source: U.S. Department of State's Office of International Information Programs (usinfo.state.gov)
October 3 - Iraq becomes an independent state.
1958 July 14 - The
monarchy is overthrown in a military coup led by Brig Abd-al-Karim Qassim and
Col Abd-al-Salam Muhammad Arif. Iraq is declared a republic and Qasim becomes
1959-1963 - Saddam Hussein, 22-year old Ba'th
Party member, flees Baghdad for Damascus and Cairo after involvement in an
assassination attempt against Qasim. Cairo is then center of the Nasserite
Pan-Arab ideology girding the Ba'th Party.
1963 February 8 -
Qasim is ousted in a coup led by the Arab Socialist Ba'th Party (ASBP). Six
months of chaos follow, prompting another military coup.
November 18 - The Ba'th government is overthrown by Arif and a group of military
officers. 5000-6000 Iraqis are executed in backlash against communism.
1964-1966 Saddam Hussein jailed as a member of the Ba'th Party.
1966 April 17 - President Arif is killed in a helicopter crash on
April 13 and succeeded by his elder brother, Maj-Gen Abd-al-Rahman Muhamad Arif.
Rise of Saddam Hussein
1968 July 17 - A Ba'th-led coup ousts Arif
and Gen Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr becomes president. Saddam Hussein, relative of Bakr,
emerges as Vice President, deputy head of the Revolution Command Council (RCC),
and chief interlocutor with the Kurds.
1970 March 11 - RCC and
Mullah Mustafa Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), sign a
1972 - Iraq nationalizes the Iraq Petroleum
Company (IPC). Iran and Iraq are the region's major oil-producers and vie for
dominance in the Gulf.
1973 - In the wake of an attempted coup
against Bakr, Saddam Hussein consolidates his control of the internal security
services and management of oil resources.
1974 - Iraq grants
limited autonomy to the Kurds, in accord with the 1970 agreement, but the KDP
rejects it. KDP rebellion fails as Iran withdraws support in exchange for
possession of disputed Shatt al-Arab islet between Iraq and Iran.
1975 March - At a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Algiers, Iraq and Iran sign a treaty ending their
1979 January 16 - Islamic Revolution ousts the
Shah of Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini, who had lived in Iraq from 1964-1978, returns
to Tehran in February.
1979 July 16 - President Al-Bakr resigns
and is succeeded by Vice President Saddam Hussein. Within days, Saddam executes
at least 20 potential rivals, members of the Ba'th Party and military.
1979 September - Military skirmishes and propaganda war increase
between Iraq and Iran.
1980 September 4 - Iran shells Iraqi border towns.
On September 17 Iraq abrogates the 1975 treaty with Iran.
September 22 - Iraq attacks Iranian airbases.
1980 September 23 -
Iran bombs Iraqi military and economic targets.
1981 June 7 -
Israel attacks an Iraqi nuclear research center at Tuwaythah near Baghdad.
1986 March - UN Secretary General reports Iraq's
use of mustard gas and nerve agents against Iranian soldiers, with significant
usage in 1981 and 1984.
1988 February-September- Iraq military
operation "Anfal" results in 50,000-100,000 deaths throughout northern Iraq.
Iraq uses chemical weapons, mass executions and forced relocation to terrorize
March 16 - Iraq attacks the Kurdish town of Halabjah with mix of poison gas and
nerve agents, killing 5000 residents.
1988 August 20 - The
Iran-Iraq war ends in stalemate; an estimated 1 million soldiers are killed in
eight years of fighting. A ceasefire comes into effect to be monitored by the UN
Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG).
1989 Iraq sends
military hardware to Lebanon in a proxy war with Syria.
Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait
1990 August 2 - Iraq invades Kuwait and
is condemned by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 660, which calls
for the full withdrawal.
1990 August 6 - UNSC Resolution 661
imposes economic sanctions on Iraq.
1990 August 8 - Iraq appoints
puppet regime in Kuwait that declares a merger with Iraq.
November 29 - UNSC Resolution 678 authorizes the states cooperating with Kuwait
to use "all necessary means" to uphold UNSC Resolution 660; UN orders Iraqi
withdrawal by January 15, 1991.
1991 January 17 - The Gulf War
starts with coalition forces begin aerial bombing of Iraq, "Operation Desert
1991 February 24 - The start of a ground operation;
liberation of Kuwait occurs February 27.
1991 March 3 - Iraq
accepts the terms of a ceasefire. The primary ceasefire resolution is UNSCR 687
(April 3) requiring Iraq to end its weapons of mass destruction programs,
recognize Kuwait, account for missing Kuwaitis, return Kuwaiti property and end
support for international terrorism. Iraq is required to end repression of its
1991 Mid-March/early April - Iraqi military forces
suppress rebellions in the south and north of the country, creating a
humanitarian disaster on the borders of Turkey and Iran.
1991 April 8 - A plan for the establishment of a UN
safe-haven in northern Iraq, north of the latitude 36 degrees north, for the
protection of Kurds is approved at a European Union meeting in Luxembourg. On
April 10, the US orders Iraq to end all military action in this area.
1991 April - Working in cooperation with the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) is established to
ensure Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction and to establish long-term
monitoring program to see it remains free of prohibited weapons.
1992 August 26 - A no-fly zone, which prohibits the flights of
Iraqi planes, is established in southern Iraq, south of latitude 32 degrees
1993 June 27, US forces launch a cruise missile attack on
Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Al-Mansur district, Baghdad, in response for
the attempted assassination of former U.S. President George Bush in Kuwait in
1994 May 29 Saddam Hussein becomes prime minister and
1994 November 10 - The Iraqi National Assembly
recognizes Kuwait's borders and its independence.
1995 April 14 -
UNSC Resolution 986 allows the partial resumption of Iraq's oil exports to buy
food and medicine. It is not accepted or implemented by Iraq until December
1996 August 31 - In response to a call for aid from the
KDP, Iraqi forces launch an offensive into the northern no-fly zone and capture
1996 September 3 - U.S. extends the southern no-fly zone
to latitude 33 degrees north.
1996 December 12 - Saddam Hussein's
elder son Uday is seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.
1998 October 31 - Iraq ends all forms of cooperation with the
UNSCOM and expels inspectors.
1998 December 16-19 - U.S. and U.K.
launch a bombing campaign "Operation Desert Fox" to destroy suspected nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons programs.
1999 January 4 - Iraq
asks the UN to replace its US and UK staff in Iraq.
19 - Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, spiritual leader of the
Shi'a, is assassinated in Najaf in southern Iraq.
17 - UNSC Resolution 1284 creates the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
Commission (UNMOVIC) to replace UNSCOM. Iraq rejects the resolution.
2000 March 1 - Hans Blix assumes the post of Executive Chairman
2000 October - Iraq resumes domestic passenger
flights, the first since the 1991 Gulf War. Commercial air links re-established
with Russia, Ireland and Middle East. Regime invests more revenue in the general
2000 November - Iraq rejects new weapons inspections
2000 December - Iraq temporarily halts oil exports
after the UN rejects Iraq's request that buyers pay a 50-cent-a-barrel surcharge
into an Iraqi bank account not controlled by the UN.
Free-trade zone agreements set up with neighboring countries. Rail link with
Turkey re-opened in May for the first time since 1981.
February - Britain and U.S. carry out bombing raids to try and disable Iraq's
air defense network.
2001 May - Saddam Hussein's son Qusay
elected to the leadership of the ruling Ba'th Party, fueling speculation that he
is being groomed to ensure the Takriti clan's hold on power in Iraq.
2002 February 11-15 - For the first time since 1992, Iraq hosts a
UN human rights expert. During the preceding years, the international community
documented and reported allegations of gross human rights abuses in Iraq,
including summary executions; arbitrary arrest, systematic torture 'in its most
cruel forms'; coercion by means of reprisals against a family members; and mass
discrimination regarding access to food supplies and health care.
2002 May - UNSC Resolution 1409 overhauls the sanctions regime
goods review list to focus on military and dual-use equipment and streamline
approval of civilian goods for commercial sale in Iraq.
5 - In talks with UN Secretary General, Iraq rejects weapons inspections
2002 August 2 - In a letter to the UN Secretary
General, Iraq invites Hans Blix to Iraq for technical discussions on remaining
2002 August 19 - UN Secretary General rejects
Iraq's proposal as the "wrong work program" but renews offer to facilitate the
return of inspectors in accordance with UNSC resolution 1284, passed in 1999.
The resolution calls for UNMOVIC inspectors to spend 60 days conducting active
inspections to determine what has changed since U.N. weapons inspectors were
expelled in 1998 and what needs to be done for Iraq to be rid of all chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons.
2002 September 12 - U.S.
President George Bush, addressing the UN General Assembly, challenges the UN to
confront the "grave and gathering danger" of Iraq — or stand aside as the United
States and likeminded nations act. The UN Security Council begins consultations
on drafting a new resolution to compel Iraq to comply with previous resolutions.
2002 November 8 - UN Security Council unanimously adopt
Resolution 1441 outlining an enhanced inspection regime for Iraq's disarmament
to be conducted by the U.N. Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission
(UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
November 13 - Iraq accepts U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 and informs the
UN Secretary General that it will work with the resolution.