Seven years after the United Nations War against Iraq was supposed to increase stability in the Persian Gulf region, that troubled part of the world was more unstable than ever before.
Iraq had fragmented after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein occurred nearly three years after the end of the 43 day war. The Republic of Kurdistan was established in the northwestern part of the country, and a Shiite run theocracy, closely aligned with Iran, came to power in the south. The central part of Iraq was still barely controlled by Sunni Muslim members of the drastically diminished Ba'ath party, who were caught in a long running civil war with the Kurds, Shiites and other ethnic groups.
The United States contributed to this instability by taking nearly two years to finish withdrawing its ground troops from the Persian Gulf region. Arab countries that had sided with the U.S. led coalition against Iraq found themselves facing increasingly vocal demonstrations and riots, organized by radical Islamic fundamentalists who were still extremely upset that their governments had sided with the infidels against a fellow Muslim country. Several of these governments did not survive, and the new governments were far more radical in their relations with the West than their predecessors had been.
This story is about what happened when this and other historical forces converged during the latter years of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first, and how those forces affected the world.