrorism force was organized, he hoped to end attacks on U.S. forces within a year.
U.S. authorities released former Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil after 18 months’ imprisonment in Kabul. The release was said to have been part of President Karzai’s efforts to win over some Taliban members.
November 6, 2003: President Bush addressed the National Endowment for Democracy and said, "The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution." He also signed into law a bill providing $87.5 billion for operations in Iraq, including nearly $20 billion for reconstruction.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced plans to restructure U.S. forces in Iraq. Army units presently in Iraq would be replaced by elements of the 1st Infantry and Cavalry Divisions, the 2nd and 25th Infantry Divisions, and the 1st Marine Division. Overall troop strength would fall from 132,000 to 105,000. The National Guard and Reserves would provide 43,000 personnel (37,000 Army and 6,000 Marines), mainly for support units. Iraqi security forces, presently 118,000 strong, were expected to reach 221,000 a year later. The New York Times reported that the Defense Department had recently organized a new Special Operations unit, Task Force 121, to hunt for Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and other leading terrorists.
Administrator Bremer announced that he planned to organize a project management office to oversee use of the newly-authorized $20 billion in reconstruction aid. He also announced the appointment of Ambassador Richard H. Jones as his senior policy officer and retired Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg, Jr. as chief operations officer.
Polish peacekeeping forces in Iraq had their first combat death when Maj. Hieronim Kupczyk was killed in an ambush near al-Mussaib.
The Saudi Interior Ministry announced that two suspected terrorists had blown themselves up when surrounded by security forces in Mecca.
The State Department updated its travel warning for the Middle East to include terrorist threats to "commercial aircraft and maritime interests."
November 7, 2003: A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter was shot down near Tikrit while on a flight from Mosul to the 4th Infantry Division’s headquarters. Six soldiers were killed. Iraqi insurgents were thought to have used a rocket-propelled grenade.
The State Department closed its Embassy in Jeddah and closed two consulates in Saudi Arabia, citing "highly credible and specific information" about possible terrorist attacks. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul warned journalists that the Taliban might try to kidnap them to seek the release of prisoners. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned that al-Qaeda might try to hijack cargo planes and crash them into infrastructure targets.
November 8, 2003: During a visit to Baghdad, Deputy Secretary of State Armitage told a press conference, "We are involved in an insurgency, and that’s pretty close to war." U.S. planes bombed targets in Tikrit in the first air strikes in Iraq since the official end of major combat on May 1. The International Committee of the Red Cross announced that it was closing its offices in Baghdad and Basra, citing security concerns.
In Riyadh, a suicide car bombing took place in the Muhaya residential compound, which was occupied mainly by nationals of other Arab countries. Seventeen persons were killed and 122 were wounded. The latter included four Americans. The next day, Deputy Secretary of State Armitage said al-Qaeda was probably responsible.
U.S. and Iraqi investigators said that since the end of hostilities, 263 mass graves containing up to 300,000 bodies had been found in Iraq. Most of the dead were believed to be Kurdish and Shi’ite rebels.
Turkey withdrew its offer to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq. The announcement followed a telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Gul and Secretary of State Powell.
November 9, 2003: After a meeting with visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Palacios, Iraqi Interim Foreign Minister Hoshayr Zubari said that security problems might delay meeting UN timetables for drafting a constitution and scheduling elections.
U.S. soldiers arrested 35 Iraqis suspected in the October 26 missile attack on Baghdad’s al-Rashid Hotel.
November 10, 2003: U.S. forces in Afghanistan announced the start of Operation Mountain Resolve on November 7 in Nurestan and Konar Provinces. Elements of the 10th Mountain Division and Afghan militia were pursuing Taliban and al-Qaeda members and followers of former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar, meanwhile, issued a statement saying that he would fight until the coalition and its "puppet government" left Afghanistan.
In Saudi Arabia, King Fahd made a rare public statement and vowed to use "an iron fist" against al-Qaeda terrorists in response to the November 8 bombing. There was widespread shock in the Middle East that al-Qaeda should have targeted fellow Arabs and Muslims.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld told reporters that U.S. plans for troop rotation in Iraq were not an exit strategy. Instead, "Our exit strategy in Iraq is success."
The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether prisoners at Guantanamo Bay could have access to federal courts in order to challenge their detention.
November 11, 2003: Administrator Bremer returned to Washington to discuss the situation in Iraq with senior officials. They planned to discuss how to expedite the formation of a provisional government in Iraq. President Bush, meanwhile, gave a Veterans' Day speech and addressed the Heritage Foundation and said, "The United States has made an unbreakable commitment to the success of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq."
In Baghdad, Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said that U.S. forces would intensify their campaign against "former regime loyalists, criminals and foreign terrorists," and that a "turning point" in the "war" was near.
In London, Prime Minister Blair told American journalists that an increasingly skeptical British public needed to give him and President Bush a chance to explain their policies on Iraq.
November 12, 2003: A suicide truck bomb destroyed the headquarters of the Italian military police in Nasiriyah, Iraq, killing 18 Italians and 11 Iraqis and wounding at least 100 persons. Twenty of the wounded were Italians. The deaths of 2 Iraqis later raised the toll to 31. Prime Minister Berlusconi told the Italian Senate that "no intimidation must deter us from the will to help this country to lift itself up."
Administrator Bremer concluded 2 days of talks in Washington and returned to Iraq to discuss political options with the Iraqi Governing Council. Secretary of State Powell told reporters, "We are looking at all sorts of ideas, and we do want to accelerate the pace of reform. We want to accelerate our work with respect to putting a legal basis under the new Iraqi government." The Bush Administration was said to be considering forming a provisional government before writing a constitution, as well as holding elections early in 2004. The Iraqi Governing Council favored such a scenario.
The Philadelphia Inquirer published a classified CIA report from Baghdad that warned that the continuing insurgency in Iraq was reducing the Iraqi public’s confidence in U.S. forces and the Iraqi Governing Council.
National Security Advisor Rice told Washington Post reporters that the United States still considered the Iraq-based Iranian Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK) to be a terrorist group. Her interview followed an earlier article stating that U.S. forces in Iraq had been lenient about disarming or restricting MEK forces.
Retired General and Democratic Presidential candidate Wesley K. Clark said at Dartmouth College that the United States should form a joint commando team with Saudi Arabia that would hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
November 13, 2003: The Italian Government announced that it would send 50 more Carabinieri to Iraq to replace its losses from the November 12 bombing. However, Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda said that Japan might delay sending Self-Defense Force personnel to Iraq until the security situation improved, while President Roh Moo-Hyun said that South Korea did not plan to send more than 3,000 peacekeeping troops there.
Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah claimed that the Pakistani Government was allowing Taliban leaders to move freely in Quetta and other cities. The Pakistani Government denied it. Abdullah also denied reports that Muttawakil, his Taliban predecessor, had been released; he was merely no longer in U.S. custody.
President Bush announced that Bremer was returning to Iraq to work out a plan for an interim government in Iraq.
Germany’s Constitutional Court agreed to the extradition of Yemeni Sheikh Muhammad Al Hassan al-Mouyad to the United States on condition that he would not be tried by a military tribunal or executed. Al-Mouyad had been arrested January 10 on charges of financing al-Qaeda through a mosque in Brooklyn and claimed to have been Osama bin Laden’s spiritual adviser. .
Gen. Abizaid said that the United States probably faced no more than 5,000 insurgents in Iraq, most of whom were Baath Party loyalists. They were well-organized and well-supplied with weapons and cash. He doubted that Saddam had organized a resistance movement before the war. The next day, he said that operations in Afghanistan were "every bit as difficult as those that go on in Iraq." The Coalition intended to "continue to close with and destroy the enemy while reconstruction takes place."
November 14, 2003: Bremer returned to Iraq to discuss the formation of a provisional government with the Iraqi Governing Council. President Bush said that the new government did not represent a U.S. exit strategy and that the United States would keep working for "a free and peaceful" Iraq. UN Secretary-General Annan praised the new plan.
The State Department announced the reopening of diplomatic and consular posts in Saudi Arabia.
Iraqi insurgents wounded a Portuguese journalist near the Kuwait border and kidnapped another. Carlos Ruleiras was released unharmed near Basra 36 hours later.
November 15, 2003: Two suicide truck bombs exploded outside the Neve Shalom and Beth Israel synagogues in Istanbul, killing 25 persons and wounding at least 300 more. The initial claim of responsibility came from a Turkish militant group, the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders’ Front, but Turkish authorities suspected an al-Qaeda connection.
The Iraqi Governing Council announced a timetable for the formation of a new government. Starting in February 2004, a set of basic laws would serve as a provisional constitution. Rules for local elections of delegates to a transitional assembly would be drafted in May. The transitional assembly would elect a provisional government in June; the provisional government would supersede the Iraqi Governing Council at the end of the month. A permanent constitution and an elected government would follow in 2005. President Bush praised the plan and said the United States was ready to help Iraq to enact it. In Japan, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that June 2004 was not a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which would remain in Iraq until the new government was ready for their departure.
In an interview with David Frost, President Bush said that although most of the insurgents in Iraq were Saddam loyalists, there were also "mujahedin types or al-Qaeda" who wanted to "install a Taliban-type government, or they want to seek revenge for getting whipped in Afghanistan."
Two Black Hawk helicopters belonging to the 101st Airborne Division collided and crashed in Mosul, killing 17 U.S. soldiers and injuring 5. It was not clear whether either was the victim of hostile fire.
Canadian Prime Minister-designate Paul Martin said that he hoped to mend relations with the United States, but did not intend to try to coordinate the two countries’ immigration policies.
Pakistani President Musharraf announced the banning of three new Islamic militant groups: Kudam-ul Islam (formerly Jaish e-Mohammed), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and Tehrik-e-Jafrria Pakistan. Dozens of activists were arrested the next day.
Grenade attacks on two bars frequented by Americans in Bogota killed 1 person and wounded 72, including 4 Americans. Colombian authorities suspected FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). The U.S. Embassy suspected that the attacks had targeted Americans and warned against visiting commercial centers and places of entertainment.
November 16, 2003: The al-Arabiya network aired an audiotape in which Saddam Hussein urged more attacks on U.S. forces and "agents brought by foreign armies," and said that only he and the Baath Party could restore order. President Bush dismissed the broadcast as "propaganda." He was undaunted by what he called "a sad day" and "a tough week." Administrator Bremer told "Fox News Sunday" that he believed that Saddam might have organized the resistance movement before the war.
The London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi received an e-mail in which an al-Qaeda branch called the Brigades of the Martyr Abu Hafz al-Masri claimed responsibility for the Istanbul synagogue bombings. Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom flew to Istanbul to meet with his Turkish counterpart and to visit the scenes.
French UN aid worker Bettina Goislard was shot and killed by two gunmen on a motorcycle in Ghazni. She was the first UN worker to be killed in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government. Both assailants were captured, and President Karzai had to insist that local officials protect them from being lynched by an outraged public. The United Nations suspended relief activities in southern Afghanistan 2 days later, and other relief agencies were considering whether to follow suit. Ms. Goislard was buried in Afghanistan, as she had requested.
November 17, 2003: President Bush told visiting members of the Iraqi Governing Council that the new plan for a provisional government was not a U.S. exit strategy and assured them that the United States would continue to work for a free and democratic Iraq.
Secretary-General Annan said that he hoped that the United Nations could play an important role in Iraq, but a return of UN personnel would depend on the security situation. Secretary of State Powell, who had met with Annan, said that the United States was amenable to a UN role and a new Security Council resolution.
In Washington, German Foreign Minister Fischer met with Powell and called the new U.S. timetable for a provisional government in Iraq "a very important step forward." In Paris, however, French Foreign Minister de Villepin told La Croix that the transfer of power wasn’t fast enough. More members should be added to the Iraqi Governing Council, which could then form an assembly that could choose a cabinet by the end of the year.
Sheikh Moddamed Ali Hassan Mouyad and his assistant Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed were extradited from Germany to Brooklyn.
The Weekly Standard magazine published a classified memorandum from Under Secretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence alleging that raw intelligence reports showed that, as early as 1990, al-Qaeda had received training and logistical support from Iraq. Stephen F. Hayes’ article "Case Closed" appeared in the November 24 issue.
November 18, 2003: Secretary of State Powell met with EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels before joining President Bush’s state visit to London. He briefed them on the situation in Iraq and said that he was urging Secretary-General Annan to appoint a new UN special envoy to replace the late Sergio Vieria de Mello.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the new U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, told reporters that Pakistan was not doing enough to prevent Taliban attacks on U.S. personnel and warned that continued Taliban and al-Qaeda activity, crime, and drug trafficking threatened the stability of the new Afghan Government.
Michael Young, Chairman of the State Department’s Commission on International Religious Freedom, said during a hearing that Saudi Arabia still funded and exported Wahabi Islam and was thus a "strategic threat" to the United States.
Turkish authorities concluded that the Istanbul suicide bombers were Turkish militants with possible al-Qaeda connections.
In its annual report, the Treasury Department announced plans to focus on combating strategies that terrorist groups used to raise or transfer money.
November 19, 2003: The Washington Post reported that the United States planned to seek a new UN resolution that would define the UN’s role in the reconstruction of Iraq and ensure international recognition of a postwar Iraqi government.
During a state visit to London, President Bush addressed foreign policy experts in Whitehall. He emphasized the "special relationship" between Britain and the United States and identified three pillars of international security: working with "other responsible governments," "the willingness of free nations, when the last resort arrives, to restrain aggression and evil with force," and "our commitment to the global expansion of democracy." Peace and security in the Middle East depended on shaking off "decades of failed policy" that often tolerated "oppression for the sake of stability" and pursuing "a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East."
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced the mobilization of 15,000 more National Guard and Reserve personnel for possible duty in Iraq, raising the total to 58,000 as part of a plan for troop rotations.
U.S. forces in Iraq offered $10 million for information leading to the death or capture of Gen. Izzat Ibrahim, a top aide to Saddam Hussein who was thought to be directing the insurgency in Iraq.
November 20, 2003: Two more suicide truck bombings devastated the British HSBC Bank and the British Consulate General in Istanbul, killing 27 persons and wounding at least 450. Four of the dead were British, including Consul General Roger Short. U.S., British, and Turkish officials suspected that al-Qaeda had struck again. The U.S. Consulate in Istanbul was closed, and the Embassy in Ankara advised American citizens in Istanbul to stay home. Britain urged its nationals to avoid non-essential travel to Turkey. Al-Qaeda and the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders’ Front claimed responsibility in an anonymous call to the Anatolia News Service.
A suicide car bombing in Kirkuk killed 5 persons and wounded 30. The target appeared to be the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. PUK officials suspected the Ansar al-Islam group, which was said to have sheltered fugitive Taliban and al-Qaeda members after the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan.
President Bush and Prime Minister Blair held a joint press conference in London, in which they pledged to continue the war on terrorism and denied that the U.S.-British alliance in Iraq had provoked terrorist attacks. Bush hinted that reductions in U.S. forces in Iraq would depend on the security situation there. No agreement was reached on how British nationals being held at Guantanamo Bay would be tried. At least 70,000 persons demonstrated in London against the war.
November 21, 2003: During the last day of his state visit to Britain, President Bush said that Turkey had become a new front in the war on terrorism and offered to share U.S. and British intelligence information with the Turkish Government. In Turkey, Foreign Minister Gul said that suspects had been arrested in the latest Istanbul bombings; the newspaper Hurriyet spoke of seven.
JSC Vice Chairman Gen. Pace visited Kabul and said that he was pleased with progress in reconstructing Afghanistan. He said that recent attacks by the Taliban and al-Qaeda were signs of desperation.
Iraqi insurgents used rocket launchers hidden in donkey carts to attack Iraq’s Oil Ministry and the Palestine and Sheraton Hotels in Baghdad. Two persons were wounded, one of them a U.S. employee of Kellogg, Brown & Root who was staying at the Palestine Hotel. Other, unused, launchers were found near the Italian and Turkish Embassies and near the Baghdad law faculty.
At the United Nations, representatives of France, Germany, and Russia suggested to the Security Council that an international conference should be held to determine the political future of Iraq. Such a body would provide a wide role for the United Nations and all Iraqi political groups. U.S. Ambassador Negroponte said the proposal would be studied; British Ambassador Emyr Jones Perry urged the Security Council to wait for the Iraqi Governing Council’s December 15 report.
November 22, 2003: Two surface-to-air missiles damaged a DHL A-300 cargo plane after it left Baghdad International Airport. It returned to the airport and landed safely. DHL and Royal Jordanian Airlines, the only airlines serving Baghdad, suspended operations for 1 and 3 days, respectively. U.S. authorities suspended civilian flights into Baghdad the next day. This was the first attack on a civilian aircraft in Iraq. The French magazine Paris Match later published photographs of the missile launchings.
Suicide car bombers attacked police stations at Khan Bani Saad and Baquba, killing 16 Iraqis and wounding at least 50
The Washington Post reported that the FBI had subpoenaed a number of bank accounts of the Saudi Arabian Embassy to investigate whether Saudi funds had gone to terrorists.
November 23, 2003: A crowd in Mosul shot two soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division. The crowd also looted the car and tried to burn it. The Defense Department later denied initial reports that the dead soldiers had been stoned, beaten, or knifed.
November 24, 2003: The Washington Post reported that the Defense Department was considering organizing special Army units that would be composed mainly of engineers, military police, civil affairs units, and other specialists for use in peacekeeping and postwar reconstruction operations.
The Iraqi Governing Council, with U.S. approval, closed the Baghdad offices of the al-Arabiya television network in response to its November 16 broadcast of an audiotape in which Saddam Hussein urged resistance to the U.S. occupation. Both Interim President Talabani and State Department Spokesman Boucher said that the broadcast had incited violence.
Turkey’s State Security Court charged nine persons with belonging to or aiding an illegal organization in connection with the Istanbul bombings. Three other suspects were released.
Jalal Talabani, acting President of the Iraqi Governing Council, urged the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution endorsing the U.S. plan to establish a provisional government in Iraq by June 2004. Ambassador Negroponte said that the United States would have to study Talabani’s letter; Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov was disappointed that the letter did not say more about the UN’s role in Iraq.
Talabani also said that groups represented in the Iraqi Governing Council planned to organize a "security committee" and an "anti-terror front" to promote domestic security.
President Bush addressed military personnel at Fort Carson, Colorado and told them that their comrades had risked and sacrificed their lives to preserve "democracy, tolerance, and the rights and dignity of every people."
The Defense Department announced the release of 20 prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. More were scheduled for release if their countries’ governments would agree to continue legal proceedings against them.
November 25, 2003: During a joint press conference in Baghdad, Gen. Abizaid said that there had been fewer attacks on U.S. forces. Administrator Bremer discerned a shift to attacks on Iraqis working with the coalition.
In Washington, Senators Carl M. Levin and Richard G. Lugar sent a letter to President Bush that urged him to hasten the creation of a new Iraqi army and to reconstitute some disbanded units.
Yemen announced the capture in Sanaa of al-Qaeda leader Mohammed Hamdi Ahdal, who had been sought for nearly two years for organizing the attacks on the Cole and the Limburg. Saudi security forces thwarted a car bombing in Riyadh, killing two suspects. The Saudis later announced that they had found 2.6 tons of explosives, more than had been used in the November 8 bombing.
The British Foreign Office warned against non-essential travel to Turkey in view of intelligence reports warning of terrorist attacks in Ankara and Istanbul.
The Army announced the release of Capt. James Yee, the Muslim chaplain suspected of espionage while serving at Guantanamo Bay. Yee remained under investigation for unrelated charges.
November 26, 2003: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a spokesman for the Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s leading Shi’ite cleric, called for direct elections for a provisional government and a more explicit recognition of Iraq’s Islamic character in the new constitution.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced the deployment of 3 Marine battalions to Iraq and the mobilization of another 7,900 National Guard and Reserve personnel.
A German court convicted Jordanian al-Qaeda member Shahdi Abdellah of plotting attacks on Jewish targets in Duesseldorf and Berlin and sentenced him to 4 years’ imprisonment.
November 27, 2003: President Bush paid a surprise visit to Baghdad, where he had Thanksgiving dinner with U.S. soldiers and met with four members of the Iraqi Governing Council.
Senators Hillary Clinton and Jack Reed visited Afghanistan, meeting with President Karzai and having Thanksgiving dinner with U.S. soldiers. Both called for more U.S. or NATO troops to be sent there to increase security, and Senator Clinton said the Taliban "are fighting a losing battle."
British police arrested two suspected terrorists in Gloucester and Manchester; other suspects were being sought in Blackburn.
November 28, 2003: Hundreds of Iraqis, some of them relatives of policemen killed in suicide bombings, rallied in Baghdad’s Firdus Square to call for "democracy and reconstruction." They chanted, "yes to Iraq, no to terrorism."
Senators Clinton and Reed visited Baghdad and called for a greater effort to internationalize the reconstruction of Iraq. They visited Kirkuk the next day.
A Korean Defense Ministry spokesman said that his government was considering sending special forces to Iraq. The Japanese Government announced that it planned to send 550 Self-Defense Forces personnel to Iraq during February and March. They were expected to undertake construction work near Samawah. Air Self-Defense Force cargo planes might start operating from Kuwait in January.
November 29, 2003: Iraqi insurgents stepped up attacks on other members of the Coalition. An ambush in Mahmudiyah, killed seven out of a party of eight Spanish intelligence officers. Iraqi insurgents also killed two Japanese diplomats near Tikrit. The Prime Ministers of Spain and Japan said they were undaunted by the attacks. In Baghdad, Gen. Sanchez told a press conference that screening of Iraqi recruits had not always prevented insurgents from joining the new security forces and attacking Coalition forces.
The Turkish Government announced the arrest of an unnamed figure in the Istanbul synagogue bombings as he attempted to cross from Turkey into Iran. The suspect, later identified as Yusef Polat, was charged with trying to overthrow Turkey’s constitutional order, a charge equivalent to treason.
Gen. Abizaid met with President Karzai in Kabul. They discussed cooperation against Taliban and al-Qaeda members operating across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
November 30, 2003: Iraqi insurgents ambushed two U.S. convoys carrying cash to banks in Samarra. U.S. forces claimed that 54 insurgents were killed, 18 were wounded, and 8 were captured in the ensuing battle. Many were found to be wearing uniforms of the Saddam’s Fedayeen militia. Five U.S. soldiers were wounded. Iraqis claimed that there were only 8 Iraqi fatalities, most of them civilians. Attacks on other Coalition personnel continued when another ambush near Tikrit killed two South Korean electrical workers and wounded two more. A Colombian employee of Kellogg Brown & Root was killed and two were wounded in an ambush near Balad.
The Iraqi Governing Council unanimously agreed to hold elections in June, but also formed a committee to report on the "political and technical difficulties." They also agreed to remain in office after formation of the new interim government. They were still said to be at odds with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani about direct elections for a provisional government.
Time Magazine reported that the United States planned to release 140 out of 660 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay; they were described as "the easiest 20 percent."
The Syrian Government announced the arrest of 22 suspects in the Istanbul suicide bombings and extradited them to Turkey.
December 1, 2003: State Department Spokesman Boucher said that Secretary of State Powell had expressed his condolences to the Foreign Ministers of Japan and South Korea, and had found that the deaths of their nationals in Iraq had not shaken their resolve.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Gen. Pace attended a NATO Defense Ministers’ meeting in Brussels. Rumsfeld noted the "contradiction" between resistance by "a limited number of people" and the ongoing reconstruction of Iraq. Gen. Pace summarized the battle in Samarra as follows: "They attacked and they were killed. So I think it will be instructive to them." Participants discussed NATO’s role in Afghanistan and in supporting a multinational division in southern Iraq, but reached no agreements.
A UN committee reported that 108 nations had not filed reports on their actions in the war on terrorism. Secretary-General Annan, meanwhile, called on a 17-nation advisory group to report on a future UN role in the reconstruction of Iraq.
Under Secretary for Homeland Security Asa Hutchinson announced that the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which had been criticized for focusing on men from 25 Muslim and Arab countries, would be terminated. It was to be replaced by biometric identification system called US-VISIT, which would begin in January.
An Indonesian court of appeals reversed the conviction for treason of Abu Bakar Bashir, who had been arrested after the 2002 Bali bombings. His sentence was reduced from 4 years to 3.
December 2, 2003: U.S. and Iraqi officials agreed to organize a counterterrorism battalion in the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps that would be composed of members drawn equally from militias affiliated with Iraq’s 5 largest political parties.
In Northern Iraq, soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade raided Hawija. Although they arrested 27 suspected insurgents, a report by a Kurdish official that Baath Party leader Izzat Ibrahim had been captured proved to be false.
In Afghanistan, warlords Abdurrashid Dostum and Attah Mohammad agreed to turn over their tanks and heavy artillery to the Afghan National Army.
The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia warned against visits to housing compounds in Riyadh.
December 3, 2003: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld visited Azerbaijan and met with President Ilham Aliyev. They discussed possible access by U.S. forces to military bases, and Rumsfeld offered aid for securing Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea territorial waters.
British police announced the arrest of Sajid Badat, an alleged accomplice of convicted "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. The Saudi Government announced the arrest of a suspect in the Riyadh bombings, along with the capture of a large quantity of weapons, including a surface-to-air missile.
The New York Times reported that Iraq’s census bureau had devised a plan to conduct a census between June 30 and September 1, 2004 that would serve as a basis for voter registration for national elections. U.S. officials reportedly turned down the plan, and some members of the Iraqi Governing Council said that they had never heard about it.
The Defense Department announced that David Hicks, an Australian Muslim convert who had been captured while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan, was the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be assigned a lawyer. Whether Hicks would face a military tribunal or would seek a plea bargain remained uncertain. In Buffalo, Mukhtar al-Bakri, the youngest of the "Lackawanna Six," was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for supporting al-Qaeda. A second suspect, Yasein Taher, was sentenced to 8 years the next day.
In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi, current President of the EU, said that the "community of democracies" should be prepared not only to export freedom but to use force to defend it, which "might well require a change in international law."
December 4, 2003: At a NATO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Brussels, Secretary of State Powell urged NATO to take on a greater role in the reconstruction of Iraq. Secretary-General Robertson replied that NATO was more focused on Afghanistan. Powell also called for more UN involvement.
The chief of the Bavarian police announced the arrest of an Iraqi man in Munich. The suspect was believed to belong to Ansar al-Islam and to be involved with recruiting Islamic militants in Germany for service in Iraq.
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld met with President Karzai in Kabul and said he was skeptical about the Taliban’s ability to disrupt elections in Afghanistan. Earlier in the day, he net with warlords Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Mohammad in Mazar-I-Sharif. Shortly after Rumsfeld left Kabul, a rocket exploded near the U.S. Embassy, causing no damage. Taliban members also ambushed a convoy of Afghan census workers in the southwest, killing one and wounding 11.
December 5, 2003: A suicide bomb attack killed 44 persons and wounded 150 aboard a Russian commuter train in the south Russian town of Yessentuki. Russian officials suspected Chechen rebels; President Putin said the attack was meant to disrupt legislative elections. Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov denied any involvement.
President Bush appointed former Secretary of State James A. Baker III as his Special Envoy in charge of seeking a restructuring of Iraq’s foreign debt.
French police announced the arrest of ETA leader Ibon Fernandez Iradi in Mont-de-Marsan. Iradi was suspected of involvement in 4 assassinations and 14 terrorist attacks in Spain.
As Bremer warned of escalating terrorist attacks in Iraq during the transition, about 1,000 Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad against terrorism.
December 6, 2003: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld visited Kirkuk and Baghdad, defended U.S. strategy in Iraq, and said that he planned to hasten the expansion of Iraqi security forces.
Former Iraqi Lt. Col al-Dabbagh told the London Sunday Telegraph that the Iraqi Army had weapons of mass destruction that were intended for use by the Saddam Fedayeen and the Special Republican Guard at "a critical stage" in the war. "The secret weapon," which was not described, went unused since Saddam Hussein never ordered its use and much of the Iraqi Army refused to fight. It remained hidden at secret locations in Iraq. Lt. Col al-Dabbagh had spied for the London-based Iraqi National Accord and was currently an adviser to the Iraqi Governing Council. He believed that his reports were the basis for the British claim that Iraq could have used weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.
In Afghanistan, U.S. planes attacked the village of Atala in Ghazni Province, killing a suspected Taliban leader and 9 children. Villagers said the suspect may have escaped, and President Karzai said he was "profoundly shocked" at the civilian casualties. A bomb explosion in a Kandahar market wounded 20 persons; President Karzai called it an attempt by the Taliban to disrupt elections. A Taliban spokesman denied responsibility, but said persons taking part in loya jirga elections deserved to die. Taliban members also kidnapped two Indian highway workers in Zabol Province. The Indians were released unharmed on December 23.
Heads of state and government from 10 Mediterranean countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, and Mauritania) met in Tunis to reiterate their strong condemnation of terrorism and all of its forms, and of organized crime (notably drug trafficking), arms dealing, and money laundering. They issued the "Tunis Declaration" on December 8.
December 7, 2003: Gen. Sanchez told reporters in Baghdad that he expected Iraqi insurgents to escalate their attacks in the hope of disrupting the transfer of power to a provisional government. He also urged the Iraqi public to help find Saddam Hussein. South Korean engineers and technicians working for the Washington Group International Inc. responded to the deaths of two of their colleagues and apparent neglect of security by their managers by deciding to leave Iraq,
Philippine Army spokesmen announced the wounding and capture of Galib Andang, an Abu Sayyaf Group leader suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of Western tourists in April 2000, and of Americans and Filipinos in 2002.
December 8, 2003: A special court in Athens convicted 15 members of the Greek "November 17" terrorist group. November 17 was responsible for 23 assassinations since 1975; 3 were of U.S. officials. Four suspects were acquitted.
In Jakarta, Indonesian Foreign Minister Noer Hassan Wirajuda called U.S. policy in Iraq "an utter failure" likely to result in the disintegration of the country along ethnic and sectarian lines.
Saudi security forces killed Ibrahim Mohammed Abdullah Rayes, one of the country’s most-wanted terrorist suspects, at a gas station in Riyadh. A second suspect was also killed.
The Afghan Government announced that the loya jirga constitutional convention would be postponed until December 13, to allow delegates more time to travel to Kabul and to allow President Karzai more time to persuade them to support a draft constitution.
U.S. forces in Afghanistan launched a new offensive, "Operation Avalanche," against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in the south and east. It involved 2.000 U.S. soldiers as well as Afghan government forces. At the end of December, 10 suspects had been killed and 100 detained; 2 Afghan soldiers had been killed and 2 U.S. and 2 Afghan soldiers had been wounded.
Dutch police arrested an unnamed Iraqi at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. He was suspected of recruiting Islamic militants for combat in Iraq, and German authorities were seeking his extradition.
December 9, 2003: The Iraqi Governing Council agreed to form a special tribunal to try members of Saddam Hussein’s government for crimes against humanity during the Baath Party’s rule over Iraq. The court’s personnel were to be Iraqis, although U.S. officials persuaded the Council to add an amendment authorizing the appointment of international judges.
The Iraqi Governing Council also agreed to expel the Iranian People’s Mujaheddin from the country and to seize its assets and weapons.
Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz announced that the United States would only allow companies from "coalition partners" to bid for 26 reconstruction contracts in Iraq. France, Germany, and Russia, which opposed the war and had extensive commercial ties with Saddam Hussein’s government, were not on the list.
An Iraqi suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. Army base in Tall Afar, near Mosul. Sixty-one soldiers were wounded; base defenses apparently prevented a greater toll.
A female suicide bomber killed 5 other persons and wounded 14 outside Moscow’s National Hotel. She was said to be looking for the State Duma.
As 2,000 Afghan militiamen turned their weapons in Kabul, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad warned of attempts to disrupt the loya jirga.
The Japanese Cabinet approved the deployment of 600 Self-Defense Force personnel to Iraq. They would be involved in reconstruction near Samawah but would be fully armed.
French police announced the arrest of Gorka Palacios Alday and three other members of ETA near Pau. Alday was wanted for a series of bombings in Spain.
December 10, 2003: Foreign reaction to the Defense Department’s announcement that only Coalition countries could bid on major reconstruction contracts in Iraq was hostile. Russian Defense Minister Ivanov said his country would not agree to write off Iraq’s debts. Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley said that the decision made it "difficult" to agree to provide more reconstruction aid. French and EU spokesmen said that they would study whether such restrictions were compatible with international law. State Department Spokesman Boucher said that the restrictions would not apply to subcontractors and that the World Bank and the IMF had their own regulations for contracts.
In Afghanistan, a U.S. military spokesman admitted that another air strike against a suspected Taliban leader had resulted in civilian casualties: six of the eight dead were children. The attack had taken place near Gardez on December 5, and the bodies were not found until after U.S. Special Forces searched the compound and found them under a collapsed wall. Residents of Narai Kalai denied that Mullah Akhtar Mahad Jalani, who apparently escaped, was a member of the Taliban. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said that the raid had met with heavy resistance and that large quantities of weapons had been found.
Secretary-General Annan issued a report to the Security Council stating that Iraq was still too dangerous for UN personnel to return to. The headquarters for UN operations would be in Nicosia, with an annex in Amman. Humanitarian operations across the border would continue, and Ross Mountain of New Zealand was appointed to oversee UN activities. He called for an effective security force to safeguard UN workers and for countries that had not yet provided reconstruction aid to reconsider.
Lebanese officials announced that a possible attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut had been thwarted when two men, one of whom carried explosives, were arrested nearby.
The United States authorized the Iraqi Governing Council to organize a domestic intelligence service that would be trained by the CIA and Jordan and responsible to Iraq’s Interior Ministry. However, the Defense Department announced that 250 of the first 750 soldiers in the new Iraqi army had resigned. Inadequate pay was cited. The Iraqi Governing Council removed Iskander Witwit as Governor of Hilla Province, claiming that he was too closely linked to the Baath Party. Witwit denied the charge, replying that 17 members of his family had been killed and others tortured under the Baath regime. Many residents of Hilla demanded that Witwit’s successor be elected rather than appointed.
Representatives Frank Wolf and Christopher Shays reported on a recent visit to Baghdad and southern Iraq. They urged the Bush Administration to be more willing to admit mistakes, to accept international aid, and to agree to outside monitoring of the situation in Iraq.
December 11, 2003: President Bush defended his decision to restrict reconstruction contracts in Iraq to Coalition members, telling reporters: "Friendly coalition folks risked their lives, and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that, and that’s what the U.S. taxpayers expect." However, White House Press Secretary McClellan suggested that countries that forgave Iraqi debts might thereby become eligible to compete. Prime Minister Chretien said that Bush had told him that he would remove Canada from the list.
A German court freed Abdelhani Mzoudi, a Moroccan charged with helping the September 11 terrorists, after police disclosed information, apparently derived from U.S. sources, that Mzoudi had no advance knowledge of the attacks. The ruling called into question the case against Mounir al-Motassadeq, who had been convicted of aiding an al-Qaeda cell in Hamburg.
Human Rights Watch published a report entitled "Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq," that claimed that excessive use of cluster munitions had caused excessive civilian casualties, and that "decapitation strikes" had killed at least 100 Iraqi civilians while failing to kill Iraqi leaders. The report also criticized the Iraqi army for using human shields, abusing medical emblems, and placing military equipment in mosques, hospitals, and schools.
In Baghdad, Administrator Bremer warned that there would be more violence in Iraq during the next 6 months, but expressed confidence that a democratic government could be established there. In Tikrit, 4th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno said that his soldiers had recently captured several insurgent financiers and had seized $2 million in cash in Samarra.
The General Accounting Office reported that federal agencies were still having difficulty staying abreast of methods that international terrorists used to finance their operations. Inter-agency cooperation also still left much to be desired.
December 12, 2003: Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned that increasing violence might force the United Nations to abandon reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. White House Press Secretary McClellan hoped that the UN would continue to operate there. The opening of the loya jirga was postponed for a day, ostensibly to give delegates from more remote areas time to arrive. President Karzai told reporters that the Taliban insurgency in the south and east was alienating the people and would fail. He had no interest in running for president if the loya jirga adopted a parliamentary system. He also urged the U.S. to reconsider airstrikes against Taliban leaders in view of civilian casualties.
Members of the Iraqi Governing Council, including interim President Abdelaziz al-Hakim, traveled to Spain as the first stage of a series of visits to European countries. The Council was also said to be considering seeking U.S. military assistance to expel the Mujahedeen e-Khalq from Iraq.
Pakistan extradited six suspected terrorists to Indonesia. They included Rusman Gunawan, younger brother of Jemaah Islamiya leader Hambali.
December 13, 2003: In Baghdad, Gen. Sanchez said that recruiting of an Iraqi army of 40,000 would continue; pay scales would be revised after large-scale desertions from the first battalion. He admitted that U.S. forces in Iraq held nearly 10,000 detainees, including 3,800 members of the Mujahedeen e-Khalq. In reply to reports that Israeli officials were advising U.S. forces about counter-terrorism, he said that circumstances in Iraq were different from those faced by Israel. He declined to speculate about how long it would take to capture Saddam Hussein.
Soldiers of the 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division and the Special Operations Task Force 121 captured Saddam Hussein in a hole in a compound in the village of Dawr, near his hometown of Tikrit. Two other Iraqis were also captured, and $750,000 in cash was seized. Gen. Odierno, commander of the Division, said: "He was in the bottom of a hole, so there was no way he could fight back. So he was just caught like a rat." When captured, Hussein said: "I am Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, and I am willing to negotiate." His captors replied: "President Bush sends his regards." Since Hussein had let his hair and beard grow while he was a fugitive, he was identified by former colleagues and by DNA testing and was photographed while undergoing a medical examination.
In Kabul, President Karzai predicted that the loya jirga would devise a constitution for Afghanistan after intense debate.
In Mecca, King Fahd urged an assembly of Muslim scholars in Saudi Arabia to counter religious extremism and to rebut "aberrant individual fatwas" that justified violence and suicide attacks. He also denounced Islamic militants who proclaimed Muslims who disagreed with them to be heretics.
As special envoy James A. Baker prepared to leave for Europe, German Cooperation and Development Minister Heidemarie Weczorek-Zeul warned him not to expect forgiveness of Iraq’s debts if Germany remained ineligible to compete for reconstruction contracts.
December 14, 2003: After the capture of Saddam Hussein had been confirmed, President Bush proclaimed, "A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq." He also warned that terrorists in Iraq would continue to fight, but would be defeated. As if to prove the point, a suicide bomb attack on a police station in Khaldiya killed 17 persons and wounded 33.
Iraqi Governing Council member Adnan Pachachi said that the Council expected to put Hussein on trial for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. There was widespread rejoicing in Iraq.
The loya jirga held its first meeting in Kabul. Former King Mohammed Zahir Shar urged delegates to "think of the benefit of Afghanistan." President Karzai called for a strong presidential government and implied that he wanted to lead it. Delegates chose former president Sebqatallah Mojadedi as chairman of the assembly.
Pakistani President Musharraf escaped an assassination attempt when a bomb destroyed a bridge that his motorcade had just crossed during a visit to Rawalpindi. He blamed "extremist religious forces." No one was hurt and no group claimed responsibility.
December 15, 2003: President Bush said during a news conference that Saddam Hussein should be tried in an Iraqi court rather than by an international tribunal and that the Iraqi people should determine his fate. The United States would help ensure that the trial "will stand international scrutiny." IGC spokesman Salem Chalabi said that a court could be ready soon. Bush said of Hussein, "Good riddance. The world is better off without you, Mr. Saddam Hussein. And I find it very interesting that when the heat got on, you dug yourself a hole and you crawled in it." Since Hussein had denied involvement in the postwar insurgency or having any weapons of mass destruction, Bush was skeptical that interrogations of a known liar would provide any useful information. Although there were still "holdovers of Saddam" and "foreign terrorists" to be fought, U.S. intelligence was improving.
In Iraq, much useful information had been collected from documents found in Saddam Hussein’s hideout. U.S. forces had captured unnamed Baath Party officials, including three former Iraqi generals. The same day there were two suicide car bomb attacks on Iraqi police stations. One at Husainiyah killed 8 persons and wounded 20. The other, at Ameriyah, wounded 7 Iraqi police. Guards repelled a second vehicle. In Samarra, a patrol from the 4th Infantry Division’s Stryker Battalion defeated a series of attacks, killing 11 insurgents without loss to themselves. Demonstrations in favor of Hussein occurred elsewhere in Iraq.
Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Sistani accepted a U.S. plan for a combination of elections and caucuses to select a provisional government, but wanted the UN to supervise the process and certify the results.
French Foreign Minister de Villepin announced after a meeting with members of the Iraqi Governing Council that he was willing to work with the Paris Club toward an agreement to forgive part of Iraq’s foreign debts. No agreement could be reached until an Iraqi government was in office. President Bush said during his news conference that while "the American taxpayers understand" why reconstruction contracts should be restricted to Coalition members, there were other ways in which states like France, Russia, and Germany could participate in the reconstruction of Iraq.
China listed the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement as a terrorist organization; the United States had already listed it as one.
At the Afghan loya jirga, Chairman Segahatullah Mojadeddi announced there would be three deputy chairmen. None of three female candidates was selected, and women delegates were further disappointed when Mojadeddi told then, "Even God has not given you equal rights." Mojadeddi relented and agreed to appoint a fourth, female deputy after a Pashtun woman reminded him that among her people, it was customary to respect a woman’s request in a council.
December 16, 2003: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that the CIA would be in charge of questioning Saddam Hussein. In Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey of the 1st Armored Division said that documents captured in Saddam Hussein’s hideout had revealed links between several insurgent networks. Thus far, Saddam’s role in the insurgency seemed to be more symbolic than active. During an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC News "Primetime," President Bush said that Hussein deserved "the ultimate penalty," but that his fate was for the Iraqi people to decide. Iraqi judge Dara Mooraldin said that it would take months to organize the court, and that the future provisional government would determine Hussein’s fate. During an interview on the al-Arabiya television network, Hussein’s daughter Raghad said that he should be tried by an international court. UN Secretary-General Annan said that he would oppose the death penalty for Hussein, and the British Government said that it would not take part in a trial that might impose it. Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace, criticized the United States for treating Hussein like "a cow" by releasing photos of his medical exam. Rumsfeld replied to such criticisms by saying, "It’s terribly important that he be seen by the public for what he is-a captive, without question."
Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division captured at least 72 suspected insurgents in a series of raids in Samarra. The captives included Qais Hattam, who was described as a "high-value target" for his role in financing attacks on U.S. forces. During a press conference in Baghdad, Gen. Sanchez and JCS Chairman Gen. Myers said that they expected "the violence to continue at some level for some time." Demonstrations in favor of Hussein continued in the "Sunni Triangle."
U.S. envoy Baker met with French President Chirac in Paris and with German Chanceller Schroeder in Berlin and gained an agreement to reduce Iraq’s foreign debt. Details remained to be worked out; French Foreign Minister de Villepin repeating that Iraq would need to have a fully sovereign government before its debts could be reduced. While in Paris, Baker met with Iraqi Interim Finance Minister Kamel Peylani and Central Bank Governor Sinan Shabibi.
Iraqi Interim Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zubari addressed the UN Security Council and criticized the United Nations for failing to save Iraq from 35 years of tyranny and for its reluctance to return to Iraq. Although Secretary-General Annan repeated that Iraq was still too dangerous to return to and its role needed to be more clearly defined, he spoke favorably of a U.S.-Iraqi proposal to form regional caucuses to elect a provisional government.
In an interview with Armstrong Williams, Vice President Cheney predicted that the war on terrorism "is going to go on for a long time," and that his greatest fear was that terrorists could use a biological or nuclear weapon in a major U.S. city.
Afghan President Karzai took time off from the loya jirga to officially reopen the highway between Kabul and Kandahar. Foreign dignitaries present included U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad and AID Director Natsios.
December 17, 2003: An explosion in Baghdad that killed 13 persons was apparently not a terrorist attack but the result of a collision between a fuel tank truck and a bus. A 4th Infantry Division spokesman reported the arrest of 24 suspected insurgents in Samarra. Iraqi Governing Council member Mowaffak al-Rubaie denied reports that Saddam Hussein was being held outside Iraq; Hussein would remain in Baghdad pending his trial. In Paris, IGC member Jalal Talabani said that months of questioning should precede the trial, and that Hussein should be imprisoned for life rather than executed. Baath Party loyalists were suspected in the assassination of Muhammad Hakim, a member of the Shi’ite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Hakim was chief of security at the Education Ministry and a cousin of interim IGC President Abdul Aziz Hakim.
David Kay announced that he planned to resign as chairman of the Iraq Survey Group by February 2004, possibly before the Group’s next interim report on the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
After a meeting in Rome between Baker and Prime Minister Berlusconi, Italy agreed to work for reduction of Iraq’s foreign debt. Italian officials suggested that negotiations should also include Middle Eastern states that lent money to Saddam Hussein’s government.
In Brussels, outgoing Secretary-General Robertson said that NATO should consider an active role in Iraq, but that stabilizing Afghanistan was still the first priority.
In Kabul, woman delegate Malalai Joya created a furor when she denounced some of the warlord delegates to the loya jirga as "criminals" who had ruined the country. The United Nations granted her protection the next day. Other delegates threatened to walk out over the question of presidential versus parliamentary government.
The State Department issued a terrorism warning for Saudi Arabia, advising against travel there and suggesting that nonessential personnel and private citizens consider leaving the country.
A special court in Athens sentenced 6 members of the November 17 terrorist group to multiple life sentences. Leader Alexandros Giotopoulos received 21 terms plus 25 years, and chief hit man Dimitris Koufodinas received 13 terms plus 25 years.
December 18, 2003: U.S. forces in Iraq had their first combat fatality since the capture of Saddam Hussein when a patrol from the 1st Armored Division was fired on in Baghdad. One soldier was killed, another soldier and an Iraqi interpreter were wounded. The Defense Department ordered the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to go to Iraq in January, while its 3rd Brigade would stay in Central Iraq until April, so that its replacement, the Washington National Guard’s 81st Armored Brigade, would have more time to train.
Special Envoy James A. Baker continued his mission to persuade other countries to consider debt relief for Iraq. He met with British Prime Minister Blair in London and then with Russian President Putin in Moscow. Putin said that Russia was prepared to discuss debt relief within the framework of the Paris Club. However, during a televised question-and-answer session, he said he still disapproved of the U.S. war in Iraq.
State Department Spokesman Boucher announced a plan to hire Iraqi scientists and technicians who were formerly involved in weapons of mass destruction for reconstruction projects. The plan was similar to U.S. payments to Russian scientists under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. The plan would cost $22 million over two years. An office would open in 2 months and would spend 6 months and $2 million identifying major projects.
Two suspected Islamic militants were arrested in Singapore. They, along with four who were held in Indonesia and five who were held in Malaysia, were suspected of being the leaders of a new branch of Jemaah Islamiah called al-Ghuraba and of having been trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
At his annual year-end news conference, Secretary-General Annan observed that the United Nations had not been mentioned in U.S. plans for a provisional government in Iraq, and invited the United States, its allies, and Iraqi leaders to a January 15 conference that would discuss the UN’s role in Iraq. U.S. Ambassador Negroponte said that he had not been told of the plan, but that he would welcome the return of UN personnel to Iraq whenever possible. Annan also urged member states to send more peacekeeping forces to Afghanistan.
Two members of a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the President did not have the power to declare a U.S. citizen arrested in the United States to be an "enemy combatant" who could be held indefinitely in military custody. Jose Padilla, who had been held in South Carolina for 19 months for plotting to explode a "dirty bomb," must be charged with a crime, declared a material witness, or freed within 30 days. White House Press Secretary McClellan said that the Bush Administration would seek a stay and might appeal the decision. In a related ruling, Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court decided that Falen Gherebi, a Libyan who was being held at Guantanamo Bay, should have a court hearing in the United States concerning his detention. The Defense Department, meanwhile, appointed a military lawyer to represent Yemeni detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan.
Prime Minister Koizumi approved a plan to send up to 1,000 Japanese Self-Defense Force personnel to Iraq.
December 19, 2003: The U.S. Navy announced that the U.S.S Decatur had captured a sailing vessel in the Strait of Hormuz on December 15 that carried nearly 2 tons of hashish and 4 suspected al-Qaeda members. This was said to be the first evidence that al-Qaeda was seeking to raise money from drug trafficking.
President Bush and Prime Minister Blair announced that Libya had agreed to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction programs and to accept international inspection as proof of good faith. Bush and Blair said that the agreement followed 9 months of secret diplomacy that began when Libya approached the United States and Britain on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. Bush said that U.S. diplomatic and military efforts against Iraq had warned other leaders that seeking weapons of mass destruction "bring isolation and otherwise unwelcome consequences," while abandoning their development offered improved relations with the United States. Blair said: "This courageous decision by Col. Qadhafi is an historic one." Libya’s Foreign Ministry said the decision to eliminate their weapons of mass destruction had been made freely.
Al-Jazeera aired an audiotape in which al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman Zawahiri claimed victory in Afghanistan and promised that Americans would be hunted everywhere.
In Iraq, U.S. forces announced the start of "Operation Iron Justice," a crackdown on financiers who financed insurgents through counterfeiting, drug trafficking, and black market sales of gasoline. Administrator Bremer admitted that he had escaped an assassination attempt on December 6, when a convoy that he was traveling in was ambushed. Coalition spokesman Dan Senor said that he did not believe Bremer had been targeted. A bomb destroyed the Baghdad office of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, killing a woman and wounding at least seven other persons.
Special Envoy Baker returned to Washington after his mission to Europe to seek reduction in Iraq’s debts. White House Press Secretary McClellan said that Baker planned to visit other countries later. In Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov said that debt relief and access to reconstruction contracts might be linked. Russian oil contracts with Saddam Hussein’s government had been suspended.
A U.S. official announced that Syria had arrested six to eight suspected al-Qaeda couriers who were carrying $23.5 million in cash.
December 20, 2003: The head of Libya’s National Board of Scientific Research met with IAEA Director El Baradei in Vienna to discuss the dismantling of Libyan weapons of mass destruction. U.S. officials announced that U.S. and British intelligence personnel had visited Libya in October and December, and had confirmed that Libya had centrifuges capable of enriching uranium, a large stock of mustard gas and bombs capable of distributing it, and North Korean-made Scud-C missiles with a range of 500 miles. Libya had also experimented with nerve gases. Lifting of sanctions would depend on whether Libya kept its promises.
In Kabul, Lt. Gen. David Barno, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said that more U.S. forces would be deployed in the south and east to provide security for reconstruction. He said that the three major regions of Afghanistan needed different strategies. U.S. troops would continue to pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban members along the southern border with Pakistan, followers of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar would be pursued in the north, but in the southeast, attempts would be made to win over lower-level Taliban members. Gen. Barno said that moving his headquarters from Bagram to Kabul showed a new emphasis on stabilizing the country before elections. Four "provincial reconstruction teams" were operating and 8 more were to be organized; four would operate in the southeast.
Al-Arabiya broadcast an audiotape in which Osama bin Laden called the war in Iraq part of a new Crusade. The CIA suspected that the tape was a re-run; Zawahiri’s al-Jazeera tape sounded more authentic.
In Iraq, Spanish Prime Minister Aznar made a 4-hour visit to his country’s troops in Diwaniyah. Iraqi insurgents set fire to gasoline storage tanks in southern Baghdad and damaged an oil pipeline 15 miles to the north. In Sleiman Beg, U.S. soldiers mistook Iraqi policemen for bandits and fired on them, killing three and wounding two.
December 21, 2003: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a Code Orange terrorism alert. Secretary Ridge said the danger of a "near term" attack was "perhaps greater now than at any point since September 11, 2002." Flights from overseas were thought to be vulnerable to hijacking.
U.S. forces in Iraq were alerted against a possible new wave of attacks intended partly to take advantage of Christmas and partly to avenge the capture of Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile they continued to hunt for insurgent leaders in the "Sunni Triangle" in "Operation Santa Claws." Sixty suspects had been captured and two Iraqis killed.
IGC President Abdul Aziz al-Hakim met with President Assad in Damascus in an attempt to reach an agreement with Syria on controlling their common border. Another IGC delegation visited Moscow to discuss debt relief and reconstruction contracts.
December 22, 2003: President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Ridge advised the American public to continue with holiday plans despite the Code Orange alert.
Administrator Bremer visited Washington, and reported that he was making slow but steady progress with Iraqi political leaders toward devising a system for electing a provisional government.
The White House announced that Special Envoy Baker would visit Japan, China, and South Korea, starting on December 27, to discuss debt relief for Iraq. IGC members discussed debt relief in Moscow, and found Russia willing to forgive 65 percent of Iraq’s $8 billion debt in return for favorable oil contracts. President Hakim said that debt relief would make Russian businesses welcome in Iraq, and Jalal Talabani said that granting favorable oil contracts to Russia might lead to a complete write-off of Russia’s debts.
In Iraq, U.S. forces announced the capture in Baquba of former Maj. Gen. Mumtaz Taji, who was suspected of recruiting former soldiers and organizing attacks. Meanwhile, a bomb explosion near Baghdad killed two U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter and wounded two other soldiers. Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski visited Polish troops in Hilla. In Kirkuk, Kurds demonstrated to demand that the city be transferred to their authority.
Libya agreed to allow IAEA experts to inspect its nuclear facilities; Director El Baradei said that he planned to go to Libya next week to arrange the inspections. Chief of State Qadhafi told CNN that he wanted to improve relations with the United States and the resumption of U.S. and British investments. He hoped that his example would lead other Arab countries to follow, after which Israel would be forced to disclose its weapons of mass destruction. U.S. officials repeated that sanctions would continue until international observers had confirmed Libya’s disarmament.
The United States and Saudi Arabia added two organizations and one person to the UN’s list of terrorist sponsors. The Bosnian charity Vazir was found to be a branch of the Saudi-based al-Haramain, which had been designated a terrorism sponsor in March 2002. Director Safet Durguti was placed on the list. Hochburg AG, based in Liechtenstein, was also added since a designated terrorism sponsor held a controlling interest in it.
Gulf Cooperation Council states concluded a 2-day summit meeting in Kuwait City in which they signed an anti-terrorism pact and praised the United States for its plan to establish an interim government in Iraq. After the meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud linked Iraqi debt relief to the formation of a fully sovereign Iraqi government.
In Kabul, loya jirga delegates voted overwhelmingly in favor of a presidential system of government in 10 working groups. Delegate Abdul Hakim Nurzai said that many of his colleagues feared that a parliamentary system would lead to "a parliament of warlords."
December 23, 2003: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers said during a press conference at the Pentagon that the capture of Saddam Hussein was still providing useful information to U.S. forces in Iraq, and that more Iraqi informants had volunteered information about the insurgency. Rumsfeld also said that it was now much harder for al-Qaeda to raise money, cross borders, communicate, or assemble. They also said that the Code Orange terrorist alert was to be taken seriously. Homeland Security spokesmen said that intercepted "chatter" between al-Qaeda members had led to the alert, and that there were concerns that passenger or cargo planes might be hijacked overseas and used against U.S. targets.
South Korea’s Cabinet announced that it would provide up to 3,000 soldiers to Iraq, subject to approval by the National Assembly. The troops might include commandos and marines, and would be stationed around Kirkuk. There were demonstrations against the plan outside the National Assembly.
Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev issued a statement in which his "martyrs’ fighting brigade" claimed responsibility for recent suicide bombings in Yessentuki and Moscow.
December 24, 2003: Six Air France flights between Paris and Los Angeles were cancelled in view of terrorist threats. French police questioned 13 passengers and released them. Other suspects were thought to have missed the flights in view of premature disclosure of security measures.
Iraqi insurgents fired a mortar shell at Baghdad’s Ishtar Sheraton Hotel, but caused no casualties. A roadside bomb killed three soldiers near Samarra. A suicide car bomb attack on the Kurdish Interior Ministry in Irbil killed 5 persons and wounded 101.
Pakistani President Musharraf announced that he would relinquish his post as army chief of staff at the end of the year, give up his powers to remove prime ministers or to dissolve parliament by decree, and to seek a vote of confidence within a month. These measures were intended to conciliate Islamic opposition parties.
December 25, 2003: Pakistani President Musharraf escaped another assassination attempt. Two suicide truck bombers killed 14 persons as a presidential motorcade passed through Rawalpindi. Pakistani officials suspected Afghan and Kashmiri militants.
In Baghdad, Iraqi insurgents fired rockets and mortars at two hotels, the Iranian and Turkish Embassies, an apartment near the German Embassy, and the Interior Ministry. There was little damage and two Iraqis were wounded. However, a mortar attack on an Army camp near Baquba killed 2 U.S. soldiers and wounded 4.
Iraq’s Sunni Muslim community announced the formation of a national council, or shura, to ensure that its interests would be heard under a new government. The Shura held its first meeting at Baghdad’s Umm al-Qura (formerly Mother of Battles) Mosque.
December 26, 2003: Air France resumed service between Paris and Los Angeles.
In Iraq, an ambush of a U.S. convoy near Duluiya killed one soldier and wounded another. Another soldier was killed while disposing of a roadside bomb near Baquba. In Mosul, a Kurdish tribal leader and his son were assassinated.
December 27, 2003: Iraqi insurgents launched a series of suicide attacks on Coalition forces in Karbala, killing 15 persons and wounding 172. The dead included 5 Bulgarian and 2 Thai soldiers; the wounded included 37 Coalition military personnel, including 5 Americans.
The Coalition Provisional Authority offered $1 million rewards for the capture of each of the 12 remaining members on its list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis.
In Afghanistan, suspected al-Qaeda members ambushed Afghan security forces in eastern Khost Province. An Afghan intelligence officer and 6 of the attackers were killed; another Afghan official was wounded.
Libyan Foreign Minister Chalgam announced that his country would sign a UN protocol that would authorize short-notice inspections of its nuclear facilities and urged Israel to end its nuclear weapons programs. While en route to Tripoli, IAEA Director-General El Baradei told reporters that he did not believe that Libya had enriched uranium, but inspections would settle the question.
December 28, 2003: After a meeting between James A. Baker and Prime Minister Koizumi, the Japanese Foreign Ministry announced its willingness to forgive "the vast majority" or Iraq’s debits if other Paris Club members did so.
Dr. El Baradei’s IAEA mission visited four previously secret nuclear research facilities in Tripoli.
The British Government issued a warning against travel to Saudi Arabia and announced that armed sky marshals would be assigned to some international flights. Saudi officials denied British press reports that terrorist pilots planned to crash light planes into a British Airways flight in the country.
In Kabul, four Afghan intelligence officers and their driver were killed when a suspect blew himself up after being detained near the international airport. The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack.
During an interview with Britain’s ITV network, Administrator Bremer was skeptical about reports cited earlier by Prime Minister Blair that the Iraq Survey Group had found "massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories" capable of producing weapons of mass destruction.
December 29, 2003: Homeland Security Secretary Ridge announced that the United States would require foreign airlines to place armed security personnel aboard certain flights to, from, and across the United States. The British Air Line Pilots Association objected to the requirement as increasing safety risks.
Baker visited China, and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said that China would consider reducing Iraq’s debts "out of humanitarian concern."
At the conclusion of his mission to Libya, IAEA Director El Baradei described Libya’s nuclear program as being in its early stages and "years away from [producing] a nuclear weapon." The equipment found had apparently come from "a sophisticated network" that operated in several countries, though not necessarily with official knowledge.
December 30, 2003: The Defense Department announced the establishment of a four-member review panel to oversee the decisions of U.S. military tribunals. The four included former Attorney General Griffin B. Bell, former Transportation Secretary William T. Coleman, Jr., Rhode Island Chief Justice Frank J. Williams, and former Representative Edward G. Biester, Jr. The members of the review panel would hold the rank of major general during their 2-year term of office.
Saudi Arabian authorities announced the arrest of al-Qaeda suspect Mansour bin Muhammad Ahmad Faqih.
Philippines authorities announced that James and Michael Ray Stubbs, two American brothers who were Muslim converts, would be deported to the United States as "undesirable aliens" for having met with members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The brothers denied the charges and claimed to have been raising funds for Muslim charities in the Philippines.
December 31, 2003: An Aero Mexico flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles was forced to turn back for security reasons.
A car bomb explosion outside Baghdad’s Nabil Restaurant killed 8 persons and wounded 35. The wounded included 3 Los Angeles Times reporters and 3 local employees.
Treasury Secretary Snow announced that U.S. firms had 90 days in which to donate funds to private organizations engaged in humanitarian aid to Iran after an earthquake on December 26 that destroyed the city of Bam and killed at least 25,000 persons.
The White House and the State Department confirmed a Wall Street Journal article that said that a shipload of parts of uranium enrichment centrifuges bound for Libya had been intercepted in October. The shipment left a Persian Gulf port aboard a German freighter; when the ship’s owner was notified of the shipment, it was diverted to an Italian port.
This document, based entirely on public sources, was prepared or
Office of the Historian