Context of Iraq

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, the Persian Gulf and Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital and largest city is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups; mostly Arabs, as well as Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Armenians, Yazidis, Mandaeans, Persians and Shabakis with similarly diverse geography and wildlife. Most Iraqis are Muslims – minority faiths include Christianity, Yazidism, Mandaeism, Yarsanism and Zoroastrianism. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish; others also recognised in specific regions are Suret (Assyrian), Turkish (Turkmen) and Armenian.

Starting as early as the 6th millennium BC, the fertile alluvial plains between Iraq's Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, referred to as Mesopotamia, gave rise to some of the world's earliest cities, civilisations,...Read more

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, the Persian Gulf and Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital and largest city is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups; mostly Arabs, as well as Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Armenians, Yazidis, Mandaeans, Persians and Shabakis with similarly diverse geography and wildlife. Most Iraqis are Muslims – minority faiths include Christianity, Yazidism, Mandaeism, Yarsanism and Zoroastrianism. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish; others also recognised in specific regions are Suret (Assyrian), Turkish (Turkmen) and Armenian.

Starting as early as the 6th millennium BC, the fertile alluvial plains between Iraq's Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, referred to as Mesopotamia, gave rise to some of the world's earliest cities, civilisations, and empires of the indigenous Mesopotamians in Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria. Mesopotamia was a "Cradle of Civilisation" that saw the inventions of a writing system, mathematics, timekeeping, a calendar, astrology, and a law code. Following the Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia, Baghdad became the capital and the largest city of the Abbasid Caliphate, and during the Islamic Golden Age, the city evolved into a significant cultural and intellectual center, and garnered it a worldwide reputation for its academic institutions, including House of Wisdom. The city was largely destroyed at the hands of the Mongol Empire in 1258 during the siege of Baghdad, resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to frequent plagues and multiple successive empires.

Modern Iraq dates back to 1920, when the British Mandate for Mesopotamia, joining three Ottoman vilayets, was created under the authority of the League of Nations. A British-backed Kingdom was established in 1921 under Faisal I of Iraq. The Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Iraqi Republic created. Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. In 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, sparking a protracted war which would last for almost eight years, and end in a stalemate with devastating losses for both countries. After an invasion by the 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.

Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic. The president is the head of state, the prime minister is the head of government, and the constitution provides for two deliberative bodies, the Council of Representatives and the Council of Union. The judiciary is free and independent of the executive and the legislature.

Iraq is considered an emerging middle power with a strategic location and a founding member of the United Nations, the OPEC as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF. From 1920 to 2005 Iraq experienced spells of significant economic and military growth and briefer instability including wars.

More about Iraq

Basic information
  • Currency Iraqi dinar
  • Native name العراق
  • Calling code +964
  • Internet domain .iq
  • Mains voltage 230V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 3.62
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 38274618
  • Area 437072
  • Driving side right
History
  • Prehistoric era
    Read more
    Prehistoric era
     
    Inside the Shanidar Cave, where the remains of eight adults and two infant Neanderthals, dating from around 65,000–35,000 years ago were found[1][2]

    Between 65,000 BC and 35,000 BC, northern Iraq was home to a Neanderthal culture, archaeological remains of which have been discovered at Shanidar Cave[3] This same region is also the location of a number of pre-Neolithic cemeteries, dating from approximately 11,000 BC.[4]

    Since approximately 10,000 BC, Iraq, together with a large part of the Fertile Crescent also comprising Asia Minor and the Levant, was one of centres of a Neolithic culture known as Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. In Iraq, this period has been excavated at sites like M'lefaat and Nemrik 9. 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 (circa 7100 BC),[4] a number of sites belonging to the Halaf culture, and Tell al-'Ubaid, the type site of the Ubaid period (between 6500 BC and 3800 BC).[5] The respective periods show ever-increasing levels of advancement in agriculture, tool-making and architecture.

    Ancient Mesopotamia
     
    Map of the Akkadian Empire and the directions in which military campaigns were conducted (yellow arrows). The Akkadian Empire was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer.

    The "Cradle of Civilisation" is thus a common term for the area comprising modern Iraq as it was home to the earliest known civilisation, the Sumerian civilisation, which arose in the fertile Tigris-Euphrates river valley of southern Iraq in the Chalcolithic (Ubaid period).[6]

    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 states, and whose writings record the first evidence of mathematics, astronomy, astrology, written law, medicine and organised religion.[6]

    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.[6]

    The cities to the north like Ashur, Arbela (modern Erbil) and Arrapha (modern Kirkuk) were also extant in what was to be called Assyria from the 25th century BC; however, at this early stage, they were Sumerian ruled administrative centres.

    Bronze Age
     
    Bronze head of an Akkadian ruler from Nineveh, presumably depicting either Sargon of Akkad, or Sargon's grandson Naram-Sin

    In the 26th century BC, Eannatum of 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 dynasty in the area, then conquered Uruk, making it his capital, and claimed an empire extending from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.[7] 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 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.[8]

    Between the 29th and 24th centuries BC, a number of kingdoms and city states within Iraq began to have Akkadian speaking dynasties; including Assyria, Ekallatum, Isin and Larsa.

    However, the Sumerians remained generally dominant until the rise of the 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 in modern-day Iran, and had victories that did not result into a full conquest against the Amorites and Eblaites of the Levant. The empire of Akkad likely fell in the 22nd century BC, within 180 years of its founding, ushering in a "Dark Age" with no prominent imperial authority until the Third Dynasty of Ur. The region's political structure may have reverted to the status quo ante of local governance by city-states.[9]

    After many years (and 4 kings) of chaos, Shu-turul and Dudu appear to have restored some centralised authority for several decades however they were unable to prevent the empire eventually collapsing outright, eventually ceding power to Gutians, based in Adab, who had been conquered by Akkad in the reign of Sharkalisharri.[10] After the collapse of the Akkadian Empire in the late 22nd century BC, the Gutians occupied the south for a few decades, while Assyria reasserted its independence in the north. Most of southern Mesopotamia was again united under one ruler during the Ur III period, most notably during the rule of the prolific king Shulgi. His accomplishments include the completion of construction of the Great Ziggurat of Ur, begun by his father Ur-Nammu.[citation needed] .

    Babylonia

    In 1792 BC, an Amorite ruler named Hammurabi came to power in this state, and immediately set about building Babylon from a minor town into a major city, declaring himself its king. Hammurabi conquered the whole of southern and central Iraq, as well as Elam to the east and Mari to the west, then engaged in a protracted war with the Assyrian king Ishme-Dagan for domination of the region, creating the short-lived Babylonian Empire. He eventually prevailed over the successor of Ishme-Dagan and subjected 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.[11][12] Genetic and cultural analysis indicates that the Marsh people of southern Iraq are probably their most direct modern descendants.[13][14][15]

    It is from the period of Hammurabi that southern 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 and southern Iraq, in the form of the Sealand Dynasty, falling back into native Akkadian hands.

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

    After this, another foreign people, the Language Isolate speaking Kassites, seized control of Babylonia, where they were to rule for almost 600 years, by far the longest dynasty ever to rule in Babylon.

    Iraq was from this point divided into three polities: Assyria in the north, Kassite Babylonia in the south central region, and the Sealand Dynasty in the far south. The Sealand Dynasty was finally conquered by Kassite Babylonia circa 1380 BC. The origin of the Kassites is uncertain, though a number of theories have been advanced.[16]

    The Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1020 BC) saw Assyria rise to be the most powerful nation in the known world. Beginning with the campaigns of Ashur-uballit I, Assyria destroyed the rival Hurrian-Mitanni Empire, annexed huge swathes of the Hittite Empire for itself, annexed northern Babylonia from the Kassites, forced the Egyptian Empire from the region, and defeated the Elamites, Phrygians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Cilicians, Gutians, Dilmunites and Arameans. At its height, the Middle Assyrian Empire stretched from The Caucasus to Dilmun (modern Bahrain), and from the Mediterranean coasts of Phoenicia to the Zagros Mountains of Iran. In 1235 BC, Tukulti-Ninurta I of Assyria took the throne of Babylon.

    During the Bronze Age collapse (1200–900 BC), Babylonia was in a state of chaos, dominated for long periods by Assyria and Elam. The Kassites were driven from power by Assyria and Elam, allowing native south Mesopotamian kings to rule Babylonia for the first time, although often subject to Assyrian or Elamite rulers. However, these East Semitic Akkadian kings, were unable to prevent new waves of West Semitic migrants entering southern Iraq, and during the 11th century BC Arameans and Suteans entered Babylonia from The Levant, and these were followed in the late 10th to early 9th century BC by the Chaldeans who were West Semitic migrants to the southeastern corner of the region.[17] However, the Chaldeans were absorbed and assimilated into the indigenous population of Babylonia.[18]

    Iron Age Neo-Assyrian Empire
     
    Map of the Neo-Assyrian Empire under Shalmaneser III (dark green) and Esarhaddon (light green)

    After a period of comparative decline in Assyria, it once more began to expand with the Neo Assyrian Empire (935–605 BC). Because of its geopolitical dominance and ideology based in world domination, the Neo-Assyrian Empire is by many researchers regarded to have been the first world empire in history.[19][20] At its height, the empire was the strongest military power in the world[21] and ruled over all of Mesopotamia, the Levant and Egypt, as well as portions of Anatolia, Arabia and modern-day Iran and Armenia. Under rulers such as Adad-Nirari II, Ashurnasirpal, Shalmaneser III, Semiramis, Tiglath-pileser III, Sargon II, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal, Iraq became the centre of an empire stretching from Persia, Parthia and Elam in the east, to Cyprus and Antioch in the west, and from The Caucasus in the north to Egypt, Nubia and Arabia in the south.[22]

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

    It was during this period that an 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 as the spoken language of the general populace of both Assyria and Babylonia. The descendant dialects of this tongue survive amongst the Mandaeans of southern Iraq and Assyrians of northern Iraq to this day. The Arabs and the Chaldeans are first mentioned in written history (circa 850 BC) in the annals of Shalmaneser III.

     
    Lamassu from the Assyrian gallery at the Iraq Museum, Baghdad

    The Neo-Assyrian Empire left a legacy of great cultural significance. The political structures established by the Neo-Assyrian Empire became the model for the later empires that succeeded it and the ideology of universal rule promulgated by the Neo-Assyrian kings inspired, through the concept of translatio imperii, similar ideas of rights to world domination in later empires as late as the early modern period. The Neo-Assyrian Empire became an important part of later folklore and literary traditions in northern Mesopotamia through the subsequent post-imperial period and beyond. Judaism, and thus in turn also Christianity and Islam, was profoundly affected by the period of Neo-Assyrian rule; numerous Biblical stories appear to draw on earlier Assyrian mythology and history and the Assyrian impact on early Jewish theology was immense. Although the Neo-Assyrian Empire is prominently remembered today for the supposed excessive brutality of the Neo-Assyrian army, the Assyrians were not excessively brutal when compared to other civilizations of their time, nor when compared to other civilizations throughout human history.[23][24]

    In the late 7th century BC, the Assyrian 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 and Cimmerians, were able to attack Assyria, finally bringing its empire down by 605 BC.[25]

    Neo-Babylonian period
     
    The Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus (r. 626–539 BC)

    The short-lived 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 and Judah, and to defeat Egypt. Initially, 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 king Hammurabi, as the greatest king of Babylon. However, by 556 BC, the Chaldeans had been deposed from power by the Assyrian born Nabonidus and his son and regent Belshazzar.[citation needed] The defeat of the Assyrians and the transfer of empire to Babylon marked the first time the city, and southern Mesopotamia in general, had risen to dominate the Ancient Near East since the collapse of Hammurabi's Old Babylonian Empire nearly a thousand years prior. The period of Neo-Babylonian rule thus saw unprecedented economic and population growth throughout Babylonia and a renaissance of culture and artwork, with the Neo-Babylonian kings conducting massive building projects, especially in Babylon itself, and bringing back many elements from the previous 2,000 or so years of Sumero-Akkadian culture. The empire was the last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia.[26][better source needed] Nebuchadnezzar II succeeded Nabopolassar in 605 BC following the death of his father. The empire Nebuchadnezzar inherited was among the most powerful in the world, in which he quickly reinforced his father's alliance with the Medes by marrying Cyaxares's daughter or granddaughter, Amytis. Some sources suggest that the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, were built by Nebuchadnezzar for his wife as to remind her of her homeland (though the existence of these gardens is debated). Nebuchadnezzar's 43-year reign would bring with it a golden age for Babylon, which was to become the most powerful kingdom in the Middle East.[27]

     
    A partial view of the ruins of Babylon

    In the 6th century BC, Cyrus the Great of neighbouring Persia defeated the Neo-Babylonian Empire at the Battle of Opis and Mesopotamia was subsumed into the Achaemenid Empire for nearly two centuries. The Achaemenids made Babylon their main capital. The Chaldeans and Chaldea disappeared at around this time, though both Assyria and Babylonia endured and thrived under Achaemenid rule (see Achaemenid Assyria). Their kings 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]

    In the late 4th century BC, Alexander the Great conquered the region, putting it under Hellenistic Seleucid rule for over two centuries.[28] The Seleucids introduced the Indo-Anatolian and Greek term Syria to the region. This name had for many centuries been the Indo-European word for Assyria and specifically and only meant Assyria; however, the Seleucids also applied it to the Levant (Aramea), causing both the Assyrians of Iraq and the Arameans of the Levant to be called "Syrians/Syriacs" in the Greco-Roman world.[29]

     
    Roman amphitheater in Sulaymaniyah

    The Parthians (247 BC – 224 AD) from Persia conquered the region during the reign of Mithridates I of Parthia (r. 171–138 BC). From northwestern Mesopotamia, the Romans invaded western parts of the region several times, briefly founding Assyria Provincia in Assyria. Christianity began to take hold in Iraq (particularly in Assyria) between the 1st and 3rd centuries, and Assyria became a centre of Syriac Christianity, the Church of the East and Syriac literature. A number of independent states evolved in the north during the Parthian era, such as Adiabene, Assur, Osroene and Hatra.[citation needed]

    The Sassanids of Persia under 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 independent states, culminating with Assur in 256 AD. The region was thus a province of the Sassanid Empire for over four centuries, 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 the Mesopotamia in the mid-7th century.[citation needed]

    Middle Ages
     
    Al-Hariri of Basra was a poet, high government official and scholar of the Arabic language. He is known for his Maqamat al-Hariri (‘'Assemblies of Hariri'’), a collection of some 50 stories written in the Maqama style. Al-Hariri's best known work, Maqamat has been regarded as the greatest treasure in Arabic literature.

    The first organised conflict between invading Arab-Muslim tribes and occupying Persian forces in Mesopotamia seems to have been in 634, when the Arabs were defeated at the Battle of the Bridge. There was a force of some 5,000 Muslims under Abū `Ubayd ath-Thaqafī, which was routed by the Persians. This was followed by Khalid ibn al-Walid's successful campaign which saw all of Iraq come under Arab rule within a year, with the exception of the Persian Empire's capital, Ctesiphon. Around 636, a larger Arab Muslim force under Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās defeated the main Persian army at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah and moved on to capture the Persian capital of Ctesiphon. By the end of 638, the Muslims had conquered all of the Western Sassanid provinces (including modern Iraq), and the last Sassanid Emperor, Yazdegerd III, had fled to central and then northern Persia, where he was killed in 651.[30]

    The Islamic expansions constituted the largest of the Semitic expansions in history. These new arrivals did not disperse and settle throughout the country; instead they established two new garrison cities, at Kufa, near ancient Babylon, and at Basra in the south and established Islam in these cities, while the north remained largely Assyrian and Christian in character.[30]

    The Abbasid Caliphate built the city of Baghdad along the Tigris in the 8th century as its capital, and the city became the leading metropolis of the Arab and Muslim world for five centuries. Baghdad was the largest multicultural city of the Middle Ages, peaking at a population of more than a million,[31] 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 in the 13th century.[32]

    In 1257, 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 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.[33] Estimates of the number of dead range from 200,000 to a million.[34]

     
    The siege of Baghdad by the Mongols

    The Mongols destroyed the 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 for millennia. Other historians point to soil salination as the culprit in the decline in agriculture.[35]

    The mid-14th-century Black Death ravaged much of the Islamic world.[36] The best estimate for the Middle East is a death rate of roughly one-third.[37]

    In 1401, a warlord of Mongol descent, Tamerlane (Timur Lenk), invaded Iraq. After the capture of Baghdad, 20,000 of its citizens were massacred.[38] 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).[39] Timur also conducted massacres of the indigenous Assyrian Christian population, hitherto still the majority population in northern Mesopotamia, and it was during this time that the ancient Assyrian city of Assur was finally abandoned.[40]

    Ottoman Iraq

    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 fell into the hands of the Iranian Safavids. Owing to the century long Turco-Iranian rivalry between the Safavids and the neighbouring Ottoman Turks, 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 eventually came under the control of Ottoman Empire as the eyalet of 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 was a battle zone between the rival regional empires and tribal alliances.

    By the 17th century, the frequent conflicts with the Safavids had sapped the strength of the 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 raids on settled areas became impossible to curb.[41]

    During the years 1747–1831, Iraq was ruled by a Mamluk dynasty of Georgian[42] 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.[43]

     
    Conquest of Mosul (Nineveh) by Mustafa Pasha in 1631, a Turkish soldier in the foreground holding a severed head. L., C. (Stecher), 1631–1650.


    During World War I, the Ottomans sided with Germany and the Central Powers. In the 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 under the Sykes-Picot Agreement.[44] British forces regrouped and captured Baghdad in 1917, and defeated the Ottomans. An armistice was signed in 1918. 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]

    Contemporary period British Mandate of Mesopotamia and independent kingdom
     
    Crowning of King Faisal II of Iraq in the Council of Representatives, 1953

    During the Ottoman Empire until the partition of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century, Iraq was made up of three provinces, called vilayets in the Ottoman language: Mosul Vilayet, Baghdad Vilayet, and Basra Vilayet. These three provinces were joined into one Kingdom by the British after the region became a League of Nations mandate, administered under British control, with the name "State of Iraq". A fourth province (Zor Sanjak), which Iraqi nationalists considered part of Upper Mesopotamia was ultimately added to Syria.[45][46] In line with their "Sharifian Solution" policy, the British established the Hashemite king on 23 August 1921, Faisal I of Iraq, who had been forced out of Syria by the French, as their client ruler. The official English name of the country simultaneously changed from Mesopotamia to the endonymic Iraq.[47] Likewise, British authorities selected Sunni Arab elites from the region for appointments to government and ministry offices.[specify][48][page needed][49]

    Faced with spiralling costs and influenced by the public protestations of the war hero T. E. Lawrence[50] in The Times, Britain replaced 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]

     
    Nuri Said (1888 – 1958). He contributed to the establishment of the Kingdom of Iraq and the armed forces while also served as the Prime minister of the state.

    Britain granted independence to the 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 during Faisal's minority.[citation needed]

    On 1 April 1941, Rashid 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 for fear that the Rashid 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.[citation needed]

    Nuri Said served as the prime minister during the Kingdom of Iraq, and was a major political figure in Iraq under the monarchy. During his many terms in office, he was involved in some of the key policy decisions that shaped the modern Iraqi state. In 1930, during his first term, he signed the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty, which, as a step toward greater independence, granted Britain the unlimited right to station its armed forces in and transit military units through Iraq and also gave legitimacy to British control of the country's oil industry. In addition, Said contributed to the establishment of the Kingdom of Iraq and the Iraqi army.[citation needed]

    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 who now served as an adviser to King Faisal II.[citation needed]

    Republic and Ba'athist Iraq
     
    Iraq state emblem under nationalist Qasim was mostly based on Mesopotamian symbol of Shamash, and avoided pan-Arab symbolism by incorporating elements of Socialist heraldry.

    In 1958, a coup d'état known as the 14 July Revolution was led by the Brigadier General and nationalist 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 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 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.[57][58]

    Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr became the first Ba'ath 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 took place. Following months of cross-border raids between the two countries, Saddam declared war on Iran in September 1980, initiating the Iran–Iraq War (or First Persian Gulf War). Taking advantage of the post-revolution chaos in Iran, 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 was on the offensive.[59][page needed] The war, which ended in stalemate in 1988, had cost the lives of between half a million and 1.5 million people.[60]

    In 1981, Israeli aircraft bombed an Iraqi nuclear materials testing reactor at Osirak and was widely criticised at the United Nations.[61][62] During the eight-year war with Iran, Saddam Hussein extensively used chemical weapons against Iranians.[63] In the final stages of the Iran–Iraq War, the Ba'athist Iraqi regime led the Al-Anfal Campaign, a genocidal[64] campaign that targeted Iraqi Kurds,[65][66][67] and led to the killing of 50,000–100,000 civilians.[68]

     
    Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq (1979–2003)
     
    Saddam Hussein's family, mid-late 1980s

    Due to Iraq's inability to pay Kuwait more than US$14 billion that it had borrowed to finance the Iran–Iraq War and Kuwait's surge in petroleum production levels which kept revenues down, Iraq interpreted Kuwait's refusal to decrease its oil production as an act of aggression.[69] Throughout much of the 1980s, Kuwait's oil production was above its mandatory OPEC quota, which kept the oil prices down.[70]

    In August 1990 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[71][72][73] and then launched a 100-hour-long ground assault against Iraqi forces in Southern Iraq and those occupying Kuwait.

    Iraq's armed forces were devastated during the war. Shortly after it ended in 1991, Kurdish 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.[74] During the uprisings the US, UK, France and Turkey, claiming authority under UNSCR 688, established the Iraqi no-fly zones to protect Kurdish population from attacks by the Saddam regime's fixed-wing aircraft (but not helicopters).

    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 have been disputed.[75][76] 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 after 1990 and during the period of the sanctions."[77][78][79] An oil for food program was established in 1996 to ease the effects of sanctions.

    21st century

    Following the September 11 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 Armed Forces Against Iraq. In November 2002, the UN Security Council passed UNSCR 1441 and in March 2003 the United States and its allies invaded Iraq.[citation needed]

    2003–2007: Invasion and occupation
     
    The April 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue by US Army troops in Firdos Square in Baghdad shortly after the US-led invasion

    On 20 March 2003, a United States-organised coalition invaded Iraq, under the pretext that 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 and the British government that were later found to be unreliable.[80][81][82] It has been argued though, that under the pretext of promoting peace and democracy and remove Iraq's nuclear, biological and/or chemical weapons, the U.S. actually were pursuing national objectives to increase U.S. hegemony or expand their spheres of power in the Middle East or globally.[83]

    Following the invasion, the 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 Ba'ath Party members from the new Iraqi government (CPA Order 1) and to disband the Iraqi Army (CPA Order 2).[84] The decision dissolved the largely Sunni Iraqi Army and excluded many of the country's former government officials from participating in the country's governance,[85] including 40,000 school teachers who had joined the Ba'ath Party simply to keep their jobs,[86] helping to bring about a chaotic post-invasion environment.[87]

    An insurgency against the US-led coalition-rule of Iraq began in summer 2003 within elements of the former Iraqi secret police and army, who formed guerrilla 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.[88] The Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal came to light, late 2003 in reports by Amnesty International and Associated Press.

     
    Destroyed Lion of Babylon tank on Highway 9 outside Najaf during US invasion in 2003

    The Mahdi Army—a Shia militia created in the summer of 2003 by Muqtada al-Sadr—began to fight Coalition forces in April 2004.[89] 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 in April and Second Battle of Fallujah in November. The Mahdi army would kidnap Sunni civilians as part of a genocide that occurred against them.[90]

    In January 2005, the first elections since the invasion took place and in October a new Constitution was approved,[91] 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.[92]

    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 was killed by US forces and Iraq's former dictator Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity and hanged.[93][94][95] In late 2006, the US government's 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.[96]

    In May 2007, Iraq's Parliament called on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal and US coalition partners such as the UK and Denmark began withdrawing their forces from the country.[97][98][99] The war in Iraq has resulted in between 151,000 and 1.2 million Iraqis being killed.[100][101]

    2008–2018: Political instability

    In 2008, fighting continued and Iraq's newly trained armed forces launched attacks against militants. The Iraqi government signed the US–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, which required US forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by 30 June 2009 and to withdraw completely from Iraq by 31 December 2011.

     
    An Iraqi Army Aviation Command aerial gunner prepares to test fire his M240 machine gun, near Baghdad International Airport, 2011.

    US troops handed over security duties to Iraqi forces in June 2009, though they continued to work with Iraqi forces after the pullout.[102] On the morning of 18 December 2011, the final contingent of US troops to be withdrawn ceremonially exited over the border to Kuwait.[103] Crime and violence initially spiked in the months following the US withdrawal from cities in mid-2009[104][105] but despite the initial increase in violence, in November 2009, Iraqi Interior Ministry officials reported that the civilian death toll in Iraq fell to its lowest level since the 2003 invasion.[106]

    Following the withdrawal of US troops in 2011, the insurgency continued and Iraq suffered from political instability. In February 2011, the Arab Spring protests spread to Iraq;[107] 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.

     
    Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, provides command and control of air power throughout Iraq and Syria.

    In 2012 and 2013, levels of violence increased and armed groups inside Iraq were increasingly galvanised by the Syrian Civil War. Both Sunnis and Shias crossed the border to fight in Syria.[108] In December 2012, Sunni Arabs protested against the government, who they claimed marginalised them.[109][110]

    During 2013, Sunni militant groups stepped up attacks targeting the Iraq's population in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Nouri al-Maliki-led government.[111] In 2014, Sunni insurgents belonging to the Islamic State terrorist group seized control of large swathes of land including several major Iraqi cities, like Tikrit, Fallujah and Mosul creating hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons amid reports of atrocities by ISIL fighters.[112]

    On 4 June 2014, the insurgents began their efforts to capture Mosul. The Iraqi army officially had 30,000 soldiers and another 30,000 federal police stationed in the city, facing a 1,500-member attacking force. The Iraqi forces' actual numbers were much lower due to "ghost soldiers", severely reducing combat ability.[113] After six days of combat and massive desertions, Iraqi soldiers received orders to retreat. The city of Mosul, including Mosul International Airport and the helicopters located there, all fell under ISIL's control. An estimated 500,000 civilians fled from the city.

    By late June, the Iraqi government had lost control of its borders with both Jordan and Syria.[114] al-Maliki called for a national state of emergency on 10 June following the attack on Mosul, which had been seized overnight. However, despite the security crisis, Iraq's parliament did not allow Maliki to declare a state of emergency; many legislators boycotted the session because they opposed expanding the prime minister's powers.[115]

    A former commander of the Iraqi ground forces, Ali Ghaidan, accused former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of being the one who issued the order to withdraw from the city of Mosul.[116]

    After an inconclusive election in April 2014, Nouri al-Maliki served as caretaker-Prime-Minister.[117] On 11 August, Iraq's highest court ruled that PM Maliki's bloc was the largest in parliament, meaning Maliki could stay Prime Minister.[117] 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.[118] 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.[119][120] On 9 September 2014, Haider al-Abadi had formed a new government and became the new prime minister.[citation needed] Intermittent conflict between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions has led to increasing debate about the splitting of Iraq into three autonomous regions, including Kurdistan in the northeast, a Sunni state in the west and a Shia state in the southeast.[121]

     
    Pro-independence rally in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2017. The Kurdistan Regional Government announced it would respect the Supreme Federal Court's ruling that no Iraqi province is allowed to secede.[122]

    In response to rapid territorial gains made by the Islamic State 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 War in Iraq (2013–2017). Since the airstrikes started, ISIL has been losing ground in both Iraq and Syria.[123] Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in Iraq in ISIL-linked violence.[124][125] The genocide of Yazidis by ISIL has led to the expulsion, flight and effective exile of the Yazidis from their ancestral lands in northern Iraq.[126] The 2016 Karrada bombing killed nearly 400 civilians and injured hundreds more.[127] On 17 March 2017, a US-led coalition airstrike in Mosul killed more than 200 civilians.[128]

    Since 2015, ISIL lost territory in Iraq, including Tikrit in March and April 2015,[129] Baiji in October 2015,[130] Sinjar in November 2015,[131] Ramadi in December 2015,[132] Fallujah in June 2016[133] and Mosul in July 2017. By December 2017, ISIL had no remaining territory in Iraq, following the 2017 Western Iraq campaign.[134]

    In September 2017, a referendum was held regarding Kurdish independence in Iraq. 92% of Iraqi Kurds voted in favor of independence.[135] The referendum was regarded as illegal by the federal government in Baghdad.[136] On 9 December 2017, then-Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIL and announced full liberation of borders with Syria from Islamic State militants.[137] In March 2018, Turkey launched military operations to eliminate active Kurdish separatist fighters in the far north of the country.[138] Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's political coalition won Iraq's parliamentary election in May 2018.[139]

    July 2018–present: Civil unrest, disfunctioning government
     
    Protest in Baghdad in November 2019. The protests were the largest incident of civil unrest Iraq has experienced since the 2003 invasion.[140]

    Serious civil unrest rocked the country beginning in Baghdad and Najaf in July 2018 and spreading to other provinces in September 2018 as rallies to protest corruption, unemployment, and public service failures turned violent.[141] Protests and demonstrations started again on 1 October 2019, against 16 years of corruption, unemployment and inefficient public services, before they escalated into calls to overthrow the administration and to stop Iranian intervention in Iraq. The Iraqi government at times reacted harshly, resulting in over 500 deaths by 12 December 2019.

    On 27 December 2019, the K-1 Air Base in Iraq was attacked by more than 30 rockets, killing a U.S. civilian contractor and injuring others. The U.S. blamed the Iranian-backed Kata'ib Hezbollah militia. Later that month, the United States bombed five Kata'ib Hezbollah militia's positions in Iraq and Syria, in retaliation and in which, per Iraqi sources, at least 25 militia fighters were killed. On 31 December, after attending the funeral for one of the killed militiamen, dozens of Iraqi Shia militiamen and their supporters marched into the Green Zone of Baghdad and surrounded the U.S. embassy compound (see article: Attack on the United States embassy in Baghdad). Demonstrators smashed a door of the checkpoint, set fire to the reception area, left anti-American posters and sprayed anti-American graffiti. U.S. president Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the attack.

    Three days later, amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran, the U.S. launched a drone strike on a convoy traveling near Baghdad International Airport, killing Qasem Soleimani, Iranian major-general and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Quds Force commander, the second most powerful person of Iran;[142] Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or PMU); four senior Iranian officers; and four Iraqi officers.

    Following months of protests that broke out across Iraq in October 2019 and the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and his cabinet, Mustafa al-Kadhimi became a leading contender for the Premiership.[143] On 9 April 2020, he was named by President Barham Salih as prime minister-designate and as the third person tapped as such in 10 weeks. This was specifically shortly after the designated leader Adnan al-Zurfi withdrew, lacking enough support to assemble a government.[144]

    In November 2021, the Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kadhimi survived a failed assassination attempt.[145]

    On 30 November 2021, the political bloc led by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr was confirmed the winner of the October election. His Sadrist Movement, won 73 out of the 329 seats in the parliament. The Taqadum, or Progress Party – led by Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, a Sunni – secured 37 seats. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law party got 33 seats. The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) received 31 seats, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) gained 18.[146] The (al-) Fatah Alliance, whose main components are militia groups affiliated with the Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces, lost support, with 17 seats.

    A period of political crisis and near-deadlock of eleven months followed, until in October 2022 a new President and new Prime Minister would assume office.[147] In June 2022, all 73 members of Parliament from the Sadrist Movement resigned, which is considered to be a move of Muqtada al-Sadr to deligitimize the remaining, rivalling, Shia parties still in the Parliament and demonstrate his rejection of the muhasasa (quota-based) system established in 2003 by the US occupation to divide political positions, public offices and state resources along ethno-sectarian lines (Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, Turkmen, Christian, etc.) which is believed to have bolstered sectarian and religious identities while tearing up national unity and plunging Iraq into a sect-coded civil war flaring high in the years 2006–08.[148]

    On 27 July 2022, the parliament building was stormed by protesters for the second time in a week.[149] Around 5 September, negotiations continued about selecting a new President and a working coalition; difficult issues were confidence and supply arrangement between the parties, while the sitting Prime Minister strove for fresh elections.[150] However, in October 2022, Abdul Latif Rashid was elected as the new President of Iraq after winning the parliamentary election against incumbent Barham Salih, who was running for a second term. The presidency is largely ceremonial and is traditionally held by a Kurd.[151] And on 27 October 2022, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, close ally of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, took the office to succeed Mustafa al-Kadhimi as new Prime Minister of Iraq.[152]

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Routledge. pp. 76–85. ^ "Can the joy last?". The Economist. 3 September 2011. ^ "U.S. cracks down on Iraq death squads". CNN. 24 July 2006. ^ Jackson, Patrick (30 May 2007). "Who are Iraq's Mehdi Army?". BBC News. Retrieved 4 March 2013. ^ "Al Qaeda's hand in tipping Iraq toward civil war". Christian Science Monitor. 20 March 2006. ^ Cite error: The named reference Constitution was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Thomas Ricks (2006) Fiasco: 414 ^ "Saddam death 'ends dark chapter'". BBC News. 30 December 2006. Retrieved 18 August 2007. ^ "Saddam Hussein's Two Co-Defendants Hanged in Iraq". Bloomberg L.P. 15 January 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2007. ^ Qassim Abdul-Zahra (20 March 2007). "Saddam's Former Deputy Hanged in Iraq". Abcnews.go.com. Archived from the original on 23 March 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2009. ^ Ferguson, Barbara (11 September 2007). "Petraeus Says Iraq Troop Surge Working". Arab News. Retrieved 26 December 2009. ^ Iraq Bill Demands U.S. Troop Withdraw Archived 14 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine Associated Press, Fox News, 10 May 2007 ^ BBC NEWS 21 February 2007, Blair announces Iraq troops cut ^ Al-Jazeera ENGLISH, 22 February 2007, Blair announces Iraq troop pullout ^ "151,000 civilians killed since Iraq invasion". The Guardian. 10 January 2008. ^ "Civilian deaths may top 1 million, poll data indicate". Los Angeles Times. 14 September 2007. ^ "US soldiers leave Iraq's cities". BBC News. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2009. ^ Cite error: The named reference cnn-dec11 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "After years of war, Iraqis hit by frenzy of crime". Associated Press. ^ "Violence Grows in Iraq as American troops withdraw". Fox News. 9 May 2009. ^ "Iraqi civilian deaths drop to lowest level of war". Reuters. 30 November 2009. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. ^ Sly, Liz (12 February 2011). "Egyptian revolution sparks protest movement in democratic Iraq". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 February 2011. ^ Salem, Paul (29 November 2012). "INSIGHT: Iraq's Tensions Heightened by Syria Conflict". Middle East Voices (Voice of America). Retrieved 3 November 2012. ^ "Iraq Sunni protests in Anbar against Nouri al-Maliki". BBC News. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013. ^ "Protests engulf west Iraq as Anbar rises against Maliki". BBC News. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013. ^ "Suicide bomber kills 32 at Baghdad funeral march". Fox News. Associated Press. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2012. ^ "Iraq crisis: Battle grips vital Baiji oil refinery". BBC. Retrieved 18 June 2014. ^ al-Salhy, Suadad. "Iraq forces rebuilding the troops". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 20 August 2021. ^ "Sunni militants 'seize Iraq's western border crossings'". BBC. 23 June 2014. ^ "Obama's Iraq dilemma: Fighting ISIL puts US and Iran on the same side". america.aljazeera.com. ^ "قائد عسكري سابق: المالكي أمر بسحب القوات من الموصل". www.aljazeera.net (in Arabic). Retrieved 22 January 2022. ^ a b Spencer Ackerman and agencies (11 August 2014). "Kerry slaps down Maliki after he accuses Iraqi president of violating constitution". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2014. ^ Salama, Vivian (13 August 2014). "Tensions high in Iraq as support for new PM grows". Stripes. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014. ^ "White House hails al-Maliki departure as 'major step forward'". The Times. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014. ^ "Iraq's new prime minister-designate vows to fight corruption, terrorism". Fox News. 15 August 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. ^ The Revenge of Geography, p 353, Robert D. Kaplan – 2012 ^ "Iraq's Kurdistan says to respect court decision banning secession". Reuters. 14 November 2017. ^ "Report: ISIL losing in Iraq, Syria; gaining in Libya". Al Jazeera. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016. ^ "Nearly 19,000 civilians killed in Iraq in 21-month period, report says". CNN. 19 January 2016. Archived from the original on 22 October 2016. ^ "The world's lack of outrage over tens of thousands of civilian deaths in Mosul is shameful". The Independent. 21 July 2017. ^ "The UN has blamed "Islamic State" in the genocide of the Yazidis". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 19 March 2015. ^ "In Iraq, terrorism's victims go unnamed". CNN. 12 January 2017. ^ "US admits it conducted Mosul air strike 'at location' where '200' civilians died Archived 1 April 2017 at the Wayback Machine". The Independent. 26 March 2017. ^ Alkhshali, Hamdi; Karadsheh, Jomana (31 March 2015). "Iraq: Parts of Tikrit taken back from ISIS". CNN. ^ "US praises role of Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Baiji operation". The Long War Journal. ^ Arango, Tim (13 November 2015). "Sinjar Victory Bolsters Kurds, but Could Further Alienate U.S. From Iraq". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 November 2015. ^ "Iraq Claims a Key Victory Over ISIS in Ramadi, Seizes Government Complex". NBC News. ^ "Iraqi commander: Fallujah 'fully liberated' from ISIS". Fox News. Fox News Network. 26 June 2016. ^ Ahmed Aboulenein (10 December 2017). "Iraq holds victory parade after defeating Islamic State". Reuters. Retrieved 11 December 2017. ^ "92% of Iraqi Kurds back independence from Baghdad, election commission says". France 24. 27 September 2017. Retrieved 14 November 2017. ^ "Iraq court rules no region can secede after Kurdish independence bid". Reuters. 6 November 2017. ^ Nehal Mostafa (9 December 2017). "Iraq announces end of war against IS, liberation of borders with Syria: Abadi". iraqinews.com. ^ "Turkey will drain 'terror swamp' in Iraq's Qandil, Erdogan says". Reuters. 11 June 2018. ^ "Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc wins Iraq election". Reuters. 12 May 2018. ^ Wilson, Audrey. "Why Iraq's Protesters Are Still in the Streets". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 8 March 2022. ^ Al Jazeera and News Agencies. (5 October 2019). "Iraq protests: All the latest updates." Al Jazeera website Retrieved 5 October 2019. ^ (in Dutch) 'VS doden topgeneraal Iran, vrees voor escalatie groeit' (US kill top general Iran, fear for escalation grows). NRC Handelsblad, 3 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020. ^ "Iraqi spy chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi rumoured to be prime ministerial contender". The National (Abu Dhabi). 29 December 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2020. ^ "Iraq names its third prime minister in 10 weeks". Reuters. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020. ^ "Iraq PM says his would-be assassins have been identified". BBC News. 8 November 2021. ^ Yuan, Shawn (30 November 2021). "Muqtada al-Sadr bloc confirmed big winner of Iraq's election". www.aljazeera.com. ^ "Iraqi MPs from Muqtada al-Sadr's bloc resign". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 13 June 2022. ^ Yuan, Shawn. "Sadrists quit Iraq's parliament, but al-Sadr isn't going away". www.aljazeera.com. ^ Baghdad, Associated Press in (30 July 2022). "Protesters storm Iraq parliament again amid unrest over Iran-backed groups". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2022. ^ "No end to crisis as Iraq's PM ends second round of talks". Yahoo News. Retrieved 5 September 2022. ^ National, The (14 October 2022). "Who are Iraq's new president Abdul Latif Rashid and PM nominee Mohammed Shia Al Sudani?". The National. ^ "Iraq gets a new government after a year of deadlock – DW – 10/28/2022". dw.com.
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Stay safe
  •  
    Stay safe
     
     
    Army convoy in Mosul

    Although things are gradually getting better, the political and security situation remain very unstable.

    Emergency services

    Thanks to years of warfare and destruction, emergency services are unreliable and inadequate.

    Corruption

    Iraq is notorious for being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption is common in the police force, and locals generally do not trust the police. It's not uncommon for police officers to bribe politicians so that they can climb up the work ladder.

    Bear in mind that the police routinely intimidate and harass people. As a foreigner, you may be seen as an easy target by them. In the unlikely event you're targeted by them, just be firm and polite; do not lose your temper or get agitated with them.

    Legal issues

    The legal system in Iraq is slow, highly corrupt, and inefficient. Due process is hard to come by. Property and land disputes are common and they're very difficult to resolve through proper channels. Your embassy will most likely stay away from such circumstances.

    ...Read more
     
    Stay safe
     
     
    Army convoy in Mosul

    Although things are gradually getting better, the political and security situation remain very unstable.

    Emergency services

    Thanks to years of warfare and destruction, emergency services are unreliable and inadequate.

    Corruption

    Iraq is notorious for being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption is common in the police force, and locals generally do not trust the police. It's not uncommon for police officers to bribe politicians so that they can climb up the work ladder.

    Bear in mind that the police routinely intimidate and harass people. As a foreigner, you may be seen as an easy target by them. In the unlikely event you're targeted by them, just be firm and polite; do not lose your temper or get agitated with them.

    Legal issues

    The legal system in Iraq is slow, highly corrupt, and inefficient. Due process is hard to come by. Property and land disputes are common and they're very difficult to resolve through proper channels. Your embassy will most likely stay away from such circumstances.

    Terrorism

    Iraq is beset with numerous problems that make travelling risky and difficult. The security situation is perilous in just about any area of the country, and continues to deteriorate under continuing terrorist attacks. Resistance to continuing military occupation, U.S. and UK forces, and Iraqi military, police or anyone associated with the Iraqi government, as well as increasing factional and sectarian conflict make street warfare, bombings, and other acts of armed violence daily occurrences.

    The central third of the country is the most volatile; the southern ports are less dangerous, but only relatively so. However, northern Iraq, or Kurdistan is safe and has suffered from very little violence since 2003. Major cities, including Baghdad, are fertile grounds for political upheavals, kidnappings, and other underground activity, so tread lightly. The Kurdish peshmerga (military) is over 100,000 strong and every road, town, city and even village has checkpoints going in and out. All non-Kurds are searched thoroughly and occasionally followed by the internal secret police. However fear not, this is why there is almost no chance of terrorism in the North. The police are friendly and everyone is happy to meet foreigners, especially Americans.

    Travelling alone makes you an easy kidnapping target, and is best avoided – if possible travel with a translator/guard. There are comprehensive private and state security services available for your personal protection - you are strongly advised to use the available options for your own safety. If employed in Iraq, consult your employer on how to handle your personal safety. Independent contractors will usually have security provided by their clients, if no security is provided you should seriously consider not travelling to Iraq, if you must go you should hire armed security and get proper training in appropriate protective gear, survival, and weapons.

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