Facts on the Iraq War | A Quick Guide to the Second Gulf War

The Iraq War or Second Gulf War took a nasty turn in 2005.
An explosion rocks Baghdad in 2005. Muhammad Fala'ah / Getty Images

When: The Iraq War began on March 20, 2003 and continued to December 18, 2011. It lasted for eight years and eight months.

Where: The Iraq War took place in Iraq.


The United States led a multi-national force including troops from the US, the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, South Korea, Italy, Georgia, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Spain, El Salvador, Romania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Slovakia, Lithuania, Portugal, Thailand, New Zealand, the Philippines, Norway, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Honduras, Japan, Iceland, Nicaragua, Mongolia, and several more.

After the overthrow of the Iraqi regime, the multi-national force was joined by Iraqi army and Awakening Coucil troops.

Initially, the multi-national force faced off against the Republic of Iraq's army. Once the regime was overthrown, it fought Ba'ath Party loyalist troops; Sunni insurgent groups such as Ansar al-Sunnah and the Islamic Army of Iraq; and Shia insurgent groups like the Asaib Ahl al-Haq and the Mahdi Army.

Maximum troop deployments:

Coalition forces: foreign troops - 176,000; Iraqi Security Forces - 805,000; Awakening militias - 103,000; Kurdish Peshmerga and Border Patrols - 400,000

Opposition: Iraqi Army - 375,000; Sunni Insurgency - 70,000; Mahdi Army - 60,000

Who won the Iraq War?

The US-led coalition quickly defeated the Iraqi Army and overthrew the government, but the resulting chaos and bloodshed was hardly a clear victory.

Estimated total casualties:

Coalition troops - 24,219 killed, 117,961 wounded

Iraqi soldiers and combatants - estimated 28,821 to 37,405 killed

Civilian combat deaths - 134,000; civilian violent deaths - approximately 600,000

For more information, see also:

Iraq War Timeline

Iraq War Facts and Statistics

Biography of Saddam Hussein

Biography of George W. Bush

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Szczepanski, Kallie. "Facts on the Iraq War | A Quick Guide to the Second Gulf War." ThoughtCo, Apr. 30, 2013, thoughtco.com/quick-guide-second-gulf-war-iraq-195810. Szczepanski, Kallie. (2013, April 30). Facts on the Iraq War | A Quick Guide to the Second Gulf War. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/quick-guide-second-gulf-war-iraq-195810 Szczepanski, Kallie. "Facts on the Iraq War | A Quick Guide to the Second Gulf War." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/quick-guide-second-gulf-war-iraq-195810 (accessed December 13, 2017).