December 1998 United States and United Kingdom launch a bombing campaign, "Operation Desert Fox," to destroy Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs.
2000 Iraqi media lacks independence from the state. The majority of Iraqi media outlets are at least partially owned by the state and those that are not state-owned are still remain under the control of Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein's son. According to Saudi-owned London newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Hussein uniformly barred the publication of political cartoons and singled out certain journalists for writing a manner considered too inflammatory or critical.
2001 The UN Refugee Agency reports, "The Iraqi government, which is the country's sole Internet service provider, began offering limited online access to the public for the first time in 2000. Internet content is heavily censored, and only a few locations allow users to surf the Web. Private Internet access is forbidden, modems and cellular telephones are said to be banned, and fax machines can be used only with government permission. It is also a criminal offense to possess a satellite dish."
February 2001 US and British forces continue their bombing campaigns.
May 2001 Saddam's son Qusay is elected to lead the ruling Baath Party.
October 2002 The government orders a number of foreign journalists to leave the country.
November 2002 Weapon inspectors sponsored by a UN resolution place greater pressure on the Iraqi government, ensuring international consequences will ensue if evidence of illegal weapons are found.
March 2003 The Committee to Protect Journalists reports, "David Filipov, a reporter for the Boston Globe, is expelled from Iraq for using his satellite phone to file a story from his room at the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad."
The U.K. declares it will no longer engage in diplomatic relations with Iraq and U.S. President Bush gives Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq or else war will begin.
Iraq war starts with America firing missiles on Baghdad on March 20th.
May 2003 The Global Policy Forum reports, "The Security Council ended economic sanctions against Iraq with Resolution 1483. The resolution called for the creation of a "Development Fund for Iraq,"(DFI) to administer proceeds from the export sales of Iraq's oil, as well as funds remaining from the UN Oil-for-Food Programme and other assets seized from the defunct regime. The DFI was placed under the control of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the administrative arm of the US-UK occupation forces. Resolution 1483 also called for the creation of an International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB), to promote transparency and financial accountability of the DFI. Though the US and the UK had promised Council members that the IAMB would be "the eyes and ears of the international community," procedural wrangling and US manipulation delayed the oversight process for many months. Meanwhile, billions flowed into the DFI, and some Council members grew irate at what they called a "black hole" of unaccountability."
June 2003 Iraqi officials continue to expel international journalists from the country. This case involves 2 correspondents, a producer and a cameraman, all working for CNN.
August 2003 Deadly bombings in Baghdad continue, specifically the Jordanian embassy and UN Headquarters are hit. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports, "[Mazen] Dana, a veteran conflict cameraman for Reuters news agency, was killed by machine gun fire from a U.S. tank near the capital, Baghdad. Dana was struck in the torso while filming near Abu Ghraib Prison, outside Baghdad, in the afternoon."
December 2003 Saddam Hussein is captured in Tikrit.
January 2004 The BBC Reports, "The United States hands out a fresh multi-billion dollar contract to two firms to rebuild Iran's infrastructure. Both the firms awarded the US$1.8 billion deal Bechtel and Parsons are already on the ground in Iraq…Both are also major donors to the ruling Republican Party and President George W. Bush's 2000 election campaign."
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi presides as head of the interim government, shifting some responsibility from the U.S. to local hands.
October 2004 The Washington Post reports, "A U.N.-appointed investigator probing corruption in the world body's oil-for-food program in Iraq published today a list of all 4,734 companies that traded with Saddam Hussein's government through the arrangement. The 300-page list provides the most comprehensive public account to date of Iraq's business dealings under the former program, under which Iraq was allowed to sell oil to purchase humanitarian supplies."
Global Policy Forum reports "IAMB and independent accounting firm KPMG conducted audits. Findings show that the CPA did not have adequate accounting systems in place, resulting in unknown quantities of petroleum being illegally exported from Iraq . Subsequent audits conducted by the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction (SIGIR) have found that, of the US$23 billion of Iraqi money held in the DFI, US$8.8 billion remains unaccounted for."
December 2004 Dale Stoffel, an arms dealer in Iraq, is killed. He held large contracts in Iraq and powerful lobbying influence in Washington. His legacy and dealings with both the U.S government and the Iraqi interim government were steeped in suspicions of corruption.
January 2005 Elections for a Transitional National Assembly take place. The Shia United Iraqi wins majority .
March 2005 The Financial Times, reporting on Transparency International's annual report, states "the reconstruction of Iraq could become the biggest corruption scandal in history if strict anti-bribery measures are not adopted rapidly."
May 2005 The BBC reports, "US civilian authorities in Iraq have been unable to account properly for nearly $100m (£53m) earmarked for rebuilding, US financial auditors say. Two audits found signs of potential fraud regarding the money, which includes oil revenue and assets seized from Saddam Hussein's government. A third questioned the use of almost $18bn in US taxpayers' money for reconstruction projects in Iraq."
October 2005 In a press release, the UN publicly acknowledges the bribery and abuse involved the organization's Iraqi "Oil-for-Food" Program. According to the report, nearly US$2 billion were diverted by Hussein's regime. Saddam Hussein faces trial for crimes against humanity. The trial lasts a year and in 2006, Hussein is found guilty and sentenced to death.
May 2006 An article featured in the Los Angeles Times reports that corruption has scaled up since the war started, especially in the transportation sector. Taking comments from Judge Radhi Radhi, the head of the Commission on Public Integrity in Iraq, the article goes on to state that the "Defense Ministry officials spent $1 billion on questionable arms purchases" and that "the Interior Ministry has at least 1,100 ghost employees, costing it $1.3 million a month." Transparency International reported that, "In Iraq, public institutions are even struggling to find out how many employees they have on their payrolls." Unaccountable weapons and equipment may total more than US$500 million, U.S. military officials acknowledged in 2006.
September 2006 The Commission on Public Integrity (CPI) has investigated over 3,500 corruption cases in Iraq. Less than 50 have been tried in court. Of the US$45 billion designated for reconstruction, including money from the Iraqi Security Forces Fund, the Development Fund for Iraq and the U.S. government, at least 25 percent remains unaccounted for.
October 2006 A former Iraqi minister accuses officials in the former interim government of stealing about US$800 million meant for buying military equipment. About US$1.2 billion had been allocated for new weapons, of which US$400 million was spent on outdated equipment. The rest was stolen.
November 2006 The Financial Times reports Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Salih as stating that "uncontrolled levels of corruption in Iraq are fuelling the country's sectarian conflict and creating a 'political economy' of violence."
A U.S. Congressional hearing, set up to trace US$22 billion of Iraq's reconstruction money, has labeled the rebuilding of Iraq a "huge scandal." According to the lead inspector, Gen. Stuart Bowen, US$8.8 billion in cash was flown from the United States to Baghdad and handed over to the new Iraqi government even though the administration had no security or accounting systems in place. The money, some of which was used to pay the salaries of Iraqi civil servants who did not exist, remains unaccounted for.
December 2006 Saddam Hussein is executed by hanging for crimes against humanity.
The Financial Times reports, "Slightly more than a year after a United Nations inquiry discovered a staggering level of graft by officials and corporations worldwide in buying cheap oil and selling goods to Iraq experts warn the great majority of alleged perpetrators are escaping scot-free."
2007 According to Committee to Protect Journalists, the U.S. military failed to fully investigate or properly account for the killings of journalists in Iraq. CPJ reports, "After a CPJ Freedom of Information Act request, the Pentagon disclosed its 2004 investigation exonerating U.S. troops in the killings of two Al-Arabiya journalists at a Baghdad checkpoint that year. The report failed to address contradictory witness reports, including statements from Al-Arabiya employees, that at least two U.S. soldiers fired directly on the journalists' vehicle. Neither did it address testimony from Al-Arabiya employees that a U.S. tank may have briefly collided with the press vehicle moments before soldiers opened fire. The report also failed to reconcile the military's conclusions with statements by Al-Arabiya employees that the checkpoint was poorly illuminated."
February 2007 The Committee to Protect Journalists reports, "On February 25, Ministry of Interior forces raided the Baghdad offices of Wasan Media and detained 11 employees. The ministry claimed that Wasan, which provides technical support to news organizations, supplied the banned satellite station Al-Jazeera with footage of an Iraqi woman who alleged she was raped by three Iraqi police officers. Wasan denied supplying footage to Al-Jazeera and noted that the interview was filmed by several news organizations and was widely available. The Wasan workers were charged with incitement to terror under Iraq's antiterrorism law, but a criminal court in Baghdad dismissed the charges and freed the men several months later."
April 2007 As of this month, Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been in U.S. military custody for one year without charge.
June 2007 The Washington Post reports, "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reinstated the law, under which no governmental corruption case can be instituted against an Iraqi minister or former minister without the minister's permission, thus protecting them from being prosecuted for corruption. As a result, more than 48 investigations or prosecutions initiated between September 2006 and February 2007 by Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity (CPI) were stopped, according to the March 11, 2007, memo prepared for the embassy's Anti-Corruption Working Group… The already blocked cases involved possible corruption at 11 ministries and the government's Central Bank. These included probes of contracts aiding rehabilitation of the devastated Iraqi economy for power plant repairs, bridges and oil production equipment; the theft of dozens of oil trucks carrying a half-million dollars' worth of oil; and 'violations' of a contract for armor vests, the memo stated."
July 2007 A report written by U.S. advisers to Iraq's anti-corruption agency finds supplies and medicine in strife-torn Baghdad's overcrowded hospitals siphoned off and sold elsewhere for profit because of corruption in the Iraqi Ministry of Health.
August 2007 The Associated Press reports that corruption whistleblowers in Iraq have been "vilified, fired and demoted." Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned and interrogated for reporting illegal arms sales. Congress gave more than US$30 billion to rebuild Iraq, and at least US$8.8 billion of it has disappeared, according to a government reconstruction audit.
September 2007 The Blackwater scandal is uncovered, prompting questions into the killing of 17 citizens.
October 2007 The House passes the Resolution on Iraq Corruption. According to a press release from the U.S. Committee for Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman Waxman "called the State Department abuses of the classification system 'outrageous' and demanded answers to questions about corruption in Iraq."
May 2008 Two former senior-level employees of Baghdad's Office of Accountability and Transparency warn U.S. Senate Democrats of problems of understaffing and a lack of commitment to truly combat corruption in Iraq.
June 2008 A BBC program investigation estimates that "US$23 billion may have been lost, stolen or improperly accounted for in Iraq." The BBC goes on to state that "a U.S. gagging order prevents discussion of the allegations. The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top U.S. companies."
Australia ends its combat operations in Iraq.
CPJ reports 129 journalists have been killed since the Iraq war started in 2003.