After nearly twenty months of US occupation, Iraq is still a hotbed of violence, with daily attacks by insurgents on coalition troops, Iraqi security forces and officials, and civilians.
The US death toll in Iraq passed 1,200, while the number of US troops wounded in action passed 10,000. Meanwhile a British medical journal's research estimated that 100,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the war in Iraq.
Scenes of prisoner abuse by US military personnel at Abu Ghraib prison undermined the US' claims of being the liberators of Iraq. Human rights groups called for investigations into what they described as a widespread pattern of abuse, while the US military said that the cases were isolated incidents and vowed to punish the perpetrators.
Hostage-taking became commonplace in Iraq, and most of the hostages were foreign aid workers or contractors caught by militants. Several hostages were decapitated or otherwise slain in a gruesome fashion, with videos of the killings finding their way on to the Internet.
Meanwhile, despite protests from the international community and from within Iraq, the US launched an offensive against the city of Fallujah, which had long been described as a "no-go-zone" controlled by insurgents.
The city was virtually leveled in the month-long operation, although militants quickly shifted their operations to the northern city of Mosul. The US military claimed that hundreds of militants were slain.
In other news, US President George W. Bush vowed that Iraq would hold democratic elections on Jan. 30. But with little progress being made with the security situation in the country, many commentators believe the upcoming elections will be a bloodbath.