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The Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF–I), often referred to as the coalition forces, was a military command during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and much of the ensuing Iraq War, led by the United States of America (Operation Iraqi Freedom), United Kingdom (Operation TELIC), Australia, Spain and Poland, responsible for conducting and handling military operations.

The MNF-I replaced the previous force, Combined Joint Task Force 7, on 15 May 2004, and was later itself reorganized into its successor, United States Forces – Iraq, on 1 January 2010. The Force was significantly reinforced during the Iraq War troop surge of 2007. As of May 2011, all non-U.S. coalition members had withdrawn from Iraq,[3] with the U.S. military withdrawing from the country on December 18, 2011, thus, bringing about an end to the Iraq War.[4]

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, which does humanitarian work and has a number of guards and military observers, has also operated in Iraq since 2003. The U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq was not a part of the MNF-I, but a separate entity. The NATO Training Mission – Iraq, was in Iraq from 2004 to December 2011, where it trained the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police.

Definition

The news media in the United States generally used the term "U.S.-led coalition" to describe Multi-National Force – Iraq, as the vast majority of military forces in MNF-I were contributed from the United States.[5] The majority of countries that deployed military forces to Iraq as part of the MNF-I generally confined them to their respective military installations,[5] due to widespread violence throughout the country.

History

The MNF-I's objectives, as expressed in an annex to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546, a June 2004 letter from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to the U.N. Security Council, were stated to be:

The MNF under unified command is prepared to continue to contribute to the maintenance of security in Iraq, including by preventing and deterring terrorism and protecting the territory of Iraq. The goal of the MNF will be to help the Iraqi people to complete the political transition and will permit the United Nations and the international community to work to facilitate Iraq's reconstruction.

— Colin Powell, UNSCR 1546 (June 2004)[6]

The government of Iraq enjoyed broad international recognition, including from constituent countries of the Arab League. Jordan assisted in training of Iraqi security forces, and the United Arab Emirates donated military equipment, though purchased from Switzerland.

As of September 2008, over 545,000 Iraqi security forces have been trained.[7]

In November 2006, the United Nations Security Council voted to extend the mandate of the multinational force in Iraq until the end of 2007. The move was requested by the Iraqi government, which said the troops were needed for another year while it built up its own security forces.[8] In December 2007, the Security Council unanimously approved resolution 1790, which extended the mandate until December 31, 2008.[9]

In December 2008, the American and Iraqi governments signed the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, which covered only American troops. It allowed them to remain in the country until 2011, but changed the status on several issues. Iraq regains sovereignty of its airspace, gains sovereignty over American contractors U.S. forces who commit crimes, if they are both off-duty and off base. The U.S. were given until July 31, 2009 to withdraw from Iraqi cities and the whole agreement was subject to a referendum of Iraqi voters held prior to June 30, 2009. If the referendum failed to approve the agreement, the Iraqi government would have given the U.S. until July 31, 2010 to withdraw completely.

On December 18, 2008 the Iraqi government published a law that covered the status of non-U.S. foreign forces in the country from the end of the U.N.'s mandate on December 31, 2008 through to their withdrawal on July 31, 2009. The Iraqi parliament voted on Saturday December 20, 2008, after a second reading of this law, to reject it and send it back to the Iraqi cabinet. The majority of Iraqi parliamentarians wanted it to be made into a binding international agreement rather than simply presenting it as a local Iraqi law.[10] A compromise was reached and the law passed on December 23, 2008, with the Iraqi government agreeing to then sign bilateral agreements with the affected countries.[11]

List of countries in the coalition

Troop deployment in Iraq 2003–2011