A few weeks after the invasion of Iraq, coalition forces began a long occupation, marked by almost immediate chaos. Groups held down by Saddam's regime rose up, and groups who opposed them struck back. Militias based in Iraq began a long insurgency against the occupation, and terrorist organizations joined the fight, escalating levels of brutality with each attack. Dozens of battles were fought across the country, with mounting tolls on the insurgents, the allied troops, and the civilian population caught in the middle. From 2003 to 2010, progress toward a new government and reconstruction was made in fits and starts, punctuated by frequent bombings, assassinations, and uprisings. Ten years later, we look back in a three-part series. Today's entry focuses on the period during which the majority of the war took place, after the 2003 invasion and just prior to the 2011 withdrawal.
U.S. Army Pvt. Joe Armstrong of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division searches the rooftop of a house during an operation in the Amariyah neighborhood of west Baghdad, Iraq, on Monday, August 13, 2007.
(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A construction worker removes debris from inside the destroyed Education building December 11, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A man reads an Iraqi newspaper in the northern town of Tikrit after morgue photos of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay were published for the first time, on July 26, 2003. Hoping to convince Iraqis that the two men were dead, the U.S. military released photos of the pair on Thursday and allowed a small group of media to view the bodies.
Wrecks of Iraqi military vehicles lie in a dump on the outskirts of Baghdad, on May 25, 2003. The vehicles brought here were destroyed when U.S.-led strikes used depleted uranium shells against tanks and other armored vehicles during the war that ousted Saddam Hussein. Iraqi doctors and scientists are worried that birth defects and childhood cancers could surge in the aftermath of the latest conflict, not unlike medical problems in southern Iraq after the mildly radioactive munitions were first used in the 1991 Gulf War.
This unsourced picture shows ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein being dragged from hiding following his capture by US troops, on December 13, 2003 in an underground hole at a farm in the village of ad-Dawr, near his hometown of Tikrit in northern Iraq. The picture is one of a series of images of the deposed dictator unauthorized for release by the US army that has been circulating in recent days on the internet. The man holding him was later identified as an Iraqi-American named Samir, who was the translator for the U.S. Special Forces that helped find Hussein.
British soldiers come under attack in the southern Iraqi town of Basra, on Monday March 22 2004, during a protest by unemployed Iraqi civilians who failed to get jobs with the local customs office, and also condemned the assassination of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin in Gaza City earlier in the day.
(AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)
Former hostage Thomas Hamill, center, is seen with two U.S. Army soldiers, shortly after his escape south of Tikrit, in this picture released on Monday, May 3, 2004. Hamill, who escaped from captivity during the weekend, left Iraq and stopped by a military hospital in Germany for a check-up, a U.S. military official said.
(AP Photo/U.S Army)
In this March 31, 2004 photo, Iraqis chant anti-American slogans as charred bodies hang from a bridge over the Euphrates River in Fallujah, west of Baghdad. A convoy containing four American contractors from the private military company Blackwater USA had been ambushed, all four inside were killed.
(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
In this undated photo, Charles Graner, a U.S. Army reservist appears poised to punch a Iraqi detainee at Abu Ghraib Prison as other detainees lay bound at the hands and hooded. Detainee at right appears to be partially clothed. Outrage among Iraqis and much of the world erupted as photographic evidence surfaced of torture and abuse inside the prison in 2004.
(Photo courtesy of Washington Post via Getty Images)
British private contractor Michael Fitzpatrick thanks his U.S. Army nurse Jayme Sells while recovering from a suicide bomb attack in an American military hospital in Baghdad, on October 15, 2004. Fitzpatrick said that he was drinking coffee in the Green Zone Cafe Thursday when a suicide bomber detonated in one of two explosions that killed 6 people and wounded many more.
(AP Photo/John Moore)
An Iraqi boy looks at the bodies of four men laying next to their burning car after they were attacked by gunmen in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, on December 17, 2004. Insurgents attacked a car carrying at least three Westerners, killing them and their Iraqi driver, and chopping off the head of one victim, local witnesses said.
Combination handout pictures released on December 17, 2004, (upper left) U.S. Marine Platoon Gunnery Sergeant Ryan P. Shane, from the 1st Battalion of the 8th Marine Regiment pulls a fatally wounded comrade to safety while under fire during a military operation in Fallujah. (upper right) Shane and another member of 1/8 pulled their fatally wounded comrade under fire. (lower left) Shane (left) is hit by insurgent fire and (lower right) lies wounded.
(Reuters/USMC/Cpl. Joel A. Chaverri)
(1 of 2) Samar Hassan screams after her parents were killed by U.S. Soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division in a shooting January 18, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq. The troops fired on the Hassan family car when it unwittingly approached them during a dusk patrol in the tense northern Iraqi town. Parents Hussein and Camila Hassan were killed instantly, and a son Rakan, 11, was seriously wounded in the abdomen.
(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
(2 of 2) Rakan Hassan, 12, ambles about the halls of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 11, 2006. Rakan's parents were shot and killed and he was gravely wounded by U.S. soldiers in an accidental shooting on January 18, 2005 in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar. The incident was widely publicized, and ultimately led to Rakan's treatment in Boston. With nerve damage to his abdomen and spine, doctors thought Rakan might never walk again, but an intensive physical therapy regimen has brought back the use of his legs and he can now walk with assistance.
(Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
Kristin Kenney of Edison, New Jersey, sits at the grave of her boyfriend, Army Sgt. Dennis Flanagan, while Members of the 289th Military Police Honor Guard plant flags at grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 25, 2006. Flanagan died in Iraq on January 21, 2006.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A U.S. soldier at a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq, takes down an older image, to display the latest image purporting to show the body of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida-linked militant who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings, kidnappings and hostage beheadings in Iraq. Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced on June 8, 2006.
(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
A human skull with blindfold still on lies on a mass grave containing human skeletons and clothes from persons allegedly executed during the regime of former President Saddam Hussein and now unearthed in a shallow grave, in a remote desert south of Baghdad in Iraq, on June 3, 2006.
(AP Photo/Erik de Castro)
Saddam Hussein stands as an unseen witness is sworn in for testimony during his trial in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, in Iraq, on October 19, 2006. Saddam and six other co-defendants faced charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their roles in Operation Anfal, a military offensive against the Kurds in 1987-88.
(AP Photo/David Furst)
Hundreds of locals gather around the scene of a massive car bomb attack, on July 1, 2006, in the Sadr City area of Baghdad. A car bomb exploded in the morning outside of a popular Baghdad market killing 45 and wounding 41, while 14 vehicles and 22 shops and stalls were destroyed, said police.
(AP Photo/Mohammed Hato)
A U.S. soldier from Alpha company 1-17 regiment of the 172th brigade searches a house as women and children look on, in eastern Baghdad, on October 3, 2006. The U.S military has been performing scout missions aimed at preparing security operations to stop sectarian violence in the capital.
(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
This video image released by Iraqi state television shows Saddam Hussein's guards wearing ski masks and placing a noose around the deposed leader's neck moments before his execution, on December 30. 2006. Clutching a Quran and refusing a hood, Saddam Hussein went to the gallows before sunrise, executed by vengeful countrymen after a quarter-century of remorseless brutality that killed countless thousands and led Iraq into disastrous wars against the United States and Iran.
(AP Photo/IRAQI TV)
Marine Sgt. Merlin German (left) poses for photos with Lt. Gen. James F. Amos during German's promotion ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, on May 21, 2007. German was recovering from burns over 97 percent of his body caused by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He later died, in April of 2008, following a minor skin graft surgery.
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A woman grieves as she takes her dead six-year-old son into her arms. The boy, Dhiya Thamer, was killed when their family car came under fire by unknown gunmen in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, on September 16, 2007. The boy's ten-year old brother, Qusay, was injured in the attack as the family returned from enrolling the children in school, where Dhiya was to begin his first year.
(AP Photo/Adem Hadei)
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, right, is confronted by Code Pink member Desiree Fairooz, her hands painted red, as she arrived to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, on October 24, 2007, before the House Foreign Relations Committee hearing regarding US policy in the Middle East, where she spoke about Iraq, Iran, and the Israel Palestinian conflict.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Iraqi workers begin a reconstruction project aimed at restoring the destroyed historic shrine of the Shiite Imam al-Askari in the northern city of Samrra on February 5, 2008. Work began on restoring the revered shrine, badly damaged in a bombing that unleashed a wave of bitter sectarian violence across Iraq almost two years previous, an AFP correspondent said.
(Dia Hamid/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraq war veteran Sgt. Juan Arredondo, one of the first recipients of a bionic hand with independently moving fingers called the i-Limb, shakes a reporters hand during an interview on July 23, 2007 in New York. Arredondo's bionic hand has finger "joints" that flex and bend like natural fingers.
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
An Iraqi man throws a shoe at President George W. Bush (seen ducking the shoe in inset image) during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on December 14, 2008, in Baghdad. Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi broadcast journalist threw two shoes at Bush, one after another, during the news conference. Bush ducked both throws. As he threw the shoes, al-Zaidi reportedly shouted "This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," and "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq." Muntadhar al-Zaidi was dragged away by security, arrested, and spent nine months in prison for the incident.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci - Inset via APTN)
(2 of 2) Iraqi Army soldiers lay dead and wounded moments after a suicide attack on a celebration marking Army Day in the Karradah neighborhood of central Baghdad, on January 6, 2008. Two Iraqi army soldiers threw themselves atop a suicide bomber, but the attacker was able to detonate an explosives vest, killing the two soldiers and another nine people. The civilian from the previous photo was among those killed, his foot visible at right.
(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)