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The War on Terror Timeline

A brief history of the war on terror.

Harry Soane

on 11 May 2013

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Transcript of The War on Terror Timeline

Operation Enduring Freedom
The official name used by the US for the invasion of Afghanistan and a number of smaller military commitments in the likes of the Philippines and Somalia.
By November the 26th, the coalition forces had control of the North with the remaining Taliban and al-Qaeda forces fleeing to the South to the mountainous regions or to neighboring Pakistan.
While by 2002 Taliban and al-Qaeda forces were severely splintered they still mounted resistance, mainly in the form of guerrilla warfare.
The war was never truly 'won', however coalition forces are scheduled to withdraw over the next few years.
As of May 1st, 2013, over 3,200 coalition forces have died in the conflict, including more than 444 British forces. The War On Terror The End Tony Blair
Tony Blair got a taste for war on a number of occasions before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, including in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.
Also motivated by what is known as the 'Blair Doctrine'.
Outlined in a speech in Chicago 1999
A moral obligation to intervene against oppressive dictatorships around the world.
He believed in the use of diplomacy but, if that should fail, it was legitimate to use force to oblige aggressor states to conform to internationally agreed standards of conduct.
He was also motivated by his beliefs and principles, possibly linking to his Christian values, and repeatedly claimed that 'Barbarity cannot be allowed to defeat justice'. Reasons for Invasion
The invasion began on October 7th, 2001 - around six weeks after 9/11.
al-Qaeda, at this point being harbored by the Taliban in Afghanistan, an Islamic fundamentalist regime led by Mohammed Omar, were blamed for the attacks despite not claiming responsibility until 2004.
The US demanded that the Taliban hand over OBL and al-Qaeda leadership, but the Taliban declined to extradite him without evidence.
President Bush told Blair he would make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbored them - a view supported by Blair.
As such, the invasion took place with US & Uk forces, later joined by Canada, Australia, France and other Western Allies, in an effort to topple the Taliban regime and target al-Qaeda at the same time. Afghanistan
2001 The grounds for invasion
The main justification for the Iraq war was that the British, notably the Joint Intelligence Committee and the infamous 'dodgy dossier', had intelligence that, as Tony Blair quoted from the dossier to the Commons, that 'Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programme is active, detailed and growing.'
This did not lead directly to war, however, as Blair first wanted to go through the UN process to gain support and for a second Resolution to be passed. The first resolution, Resolution 1441, required Saddam Hussein to prove to UN inspectors that he had abandoned all his WMDs as required to do so after the Gulf War. The investigators were satisfied, but by no means were their findings conclusive.
Regardless, UK and US forces invaded Iraq on 20th March 2003 without a UN resolution and, in the UKs case, without domestic support Iraq Invasion
2003 Retaliation?
The Iraq war had a different effect from what was intended, with the removal of Saddam Hussein not proving an adequate enough reason, and encouraged the spread of terrorism. The death of more than 100,000 innocent civilians was a powerful recruitment tool.
The conduct of the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan alienated Islamic youths in the UK, reflected by the British nationality of those that carried out the attacks.
By declaring war on Afghanistan and Iraq, Blair and Bush had in fact encouraged the forces of terrorism that they were trying to defeat.
The British hostility to Islam which the war revealed led to a retaliation by extremist Muslims who became jihads in order to defend their faith from the west.
A Guardian/ICM poll in 2005 after the bombings showed that two thirds of the British public believed the London bombings were linked to the Iraq War. 2005 London Bombings Prelude to War George W. Bush
Elected US President in 2000, during his time in office he was highly influence by a 'Neo-Con' agenda - a policy based on upholding American interests around the world through preemptive strikes.
Top people in the Bush administration, most notably Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, and Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, were keen Neoconservatives who were instrumental in planning the response to 9/11.
'The Axis of Evil' became a common phrase used throughout his presidency after 9/11, referring to governments he accused of helping terrorism - notably Iran, Iraq and North Korea. al Qaeda - activity before 2001 As Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden and other Arab fighters from the US-backed mujahideen movement form "al-Qaeda", which in Arabic means "the base". The network begins looking for new jihads (holy wars). 1988 1996 4 October, 1993 - Eighteen US servicemen are killed in Somalia after members of a Somali militia shoot down two Black Hawk helicopters. The US believes that al-Qaeda fighters helped train those responsible for the attack.

26 February 1993 - Six people are killed and more than 1000 injured by a 500kg bomb planted in the car park of the World Trade Center in New York.
Al-Qaeda's involvement is unclear, but some analysts believe that after the attack the group sought out the plotter Ramzi Yousef and offered him money. Yousef is serving a life sentence for the attack. His uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, currently in US custody, is thought to have helped plan the 11 September attacks. May 1996 - During the mid-1990s, Sudan comes under growing international pressure to expel Bin Laden. It is not clear whether he is actually forced to leave the African country, but in May 1996 he returns to Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda's bases in Afghanistan are later described in the Arabic press as semi-autonomous "emirates" in the remote mountains, far beyond the control of the government in Kabul. 1993 7 August 1998 - More than 220 people are killed when lorries laden with bombs drove into the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

On 20 August, the US retaliates with airstrikes against alleged al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. Bin Laden is later indicted by a US court for the bombings in East Africa.

22 February 1998 - A fatwa issued by Bin Laden and four of his associates in the name of the "World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders" calls for the killing of Americans, saying it is the "individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it". 1998 The Trigger
11 September 2001 - Nineteen suspected al-Qaeda members hijack four planes and fly them into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania. The worst ever attacks on US soil kill about 3000 people.

Six weeks later the US launches attacks on Afghanistan, from where Bin Laden has been operating under the protection of the ruling Taleban. After the war, hundreds of suspected al-Qaeda fighters are sent to the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where many are still detained. 2000 2001 12 October 2000 - Two suicide attackers ram a boat carrying explosives into the USS Cole near the Yemeni port of Aden, killing 17 US sailors.
In 2004, six suspected al-Qaeda militants are charged in connection with the attack by a Yemeni court. 'First Desert fox and then Kosovo are vital in
appreciating Blair's behavior when it came to the full-scale Iraq War. They taught him that bombing rarely works. They suggested that, threatened with ground invasion by superior forces, dictators will back down' Page 551 Consequences & Criticism
Coalition forces initially removed the Taliban from power and crippled the al-Qaeda forces in the area, but have achieved little else since.
The first Presidential elections took place in 2004 with Parliamentary elections taking place in 2005. Since the invasion hundreds of schools and Mosques have been constructed while the country's infrastructure has also been vastly improved.
The Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police and Afghan Border Police have been trained to assume the security of the nation.
The war has been criticized by
the former head of MI5 as a 'huge overreaction,
as well as David Miliband calling it a mistake
and NigelLawson describing the mission as
'wholly unsuccessful and indeed unproductive.' Legality of the war
The main aspect of the legality of the Iraq War which is called into disrepute is the 'dodgy dossier', the evidence in which was allegedly exaggerated and some of the sources of the document were unattributed - notably the claims that Iraq was obtaining Uranium from Niger and the claim that the WMDs could be activated in 45 minutes.
The lack of national and domestic support too proved to be problematic. Britain's failure to secure a second Resolution amidst calls for more time to be given for inspection meant that Britain would have to commit to the war unilaterally alongside the US - the near polar opposite of the Kosovo situation
At least 750,000 people demonstrated against the Iraq War on the 15th February 2003. In his resignation speech Robin Cook, the foreign secretary, said he could not support 'a war that has neither international agreement nor domestic support.' He also criticized the US position, stating that 'our partners in Washington are less interested in disarmament than they are in regime change in Iraq. ' Dr. David Kelly
A WMD expert and leading UN investigator confided to a BBC journalist two months before his death that the government had exaggerated the JIC dossier which provided the justification for war.
The journalist, Andrew Gilligan, then went public on radio and in the press and accused the government of having 'sexed up' the dossier, pointing fingers at Alistair Campbell in particular.
After Kelly was revealed as the source, he took his own life on the 17th July.
The government were cleared of any direct involvement in his death by the Hutton Inquiry, but that has done little to stop conspiracies and calls for another inquiry. Iraq Deaths
In total, nearly 5,000 coalition troops were killed during the war, with that number increasing by 20,000 when including allied Iraqi forces. The estimates for total deaths of Iraqi forces number around 36,000.
Estimate also predict that at least 100,000 citizens were killed during the war, with countless more having their lives disrupted and destroyed by the war.
The total British losses amount to 179. The 100th British serviceman to have been killed during the conflict on 31st January 2006, Corporal Gordon Prichard, had a month earlier been photographed meeting, and smiling with Tony Blair.
Saddam Hussein was captured by Iraqi forces on 13th December 2003, and was executed on the 30th December 2006. Or not?
Extreme Jihadist terrorism predated the Iraq war, as proved with the 9/11 attacks.
British intentions from the 1990s onwards was beneficial to Muslim communities, as proved in the First Gulf War, Bosnia and in Kosovo.
Even though many thousands of innocent civilians were killed during the Iraq war, these deaths were mainly caused by the Iraqi forces loyal to Saddam Hussein as opposed to US led coalition.
The fact that the bombers were British National rather than al-Qaeda or those loyal to Saddam suggests that any link between the bombings and the Iraq war is not a direct one and most probably the bombings were as a result of a culmination of different factors.
A Policy Exchange survey in 2006 found that only 7% of British Muslims were supportive of al-Qaeda. On July 7th, 2005, four separate suicide bombings, on a bus in Tavistock Square and on three underground trains, 52 civilians were killed. In the response to the attacks an innocent young Brazilian man was mistaken for another suicide bomber and was shot dead by the police.
A worrying aspect of the bombings was that the four bombers were all British-born citizens., possibly alienated by British foreign policy in Afghanistan and Iraq. 'The report into the worst such attack in Britain later concluded that they were not part of an al-Qaeda cell, though two had visited Pakistan camps, and that the rucksack bombs had been constructed for a few hundred pounds. Despite government insistence that the war in Iraw had not made Britain more of a terrorist target , the Home Office investigation asserted that part of the four terrorists' motivation was British foreign policy.'
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