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October 2, 2008
Timeline: Power shifts in Iraq over the past five years


AUDIO: Scott Peterson, a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, reports from Baghdad on uncertain future for the Sons of Iraq.

Today in Iraq, two suicide bombings killed at least 24 people in Baghdad mosques, marking the end of the Ramadan holy month.

Yesterday, the U.S. military transferred responsibility for the “Sons of Iraq” or the “Awakening Councils” to the Shia-led Iraqi government. The U.S.-backed paramilitary force is a group of 100,000 Sunnis credited with taming violence in Iraq.

The question remains whether the Awakening Councils will be able to integrate into the Shia-led Iraqi government.

Over the last five years, the Iraqi government has endured significant governmental changes. Below is a timeline of the major power transfers within Iraq.


March 19 – U.S. President Bush declares war against Iraq. Days later, the U.S. gains control of Baghdad.

May 24 – U.S. administrator Paul Bremer abolishes the Baath Party and other institutions of Saddam Hussein’s former regime.


March 8 – The government council signs an interim constitution.

June 28 – After the government council is dissolved on June 1, the U.S. transfers power to an interim government led by Iyad Allawi.


January 30 – About 8 million Iraqis vote for the National Assembly (the interim parliament). The Shia United Iraqi Alliance wins a majority and many Sunnis boycott the election.

April 6 – Iraq’s parliament names Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani the president of the transitional government and Shia politician Ibrahim Jaafari is later named prime minister.

October 25 – Iraqis approve a new constitution.

December 15 – Iraqis hold the first full-term parliamentary election since the invasion.


March 16 – The new parliament convenes.

April 22 – After Jalal Talabani is reelected president by the parliament, he asks Nouri al-Maliki to form a government as Iraq’s permanent prime minister, following outgoing transitional leader Ibrahim Jaafari.

December 30 – Saddam Hussein is executed by hanging.


August 12 – Sunni members of the main Iraqi Accordance Front bloc withdraw from the cabinet due to disagreements with Prime Minister Maliki’s power arrangement. Kurdish and Shia leaders ally to support his government.

December 17 – Britain hands over its remaining controlled territory, the southern Basra province, to the Iraqi government.


January 12 – Parliament passes legislation to allow former Baath party members to return to government jobs and public life.

July 19 – The main Sunni Arab bloc rejoins the Shia-led government.

September 1 – U.S. forces hand control of the Sunni province of Anbar to the Shia-led Iraqi government.

September 24 – Iraq passes laws that enable provincial elections next year.

October 1 – The U.S. turns over control of the Awakening Councils to the Iraqi government.

Source: BBC, The New York TimesReuters

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