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Coordinates: 33°N 44°E / 33°N 44°E / 33; 44

Republic
Republic
of Iraq

جمهورية العراق (Arabic) کۆماری عێراق (Kurdish)

Flag

Coat of arms

Motto: الله أكبر (Arabic) "Allahu Akbar" (transliteration) "God is the Greatest"

Anthem: "Mawtini" "موطني" (English: "My Homeland")

Capital and largest city Baghdad 33°20′N 44°26′E / 33.333°N 44.433°E / 33.333; 44.433

Official languages

Arabic Kurdish

Religion Islam

Demonym Iraqi

Government Federal parliamentary republic

• President

Fuad Masum

• Prime Minister

Haider al-Abadi

Legislature Council of Representatives

Independence
Independence
from the United Kingdom

• Kingdom

3 October 1932 (1932-10-03)

•  Republic
Republic
declared

14 July 1958

• Current constitution

15 October 2005

Area

• Total

437,072 km2 (168,754 sq mi) (58th)

• Water (%)

1.1

Population

• 2016 estimate

37,202,572[1] (36th)

• Density

82.7/km2 (214.2/sq mi) (125th)

GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate

• Total

$612 billion[2] (34th)

• Per capita

$16,551[2] (71st)

GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate

• Total

$240.006 billion[2] (47th)

• Per capita

$6,491[2] (88th)

Gini (2012) 29.5[3] low

HDI (2014)  0.654[4] medium · 121st

Currency Iraqi dinar
Iraqi dinar
(IQD)

Time zone AST (UTC+3)

Drives on the right

Calling code +964

ISO 3166 code IQ

Internet TLD .iq

Constitution of Iraq, Article 4 (1st).

Iraq
Iraq
(/ɪˈræk/, /ɪˈrɑːk/ ( listen) or /aɪˈræk/; Arabic: العراق‎ al-‘Irāq; Kurdish: عێراق‎ Eraq), officially known as the Republic
Republic
of Iraq
Iraq
(Arabic: جُمُهورية العِراق‎  Jumhūrīyyat al-‘Irāq; Kurdish: کۆماری عێراق‎ Komari Eraq), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey
Turkey
to the north, Iran
Iran
to the east, Kuwait
Kuwait
to the southeast, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
to the south, Jordan
Jordan
to the southwest and Syria
Syria
to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. The main ethnic groups are Arabs
Arabs
and Kurds; others include Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians
Circassians
and Kawliya.[5] Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism
Yezidism
and Mandeanism
Mandeanism
also present. The official languages of Iraq
Iraq
are Arabic
Arabic
and Kurdish. Iraq
Iraq
has a coastline measuring 58 km (36 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert.[6] Two major rivers, the Tigris
Tigris
and Euphrates, run south through Iraq
Iraq
and into the Shatt al-Arab
Shatt al-Arab
near the Persian Gulf. These rivers provide Iraq
Iraq
with significant amounts of fertile land. The region between the Tigris
Tigris
and Euphrates
Euphrates
rivers, historically known as Mesopotamia, is often referred to as the cradle of civilisation. It was here that mankind first began to read, write, create laws and live in cities under an organised government—notably Uruk, from which "Iraq" is derived. The area has been home to successive civilisations since the 6th millennium BC. Iraq
Iraq
was the centre of the Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian empires. It was also part of the Median, Achaemenid, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, Ayyubid, Mongol, Safavid, Afsharid and Ottoman empires.[7] Iraq's modern borders were mostly demarcated in 1920 by the League of Nations when the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
was divided by the Treaty
Treaty
of Sèvres. Iraq
Iraq
was placed under the authority of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
as the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. A monarchy was established in 1921, and the Kingdom of Iraq
Kingdom of Iraq
gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Iraqi Republic
Republic
created. Iraq was controlled by the Arab
Arab
Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. After an invasion by the United States
United States
and its allies in 2003, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power, and multi-party parliamentary elections were held in 2005. The US presence in Iraq ended in 2011,[8] but the Iraqi insurgency continued and intensified as fighters from the Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War
spilled into the country. Out of the insurgency came a highly destructive group calling itself ISIL, which took large parts of the north and west. It has since been largely defeated. Disputes over the sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan continue. A referendum about the full sovereignty of Iraqi Kurdistan was held on 25 September 2017. Iraq
Iraq
is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab
Arab
League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
and the IMF. It is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates (provinces) and one autonomous region (Iraqi Kurdistan). The country's official religion is Islam. Culturally, Iraq
Iraq
has a very rich heritage and celebrates the achievements of its past in pre-Islamic times and is known for its poets. Its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class as well as producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets.

Contents

1 Name 2 History

2.1 Pre-historic era 2.2 Ancient Iraq

2.2.1 Bronze Age 2.2.2 Iron Age 2.2.3 Babylonian and Persian periods

2.3 Middle Ages 2.4 Ottoman Iraq 2.5 British administration and independent Kingdom 2.6 Republic
Republic
and Ba'athist Iraq 2.7 2003–2007 2.8 2008–present

3 Geography

3.1 Climate

4 Government and politics

4.1 Law 4.2 Military 4.3 Foreign relations 4.4 Human rights 4.5 Administrative divisions

5 Economy

5.1 Oil and energy 5.2 Water supply
Water supply
and sanitation 5.3 Infrastructure

6 Demographics

6.1 Ethnic groups 6.2 Languages 6.3 Urban areas 6.4 Religion 6.5 Diaspora and refugees 6.6 Health 6.7 Education

7 Culture

7.1 Music 7.2 Art and architecture 7.3 Media 7.4 Cuisine 7.5 Sport

8 Technology

8.1 Mobile phones 8.2 Satellite 8.3 Undersea cable

9 See also 10 References 11 Bibliography 12 Further reading 13 External links

Name The Arabic
Arabic
name العراق al-ʿIrāq has been in use since before the 6th century. There are several suggested origins for the name. One dates to the Sumerian city of Uruk
Uruk
(Biblical Hebrew Erech) and is thus ultimately of Sumerian origin, as Uruk
Uruk
was the Akkadian
Akkadian
name for the Sumerian city of Urug, containing the Sumerian word for "city", UR.[9][10] An Arabic
Arabic
folk etymology for the name is "deeply rooted, well-watered; fertile".[11] During the medieval period, there was a region called ʿIrāq ʿArabī ("Arabian Iraq") for Lower Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and ʿIrāq ʿajamī ("Foreign Iraq"),[12] for the region now situated in Central and Western Iran.[13] The term historically included the plain south of the Hamrin Mountains and did not include the northernmost and westernmost parts of the modern territory of Iraq.[14] Prior to the middle of the 19th century, the term Eyraca Arabic
Arabic
was commonly used to describe Iraq.[15] The term Sawad
Sawad
was also used in early Islamic times for the region of the alluvial plain of the Tigris
Tigris
and Euphrates
Euphrates
rivers, contrasting it with the arid Arabian desert. As an Arabic
Arabic
word, عراق means "hem", "shore", "bank", or "edge", so that the name by folk etymology came to be interpreted as "the escarpment", viz. at the south and east of the Jazira Plateau, which forms the northern and western edge of the "al- Iraq
Iraq
arabi" area.[16] The Arabic
Arabic
pronunciation is [ʕiˈrɑːq]. In English, it is either /ɪˈrɑːk/ (the only pronunciation listed in the Oxford English Dictionary and the first one in Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary) or /ɪˈræk/ (listed first by MQD), the American Heritage Dictionary, and the Random House Dictionary. The pronunciation /aɪˈræk/ is frequently heard in US media. In accordance with the 2005 Constitution, the official name of the state is the " Republic
Republic
of Iraq" (Jumhūrīyyat al-‘Irāq). History Main article: History of Iraq Pre-historic era Between 65,000 BC and 35,000 BC northern Iraq
Iraq
was home to a Neanderthal
Neanderthal
culture, archaeological remains of which have been discovered at Shanidar Cave[17] This same region is also the location of a number of pre- Neolithic
Neolithic
cemeteries, dating from approximately 11,000 BC.[18] Since approximately 10,000 BC, Iraq
Iraq
(alongside Asia Minor
Asia Minor
and The Levant) was one of centres of a Caucasoid
Caucasoid
Neolithic
Neolithic
culture (known as Pre-Pottery Neolithic
Neolithic
A) where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period (PPNB) is represented by rectangular houses. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone, gypsum and burnt lime (Vaisselle blanche). Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Further important sites of human advancement were Jarmo
Jarmo
(circa 7100 BC),[18] the Halaf culture
Halaf culture
and Ubaid period
Ubaid period
(between 6500 BC and 3800 BC).[19] These periods show ever-increasing levels of advancement in agriculture, tool-making and architecture. Ancient Iraq

This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. (June 2014)

Cylinder Seal, Old Babylonian Period, c.1800 BC, hematite. The king makes an animal offering to Shamash. This seal was probably made in a workshop at Sippar.[20]

Main article: History of Mesopotamia The historical period in Iraq
Iraq
truly begins during the Uruk
Uruk
period (4000 BC to 3100 BC), with the founding of a number of Sumerian cities, and the use of Pictographs, Cylinder seals
Cylinder seals
and mass-produced goods.[21] The "Cradle of Civilization" is thus a common term for the area comprising modern Iraq
Iraq
as it was home to the earliest known civilisation, the Sumerian civilisation, which arose in the fertile Tigris- Euphrates
Euphrates
river valley of southern Iraq
Iraq
in the Chalcolithic (Ubaid period). It was here, in the late 4th millennium BC, that the world's first writing system and recorded history itself were born. The Sumerians were also the first to harness the wheel and create City
City
States, and whose writings record the first evidence of Mathematics, Astronomy, Astrology, Written Law, Medicine
Medicine
and Organised religion. The language of the Sumerians is a language isolate. The major city states of the early Sumerian period were; Eridu, Bad-tibira, Larsa, Sippar, Shuruppak, Uruk, Kish, Ur, Nippur, Lagash, Girsu, Umma, Hamazi, Adab, Mari, Isin, Kutha, Der and Akshak. The cities to the north like Ashur, Arbela (modern Irbil) and Arrapkha (modern Kirkuk) were also extant in what was to be called Assyria
Assyria
from the 25th century BC; however, at this early stage, they were Sumerian ruled administrative centres.

Victory stele of Naram-Sin of Akkad.

Bronze Age In the 26th century BC, Eannatum
Eannatum
of Lagash
Lagash
created what was perhaps the first empire in history, though this was short-lived. Later, Lugal-Zage-Si, the priest-king of Umma, overthrew the primacy of the Lagash
Lagash
dynasty in the area, then conquered Uruk, making it his capital, and claimed an empire extending from the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
to the Mediterranean.[22] It was during this period that the Epic of Gilgamesh originates, which includes the tale of The Great Flood. From the 29th century BC, Akkadian
Akkadian
Semitic names began to appear on king lists and administrative documents of various city states. It remains unknown as to the origin of Akkad, where it was precisely situated and how it rose to prominence. Its people spoke Akkadian, an East Semitic language.[23] During the 3rd millennium BC, a cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism. The influences between Sumerian and Akkadian
Akkadian
are evident in all areas, including lexical borrowing on a massive scale—and syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This mutual influence has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian
Akkadian
of the 3rd millennium BC as a Sprachbund.[24] From this period, the civilisation in Iraq
Iraq
came to be known as Sumero-Akkadian.

Bill of sale of a male slave and a building in Shuruppak, Sumerian tablet, circa 2600 BC.

Between the 29th and 24th centuries BC, a number of kingdoms and city states within Iraq
Iraq
began to have Akkadian
Akkadian
speaking dynasties; including Assyria, Ekallatum, Isin
Isin
and Larsa. However, the Sumerians remained generally dominant until the rise of the Akkadian Empire
Akkadian Empire
(2335–2124 BC), based in the city of Akkad in central Iraq. Sargon of Akkad, originally a Rabshakeh to a Sumerian king, founded the empire, he conquered all of the city states of southern and central Iraq, and subjugated the kings of Assyria, thus uniting the Sumerians and Akkadians in one state. He then set about expanding his empire, conquering Gutium, Elam
Elam
and had victories that did not result into a full conquest against the Amorites
Amorites
and Eblaites of Ancient Syria. After the collapse of the Akkadian Empire
Akkadian Empire
in the late 22nd century BC, the Gutians
Gutians
occupied the south for a few decades, while Assyria reasserted its independence in the north. This was followed by a Sumerian renaissance in the form of the Neo-Sumerian Empire. The Sumerians under king Shulgi
Shulgi
conquered almost all of Iraq
Iraq
except the northern reaches of Assyria, and asserted themselves over the Gutians, Elamites
Elamites
and Amorites, destroying the first and holding off the others. An Elamite invasion in 2004 BC brought the Sumerian revival to an end. By the mid 21st century BC, the Akkadian
Akkadian
speaking kingdom of Assyria had risen to dominance in northern Iraq. Assyria
Assyria
expanded territorially into the north eastern Levant, central Iraq, and eastern Anatolia, forming the Old Assyrian Empire
Empire
(circa 2035–1750 BC) under kings such as Puzur- Ashur I, Sargon I, Ilushuma and Erishum I, the latter of whom produced the most detailed set of law yet written[citation needed]. The south broke up into a number of Akkadian speaking states, Isin, Larsa
Larsa
and Eshnunna
Eshnunna
being the major ones. During the 20th century BC, the Canaanite speaking Amorites
Amorites
began to migrate into southern Mesopotamia. Eventually, they began to set up small petty kingdoms in the south, as well as usurping the thrones of extant city states such as Isin, Larsa
Larsa
and Eshnunna.

Hammurabi, depicted as receiving his royal insignia from Shamash. Relief on the upper part of the stele of Hammurabi's code of laws.

One of these small Amorite
Amorite
kingdoms founded in 1894 BC contained the then small administrative town of Babylon
Babylon
within its borders. It remained insignificant for over a century, overshadowed by older and more powerful states, such as Assyria, Elam, Isin, Ehnunna and Larsa. In 1792 BC, an Amorite
Amorite
ruler named Hammurabi
Hammurabi
came to power in this state, and immediately set about building Babylon
Babylon
from a minor town into a major city, declaring himself its king. Hammurabi
Hammurabi
conquered the whole of southern and central Iraq, as well as Elam
Elam
to the east and Mari to the west, then engaged in a protracted war with the Assyrian king Ishme-Dagan
Ishme-Dagan
for domination of the region, creating the short-lived Babylonian Empire. He eventually prevailed over the successor of Ishme-Dagan
Ishme-Dagan
and subjected Assyria
Assyria
and its Anatolian colonies. By the middle of the eighteenth century BC, the Sumerians had lost their cultural identity and ceased to exist as a distinct people.[25][26] Genetic and cultural analysis indicates that the Marsh Arabs
Arabs
of southern Iraq
Iraq
are probably their most direct modern descendants.[27][28][29] It is from the period of Hammurabi
Hammurabi
that southern Iraq
Iraq
came to be known as Babylonia, while the north had already coalesced into Assyria hundreds of years before. However, his empire was short-lived, and rapidly collapsed after his death, with both Assyria
Assyria
and southern Iraq, in the form of the Sealand Dynasty, falling back into native Akkadian
Akkadian
hands. The foreign Amorites
Amorites
clung on to power in a once more weak and small Babylonia
Babylonia
until it was sacked by the Indo-European speaking Hittite Empire
Empire
based in Anatolia
Anatolia
in 1595 BC. After this, another foreign people, the Language Isolate speaking Kassites, originating in the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
of Ancient Iran, seized control of Babylonia, where they were to rule for almost 600 years, by far the longest dynasty ever to rule in Babylon. Iraq
Iraq
was from this point divided into three polities: Assyria
Assyria
in the north, Kassite
Kassite
Babylonia
Babylonia
in the south central region, and the Sealand Dynasty in the far south. The Sealand Dynasty was finally conquered by Kassite
Kassite
Babylonia
Babylonia
circa 1380 BC. The Middle Assyrian Empire
Empire
(1365–1020 BC) saw Assyria
Assyria
rise to be the most powerful nation in the known world. Beginning with the campaigns of Ashur-uballit I, Assyria
Assyria
destroyed the rival Hurrian-Mitanni Empire, annexed huge swathes of the Hittite Empire
Empire
for itself, annexed northern Babylonia
Babylonia
from the Kassites, forced the Egyptian Empire
Empire
from the region, and defeated the Elamites, Phrygians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Cilicians, Gutians, Dilmunites and Arameans. At its height, the Middle Assyrian Empire
Empire
stretched from The Caucasus
The Caucasus
to Dilmun
Dilmun
(modern Bahrain), and from the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
coasts of Phoenicia
Phoenicia
to the Zagros Mountains
Zagros Mountains
of Iran. In 1235 BC, Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria
Assyria
took the throne of Babylon, thus becoming the very first native Mesopotamian to rule the state.

Jehu, king of Israel, bows before Shalmaneser III of Assyria, 825 BC.

During the Bronze Age collapse
Bronze Age collapse
(1200–900 BC), Babylonia
Babylonia
was in a state of chaos, dominated for long periods by Assyria
Assyria
and Elam. The Kassites
Kassites
were driven from power by Assyria
Assyria
and Elam, allowing native south Mesopotamian kings to rule Babylonia
Babylonia
for the first time, although often subject to Assyrian or Elamite rulers. However, these East Semitic Akkadian
Akkadian
kings, were unable to prevent new waves of West Semitic migrants entering southern Iraq, and during the 11th century BC Arameans
Arameans
and Suteans entered Babylonia
Babylonia
from The Levant, and these were followed in the late 10th to early 9th century BC by the migrant Chaldeans who were closely related to the earlier Arameans. Iron Age After a period of comparative decline in Assyria, it once more began to expand with the Neo Assyrian Empire
Empire
(935–605 BC). This was to be the largest empire the region had yet seen, and under rulers such as Adad-Nirari II, Ashurnasirpal, Shalmaneser III, Semiramis, Tiglath-pileser III, Sargon II, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon
Esarhaddon
and Ashurbanipal, Iraq
Iraq
became the centre of an empire stretching from Persia, Parthia
Parthia
and Elam
Elam
in the east, to Cyprus
Cyprus
and Antioch
Antioch
in the west, and from The Caucasus
The Caucasus
in the north to Egypt, Nubia
Nubia
and Arabia
Arabia
in the south. The Arabs
Arabs
and the Chaldeans are first mentioned in written history (circa 850 BC) in the annals of Shalmaneser III. It was during this period that an Akkadian
Akkadian
influenced form of Eastern Aramaic was adopted by the Assyrians as the lingua franca of their vast empire, and Mesopotamian Aramaic began to supplant Akkadian
Akkadian
as the spoken language of the general populace of both Assyria
Assyria
and Babylonia. The descendant dialects of this tongue survive amongst the Mandaeans
Mandaeans
of southern Iraq
Iraq
and Assyrians of northern Iraq
Iraq
to this day.

Relief showing a lion hunt, from the north palace of Nineveh, 645–635 BC.

In the late 7th century BC, the Assyrian Empire
Empire
tore itself apart with a series of brutal civil wars, weakening itself to such a degree that a coalition of its former subjects; the Babylonians, Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, Parthians, Scythians
Scythians
and Cimmerians, were able to attack Assyria, finally bringing its empire down by 605 BC.[30] Babylonian and Persian periods The short-lived Neo-Babylonian Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
(620–539 BC) succeeded that of Assyria. It failed to attain the size, power or longevity of its predecessor; however, it came to dominate The Levant, Canaan, Arabia, Israel
Israel
and Judah, and to defeat Egypt. Initially, Babylon
Babylon
was ruled by yet another foreign dynasty, that of the Chaldeans, who had migrated to the region in the late 10th or early 9th century BC. Its greatest king, Nebuchadnezzar II, rivalled another non native ruler, the ethnically unrelated Amorite
Amorite
king Hammurabi, as the greatest king of Babylon. However, by 556 BC, the Chaldeans had been deposed from power by the Assyrian born Nabonidus
Nabonidus
and his son and regent Belshazzar. In the 6th century BC, Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
of neighbouring Persia
Persia
defeated the Neo-Babylonian Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
at the Battle of Opis
Battle of Opis
and Iraq
Iraq
was subsumed into the Achaemenid Empire
Empire
for nearly two centuries. The Achaemenids made Babylon
Babylon
their main capital. The Chaldeans and Chaldea
Chaldea
disappeared at around this time, though both Assyria
Assyria
and Babylonia
Babylonia
endured and thrived under Achaemenid rule (see Achaemenid Assyria). Little changed under the Persians, having spent three centuries under Assyrian rule, their kings saw themselves as successors to Ashurbanipal, and they retained Assyrian Imperial Aramaic as the language of empire, together with the Assyrian imperial infrastructure, and an Assyrian style of art and architecture.[citation needed]

The Greek-ruled Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
(in yellow) with capital in Seleucia on the Tigris, north of Babylon.

In the late 4th century BC, Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
conquered the region, putting it under Hellenistic Seleucid rule for over two centuries.[31] The Seleucids introduced the Indo-Anatolian and Greek term Syria
Syria
to the region. This name had for many centuries been the Indo-European word for Assyria
Assyria
and specifically and only meant Assyria; however, the Seleucids also applied it to The Levant
The Levant
(Aramea, causing both the Assyria
Assyria
and the Assyrians of Iraq
Iraq
and the Arameans
Arameans
and The Levant
The Levant
to be called Syria
Syria
and Syrians/Syriacs in the Greco-Roman
Greco-Roman
world.[32]

Flourished in the 2nd century, the strongly fortified Parthian city of Hatra
Hatra
shows a unique blend of both Classical and Persian architecture and art.[33][34]

The Parthians
Parthians
(247 BC – 224 AD) from Persia
Persia
conquered the region during the reign of Mithridates I of Parthia
Parthia
(r. 171–138 BC). From Syria, the Romans invaded western parts of the region several times, briefly founding Assyria
Assyria
Provincia in Assyria. Christianity
Christianity
began to take hold in Iraq
Iraq
(particularly in Assyria) between the 1st and 3rd centuries, and Assyria
Assyria
became a centre of Syriac Christianity, the Church of the East
Church of the East
and Syriac literature. A number of indigenous independent Neo-Assyrian
Neo-Assyrian
states evolved in the north during the Parthian era, such as Adiabene, Assur, Osroene
Osroene
and Hatra. The Sassanids of Persia
Persia
under Ardashir I
Ardashir I
destroyed the Parthian Empire and conquered the region in 224 AD. During the 240s and 250's AD, the Sassanids gradually conquered the small Neo Assyrian states, culminating with Assur
Assur
in 256 AD. The region was thus a province of the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
for over four centuries (see also; Asōristān), and became the frontier and battle ground between the Sassanid Empire and Byzantine Empire, with both empires weakening each other, paving the way for the Arab-Muslim conquest of Persia
Persia
in the mid-7th century. Middle Ages

The Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
at its greatest extent, c. 850.

The Arab
Arab
Islamic conquest in the mid-7th century AD established Islam in Iraq
Iraq
and saw a large influx of Arabs. Under the Rashidun Caliphate, the prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, moved his capital to Kufa
Kufa
when he became the fourth caliph. The Umayyad Caliphate
Umayyad Caliphate
ruled the province of Iraq
Iraq
from Damascus
Damascus
in the 7th century. (However, eventually there was a separate, independent Caliphate of Córdoba
Caliphate of Córdoba
in Iberia.) The Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
built the city of Baghdad
Baghdad
in the 8th century as its capital, and the city became the leading metropolis of the Arab and Muslim world
Muslim world
for five centuries. Baghdad
Baghdad
was the largest multicultural city of the Middle Ages, peaking at a population of more than a million,[35] and was the centre of learning during the Islamic Golden Age. The Mongols destroyed the city and burned its library during the siege of Baghdad
Baghdad
in the 13th century.[36] In 1257, Hulagu Khan
Hulagu Khan
amassed an unusually large army, a significant portion of the Mongol Empire's forces, for the purpose of conquering Baghdad. When they arrived at the Islamic capital, Hulagu Khan demanded its surrender, but the last Abbasid Caliph
Caliph
Al-Musta'sim refused. This angered Hulagu, and, consistent with Mongol strategy of discouraging resistance, he besieged Baghdad, sacked the city and massacred many of the inhabitants.[37] Estimates of the number of dead range from 200,000 to a million.[38]

The sack of Baghdad
Baghdad
by the Mongols.

The Mongols destroyed the Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
and Baghdad's House of Wisdom, which contained countless precious and historical documents. The city has never regained its previous pre-eminence as a major centre of culture and influence. Some historians believe that the Mongol invasion destroyed much of the irrigation infrastructure that had sustained Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
for millennia. Other historians point to soil salination as the culprit in the decline in agriculture.[39] The mid-14th-century Black Death
Black Death
ravaged much of the Islamic world.[40] The best estimate for the Middle East
Middle East
is a death rate of roughly one-third.[41] In 1401, a warlord of Mongol descent, Tamerlane
Tamerlane
(Timur Lenk), invaded Iraq. After the capture of Baghdad, 20,000 of its citizens were massacred.[42] Timur ordered that every soldier should return with at least two severed human heads to show him (many warriors were so scared they killed prisoners captured earlier in the campaign just to ensure they had heads to present to Timur).[43] Timur also conducted massacres of the indigenous Assyrian Christian
Christian
population, hitherto still the majority population in northern Mesopotamia, and it was during this time that the ancient Assyrian city of Assur
Assur
was finally abandoned.[44] Ottoman Iraq Main articles: Ottoman Iraq
Ottoman Iraq
and Mamluk dynasty of Iraq

The 1803 Cedid Atlas, showing the area today known as Iraq
Iraq
divided between "Al Jazira" (pink), "Kurdistan" (blue), "Iraq" (green), and "Al Sham" (yellow).

During the late 14th and early 15th centuries, the Black Sheep Turkmen ruled the area now known as Iraq. In 1466, the White Sheep Turkmen defeated the Black Sheep and took control. From the earliest 16th century, in 1508, as with all territories of the former White Sheep Turkmen, Iraq
Iraq
fell into the hands of the Iranian Safavids. Owing to the century long Turco-Iranian rivalry between the Safavids
Safavids
and the neighbouring Ottoman Turks, Iraq
Iraq
would be contested between the two for more than a hundred years during the frequent Ottoman-Persian Wars. With the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639, most of the territory of present-day Iraq
Iraq
eventually came under the control of Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
as the eyalet of Baghdad
Baghdad
as a result of wars with the neighbouring rival, Safavid Iran. Throughout most of the period of Ottoman rule (1533–1918), the territory of present-day Iraq
Iraq
was a battle zone between the rival regional empires and tribal alliances. By the 17th century, the frequent conflicts with the Safavids
Safavids
had sapped the strength of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and had weakened its control over its provinces. The nomadic population swelled with the influx of bedouins from Najd, in the Arabian Peninsula. Bedouin
Bedouin
raids on settled areas became impossible to curb.[45]

English archaeologist Austen Henry Layard
Austen Henry Layard
in the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, 1852.

During the years 1747–1831, Iraq
Iraq
was ruled by a Mamluk dynasty of Georgian[46] origin who succeeded in obtaining autonomy from the Ottoman Porte, suppressed tribal revolts, curbed the power of the Janissaries, restored order and introduced a programme of modernisation of economy and military. In 1831, the Ottomans managed to overthrow the Mamluk regime and imposed their direct control over Iraq. The population of Iraq, estimated at 30 million in 800 AD, was only 5 million at the start of the 20th century.[47] During World War I, the Ottomans sided with Germany
Germany
and the Central Powers. In the Mesopotamian campaign
Mesopotamian campaign
against the Central Powers, British forces invaded the country and initially suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Turkish army during the Siege of Kut (1915–1916). However, subsequent to this the British began to gain the upper hand, and were further aided by the support of local Arabs and Assyrians. In 1916, the British and French made a plan for the post-war division of Western Asia
Western Asia
under the Sykes-Picot Agreement.[48] British forces regrouped and captured Baghdad
Baghdad
in 1917, and defeated the Ottomans. An armistice was signed in 1918. During World War I, the Ottomans were defeated and driven from much of the area by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
during the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The British lost 92,000 soldiers in the Mesopotamian campaign. Ottoman losses are unknown but the British captured a total of 45,000 prisoners of war. By the end of 1918, the British had deployed 410,000 men in the area, of which 112,000 were combat troops.[citation needed] British administration and independent Kingdom Main articles: Mandatory Iraq
Mandatory Iraq
and Kingdom of Iraq

British troops in Baghdad, June 1941.

On 11 November 1920, Iraq
Iraq
became a League of Nations
League of Nations
mandate under British control with the name "State of Iraq". The British established the Hashemite king, Faisal I of Iraq, who had been forced out of Syria by the French, as their client ruler. Likewise, British authorities selected Sunni Arab
Arab
elites from the region for appointments to government and ministry offices.[specify][49][page needed] Faced with spiraling costs and influenced by the public protestations of the war hero T. E. Lawrence[50] in The Times, Britain replaced Arnold Wilson
Arnold Wilson
in October 1920 with a new Civil Commissioner, Sir Percy Cox.[51] Cox managed to quell a rebellion, yet was also responsible for implementing the fateful policy of close co-operation with Iraq's Sunni minority.[52] The institution of slavery was abolished in the 1920s.[53] Britain granted independence to the Kingdom of Iraq
Kingdom of Iraq
in 1932,[54] on the urging of King Faisal, though the British retained military bases, local militia in the form of Assyrian Levies, and transit rights for their forces. King Ghazi ruled as a figurehead after King Faisal's death in 1933, while undermined by attempted military coups, until his death in 1939. Ghazi was followed by his underage son, Faisal II. 'Abd al-Ilah served as Regent
Regent
during Faisal's minority. On 1 April 1941, Rashid Ali
Ali
al-Gaylani and members of the Golden Square staged a coup d'état and overthrew the government of 'Abd al-Ilah. During the subsequent Anglo-Iraqi War, the United Kingdom (which still maintained air bases in Iraq) invaded Iraq
Iraq
for fear that the Rashid Ali
Ali
government might cut oil supplies to Western nations because of his links to the Axis powers. The war started on 2 May, and the British, together with loyal Assyrian Levies,[55] defeated the forces of Al-Gaylani, forcing an armistice on 31 May. A military occupation followed the restoration of the pre-coup government of the Hashemite monarchy. The occupation ended on 26 October 1947, although Britain was to retain military bases in Iraq until 1954, after which the Assyrian militias were disbanded. The rulers during the occupation and the remainder of the Hashemite monarchy were Nuri as-Said, the autocratic Prime Minister, who also ruled from 1930 to 1932, and 'Abd al-Ilah, the former Regent
Regent
who now served as an adviser to King Faisal II. Republic
Republic
and Ba'athist Iraq Main articles: Iraqi Republic
Republic
(1958–68), Ba'athist Iraq, and Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War

The 14 July Revolution
14 July Revolution
in 1958.

In 1958, a coup d'état known as the 14 July Revolution
14 July Revolution
was led by the Brigadier General Abd al-Karim Qasim. This revolt was strongly anti-imperial and anti-monarchical in nature and had strong socialist elements. Numerous people were killed in the coup, including King Faysal II, Prince Abd al-Ilah, and Nuri al-Sa'id.[56] Qasim controlled Iraq
Iraq
through military rule and in 1958 he began a process of forcibly reducing the surplus amounts of land owned by a few citizens and having the state redistribute the land. He was overthrown by Colonel Abdul Salam Arif
Abdul Salam Arif
in a February 1963 coup. After the latter's death in 1966, he was succeeded by his brother, Abdul Rahman Arif, who was overthrown by the Ba'ath Party in 1968. Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
became the first Ba'ath President of Iraq
President of Iraq
but then the movement gradually came under the control of Saddam Hussein, who acceded to the presidency and control of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), then Iraq's supreme executive body, in July 1979. In 1979, the Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
took place. Following months of cross-border raids between the two countries, Saddam declared war on Iran
Iran
in September 1980, initiating the Iran– Iraq War
Iraq War
(or First Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
War). Taking advantage of the post-revolution chaos in Iran, Iraq
Iraq
captured some territories in southwest of Iran, but Iran recaptured all of the lost territories within two years, and for the next six years Iran
Iran
was on the offensive.[57][page needed] The war, which ended in stalemate in 1988, had cost the lives of between half a million and 1.5 million people.[58] In 1981, Israeli aircraft bombed an Iraqi nuclear materials testing reactor at Osirak and was widely criticised at the United Nations.[59][60] During the 8-year war with Iran, Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
extensively used chemical weapons against Iranians.[61] In the final stages of the Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War, the Ba'athist Iraqi regime led the Al-Anfal Campaign, a genocidal[62] campaign that targeted Iraqi Kurds,[63][64][65] and led to the killing of 50,000–100,000 civilians.[66] Chemical weapons
Chemical weapons
were also used against Iraqi Shia civilians during the 1991 uprisings in Iraq. In August 1990, Iraq
Iraq
invaded and annexed Kuwait. This subsequently led to military intervention by United States-led forces in the First Gulf War. The coalition forces proceeded with a bombing campaign targeting military targets[67][68][69] and then launched a 100-hour-long ground assault against Iraqi forces in Southern Iraq
Iraq
and those occupying Kuwait.

Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
meets Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
during the Iran- Iraq
Iraq
War. Hussein ruled Iraq
Iraq
from 1979 until 2003.

Iraq's armed forces were devastated during the war. Shortly after it ended in 1991, Shia and Kurdish Iraqis
Iraqis
led several uprisings against Saddam Hussein's regime, but these were successfully repressed using the Iraqi security forces and chemical weapons. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 people, including many civilians were killed.[70] During the uprisings the US, UK, France and Turkey, claiming authority under UNSCR 688, established the Iraqi no-fly zones
Iraqi no-fly zones
to protect Kurdish and Shiite
Shiite
populations from attacks by the Saddam regime's fixed-wing aircraft (but not helicopters). Iraq
Iraq
was ordered to destroy its chemical and biological weapons and the UN attempted to compel Saddam's government to disarm and agree to a ceasefire by imposing additional sanctions on the country in addition to the initial sanctions imposed following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqi Government's failure to disarm and agree to a ceasefire resulted in sanctions which remained in place until 2003. The effects of the sanctions on the civilian population of Iraq
Iraq
have been disputed.[71][72] Whereas it was widely believed that the sanctions caused a major rise in child mortality, recent research has shown that commonly cited data were fabricated by the Iraqi government and that "there was no major rise in child mortality in Iraq
Iraq
after 1990 and during the period of the sanctions."[73][74][75] An oil for food program was established in 1996 to ease the effects of sanctions. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the George W. Bush administration began planning the overthrow of Saddam's government and in October 2002, the US Congress passed the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States
United States
Armed Forces Against Iraq. In November 2002, the UN Security Council passed UNSCR 1441 and in March 2003 the US and its allies invaded Iraq. 2003–2007

The April 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Firdos Square
Firdos Square
in Baghdad
Baghdad
shortly after the Iraq War
Iraq War
invasion.

Main articles: 2003 invasion of Iraq, History of Iraq
History of Iraq
(2003–11), and Iraq
Iraq
War On 20 March 2003, a United States-organized coalition invaded Iraq, under the pretext that Iraq
Iraq
had failed to abandon its weapons of mass destruction program in violation of UN Resolution 687. This claim was based on documents provided by the CIA
CIA
and the British government[76] and were later found to be unreliable.[77][78] Following the invasion, the United States
United States
established the Coalition Provisional Authority to govern Iraq. In May 2003 L. Paul Bremer, the chief executive of the CPA, issued orders to exclude Baath Party members from the new Iraqi government (CPA Order 1) and to disband the Iraqi Army
Iraqi Army
(CPA Order 2).[79] The decision dissolved the largely Sunni Iraqi Army[80] and excluded many of the country's former government officials from participating in the country's governance, including 40,000 school teachers who had joined the Baath Party simply to keep their jobs,[81] helping to bring about a chaotic post-invasion environment.[82] An insurgency against the US-led coalition-rule of Iraq
Iraq
began in summer 2003 within elements of the former Iraqi secret police and army, who formed guerilla units. In fall 2003, self-entitled 'jihadist' groups began targeting coalition forces. Various Sunni militias were created in 2003, for example Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The insurgency included intense inter-ethnic violence between Sunnis and Shias.[83] The Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal came to light, late 2003 in reports by Amnesty International
Amnesty International
and Associated Press.

US Marines patrol the streets of Al Faw, October 2003.

The Mahdi Army—a Shia militia created in the summer of 2003 by Muqtada al-Sadr[84]—began to fight Coalition forces in April 2004.[84] 2004 saw Sunni and Shia militants fighting against each other and against the new Iraqi Interim Government installed in June 2004, and against Coalition forces, as well as the First Battle of Fallujah
Fallujah
in April and Second Battle of Fallujah
Second Battle of Fallujah
in November. The Sunni militia Jama'at al-Tawhid wal- Jihad
Jihad
became Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq
in October 2004 and targeted Coalition forces as well as civilians, mainly Shia Muslims, further exacerbating ethnic tensions.[85] In January 2005, the first elections since the invasion took place and in October a new Constitution was approved, which was followed by parliamentary elections in December. However, insurgent attacks were common and increased to 34,131 in 2005 from 26,496 in 2004.[86] During 2006, fighting continued and reached its highest levels of violence, more war crimes scandals were made public, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq
was killed by US forces and Iraq's former dictator Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity and hanged.[87][88][89] In late 2006, the US government's Iraq Study Group
Iraq Study Group
recommended that the US begin focusing on training Iraqi military personnel and in January 2007 US President George W. Bush announced a "Surge" in the number of US troops deployed to the country.[90] In May 2007, Iraq's Parliament called on the United States
United States
to set a timetable for withdrawal[91] and US coalition partners such as the UK and Denmark began withdrawing their forces from the country.[92][93] The war in Iraq
Iraq
has resulted in between 151,000 and 1.2 million Iraqis being killed.[94][95] 2008–present Main articles: 2008 in Iraq, 2009 in Iraq, 2010 in Iraq, 2011 in Iraq, 2012 in Iraq, 2013 in Iraq, 2014 in Iraq, 2015 in Iraq, and 2016 in Iraq See also: Iraqi Civil War (2014–present), American-led intervention in Iraq
Iraq
(2014–present), and 2017 Iraqi–Kurdish conflict In 2008, fighting continued and Iraq's newly trained armed forces launched attacks against militants. The Iraqi government signed the US– Iraq
Iraq
Status of Forces Agreement, which required US forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by 30 June 2009 and to withdraw completely from Iraq
Iraq
by 31 December 2011. US troops handed over security duties to Iraqi forces in June 2009, though they continued to work with Iraqi forces after the pullout.[96] On the morning of 18 December 2011, the final contingent of US troops to be withdrawn ceremonially exited over the border to Kuwait.[8] Crime and violence initially spiked in the months following the US withdrawal from cities in mid-2009[97][98] but despite the initial increase in violence, in November 2009, Iraqi Interior Ministry officials reported that the civilian death toll in Iraq
Iraq
fell to its lowest level since the 2003 invasion.[99]

Military situation in 2015

Following the withdrawal of US troops in 2011, the insurgency continued and Iraq
Iraq
suffered from political instability. In February 2011, the Arab
Arab
Spring protests spread to Iraq;[100] but the initial protests did not topple the government. The Iraqi National Movement, reportedly representing the majority of Iraqi Sunnis, boycotted Parliament for several weeks in late 2011 and early 2012, claiming that the Shiite-dominated government was striving to sideline Sunnis. In 2012 and 2013, levels of violence increased and armed groups inside Iraq
Iraq
were increasingly galvanised by the Syrian Civil War. Both Sunnis and Shias crossed the border to fight in Syria.[101] In December 2012, Sunni Arabs
Arabs
protested against the government, whom they claimed marginalised them.[102][103] During 2013, Sunni militant groups stepped up attacks targeting the Iraq's Shia population in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Nouri al-Maliki-led government.[104] In 2014, Sunni insurgents belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL) terrorist group seized control of large swathes of land including several major Iraqi cities, like Tikrit, Fallujah
Fallujah
and Mosul
Mosul
creating hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons amid reports of atrocities by ISIL fighters.[105]

US-led anti-ISIL coalition has conducted air strikes in support of the Mosul
Mosul
offensive, 11 July 2017

After an inconclusive election in April 2014, Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri al-Maliki
served as caretaker-Prime-Minister.[106] On 11 August, Iraq's highest court ruled that PM Maliki's bloc is biggest in parliament, meaning Maliki could stay Prime Minister.[106] By 13 August, however, the Iraqi president had tasked Haider al-Abadi with forming a new government, and the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and some Iraqi politicians expressed their wish for a new leadership in Iraq, for example from Haider al-Abadi.[107] On 14 August, Maliki stepped down as PM to support Mr al-Abadi and to "safeguard the high interests of the country". The US government welcomed this as "another major step forward" in uniting Iraq.[108][109] On 9 September 2014, Haider al-Abadi had formed a new government and became the new prime minister.[citation needed] Intermittent conflict between Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish factions has led to increasing debate about the splitting of Iraq
Iraq
into three autonomous regions, including Sunni Kurdistan
Kurdistan
in the northeast, a Sunnistan
Sunnistan
in the west and a Shiastan in the southeast.[110] In response to rapid territorial gains made by the Islamic State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL) during the first half of 2014, and its universally-condemned executions and reported human rights abuses, many states began to intervene against it in the Iraqi Civil War (2014–present). Since the airstrikes started, ISIL has been losing ground in both Iraq
Iraq
and Syria.[111] Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in Iraq
Iraq
in ISIL-linked violence.[112][113] The genocide of Yazidis
Yazidis
by ISIL has led to the expulsion, flight and effective exile of the Yazidis
Yazidis
from their ancestral lands in Northern Iraq.[114] The 2016 Karrada bombing
2016 Karrada bombing
killed nearly 400 civilians and injured hundreds more.[115] On 17 March 2017, a US-led coalition airstrike in Mosul
Mosul
killed more than 200 civilians.[116] Since 2015, ISIL lost territory in Iraq, including Tikrit
Tikrit
in March and April 2015,[117] Baiji in October 2015,[118] Sinjar
Sinjar
in November 2015,[119] Ramadi
Ramadi
in December 2015,[120] Fallujah
Fallujah
in June 2016[121] and Mosul
Mosul
in July 2017. By December 2017, ISIL had no remaining territory in Iraq, following the 2017 Western Iraq
Iraq
campaign.[122] In September 2017, a referendum was held regarding Kurdish independence in Iraq. 92% of Iraqi Kurds
Kurds
voted in favor of independence.[123] The referendum was regarded as illegal by the federal government in Baghdad.[124] Geography

Satellite map of Iraq.

Iraq
Iraq
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
map.

Main articles: Geography of Iraq
Geography of Iraq
and Governorates of Iraq

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Iraq
Iraq
lies between latitudes 29° and 38° N, and longitudes 39° and 49° E (a small area lies west of 39°). Spanning 437,072 km2 (168,754 sq mi), it is the 58th-largest country in the world. It is comparable in size to the US state of California, and somewhat larger than Paraguay. Iraq
Iraq
mainly consists of desert, but near the two major rivers ( Euphrates
Euphrates
and Tigris) are fertile alluvial plains, as the rivers carry about 60,000,000 m3 (78,477,037 cu yd) of silt annually to the delta. The north of the country is mostly composed of mountains; the highest point being at 3,611 m (11,847 ft) point, unnamed on the map opposite, but known locally as Cheekah Dar (black tent). Iraq
Iraq
has a small coastline measuring 58 km (36 mi) along the Persian Gulf. Close to the coast and along the Shatt al-Arab
Shatt al-Arab
(known as arvandrūd: اروندرود among Iranians) there used to be marshlands, but many were drained in the 1990s. Climate Main article: Geography of Iraq
Geography of Iraq
§ Climate Most of Iraq
Iraq
has a hot arid climate with subtropical influence. Summer temperatures average above 40 °C (104 °F) for most of the country and frequently exceed 48 °C (118.4 °F). Winter temperatures infrequently exceed 21 °C (69.8 °F) with maxima roughly 15 to 19 °C (59.0 to 66.2 °F) and night-time lows 2 to 5 °C (35.6 to 41.0 °F). Typically, precipitation is low; most places receive less than 250 mm (9.8 in) annually, with maximum rainfall occurring during the winter months. Rainfall during the summer is extremely rare, except in the far north of the country. The northern mountainous regions have cold winters with occasional heavy snows, sometimes causing extensive flooding. Government and politics Main article: Politics of Iraq

Baghdad
Baghdad
Convention Center, the current meeting place of the Council of Representatives of Iraq.

The federal government of Iraq
Iraq
is defined under the current Constitution as a democratic, federal parliamentary Islamic republic. The federal government is composed of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as numerous independent commissions. Aside from the federal government, there are regions (made of one or more governorates), governorates, and districts within Iraq
Iraq
with jurisdiction over various matters as defined by law. The National Alliance is the main Shia parliamentary bloc, and was established as a result of a merger of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's State of Law Coalition
State of Law Coalition
and the Iraqi National Alliance.[125] The Iraqi National Movement is led by Iyad Allawi, a secular Shia widely supported by Sunnis. The party has a more consistent anti-sectarian perspective than most of its rivals.[125] The Kurdistan
Kurdistan
List is dominated by two parties, the Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Democratic Party led by Masood Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Kurdistan
headed by Jalal Talabani. Both parties are secular and enjoy close ties with the West.[125] In 2010, according to the Failed States Index, Iraq
Iraq
was the world's seventh most politically unstable country.[126][127] The concentration of power in the hands of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri al-Maliki
and growing pressure on the opposition led to growing concern about the future of political rights in Iraq.[128] Nevertheless, progress was made and the country had risen to 11th place by 2013.[129] In August 2014, al-Maliki's reign came to an end. He announced on 14 August 2014 that he would stand aside so that Haider Al-Abadi, who had been nominated just days earlier by newly installed President Fuad Masum, could take over. Until that point, al-Maliki had clung to power even asking the federal court to veto the president's nomination describing it as a violation of the constitution.[130] Transparency International ranks Iraq's government as the eighth-most-corrupt government in the world. Government payroll have increased from 1 million employees under Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
to around 7 million employees in 2016. In combination with decreased oil prices, the government budget deficit is near 25% of GDP as of 2016.[131]

Pro-independence rally in Iraqi Kurdistan
Iraqi Kurdistan
in September 2017

Since the establishment of the no–fly zones following the Gulf War of 1990–1991, the Kurds
Kurds
established their own autonomous region. Law Main article: Law of Iraq In October 2005, the new Constitution of Iraq was approved in a referendum with a 78% overall majority, although the percentage of support varying widely between the country's territories.[132] The new constitution was backed by the Shia and Kurdish communities, but was rejected by Arab
Arab
Sunnis. Under the terms of the constitution, the country conducted fresh nationwide parliamentary elections on 15 December 2005. All three major ethnic groups in Iraq
Iraq
voted along ethnic lines, as did Assyrian and Turcoman minorities. Law no. 188 of the year 1959 (Personal Status Law)[133] made polygamy extremely difficult, granted child custody to the mother in case of divorce, prohibited repudiation and marriage under the age of 16.[134] Article 1 of Civil Code also identifies Islamic law as a formal source of law.[135] Iraq
Iraq
had no Sharia courts but civil courts used Sharia for issues of personal status including marriage and divorce. In 1995 Iraq
Iraq
introduced Sharia punishment for certain types of criminal offences.[136] The code is based on French civil law as well as Sunni and Jafari (Shi'ite) interpretations of Sharia.[137] In 2004, the CPA chief executive L. Paul Bremer
L. Paul Bremer
said he would veto any constitutional draft stating that sharia is the principal basis of law.[138] The declaration enraged many local Shia clerics,[139] and by 2005 the United States
United States
had relented, allowing a role for sharia in the constitution to help end a stalemate on the draft constitution.[140] The Iraqi Penal Code is the statutory law of Iraq. Military Main article: Iraqi Armed Forces

An Iraqi Army
Iraqi Army
BMP-1
BMP-1
on the move.

The current military situation, 24 October 2017:   Controlled by Iraqi government   Controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL)   Controlled by Iraqi Kurds

Iraqi security forces are composed of forces serving under the Ministry of Interior (which controls the Police and Popular Mobilization Forces) and the Ministry of Defense, as well as the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Bureau, reporting directly to the Prime Minister of Iraq, which oversees the Iraqi Special
Special
Operations Forces. Ministry of Defense forces include the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi Air Force
Iraqi Air Force
and the Iraqi Navy. The Peshmerga
Peshmerga
are a separate armed force loyal to the Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Regional Government. The regional government and the central government disagree as to whether they are under Baghdad's authority and to what extent.[141] The Iraqi Army
Iraqi Army
is an objective counter-insurgency force that as of November 2009 includes 14 divisions, each division consisting of 4 brigades.[142] It is described as the most important element of the counter-insurgency fight.[143] Light infantry brigades are equipped with small arms, machine guns, RPGs, body armour and light armoured vehicles. Mechanized infantry brigades are equipped with T-54/55
T-54/55
main battle tanks and BMP-1
BMP-1
infantry fighting vehicles.[143] As of mid-2008, logistical problems included a maintenance crisis and ongoing supply problems.[144] The Iraqi Air Force
Iraqi Air Force
is designed to support ground forces with surveillance, reconnaissance and troop lift. Two reconnaissance squadrons use light aircraft, three helicopter squadrons are used to move troops and one air transportation squadron uses C-130 transport aircraft to move troops, equipment, and supplies. It currently has 3,000 personnel. It is planned to increase to 18,000 personnel, with 550 aircraft by 2018.[143] The Iraqi Navy
Iraqi Navy
is a small force with 1,500 sailors and officers, including 800 Marines, designed to protect shoreline and inland waterways from insurgent infiltration. The navy is also responsible for the security of offshore oil platforms. The navy will have coastal patrol squadrons, assault boat squadrons and a marine battalion.[143] The force will consist of 2,000 to 2,500 sailors by year 2010.[145] Foreign relations Main article: Foreign relations of Iraq

US President Donald Trump
Donald Trump
with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
Haider al-Abadi
in 2017.

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2012)

On 17 November 2008, the US and Iraq
Iraq
agreed to a Status of Forces Agreement,[146] as part of the broader Strategic Framework Agreement.[147] This agreement states "the Government of Iraq requests" US forces to temporarily remain in Iraq
Iraq
to "maintain security and stability" and that Iraq
Iraq
has jurisdiction over military contractors, and US personnel when not on US bases or on–duty. On 12 February 2009, Iraq
Iraq
officially became the 186th State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Under the provisions of this treaty, Iraq
Iraq
is considered a party with declared stockpiles of chemical weapons. Because of their late accession, Iraq
Iraq
is the only State Party exempt from the existing timeline for destruction of their chemical weapons. Specific criteria is in development to address the unique nature of Iraqi accession.[148] Iran–Iraq relations
Iran–Iraq relations
have flourished since 2005 by the exchange of high level visits: Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri al-Maliki
made frequent visits to Iran, along with Jalal Talabani
Jalal Talabani
visiting numerous times, to help boost bilateral co-operation in all fields.[citation needed] A conflict occurred in December 2009, when Iraq
Iraq
accused Iran
Iran
of seizing an oil well on the border.[149] Relationships with Turkey
Turkey
are tense, largely because of the Kurdistan Regional Government, as clashes between Turkey
Turkey
and the PKK continue.[150] In October 2011, the Turkish parliament renewed a law that gives Turkish forces the ability to pursue rebels over the border in Iraq."[151] Human rights Main article: Human rights in Iraq See also: Human rights in ISIL-controlled territory
Human rights in ISIL-controlled territory
and Mass executions in ISIL occupied Mosul Relations between Iraq
Iraq
and its Kurdish population have been sour in recent history, especially with Saddam Hussein's genocidal campaign against them in the 1980s. After uprisings during the early 90s, many Kurds
Kurds
fled their homeland and no-fly zones were established in northern Iraq
Iraq
to prevent more conflicts. Despite historically poor relations, some progress has been made, and Iraq
Iraq
elected its first Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, in 2005. Furthermore, Kurdish is now an official language of Iraq
Iraq
alongside Arabic
Arabic
according to Article 4 of the constitution.[152] LGBT rights in Iraq
LGBT rights in Iraq
remain limited. Although decriminalised, homosexuality remains stigmatised in Iraqi society.[153] Targeting people because of their gender identity or sexual orientation is not uncommon and is usually carried out in the name of family honour. People who dress in emo style are mistakenly associated with homosexuality and may suffer the same fate.[154] Investigations by the BBC
BBC
and other western media in 2008 and 2009, including interviews of homosexual and transgender Iraqis, showed that violence against LGBT people had significantly increased since Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
was toppled.[155][156][157][158][159] Administrative divisions Main article: Governorates of Iraq

Iraq
Iraq
is composed of nineteen governorates (or provinces) (Arabic: muhafadhat (singular muhafadhah); Kurdish: پارێزگا Pârizgah). The governorates are subdivided into districts (or qadhas), which are further divided into sub-districts (or nawāḥī). Iraqi Kurdistan (Erbil, Dohuk, Sulaymaniyah
Sulaymaniyah
and Halabja) is the only legally defined region within Iraq, with its own government and quasi-official army Peshmerga.

Dohuk Nineveh Erbil Kirkuk Sulaymaniyah Saladin Al Anbar Baghdad Diyala Karbala Babil Wasit Najaf Al-Qādisiyyah Maysan Muthanna Dhi Qar Basra Halabja (not shown)

Economy Main article: Economy of Iraq

GNP per capita in Iraq
Iraq
from 1950 to 2008.

Global distribution of Iraqi exports in 2006.

Iraq's economy is dominated by the oil sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign exchange earnings. The lack of development in other sectors has resulted in 18%–30% unemployed and a depressed per capita GDP of $4,000.[160] Public sector employment accounted for nearly 60% of full-time employment in 2011.[161] The oil export industry, which dominates the Iraqi economy, generates very little employment.[161] Currently only a modest percentage of women (the highest estimate for 2011 was 22%) participate in the labour force.[161] Prior to US occupation, Iraq's centrally planned economy prohibited foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses, ran most large industries as state-owned enterprises, and imposed large tariffs to keep out foreign goods.[162] After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority quickly began issuing many binding orders privatising Iraq's economy and opening it up to foreign investment.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people.

On November 20, 2004, the Paris Club
Paris Club
of creditor nations agreed to write off 80% ($33 billion) of Iraq's $42 billion debt to Club members. Iraq's total external debt was around $120 billion at the time of the 2003 invasion, and had grown another $5 billion by 2004. The debt relief will be implemented in three stages: two of 30% each and one of 20%.[163] In February 2011, Citigroup
Citigroup
included Iraq
Iraq
in a group of countries which it described as 'Global Growth Generators', that it argued will enjoy significant economic growth in the future.[164] The official currency in Iraq
Iraq
is the Iraqi dinar. The Coalition Provisional Authority issued new dinar coins and notes, with the notes printed by De La Rue
De La Rue
using modern anti-forgery techniques.[165] Jim Cramer's October 20, 2009 endorsement of the Iraqi Dinar
Iraqi Dinar
on CNBC
CNBC
has further piqued interest in the investment.[166] Five years after the invasion, an estimated 2.4 million people were internally displaced (with a further two million refugees outside Iraq), four million Iraqis
Iraqis
were considered food-insecure (a quarter of children were chronically malnourished) and only a third of Iraqi children had access to safe drinking water.[167] According to the Overseas Development Institute, international NGOs face challenges in carrying out their mission, leaving their assistance "piecemeal and largely conducted undercover, hindered by insecurity, a lack of coordinated funding, limited operational capacity and patchy information".[167] International NGOs have been targeted and during the first 5 years, 94 aid workers were killed, 248 injured, 24 arrested or detained and 89 kidnapped or abducted.[167] Oil and energy Main articles: Oil reserves in Iraq
Oil reserves in Iraq
and Energy in Iraq

Tankers at the Basra
Basra
Oil Terminal.

With its 143.1 billion barrels (2.275×1010 m3) of proved oil reserves, Iraq
Iraq
ranks third in the world behind Venezuela
Venezuela
and Saudi Arabia
Arabia
in the amount of oil reserves.[168][169] Oil production levels reached 3.4 million barrels per day by December 2012.[170] Only about 2,000 oil wells have been drilled in Iraq, compared with about 1 million wells in Texas
Texas
alone.[171] Iraq
Iraq
was one of the founding members of OPEC.[172][173] During the 1970s Iraq
Iraq
produced up to 3.5 million barrels per day, but sanctions imposed against Iraq
Iraq
after its invasion of Kuwait
Kuwait
in 1990 crippled the country's oil sector. The sanctions prohibited Iraq
Iraq
from exporting oil until 1996 and Iraq's output declined by 85% in the years following the First Gulf War. The sanctions were lifted in 2003 after the US-led invasion removed Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
from power, but development of Iraq's oil resources has been hampered by the ongoing conflict.[174] As of 2010[update], despite improved security and billions of dollars in oil revenue, Iraq
Iraq
still generates about half the electricity that customers demand, leading to protests during the hot summer months.[175] The Iraq
Iraq
oil law, a proposed piece of legislation submitted to the Iraqi Council of Representatives
Iraqi Council of Representatives
in 2007, has failed to gain approval due to disagreements among Iraq's various political blocs.[176][177] According to a US Study from May 2007, between 100,000 barrels per day (16,000 m3/d) and 300,000 barrels per day (48,000 m3/d) of Iraq's declared oil production over the past four years could have been siphoned off through corruption or smuggling.[178] In 2008, Al Jazeera reported $13 billion of Iraqi oil revenues in US care was improperly accounted for, of which $2.6 billion is totally unaccounted for.[179] Some reports that the government has reduced corruption in public procurement of oil; however, reliable reports of bribery and kickbacks to government officials continue to persist.[180] In June 2008, the Iraqi Oil Ministry announced plans to go ahead with small one- or two-year no-bid contracts to Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP—once partners in the Iraq
Iraq
Petroleum
Petroleum
Company—along with Chevron and smaller firms to service Iraq's largest fields.[181] These plans were cancelled in September because negotiations had stalled for so long that the work could not be completed within the time frame, according to Iraqi oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani. Several United States senators had also criticised the deal, arguing it was hindering efforts to pass the hydrocarbon law.[182] On 30 June and 11 December 2009, the Iraqi ministry of oil awarded service contracts to international oil companies for some of Iraq's many oil fields.[183][184] Oil fields contracted include the "super-giant" Majnoon Field, Halfaya Field, West Qurna Field
West Qurna Field
and Rumaila Field.[184] BP and China
China
National Petroleum
Petroleum
Corporation won a deal to develop Rumaila, the largest Iraqi oil field.[185][186] On 14 March 2014, the International Energy Agency
International Energy Agency
said Iraq's oil output jumped by half a million barrels a day in February to average 3.6 million barrels a day. The country hadn't pumped that much oil since 1979, when Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
rose to power.[187] However, on 14 July 2014, as sectarian strife had taken hold, Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Regional Government forces seized control of the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oilfields in the north of the country, taking them from Iraq's control. Baghdad
Baghdad
condemned the seizure and threatened "dire consequences" if the fields were not returned.[188] The UN estimates that oil accounts for 99% of Iraq's revenue.[174] Water supply
Water supply
and sanitation

A reservoir in the Samawa
Samawa
desert Southern Iraq

Main article: Water supply
Water supply
and sanitation in Iraq Water supply and sanitation in Iraq is characterized by poor water and service quality. Three decades of war, combined with limited environmental awareness, have destroyed Iraq's water resources management system. Access to potable water differs significantly among governorates and between urban and rural areas. 91% of the entire population has access to potable water. But in rural areas, only 77% of the population has access to improved drinking water sources compared to 98% in urban areas.[189] Large amounts of water are wasted during production.[189] Infrastructure

Mosul
Mosul
Dam.

Although many infrastructure projects are underway, Iraq
Iraq
remains in deep housing crisis, with the war-ravaged country likely to complete only 5 percent of the 2.5 million homes it needs to build by 2016 to keep up with demand, the Minister for Construction and Housing said in September 2013.[190]

In 2009, the I BBC
BBC
was established ( Iraq
Iraq
Britain Business Council). The Council was established by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne. In August 2009, two American firms reached a deal with the Iraqi Government to build Basra
Basra
Sports City, a new sports complex. In October 2012, the Emirati property firm, Emaar Properties
Emaar Properties
reached a deal with the Iraqi Ministry of Construction and Housing to build and develop housing and commercial projects in Iraq. In January 2013, the Emirati property firm, Nakheel Properties
Nakheel Properties
signed a deal to build Al Nakheel City, a future town in Basra, Iraq.

Demographics See also: Demographics of Iraq

Historical populations in millions

Year Pop. ±% p.a.

1878 2 —    

1947 4.8 +1.28%

1957 6.3 +2.76%

1977 12 +3.27%

1987 16.3 +3.11%

1997 22 +3.04%

2009 31.6 +3.06%

2016 37.2 +2.36%

Source: [191][192][193]

The 2016 estimate of the total Iraqi population is 37,202,572.[1] Iraq's population was estimated to be 2 million in 1878.[191] In 2013 Iraq's population reached 35 million amid a post-war population boom.[194] Ethnic groups Arabs
Arabs
form 75%–80% of the population.[160] 15% of Iraq's population are Kurds. Assyrians, Iraqi Turkmen/Turkoman and other much smaller minorities, such as Mandeans, Armenians, Circassians, Iranians, Shabakis, Yazidis
Yazidis
and Kawliya, make up the remainder 5%–10% of the population.[160][195] Around 20,000 Marsh Arabs
Arabs
live in southern Iraq.[196] Iraq
Iraq
has a community of 2,500 Chechens.[197] In southern Iraq, there is a community of Iraqis
Iraqis
of African descent, a legacy of the slavery practised in the Islamic Caliphate beginning before the Zanj Rebellion of the 9th century, and Basra's role as a key port.[53] It is the most populous country in the Arabian Plate.[198] Languages Main article: Languages of Iraq

Kurdish children in Sulaymaniyah.

Arabic
Arabic
is the majority language; Kurdish is spoken by approximately 10–15% of the population; and Turkmen/Turkoman,[152] the Neo-Aramaic language of the Assyrians and others, by 5%.[160] Other smaller minority languages include Mandaic, Shabaki, Armenian, Circassian and Persian. Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, and Turkmen/Turkoman are written with versions of the Arabic
Arabic
script, the Neo-Aramaic languages in the Syriac script
Syriac script
and Armenian is written in the Armenian script. Prior to the invasion in 2003, Arabic
Arabic
was the sole official language. Since the new Constitution of Iraq approved in June 2004, both Arabic and Kurdish are official languages,[199] while Assyrian Neo-Aramaic and Turkmen/Turkoman language (referred to as respectively "Syriac" and "Turkmen" in the constitution) are recognised regional languages.[200] In addition, any region or province may declare other languages official if a majority of the population approves in a general referendum.[201] According to the Iraqi constitution:

The Arabic language
Arabic language
and the Kurdish language
Kurdish language
are the two official languages of Iraq. The right of Iraqis
Iraqis
to educate their children in their mother tongue, such as Turkmen, Assyrian, and Armenian shall be guaranteed in government educational institutions in accordance with educational guidelines, or in any other language in private educational institutions.[202]

Urban areas Main article: List of cities in Iraq

 

v t e

Largest cities or towns in Iraq Largest cities in Iraq
Iraq
(geonames.org)

Rank Name Governorate Pop.

Baghdad

Basra 1 Baghdad Baghdad 9,500,000

Mosul

Arbil

2 Basra Basra 2,300,125

3 Mosul Ninawa 2,000,000

4 Arbil Arbil 1,100,000

5 Kirkuk Kirkuk 1,100,000

6 Sulaymaniya Sulaymaniya 1,000,000

7 Hilla Babil 1,000,000

8 Karbala Karbala 800,347

9 Najaf Najaf 800,137

10 Al Nasiriya Dhi Qar 700,373

Religion Main articles: Religion in Iraq
Religion in Iraq
and Islam
Islam
in Iraq

Religion in Iraq, 2014[203]

Shia Islam

64.5%

Sunni Islam

31.5%

Gnosticism/Yazdânism

2.0%

Christianity

1.2%

Other religion

0.8%

Imam Ali
Ali
Mosque in Najaf.

Muslim (official) 99% (Shia 55-60%, Sunni 40%), Christian
Christian
<.1%, Yazidi <.1%, Sabean Mandaean <.1%, Baha'i <.1%, Zoroastrian <.1%, Hindu <0.1%, Buddhist <0.1%, Jewish <0.1%, folk religion <0.1, unafilliated 0.1%, other <0.1%[160] It has a mixed Shia and Sunni population. The CIA
CIA
World Factbook estimates that around 65% of Muslims
Muslims
in Iraq
Iraq
are Shia, and around 35% are Sunni.[160] A 2011 Pew Research Center estimates that 51% of Muslims
Muslims
in Iraq
Iraq
are Shia, 42% are Sunni, while 5% identify themselves as "Just a Muslim".[204] The Sunni Muslims, 12-13 million in a population of 36 million, include Arabs, most Turkomen, and Kurds. The Sunni population complains of facing discrimination in almost all aspects of life by the government. However, former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri al-Maliki
denied that such discrimination occurs.[205] Christians have lived in the area for about 2,000 years, and many descend from the pre- Arab
Arab
ancient Mesopotamians-Assyrians.[206] They numbered over 1.4 million in 1987 or 8% of the estimated population of 16.3 million and 550,000 in 1947 or 12% of the population of 4.6 millions.[207] Indigenous Neo Aramaic speaking Assyrians, most of whom are adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Assyrian Church of the East, Assyrian Pentecostal Church and Syriac Orthodox Church
Syriac Orthodox Church
account for most of the Christian
Christian
population. Estimates for the numbers of Christians suggest a decline from 8–12% in the mid-20th century to 5% in 2008 or 1.6 million. More than half of Iraqi Christians
Iraqi Christians
have fled to neighbouring countries since the start of the war, and many have not returned, although a number are migrating back to the traditional Assyrian homeland in the Kurdish Autonomous region.[208][209] There are also small ethno-religious minority populations of Mandaeans, Shabaks, Yarsan
Yarsan
and Yezidis remaining. Prior to 2003 their numbers together may have been 2 million, the majority Yarsan, a non-Islamic religion with roots in pre-Islamic and pre-Christian religion. There are reports of over 100.000 conversions to Zoroastrianism in recent years. The Iraqi Jewish
Iraqi Jewish
community, numbering around 150,000 in 1941, has almost entirely left the country.[210] Iraq
Iraq
is home to two of the world's holiest places among Shias: Najaf and Karbala.[211] Diaspora and refugees Main articles: Refugees of Iraq
Refugees of Iraq
and Assyrian exodus from Iraq

Iraqi refugees
Iraqi refugees
in Damascus, Syria.

The dispersion of native Iraqis
Iraqis
to other countries is known as the Iraqi diaspora. The UN High Commission for Refugees
UN High Commission for Refugees
has estimated that nearly two million Iraqis
Iraqis
have fled the country after the multinational invasion of Iraq
Iraq
in 2003, mostly to Syria
Syria
and Jordan.[212] The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre estimates an additional 1.9 million are currently displaced within the country.[213] In 2007, the UN said that about 40% of Iraq's middle class is believed to have fled and that most are fleeing systematic persecution and have no desire to return.[214] Refugees are mired in poverty as they are generally barred from working in their host countries.[215][216] In recent years the diaspora seems to be returning with the increased security; the Iraqi government claimed that 46,000 refugees have returned to their homes in October 2007 alone.[217] As of 2011[update], nearly 3 million Iraqis
Iraqis
have been displaced, with 1.3 million within Iraq
Iraq
and 1.6 million in neighbouring countries, mainly Jordan
Jordan
and Syria.[218] More than half of Iraqi Christians
Iraqi Christians
have fled the country since the 2003 US-led invasion.[219][220] According to official United States
United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services statistics, 58,811 Iraqis
Iraqis
have been granted refugee-status citizenship as of May 25, 2011.[221] To escape the civil war, over 160,000 Syrian refugees of varying ethnicities have fled to Iraq
Iraq
since 2012.[222] Increasing violence during the Syrian civil war
Syrian civil war
led to an increasing number of Iraqis returning to their native country.[223] Health Main article: Health in Iraq In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 6.84% of the country's GDP. In 2008, there were 6.96 physicians and 13.92 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants.[224] The life expectancy at birth was 68.49 years in 2010, or 65.13 years for males and 72.01 years for females.[225] This is down from a peak life expectancy of 71.31 years in 1996.[226] Iraq
Iraq
had developed a centralised free health care system in the 1970s using a hospital based, capital-intensive model of curative care. The country depended on large-scale imports of medicines, medical equipment and even nurses, paid for with oil export income, according to a "Watching Brief" report issued jointly by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2003. Unlike other poorer countries, which focused on mass health care using primary care practitioners, Iraq
Iraq
developed a Westernized system of sophisticated hospitals with advanced medical procedures, provided by specialist physicians. The UNICEF/WHO report noted that prior to 1990, 97% of the urban dwellers and 71% of the rural population had access to free primary health care; just 2% of hospital beds were privately managed.[227] Education Main article: Education in Iraq

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Students at the college of medicine of the University of Basrah, 2010.

The CIA
CIA
World Factbook estimates that, in 2000, the adult literacy rate was 84% for males and 64% for females, with UN figures suggesting a small fall in literacy of Iraqis
Iraqis
aged 15–24 between 2000 and 2008, from 84.8% to 82.4%.[228] The Coalition Provisional Authority undertook a complete reform of Iraq's education system: Baathist ideology was removed from curricula and there were substantial increases in teacher salaries and training programs, which the Hussein regime neglected in the 1990s.[citation needed] In 2003, an estimated 80% of Iraq's 15,000 school buildings needed rehabilitation and lacked basic sanitary facilities, and most schools lacked libraries and laboratories.[citation needed] Education is mandatory only through to the sixth grade, after which a national examination determines the possibility of continuing into the upper grades.[citation needed] Although a vocational track is available to those who do not pass the exam, few students elect that option because of its poor quality.[citation needed] Boys and girls generally attend separate schools beginning with seventh grade.[citation needed] In 2005, obstacles to further reform were poor security conditions in many areas, a centralised system that lacked accountability for teachers and administrators, and the isolation in which the system functioned for the previous 30 years.[citation needed] Few private schools exist.[citation needed] Prior to the invasion of 2003, some 240,000 persons were enrolled in institutions of higher education.[citation needed] According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are the University of Dohuk (1717th worldwide), the University of Baghdad
Baghdad
(3160th) and Babylon University (3946th).[229] Culture Main article: Culture of Iraq See also: Tourism in Iraq Public holidays in Iraq include Republic
Republic
Day on 14 July and the National Day
National Day
on 3 October. Music Main article: Music of Iraq

Iraqi maqam performer Muhammad
Muhammad
al-Qubbanchi.

Iraq
Iraq
is known primarily for its rich maqam heritage which has been passed down orally by the masters of the maqam in an unbroken chain of transmission leading up to the present. The maqam al-Iraqi is considered to be the most noble and perfect form of maqam. Al-maqam al-Iraqi is the collection of sung poems written either in one of the sixteen meters of classical Arabic
Arabic
or in Iraqi dialect (Zuhayri).[230] This form of art is recognised by UNESCO
UNESCO
as "an intangible heritage of humanity".[231] Early in the 20th century, many of the most prominent musicians in Iraq
Iraq
were Jewish.[232] In 1936, Iraq
Iraq
Radio was established with an ensemble made up entirely of Jews, with the exception of the percussion player. At the nightclubs of Baghdad, ensembles consisted of oud, qanun and two percussionists, while the same format with a ney and cello were used on the radio.[232] The most famous singer of the 1930s–1940s was perhaps the Jew
Jew
Salima Pasha (later Salima Murad).[232][233] The respect and adoration for Pasha were unusual at the time since public performance by women was considered shameful, and most female singers were recruited from brothels.[232] The most famous early composer from Iraq
Iraq
was Ezra Aharon, an oud player, while the most prominent instrumentalist was Daoud Al-Kuwaiti.[citation needed] Daoud and his brother Saleh formed the official ensemble for the Iraqi radio station and were responsible for introducing the cello and ney into the traditional ensemble.[232] Art and architecture

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The Great Ziggurat of Ur
Great Ziggurat of Ur
near Nasiriyah.

Main articles: Architecture of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and Iraqi art Important cultural institutions in the capital include the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra – rehearsals and performances were briefly interrupted during the Occupation of Iraq
Iraq
but have since returned to normal. The National Theatre of Iraq
Iraq
was looted during the 2003 invasion, but efforts are underway to restore it. The live theatre scene received a boost during the 1990s when UN sanctions limited the import of foreign films. As many as 30 cinemas were reported to have been converted to live stages, producing a wide range of comedies and dramatic productions. Institutions offering cultural education in Baghdad
Baghdad
include the Academy of Music, Institute of Fine Arts and the Music and Ballet school Baghdad. Baghdad
Baghdad
also features a number of museums including the National Museum of Iraq
National Museum of Iraq
– which houses the world's largest and finest collection of artefacts and relics of Ancient Iraqi civilisations; some of which were stolen during the Occupation of Iraq.

Facade of Temple at Hatra, declared World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
by UNESCO
UNESCO
in 1985.

The capital, Ninus or Nineveh, was taken by the Medes
Medes
under Cyaxares, and some 200 years after Xenophon
Xenophon
passed over its site, then mere mounds of earth. It remained buried until 1845, when Botta and Layard discovered the ruins of the Assyrian cities. The principal remains are those of Khorsabad, 16 km (10 mi) N.E. of Mosul; of Nimroud, supposed to be the ancient Calah; and of Kouyunjik, in all probability the ancient Nineveh. In these cities are found fragments of several great buildings which seem to have been palace-temples. They were constructed chiefly of sun-dried bricks, and all that remains of them is the lower part of the walls, decorated with sculpture and paintings, portions of the pavements, a few indications of the elevation, and some interesting works connected with the drainage. Media Main article: Media of Iraq After the end of the full state control in 2003, there were a period of significant growth in the broadcast media in Iraq. Immediately, and the ban on satellite dishes is no longer in place, and by mid-2003, according to a BBC
BBC
report, there were 20 radio stations from 0.15 to 17 television stations owned by Iraqis, and 200 Iraqi newspapers owned and operated. Significantly, there have been many of these newspapers in numbers disproportionate to the population of their locations. For example, in Najaf, which has a population of 300,000, is being published more than 30 newspapers and distributed. Iraqi media expert and author of a number of reports on this subject, Ibrahim Al Marashi, identifies four stages of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 where they had been taking the steps that have significant effects on the way for the later of the Iraqi media since then. Stages are: pre-invasion preparation, and the war and the actual choice of targets, the first post-war period, and a growing insurgency and hand over power to the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.[234][page needed] Cuisine Main article: Iraqi cuisine

Masgouf.

Iraqi cuisine
Iraqi cuisine
can be traced back some 10,000 years – to the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians and Ancient Persians.[235] Tablets found in ancient ruins in Iraq
Iraq
show recipes prepared in the temples during religious festivals – the first cookbooks in the world.[235] Ancient Iraq, or Mesopotamia, was home to many sophisticated and highly advanced civilisations, in all fields of knowledge – including the culinary arts.[235] However, it was in the medieval era when Baghdad
Baghdad
was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate that the Iraqi kitchen reached its zenith.[235] Today the cuisine of Iraq
Iraq
reflects this rich inheritance as well as strong influences from the culinary traditions of neighbouring Turkey, Iran
Iran
and the Greater Syria
Syria
area.[235] Some characteristic ingredients of Iraqi cuisine
Iraqi cuisine
include – vegetables such as aubergine, tomato, okra, onion, potato, courgette, garlic, peppers and chilli, cereals such as rice, bulgur wheat and barley, pulses and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and cannellini, fruits such as dates, raisins, apricots, figs, grapes, melon, pomegranate and citrus fruits, especially lemon and lime.[235] Similarly with other countries of Western Asia, chicken and especially lamb are the favourite meats. Most dishes are served with rice – usually Basmati, grown in the marshes of southern Iraq.[235] Bulgur wheat is used in many dishes – having been a staple in the country since the days of the Ancient Assyrians.[235] Sport Main article: Sport in Iraq Football is the most popular sport in Iraq. Football is a considerable uniting factor in Iraq
Iraq
following years of war and unrest. Basketball, swimming, weightlifting, bodybuilding, boxing, kick boxing and tennis are also popular sports. The Iraqi Football Association
Iraqi Football Association
is the governing body of football in Iraq, controlling the Iraqi National Team and the Iraqi Premier League (also known as Dawri Al-Nokba). It was founded in 1948, and has been a member of FIFA
FIFA
since 1950 and the Asian Football Confederation
Asian Football Confederation
since 1971. The biggest club in Iraq
Iraq
is Al-Shorta, who won back-to-back league titles in 2013 and 2014 and were the first ever winners of the Arab
Arab
Champions League. The Iraqi National Football Team were the 2007 AFC Asian Cup champions after defeating Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
in the final by 1–0 thanks to a goal by captain Younis Mahmoud
Younis Mahmoud
and they have participated in two FIFA
FIFA
competitions (the 1986 FIFA
FIFA
World Cup and the 2009 FIFA
FIFA
Confederations Cup). Technology Mobile phones Despite having mobile phones in the Middle East
Middle East
since 1995, Iraqis were only able to use mobile phones after 2003. Mobile phones were banned under Saddam's rule. In 2013, it was reported that 78% of Iraqis
Iraqis
owned a mobile phone.[236] Satellite According to the Iraqi Ministry of Communication, Iraq
Iraq
is now in the second phase of building and launching a multipurpose strategic satellite.[237] A project which expected to cost $600 million is ongoing in co-operation with market leaders such as Astrium
Astrium
and Arianespace. Undersea cable On 18 January 2012, Iraq
Iraq
was connected to the undersea communications network for the first time.[238] This had an immense impact on internet speed, availability and usage in Iraq. In October 2013, the Iraqi Minister for Communication ordered internet prices to be lowered by a third. This is an attempt to boost usage and comes as a result of significant improvements in Internet infrastructure in the country.[239] See also

Outline of Iraq Index of Iraq-related articles

Asia
Asia
portal Middle East
Middle East
portal Iraq
Iraq
portal Kurdistan
Kurdistan
portal

References

^ a b "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations
United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.  ^ a b c d "Iraq". International Monetary Fund.  ^ "World Bank GINI index". Data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 2016-08-17.  ^ "2015 Human Development Report Statistical Annex" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 2015. p. 9. Retrieved December 14, 2015.  ^ Article 125 of the Iraqi Constitution.http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/454f50804.pdf ^ "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic
Republic
of Iraq
Iraq
and the United States of America". 2007-11-26.  ^ "Top 10 Battles for the Control of Iraq". Livescience.com. Retrieved 2009-03-23.  ^ a b Basu, Moni (2011-12-18). "Deadly Iraq
Iraq
war ends with exit of last U.S. troops". CNN.com. Retrieved 18 December 2011.  ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. 1979-12-10. Retrieved 2009-03-23.  ^ Halloran, John A. (2000). "Sumerian Lexicon". The name of the very ancient city of URUK- City
City
of Gilgamesh is made up from the UR-city and UK- thought to mean existence (a-ku, a-Ki & a-ko. The Aramaic and Arabic
Arabic
root of IRQ and URQ denotes rivers or tributaries at the same times referring to condensation (of water).  ^ "often said to be from Arabic
Arabic
`araqa, covering notions such as "perspiring, deeply rooted, well-watered," which may reflect the impression the lush river-land made on desert Arabs. etymonline.com; see also "Rassam, Suha (2005-10-31). Christianity
Christianity
in Iraq: Its Origins and Development to the Present Day. Gracewing Publishing. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-85244-633-1.  ^ "Iraq". Britannica Online Encyclopedia.  ^ "ʿERĀQ-E ʿAJAM(Ī)". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 2016-08-17.  ^ Magnus Thorkell Bernhardsson (2005). Reclaiming a Plundered Past: Archaeology And Nation Building in Modern Iraq. University of Texas Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-292-70947-8. The term Iraq
Iraq
did not encompass the regions north of the region of Tikrit
Tikrit
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Indicators. United Nations. Retrieved 30 January 2011.  ^ "Iraq". Ranking Web of Universities. Retrieved 26 February 2013.  ^ Touma, Habib Hassan (1996). The Music of the Arabs. Amadeus Press. ISBN 1574670816.  ^ "The Iraqi Maqam".  ^ a b c d e Kojaman. "Jewish Role in Iraqi Music". Retrieved 2007-09-09.  ^ Manasseh, Sara (February 2004). "An Iraqi samai of Salim Al-Nur" (PDF). Newsletter (3). London: Arts and Humanities Research Board Research Centre for Cross-Cultural Music and Dance Performance. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2005. Retrieved 2007-09-09.  ^ Al-Marashi, Ibrahim (2007). "Toward an Understanding of Media Policy and Media Systems in Iraq". Center for Global Communications Studies, Occasional Paper Series. Retrieved 2016-08-17.  ^ a b c d e f g h "Foods of Iraq: Enshrined With A Long History". ThingsAsian. Retrieved 2011-06-19.  ^ BBC
BBC
News – Iraq
Iraq
10 years on: In numbers. Bbc.co.uk (2013-03-20). Retrieved on 2013-12-08. ^ Iraq
Iraq
to build and launch a $600 million strategic satellite into space (-: One Happy Iraq :-). Onehappyiraq.wordpress.com (2013-10-02). Retrieved on 2013-12-08. ^ "FT - Undersea Cable Aids Iraq's Slow Development". globalcurrencyreset.net. Retrieved 2017-04-05.  ^ Ministry of Communications. Moc.gov .iq (2013-02-04). Retrieved on 2015-11-15.

Bibliography

Shadid, Anthony 2005. Night Draws Near. Henry Holt and Co., NY, US ISBN 0-8050-7602-6 Hanna Batatu, "The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq", Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978 Charles Glass, "The Northern Front: A Wartime Diary"' Saqi Books, London, 2004, ISBN 0-86356-770-3 A Dweller in Mesopotamia, being the adventures of an official artist in the garden of Eden, by Donald Maxwell, 1921. (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu & layered PDF format) By Desert
Desert
Ways to Baghdad, by Louisa Jebb (Mrs. Roland Wilkins) With illustrations and a map, 1908 (1909 ed). (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu & layered PDF format) "Iraqi Constitution" (PDF). Ministry of Interior – General Directorate For Nationality. 2006-01-30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 November 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2013.  Benjamin Busch, "'Today is Better than Tomorrow'. A Marine returns to a divided Iraq", Harper's Magazine, October 2014, pp. 29–44. Global Arms Exports to Iraq
Iraq
1960–1990, Rand Research report

Further reading

Tripp, Charles R. H. (2002). A History of Iraq. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-87823-4. 

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