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Iraq War Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

The Iraq War started in 2003 and lasted through 2011. This lesson will teach you about things that led up to the war, why a group of countries invaded Iraq, what happened after the Iraqi dictator was removed, and some other interesting information about this war.

Before the Iraq War

Iraq is a Middle Eastern country that wasn't friendly toward its neighbors. In 1990, Iraq was controlled by a cruel dictator named Saddam Hussein (pronounced suh-DAHM who-SANE). He used his military to start the Gulf War in the 1990s, invading a small country on Iraq's southeastern border called Kuwait (pronounced koo-WAIT).

Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein

In order to keep Iraq from taking it over, a group of countries led by the US went to Kuwait and kicked Iraq out.

Because Iraq lost the Gulf War, they had to let other countries come in and inspect their weapons from time to time, the way your parents check your room to make sure you cleaned it like you were supposed to.

Iraq and Kuwait map
Iraq and Kuwait map

In the Gulf War, Iraq had weapons it wasn't supposed to, so those countries, including the United States, were making sure that Saddam Hussein wasn't developing new weapons of mass destruction, or WMDs, which could kill a lot of people. WMDs include nuclear weapons, weapons that use deadly diseases to infect people, and weapons that use chemicals like poisonous gas.

But by the early 2000s, Saddam Hussein wasn't being cooperative or letting inspectors check his weapons.

Then, on September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by radical Islamic terrorists. After that attack, the US worried that Saddam Hussein was helping terrorists like those who attacked the US and would give them WMDs.

Phase One of the Iraq War

Because President George W. Bush still didn't think Iraq was letting inspectors look at his weapons and was hiding WMDs, he told Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq.

When Hussein didn't leave, President Bush brought a group of many countries together, including Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Poland and attacked Iraq on March 20, 2003.

The US-led troops soon took control of the capital of Iraq, called Baghdad (pronounced BAG-dad), and the rest of the country. Eventually, they also caught Saddam Hussein.

US tanks in Baghdad
US tanks in Baghdad

Although no WMDs were found, some think Hussein may have moved them into Syria before the attack.

Phase Two of the Iraq War

Eventually, a new government took over in Iraq. Saddam Hussein was convicted of his crimes and was killed in 2006.

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