Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Iraq
conventional short form: Iraq
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
local short form: Al Iraq
There are several suggestions for the origin of the name of Iraq
one dates back to the Sumerian city of Uruk (or Erech)
Another suggestion is that Iraq comes from the Aramaic language
meaning "the land along the banks of the rivers
Currency : Iraqi dinar
Calling code : +964
Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Area: total: 437,072 sq km
land: 432,162 sq km
water: 4,910 sq km
Population: 26,783,383 (July 2006 est)
Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%
Religions: Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
Languages: Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 40.4%
female: 24.4% (2003 est)
Administrative divisions: Iraq is divided into eighteen governorates
Government: Parliamentary democracy
President : Jalal Talabani
Prime Minister: Nouri al-Maliki
Constitution: ratified on 15 October 2005
Large parts of Iraq consist of desert, but the area between the two major rivers (Euphrates and Tigris) is fertile, with the rivers carrying about 60 million cubic metres (78 million cu. yd) of silt annually to the delta. The north of the country is largely mountainous, with the highest point being a 3,611 metres (11,847 ft) point, unnamed on the map opposite, but known locally as Cheekah Dar (black tent). Iraq has a small coastline with the Persian Gulf. Close to the coast and along the Shatt al-Arab there used to be marshlands, but many of these were drained in the 1990s.
The local climate is mostly desert with mild to cool winters and dry, hot, cloudless summers. The northern mountainous regions experience cold winters with occasional heavy snows, sometimes causing extensive flooding. The capital of Baghdad is situated in the centre of the country, on the banks of the Tigris. Other major cities include Basra in the south and Mosul in the north.
In the most recent millennium, what is now Iraq has been made up of five cultural areas: Kurdish in the north centered on Arbil; Sunni Islamic Arabs in the center around Baghdad; Shi'a Islamic Arabs in the south centered on Basra; the Assyrians, a Christian people, living in various cities in the north; and the Marsh Arabs, a nomadic people, who live on the marshlands of the central river. Markets and bartering are the common form of trade
Iraq was historically known as Mesopotamia, which means litterally "between the rivers" in Greek. This land was home to the world's first civilization, the Sumerian culture, followed by the Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian cultures, whose influence extended into neighboring regions as early as 5000 BC. These civilizations produced the earliest writing and some of the first sciences, mathematics, laws and philosophies in the world, making the region the center of what is commonly called the "Cradle of Civilization". Ancient Mesopotamian civilization dominated other civilizations of its time.
Beginning in the seventh century AD, Islam spread to what is now Iraq. The prophet Mohammed's cousin and son-in-law moved his capital to Kufa "fi al-Iraq" when he became the fourth caliph. The Umayyads ruling from Damascus in the 7th century ruled the province of Iraq.
Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, was the leading city of the Arab and Muslim world for five centuries. In 1258, Baghdad was devastated by the Mongols and was later occupied by the Ottoman Turks. Ottoman rule over Iraq lasted until the Great War (World War I) when the Ottomans sided with Germany and the Central Powers. During World War I, the Ottomans were driven from much of the area by the United Kingdom during the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
At the end of World War I, the League of Nations granted the area to the United Kingdom as a mandate. It was formed out of three former Ottoman vilayets (regions): Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. However, for three out of four centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule, the vilayets of Baghdad, Mosul, and Basra were administered from Baghdad. Iraq was granted independence in 1932, though the British retained military bases and transit rights for their forces in the country. Iraq was invaded by the United Kingdom in 1941, for fears that the government of Rashid Ali might cut oil supplies to Western nations and because of his strong leanings to Nazi Germany. A military occupation followed, and the occupation ended on October 26, 1947.
The reinstalled Hashemite monarchy lasted until 1958, when it was overthrown through a coup d'etat by the Iraqi army, known as the 14 July Revolution. The coup brought Brigadier General Abdul Karim Qassim's government to power (which withdrew from the Baghdad Pact and established friendly relations with the Soviet Union) from 1958 till 1963, when he was overthrown by Colonel Abdul Salam Arif. Salam Arif died in 1966 and his brother, Abdul Rahman Arif, assumed the presidency. In 1968, Rahman Arif was overthrown by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. The Ba'ath's key figure became Saddam Hussein who acceded to the presidency and control of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), Iraq's supreme executive decision making body, in July 1979.
Saddam's dictatorial and particularly bloody rule lasted throughout the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988). In the late 1980. In 1990 Saddam invaded Kuwait resulting in the Gulf War and United Nations economic sanctions imposed at the urging of the U.S. The economic sanctions were designed to compel Saddam to dispose of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).]. Critics estimate that between 400,000 and 800,000 Iraqi children died as a result of the sanctions]. The U.S. and the U.K. declared no-fly zones over Kurdish northern and Shiite southern Iraq to protect the Kurds and southern Shiites..
Iraq was invaded in March 2003 by the United States and allies with the stated reasons that Iraq had not abandoned its nuclear and chemical weapons development program according to United Nations resolutions, that it had links to Al Qaeda, and that it had known, effective Weapons of Mass Destruction. Later, it was indicated that the reason was to remove a oppressive dictator from power, and, even later, that the goal was to bring democracy to the middle east. Recent (2006) conservative commentators have indicated that the actual reason for invasion was to create a democracy in Iraq for the sole purpose of deterring Iran. Subsequent post-invasion investigation did not uncover any evidence that the programs were active, though the potential for resumption existed; some chemical shells were found that might have been left since the first Gulf War, and may not have been in unusable condition. Likewise, it was determined that there were no actual links to Al Qaeda.
The US established a Coalition Provisional Authority to govern Iraq. The invasion met strong criticism from around the world, and its legality is still debated. Government authority was transferred to an Iraqi Interim Government in 2004, but over 140,000 U.S. and allied troops remain in Iraq, and they continue to exert significant influence over the country. Insurgencies, frequent terrorist attacks and sectarian violence have plagued the country since then.
Copyrights © 2004 / 2012 Iraqi commission. All rights reserved
جميع الحقوق محفوظة للمفوضية العراقية