NASA GSFC Landsat/LDCM EPO Team
On March 19, 2003, the U.S. and allies invaded Iraq toppling leader Saddam Hussein over the course of three weeks of combat. While the initial invasion phase was swift, the Iraqi War did not come to a close until December 2011. During the initial invasion, 44 oil wells were set on fire by Iraqis in an attempt to thwart the invading air forces. In the Landsat 5 image on the right, the inky black smoke from the burning oil wells can be seen obscuring large parts of southern and western Iraq. In the before image on the left, the city is a silver-gray.