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The 2003 invasion of Iraq lasted from 19 March 2003 to 1 May 2003 and signaled the start of the conflict that later came to be known as the Iraq War, which was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom by the United States. The invasion consisted of 21 days of major combat operations, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland, invaded Iraq and deposed the Ba'athist government of Saddam Hussein. The invasion phase consisted primarily of a conventionally-fought war which concluded with the capture of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad by American forces. Four countries participated with troops during the initial invasion phase, which lasted from 19 March to 9 April 2003. These were the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland. 36 other countries were involved in its aftermath. In preparation for the invasion, 100,000 U.S. troops were assembled in Kuwait by 18 February. The coalition forces also received support from Kurdish irregulars in Iraqi Kurdistan. According to U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the coalition mission was "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people." Former chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council Richard A. Clarke believes Bush took office with a predetermined plan to invade Iraq. General Wesley Clark, the former Supreme NATO Allied Commander and Joint Chiefs of Staff Director of Strategy and Policy, describes in his 2003 book, Winning Modern Wars, his conversation with a military officer in the Pentagon shortly after 9/11 regarding a plan to attack seven Middle Eastern countries in five years: "As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan." Others place a much greater emphasis on the impact of the 11 September 2001 attacks, and the role this played in changing U.S. strategic calculations, and the rise of the freedom agenda. According to Blair, the trigger was Iraq's failure to take a "final opportunity" to disarm itself of alleged nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that U.S. and British officials called an immediate and intolerable threat to world peace. In 2005, the Central Intelligence Agency released a report saying that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. (via Freebase)