The invasion of Iraq in 2003, led by the United States, was an illustration of the overwhelming conventional military power of the Western world. In just three weeks, Iraqi forces had been swept aside and the Coalition had occupied Baghdad. Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, the Iraqi President, was a fugitive in his own country and there were scenes of celebration at his demise. Yet soon after the invasion, the Americans announced that Iraq was to be de-Ba’athised, ordering that all members of the Ba’ath Party, who were implicated in the crimes committed by Saddam, were to be removed from positions of power. In addition, it was declared that the Iraqi armed forces were to be dismantled, temporarily depriving thousands of their income. These announcements, coupled with a fear that the Americans might re-engineer the entire country contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, had the effect of generating resistance from Basra to Baghdad. Ba’ath Party loyalists believed they could never be reconciled to the occupation forces and chose to fight on.1 Some Iraqis fought in the hope of forcing the Americans out of their country, while others hoped for material gain.2 Fears that the Shia majority might take power and persecute the Sunnis led to sectarian violence. The fighting, by groups with different if sometimes overlapping agendas, escalated into an insurgency.
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