About Iraq

Flag of Iraq with the Takbir 'God is the Greatest'
   Flag of Iraq

The Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by the following countries, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. With a total area of 437,072 sq. km, Iraq is the 59th largest country in the world.

The capital, Baghdad, is located in the center of the country and is the largest city of Iraq followed by Mosul, Basra and Erbil.

Furthermore, Iraq consists of nineteen governorates which are again subdivided into districts. Iraqi Kurdistan is the only legally defined region having its own government. It comprises the provinces of Erbil, Duhok, Sulaymaniyah and Halabja, with the capital being Erbil.

The majority of the country speaks Arabic as their mother tongue, but 10%-15% of the population also speaks Kurdish. Iraq has a total population numbering 36,004,552 with 97% of the inhabitants sharing a Muslim belief. The split between the religious divides is, 65% Shia and the 35% Sunni, there are other religious ethnic groups but the percentage figures are extremely nominal. 

The Sunni minority has filed many complaints concerning discrimination by the predominantly Shia led government, on many aspects of life. The lack of resolve by the government on these issues has resulted in continuous ethnic tension and conflicts between the two groups.

Tigris and Euphrates are the major rivers of Iraq and they run south through the center and flow into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf. The area of the Euphrates-Tigris river system is known as Mesopotamia. It is considered to be the birthplace of writing and the cradle of the oldest civilizations in the world with a cultural history of more than ten thousand years.

House of Wisdom in Acient Baghdad
   House of Wisdom in Acient Baghdad

In the Islamic Golden Age, Baghdad was the center of education and where the House of Wisdom was established, this was where scholars and intellectuals from various parts of the world gathered in order to research and exchange knowledge. In this period a huge amount of literature from all scientific sectors was translated into Arabic. The end of this glorious age was seen to be caused by two major events: The Mongolian Siege of Baghdad and the completion of the Christian Reconquista of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus.

In the Islamic Golden Age, Baghdad was the center of education and where the House of Wisdom was established, this was where scholars and intellectuals from various parts of the world gathered in order to research and exchange knowledge. In this period a huge amount of literature from all scientific sectors was translated into Arabic. The end of this glorious age was seen to be caused by two major events: The Mongolian Siege of Baghdad and the completion of the Christian Reconquista of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus.

From 1968 until the US-invasion in 2003 Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party under the leadership of Saddam Hussain. After he was removed from power, multi-party parliamentary elections were held. The American presence in Iraq ended in 2011 but the Iraqi uprising continued. In February of the same year the Arab Spring protest spread to Iraq, yet without toppling the government. During the next year’s, violence increased yet again spurred on by the Syrian Civil War.

In 2013 Sunni militants executed attacks against the Shia population in order to weaken the government under Nouri al-Maliki. In 2014 the terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) occupied and seized control of several major Iraqi cities, including Tikrit, Fallujah and Mosul. Due to continuing violence and fighting the number of internally displaced people reached 1.8 million in September 2014.