The Republic of Iraq (officially: Arabic جمهورية العراق, DMG Ǧumhūriyyat al-'Irāq , Kurdish كۆماری عێراق Komarî Êraq), or Iraq for short, is a state in the Middle East. Iraq is bordered by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and the Persian Gulf, and includes most of the Mesopotamia "Mesopotamia" located between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, where the earliest advanced civilizations of the Near East emerged, as well as parts the adjacent desert and mountain regions. The northern part of the country is formed by the Kurdistan Autonomous Region, which has its own parliament, its own armed forces and its own official language Kurdish.

With about 38 million inhabitants, Iraq is one of the five largest countries in the Arab world. Its capital and largest city is the metropolis of Baghdad, other megacities are Basra, Mosul, Erbil, Sulaimaniya, Najaf, Kirkuk and Kerbela. Refugee movements in the 20th and 21st centuries led to rapid urbanization in the country. Iraq ranks fourth in the world ranking of most resource-rich countries, and its economy is based primarily on oil exports and to a lesser extent on agriculture.

Today's Iraq emerged in 1920 from the three Ottoman provinces of Baghdad, Mosul and Basra. From 1921 to 1958, consisted Kingdom of Iraq, in 1958 the king was a military coup deposed and proclaimed a republic. From 1979 to 2003, the country was ruled by Saddam Hussein dictatorial, the country waged war against its neighbors Iran and Kuwait. The Irankrieg was supported by the Soviet Union and the USA. A multinational invasion force ("Coalition of the Willing ") led by the United States overthrew regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, but failed to build stable structures for the post-war era. The infrastructure of the country was largely destroyed.

After the declared end of the war, during the occupation of Iraq in 2003-2011, there were civil war-like conditions, thousands of terrorist attacks, acts of war and violent crime, both of different Iraqi groups against each other and against the Western occupation forces. Above all, they demanded an unknown number of casualties and casualties among Iraqi civilians. In 2010, most of the foreign troops were withdrawn after a relative stabilization of the country had been achieved. The deduction was completed on 18 December 2011. In June 2014, Islamic ISIS militants conquered parts of the national territory as part of the 2014 Iraq crisis. According to the Pentagon, about 55,000 square kilometers were under IS control in January 2015, which corresponds to about 13% of the national territory. In December 2017, the Iraqi government announced that the Iraqi forces had taken complete control of the Syrian-Iraqi border and that the war against ISIS was over.



Tower of Babel

Hanging Gardens of Babylon




The name appeared in the 7th-8th centuries after the Arab conquest of the territory along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates, inhabited in ancient times. The Arabic word العراق al-ʿIrāq means "shore, coast".



The territory of Iraq was inhabited already in the period of the Middle Paleolithic, as evidenced by the finds of Neanderthals in the Shanidar cave.

Ancient period
The fertile region of Mesopotamia, in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, became one of the first places of origin of human civilization. At first, Sumerian city-states appeared here (Ur, Uruk, Babylon, etc.), then Semitic tribes migrated here, the leader of one of which Sargon the Ancient creates the Akkadian Empire. Babylon gradually became the center of ancient Mesopotamia. In I millennium BC. Assyria arose in Mesopotamia with its center in Nineveh. The dominant language at that time was Aramaic. After the death of Assyria, hegemony passed to the Chaldeans. The Persian king Cyrus II the Great conquers Babylon and includes Mesopotamia in his state, the end of which is put by the conquest of Alexander the Great. Then the power over these lands passes to the Hellenistic state of the Seleucids. In the II century BC. Mesopotamia was invaded by the Parthians and then by the Romans of Trajan, resulting in the Roman province of Mesopotamia. In the 3rd century, the Romans were forced out of Mesopotamia by the Sassanids.

Arab Caliphate
Arabs begin to penetrate into the territory of Iraq in the period of late Antiquity (Lahmids). In 636, Caliph Umar finally conquers Mesopotamia, bringing Islam here. The first Arab centers of Iraq were the cities of Al-Kufa and Basra. Under Caliph Ali, Iraq becomes the scene of a civil war (First Fitna), and Al-Kufa becomes the residence of the Caliph. The name of Caliph Ali is associated with the emergence of Shiites, who now constitute the religious majority in Iraq. In 762 Caliph Al-Mansur builds Baghdad and makes it the capital of the Arab Caliphate (Abbasids). The Caliphate of Baghdad reached its peak under Harun al-Rashid, whose image was idealized in the fairy tale "1001 Nights". In 945, power in Iraq passes to the Iranian Buyids, which ends with the Seljuk Togrul-bek. The fall of the Caliphate comes with the Mongol invasion in 1258, when Baghdad was destroyed and the Caliph killed.

Turkic period
After the Mongol invasion, Iraq entered the state of the Hulaguids, in which the Turkic element gradually increased. In 1340, the Jalairids began to rule Iraq, which ended in 1393 with the campaign of Tamerlane. Then the power here is divided by various Turkic groups Kara-Koyunlu, Ak-Koyunlu and Safavids (Kizilbash). In 1534, the territory of Mesopotamia was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and was part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1914, British troops invaded southern Iraq. By 1918, they had taken control of almost all of Iraq.

Kingdom of Iraq
In 1921, the Kingdom of Iraq was proclaimed (Arabic for “land between the shores”). The League of Nations Mandate for the territory of Mesopotamia, issued by Great Britain, was valid until 1932.

In 1932, the independence of Iraq was proclaimed, but the real power largely remained with Great Britain, the oil fields were in the concession of the Turkish petroleum consortium. In 1948, the British government imposed the Treaty of Portsmouth on Iraq, which gave the UK the right to occupy the country in the event of a military threat.
During the existence of the kingdom, it twice joined the Middle Eastern regional military-political pacts created with the assistance and influence of Great Britain: in 1937 - the Middle Eastern Entente, which formally existed until 1948, and in 1955 Iraq signed the Baghdad Pact.
In 1958, a single Arab Federation was formed with the Kingdom of Jordan.

Iraqi revolutions
On July 14, 1958, as a result of a conspiracy of officers and a revolution, the king, regent and prime minister of the country were killed, the monarchy was destroyed, Iraq was proclaimed a republic. Iraqi army brigade commander Abdel Kerim Qasem became head of the new regime. The Arab Federation is disintegrating. In 1961, Iraq withdraws from the Baghdad Pact, British military bases in the country are closed. The rule of General Kasem develops into a dictatorship and politically draws closer to the communists.

On September 11, 1961, a new Kurdish uprising begins under the leadership of Mustafa Barzani.
1962 Barzani rebels establish control over the entire mountainous part of Iraqi Kurdistan. The so-called Free Kurdistan arises, which lasted until March 1975.
On February 8, 1963, the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath) came to power as a result of a coup. The former Prime Minister Abdel Kerim Kasem was executed, mass repressions against the communists were launched. Saddam Hussein returned from exile from Cairo and condemned the then Ba'ath leadership for these repressions.
November 18, 1963 - power passed to the military junta led by Abdel Salam Aref. A number of Baath leaders were executed, Saddam Hussein was arrested and tortured in prison.
July 17, 1968 - The Ba'ath Party regained power. The country was headed by General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, who was the cousin of Saddam Hussein. Ba'ath allies with the Iraqi Communist Party.
On March 11, 1970, a Kurdish-Iraqi treaty was concluded on the formation of an autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, the boundaries of which were to be determined within a four-year period on the basis of a population census (actually never carried out).
On April 9, 1972, an agreement was signed between Iraq and the USSR on friendship and cooperation.
In March 1974, without the consent of the Kurds, the government version of the law on autonomy was published. In response, the Kurds, led by Massoud Barzani, start a new uprising.
On March 5, 1975, in the city of Algiers, Saddam Hussein and the Shah of Iran conclude an agreement that satisfies the Shah's claims regarding the border regime of the Shatt al-Arab River. After that, the Shah stops supporting Barzani. The Kurdish uprising fails, Free Kurdistan is liquidated.
In January 1977, repression began against the Iraqi Communist Party, a junior partner of the Ba'ath Party in the Popular Front.
July 16, 1979 - palace coup in Baghdad - resignation of President al-Bakr; 1979-2003 - President of Iraq - Saddam Hussein.
In 1979, the Iraqi Communist Party goes underground and starts a guerrilla war in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, in which Kurdish nationalists gradually begin to participate.
1980-1988 - Iran-Iraq war started by Iraq.
On June 7, 1981, 14 Israeli fighter-bombers destroy two Iraqi nuclear reactors (Operation Opera), operating and under construction, as well as related research laboratories. The reactors were created with the help of France.
1987-1989 - the Iraqi army is conducting an Anfal military campaign against guerrilla groups of Kurds and Iraqi communists in the north of the country, which included the widespread use of chemical weapons. According to various estimates, from 100 to 180 thousand civilians were killed during the operation (on March 16, 1988, 5 thousand Kurds of the city of Halabja died from a gas attack. Kurds and Iranians blamed Saddam Hussein for this attack. According to the Iraqi version, supported by the US State Department , the attack on the civilian population was inflicted by Iran during the offensive (although in fact the attack was carried out after Halabja was occupied by the combined forces of Iranians and Kurdish rebels).However, the investigation of international human rights organizations (primarily Human Rights Watch) confirmed the guilt Saddam Hussein In January 2010, Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid was convicted and sentenced to death by an Iraqi court of gas attack and sentenced to death, the gas attack itself was recognized as an act of genocide.The attack was carried out using sarin, tabun and VX, and that Iraq was producing sarin and tabun during the war.According to other sources, only cyanogen chloride was used, which Iraq did not have, but was in service with Iran. The attack was carried out using MiG and Mirage aircraft, which the Iraqi Air Force had and the Iranian Air Force did not have.
August 2, 1990 - The Iraqi army invades Kuwait. The country is occupied and annexed by Iraq.

Confrontation with the West
January 17 - February 28, 1991 - Gulf War; after five weeks of aerial bombardment and four days of ground war, Kuwait was liberated by the forces of an international coalition led by the United States.
March 1991 - Kurdish uprising in the north and smaller scale Shiite unrest in southern Iraq (Basra) are brutally suppressed by the Iraqi army with thousands of victims. This led to a humanitarian catastrophe - more than 1 million refugees (mostly Kurds) arrived in Turkey and Iran. International troops were sent to the northern regions of Iraq to provide humanitarian assistance (Operation Provide Comfort).
Summer-autumn 1991 - the operation of the NATO forces "Restoring comfort", as a result of which the Iraqi troops, and behind them the authorities, were withdrawn from the three provinces of Kurdistan (Erbil, Sulaimaniya, Dohuk). Kurdish power is established in these provinces and, in fact, a semi-independent entity is emerging, called "Free Kurdistan". The Iraqi Communist Party was given the opportunity to operate legally in the region.
1994-1998 - Civil war in Free Kurdistan between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. In 1995, Iran intervenes in the war on the side of the PUK and Saddam Hussein on the side of the KDP. Two separate administrations are formed: Erbil (government of the KDP, provinces of Erbil and Dohuk) and Sulaimaniya (PUK). In the end, Americans reconcile both opposing parties (Washington Treaty of 1998).
1998 - Operation "Fox in the Desert" (American air raids on Baghdad).
2001 - After the events in New York on September 11, 2001, US President George W. Bush accused Iraq, among other "rogue states" of supporting international terrorism and trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.


Iraqi War
March 20 - May 1, 2003 - the invasion of the international coalition troops (the main participants are the United States and Great Britain) into Iraq without a mandate from the UN Security Council in order to overthrow Saddam Hussein, as well as to destroy weapons of mass destruction, which were subsequently never discovered. On May 1, George W. Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln proclaims: "The tyrant has fallen, Iraq is free!" and declares the war won. The American Jay Garner, then Paul Bremer, becomes the head of the interim administration of Iraq.
2003 - Shiite extremist groups and the Iraqi Communist Party come out of the underground. The Ba'ath Party goes underground and organizes a guerrilla war.
On July 22, 2003, in the suburbs of Mosul, the Americans killed two of Saddam's sons and his 14-year-old grandson, first in a shootout and then by bombing the house where they were hiding.
Since the summer of 2003, a guerrilla war began, which reached its maximum by the summer of 2007.
2004 - Mahdi Army uprising.
On December 30, 2006, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging.
By the end of 2008, attacks on international forces and the Iraqi police had almost ceased. Terrorist acts continued, as a result of which the civilian population suffered. Part of the rebels legalized and received salaries as members of the so-called "Sunni militia". The commander of the Iraqi Resistance, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, remained in hiding despite all efforts to capture him.
On March 7, 2010, parliamentary elections were held, but as a result of the behind-the-scenes struggle around the election results, the parliament did not meet and the government was not formed. It was only on November 10 that a fragile agreement was reached regarding the distribution of power in the country between parties and groups.
On December 15, 2011, a ceremony was held at Baghdad International Airport to complete the mission of the US military forces in Iraq (Eng. United States Forces - Iraq). After a speech by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the bilingual flag of the US military in Iraq was lowered and folded, symbolically ending the military campaign in Iraq, which lasted almost 9 years.

Civil War
As a result of the expansion of the Islamic State terrorist organization, a civil war broke out in Iraq. On June 5, 2016, government troops liberated most of the territory of the state.

During the conflict, the armed forces of Iraqi Kurdistan liberated from the armed gangs of ISIS and temporarily occupied several settlements in Sinjar, including the oil-bearing Kirkuk.

On December 9, 2017, Iraq announced the end of the war with the Islamic State.


Physical and geographical characteristics

The territory of Iraq is 435,052 km² (58th in terms of area among the countries of the world). It is located in the north of the Arabian Peninsula and is washed by the waters of the Persian Gulf. Most of Iraq is located within the Mesopotamian lowland, which is a foredeep separating the Precambrian Arabian platform and the young highlands of the Alpine-Himalayan mobile belt.

The northern part of the Mesopotamian lowland is a denudation-accumulative plain 200–500 m high, complicated by individual remnant massifs up to 1460 m high (Sinjar Mountains), the southern part of Mesopotamia is a swampy alluvial lowland no more than 100 m high. southwest, located within the Syrian-Arabian stratal plateau up to 900 m high, occupied by the Syrian desert and the El-Hijar desert. In the north of Iraq, low ridges of the Armenian Highlands stretch, passing in the north-east of the country into the medium-altitude ridges of the Iranian Highlands with the highest point of Iraq - Mount Haji Ibrahim (3587 m). These mountainous regions are characterized by increased seismicity.

Inland waters
The main water arteries of the country are the Tigris and Euphrates, crossing the Mesopotamian lowland from the northwest to the southeast and merging in the lower reaches of the Shatt al-Arab, which flows into the Persian Gulf. The waters of the Euphrates, which has no significant tributaries in Iraq, are used for irrigation. The Tigris with tributaries Big Zab, Little Zab and Diyala has hydroelectric power stations. Regular navigation is possible mainly along the Shatt al-Arab river. In the spring, floods occur on the rivers, to combat which flood reservoirs have been created, allowing the use of accumulated water in the dry season. The depressions of the Mesopotamian lowland are replete with lakes: El Milh, El Hammar, Es Saadia, El Habbaniya. In the deserts, temporary streams flow during the rains.

Used since the civilization of Ancient Mesopotamia, the fertile alluvial soils of the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, as a result of centuries of irrational practice of irrigated agriculture, in many places have turned into salt marshes, takyrs, and sandy deserts. But even now irrigated lands predominate here. Most of the rest of the territory of Iraq is occupied by desert grass-wormwood steppes, semi-deserts and tropical deserts (in the south). Forests, occupying 2% of the country's area, grow in the mountains (oaks, pistachios, junipers, changing to the foothills of maquis and thorny bushes) and along the valleys of large rivers (tamarisk, willow, Euphrates turanga). The upper slopes of the highest ranges are occupied by alpine meadows. Date palms are cultivated in southern Iraq.

The main minerals of Iraq are oil and gas, the deposits of which stretch from the northwest to the southeast of the country along the Mesopotamian foredeep and belong to the oil and gas basin of the Persian Gulf. In the Syrian Desert, there are industrially significant phosphorite deposits belonging to the East Mediterranean phosphorite-bearing basin. The country also has deposits of sulfur, gypsum, talc, asbestos, salt, clay, limestone, chromite, iron, lead-zinc, copper, nickel ores and other minerals.

The climate in Iraq is continental, with dry and exceptionally hot summers and relatively rainy cool winters, subtropical in the north and tropical in the south. The average January temperatures increase from north to south from 7 to 12 °С (there is snow in the mountains), the average July temperatures are 34 °С everywhere (on some days they can reach 50 °С). The annual rainfall is 50-150 mm in the plains and up to 1500 mm in the mountains. Dust storms are frequent in the south in summer.

Animal world
The fauna of Iraq, as a result of degradation of habitats and military operations, is severely depleted, and protected areas (having a low status of protection) occupy only 0.001% of the country's area. Of the large mammals, the wolf, hyena, Persian antelope, gazelle, caracal, and jackal have been preserved. There are many rodents, reptiles and dangerous arthropods (scorpion, phalanx, locust). In the deltas of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as well as in the swamps along their course and in Lake Tartar, marsh crocodiles live. 170 species of birds nest in the country (including the almost extinct endemics of Iraq - the Iraqi warbler and the Iraqi thrush-thrush) and 230 species of birds winter (rare Dalmatian pelican, pink flamingo and others). The International Union for the Conservation of Birds proposes to include 3.5 million hectares of bird areas of international importance in the protected areas of Iraq.



According to estimates for 2009, there are approximately 31 million inhabitants in Iraq.

According to some sources, Shiites in Iraq represent 65% of the population, Sunnis - 35% (obviously, only the Muslim population is meant). According to other sources (the 1997 census, the results of which were submitted to the UN), in the country, on the contrary, there are 66% Sunnis, and 34% Shiites.

The 1997 census was not conducted in the three provinces of Iraqi Kurdistan, which is why its results are called into question by a number of experts.

Shiites live in the south, Kurds - in the north, Christians - dispersed.

Under Saddam Hussein, the Shiites were less represented in government, and the United States counted on their support before the invasion. However, despite the calls of most of the Shiite clergy for neutrality in relation to the occupying power, the Shiite population began to gradually become politicized and began jihad against the Americans and collaborators. The center of the crystallization of the Shiite Resistance was the so-called Mahdi Army, formally headed by the Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr.

There are 850,000 Assyrians in Iraq. After the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, Assyrians were abducted and killed, and their temples were set on fire.



The vice-presidents of Iraq during Saddam Hussein's time were Taha Yassin Ramadan and Taha Mohi ed-Din Ma'ruf, who were Kurds by origin.

The most peaceful Iraqi region remains the semi-independent "Kurdistan Region", in which the previously warring Kurdish parties finally came to an agreement: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) (leader - Masoud Barzani), which controls most of the provinces of Erbil and Dahuk and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK ) (Jalal Talabani), under whose authority is the southern part of Iraqi Kurdistan, the main city of which is Sulaymaniyah. Despite formal unity, both parts of Iraqi Kurdistan are completely separate and differently administered territories.

These organizations have taken control of Iraqi Kurdistan since the defeat of Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War.

With the defeat of the Iraqi army in March-April 2003, Kurdish Peshmerga detachments, controlled by the PUK and KDP, moving from Free Kurdistan, took control of Kirkuk, Mosul and some adjacent territories, to some extent also inhabited by Kurds, and carried out large-scale purges there, expelling Arab settlers who were given lands taken from the Kurds in the course of Saddam's "Arabization" policy. This caused violent protests on the one hand of the Arabs, on the other hand of Turkey, which feared the establishment of Kurdish control over the oil center - Kirkuk, and as a result - the formation of an independent Kurdistan in Iraq and the strengthening of the Kurdish movement in Turkey itself; Officially, Ankara stated that it was afraid of reprisals against the Turkic-speaking minority (Turcomans). The latter live compactly in some areas of Iraq and, in particular, around Kirkuk. In the census at the end of the 50s, the Turks made up 80% of the population of this city; despite a long-standing enmity with the Kurds, under Saddam they fell victim to "Arabization" along with the latter.

Since 2003, the two main Kurdish parties have operated in close cooperation; questions about power were largely resolved by an agreement between Barzani and Talabani, according to which the first should be elected president of Iraq, the second - the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, and all posts and seats in parliament would be divided according to the 50:50 formula. Therefore, the Kurdish parties went to the parliamentary elections on December 15, 2005 with one list; The Alliance of Kurdish Parties won 53 seats in the 275-seat parliament.

The adoption of the new Iraqi constitution at the same time finally legitimized the broad autonomy of the “Kurdistan region”. At the same time, the officially proclaimed goal of the Kurdish parties is not independence, but federation. With an extremely weak central government, this means that the Kurdish leaders will continue to rule their territory as they please, with the tacit consent of the Americans. In particular, when entering Iraq from Turkey through the Khabur border crossing or Erbil airport, an Iraqi visa (worth $81) is not required. Moreover, by putting a Kurdish border stamp on entry into Iraqi Kurdistan (free of charge), foreigners, in particular Turkish businessmen, have the legal right to stay for 10 days, if they so wish, in any settlement in Iraq outside Kurdistan.

In April 2005, Talabani was elected president of Iraq.


On March 16, 2006, on the 18th anniversary of the gas attack, riots began in the Kurdish city of Halabja (Talabani control zone). An angry mob of Kurds burned down the “gasification” memorial museum and destroyed almost all of its exhibits. The police opened fire on the crowd, a 14-year-old teenager died, several dozen people were injured. Angry residents who destroyed the museum said that it was the only building in the city of 80,000 that the Iraqi Kurdistan authorities had bothered to build there in more than a decade, while the problems of water supply, electricity and road paving in the city were not solved: "We are fed up with these liars [Kurdish politicians] and we don't want to see them in our city."

There is limited pluralism in Iraqi Kurdistan, with an active Kurdistan branch of the Iraqi Communist Party, as well as a small Maoist Communist Party. At the same time, the activities of Islamist parties are prohibited. The Islamist enclave in Halabja, created by Ansar al-Islam, was liquidated by the PUK in 2003 after US bombing there; however, the Kurdish Islamists driven underground are very active, they operate, in particular, outside of Iraqi Kurdistan.

On June 12, 2005, the Kurdistan Parliament proclaimed Masoud Barzani the president of the region. In May 2006, the Kurdistan Parliament approved a unified government in place of the two rival control centers in Erbil (KDP) and Sulaymaniyah (PUK). The new cabinet was headed by Masoud Barzani's nephew, Nechirvan Barzani. The post of Deputy Prime Minister was taken by the representative of the PUK Omar Fattah. The new government is subject to 26 united ministries. The Ministries of Finance, Justice, Interior and Peshmerga Affairs (that is, the Ministry of War) will function autonomously for the next 6-12 months. On July 25, 2009, Barzani was re-elected president in the general election with over 68% of the vote.

In the spring of 2009, the Gorran (Change) movement, led by Talabani's former deputy Nushirvan Mustafa, broke away from the PUK. It took a sharply oppositional position towards both ruling parties, accusing them of corruption and undemocraticity. accompanied in Sulaimani by mutual violence between supporters of Gorran and the PUK, the first received 25 parliamentary seats (mainly in Suleymaniye) out of a total of 111. In addition to Gorran, the opposition in the Kurdistan Parliament is represented by 10 deputies from moderate Islamist parties: the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan and the Islamic Group of Kurdistan.



Yezidis are an ethno-religious group of Kurds, mainly living in the north of Iraq, in particular in the province of Mosul. The main area of ​​compact residence of the Yezidis is the areas of Ain Sifni, Sinjar and Dahuk. In the Dahuk region, there is also the main shrine of the Yezidis - Lalesh. Estimates of the number of Yezidis in Iraq range from 300,000 to 800,000.

In 2012, an agreement was signed between the head of the Yezidi Party for Reforms and Progress in Iraq and the President of Iraq to establish the Yezidi Autonomy (Ezdihan) in northern Iraq on a total area of ​​15,000 square kilometers in the provinces of Ain Sifni, Sinjar (Shangal) and Dohuk.

Ezdihan is one of the most dangerous regions in Iraq. Thus, as a result of a series of explosions in the Sinjar region on August 14, 2007, more than 500 people were killed, because of which thousands of Yezidis left their historical homeland.

The Shabaks are an ethno-religious group of Kurds who live east of Mosul. The estimated number of Shabaks for 2017 is between 200,000 and 500,000 people.



The Sunni Triangle, central Iraq west of Baghdad, is the region where guerrilla warfare against US forces has been most vicious. Under Saddam, retired soldiers settled in the region. Since 2003, these cities have been purged several times. In addition to the Americans, detachments of Shiite militants and Kurds, formed by the Americans, who treated the settlements of the region as enemy territories, took part in the cleansing of the Sunni areas.

First, the coalition lost control of the "Sunni Triangle", the territory located between the cities of Fallujah, Baakuba and Ramadi. And by the summer, the situation had changed in the north of the country - in the Mosul region, the rebels gradually strengthened their positions.

The Americans announced that Fallujah was a stronghold of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of the leaders of the Sunni resistance. They completely lost control of the city.

Statistics show that his death on June 7, 2006 did not reduce the average monthly losses of coalition troops.

In the fall of 2004, American troops launched a massive operation against the resistance forces in the Sunni Triangle.

In early October, after three days of fighting, the city of Samarra was taken. After that, all forces were sent to capture the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. Fallujah was blocked, while at the same time massive bombing attacks were carried out on it. The main demand made by the Americans was the extradition by the city authorities of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, allegedly hiding in the city, whose head the Pentagon estimated at $25 million.

The operation to storm Fallujah was carried out for 1.5-2 weeks in mid-November. The operation was intended to stop the escalation of violence and ensure conditions for holding free elections on January 25, 2005. To solve this problem, the Iraqi authorities introduced a state of emergency in the country for a period of 60 days.

The storming of the city became a political and psychological action. Without the establishment of effective control of the Iraqi authorities over the city, it would have to be recaptured in a few months.

The operation, codenamed Phantom Fury, involved 12,000 American troops and 3,000 fighters from the new Iraqi army.

According to official figures, during the operation, about 1200 militants were killed, 450-500 were taken prisoner. During the assault, most of Fallujah was turned into ruins - houses, mosques, power lines, and city water were destroyed.

The US takeover of Fallujah did nothing to end the guerrilla war, and the excessive use of force was seen as barbaric by much of the Arab world.

In the elections to the constituent assembly, held in January 2005, almost only Shia Arabs and Sunni Kurds participated. Sunni Arabs, who are in the minority, simply did not go to the elections, where they were guaranteed defeat, and were practically excluded from the political life of the country. Naturally, the bloc of Shiite parties won.

In the autumn of 2005, the Sunni parties called on their supporters to reject the draft of a new constitution drafted by the Constituent Assembly, which is being put to a referendum on 15 October. The Sunnis claimed that the new constitution was imposed on them by the Shiites and Kurds and that this document undermines the state and territorial unity of the country. In their opinion, the federalization of Iraq, enshrined in the project, provides an opportunity for the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south to have a virtual monopoly on oil revenues.

Thanks to the intervention of the League of Arab States, after lengthy negotiations, the largest Sunni association - the Islamic Party of Iraq - agreed to support the draft constitution. In turn, the Shiites and Kurds promised to create a parliamentary commission to finalize the controversial points of the document.

In the elections to the National Assembly, held on December 15, 2005, the Shia United Iraqi Alliance won (128 seats in the 275-seat parliament). The Shiites, however, failed to become the majority faction as in the previous provisional legislature. According to observers, this was due to the refusal of the Sunni parties to boycott the elections. As a result, the two largest Sunni parties won 55 seats.



The Ba'ath Party was organized in the city of Al-Nasiriyah by Shiites-Baathists in the late 40s of the XX century. At the beginning of the occupation of Iraq by American troops, Iraqi Shiites represented the majority in it. According to the so-called "55 list" published by the US occupying forces, 35 of Iraq's 55 former leaders were Shiites. The proportion of Shiites in the Baath party was 62% of the party leadership.

After the occupation of Iraq, part of the Shiite region of the country (the far south) was controlled by British forces. Unlike the Americans, they did not rudely interfere in the political life of the region and did not carry out large-scale cleansing. In this regard, the real power in the region gradually passed into the hands of the Mahdi Army in coalition with other political structures. This coalition took control of the transportation of oil through the port of Basra, and the Baghdad authorities lost all control over the situation in the region.

According to official statements by the occupying forces, Iran is behind many of the attacks against them. However, this country fully controls and finances the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SSIRI), an influential political component of the Iraqi government (of a Shiite religious orientation), and its paramilitary wing, the BADR, which organized terrorist attacks against the leadership of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. Paradoxically, Americans also maintain good relations with these organizations.

The ASIRI is counterbalanced by the formally disbanded in 2004, but even more strengthened "Mahdi Army", headed by Muqtada Sadr. He positions himself as "the quintessence of Iraqi nationalism" and controls not only the Shiite south, but also the Baghdad suburb of Madinat Sadr (Sadr City).

In the elections to the National Assembly, held on December 15, 2005, the Shia United Iraqi Alliance won (128 seats in the 275-seat parliament). The Shiites, however, failed to become the majority faction as in the previous provisional legislature.



According to the results of the study of the international charitable Christian organization "Open Doors" for 2020, Iraq ranks 15th in the list of countries where the rights of Christians are most often oppressed.

After the rule of ISIS (2013-2017), some Christians find it difficult to recover and some are still being persecuted by ISIS. Also, Christians have always been and are being persecuted by Muslims.



The main population - the Arabs - speak the Iraqi dialect of the Arabic language. The largest national minority, the Kurds, who live mainly in the Kurdistan region, speak Kurdish dialects, mainly Central Kurdish and Northern Kurdish. The official languages according to the constitution are Arabic and Kurdish. Other languages may be used in areas densely populated by national minorities.


State structure

According to the 2005 constitution, Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic based on the consensus of the three main ethno-religious communities of the Iraqi people: Shia Arabs, Sunni Arabs and Kurds. Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Sunnis largely led the country, and after his overthrow they found themselves in opposition.

In the elections to the Constituent Assembly, held in January 2005, almost only Shia Arabs and Kurds participated. Sunni Arabs boycotted the elections, and only Shiites and Kurds were represented in the Constituent Assembly, while Sunnis were practically excluded from the political life of the country.

In the autumn of 2005, the Sunni parties called on their supporters to reject the draft of a new constitution, which is being put to a referendum on 15 October. The Sunnis claimed that the new constitution was imposed on them by the Shiites and Kurds and that this document undermines the state and territorial unity of the country. In their opinion, the federalization of Iraq, enshrined in the project, provides an opportunity for the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south to have a virtual monopoly on oil revenues.

Thanks to the intervention of the League of Arab States (LAS), the largest Sunni group - the Islamic Party of Iraq - agreed to support the draft constitution. In turn, the Shiites and Kurds promised to create a parliamentary commission to finalize the controversial points of the document.

In the parliamentary elections - the National Assembly, held on December 15, 2005, the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance won (140 seats in the 275-seat parliament). The Shiites were able to become the majority faction, while the largest Sunni parties received 18 seats and the Alliance of Kurdish Parties 75 seats. The rest of the seats were distributed among smaller parties of various ethnic and religious affiliations.

The last parliamentary elections were held on May 12, 2018, with the largest number of seats won by: Reform Alliance led by Muqtada al-Sadr (54), Fatah Alliance led by Hadi al-Amiri (47), Victory Alliance led by former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (42), as well as the State of Law with Nuri al-Maliki (25) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (25). The State of Law bloc, led by former Prime Minister Ayyad Alavi won 91 out of 325 seats in the country's parliament.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country in 2018 was classified on the Democracy Index as a hybrid regime.

The Iraqi National Assembly (Iraqi Parliament) consists of one 325-seat Council of Representatives, elected from party lists. The upper house (Council of the Union) has not yet been formed.

The government (cabinet of ministers) is formed by the largest parliamentary faction and is headed by the prime minister.

The Shiites believed that they would be able to form a government without taking into account the opinions of other groups of the population, but the United States demanded that a government of national unity be formed with the following post-separation scheme: the country's prime minister (a key position under the Iraqi constitution) is a Shiite, the president is a Kurd, and the chairman of the parliament is Sunni. Two deputies for these officials should complement their chief. This means, for example, that one vice-presidential post will always be assigned to Shiites and Sunnis.

The American demand angered the Shiites, especially Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, but the Americans managed to convince them of the need for such an approach. And Ibrahim al-Jaafari in April 2006 had to give up his post to Javad (Nuri) al-Maliki, who enjoys the support of Muqtada al-Sadr and the spiritual leader of Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

Despite the parliamentary elections held on March 7, 2010, the winning parties were mired in endless squabbles, the new parliament did not meet, and only by November 10 was it possible to allegedly achieve a fragile agreement on the formation of a government and the division of power in the country.



The Iraqi Constitution is the basic law adopted by popular referendum on October 15, 2005. The constitution consists of 5 sections, some of the sections are divided into chapters, and the chapters are divided into thematic parts. The constitution contains permanent and temporary provisions, the duration of the latter being specified in the fundamental law itself. In total, taking into account temporary provisions, the Iraqi Constitution has 144 articles.


Foreign policy

Relations between Iran and Iraq
In 2003, Iran was categorically against the American invasion of Iraq. Despite the chilly relations between the countries after the end of the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein was clearly less of a threat to Iran than the Americans. Relations between Iran and Iraq deteriorated shortly after the Americans handed over power in Iraq to an interim government in mid-2004. Tehran refused to recognize the new authorities, and the Iraqi Defense Minister in a newspaper interview accused Iran of directly interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq, hijacking several combat aircraft transferred to Iran by Saddam Hussein in 1991, before the start of the Gulf War. Tehran refused, stating that it would negotiate on this issue only with the democratically elected authorities of Iraq. Iran's spiritual leader Ali Khamenei accused the Iraqi interim government of "subservience" to the Americans.

UN and Iraq
On September 16, 2004, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, giving an international legal assessment of the military operation of the US and its allies in Iraq for the first time in 18 months, stated that the invasion of Iraq was illegal and contrary to the UN Charter. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, Kofi Annan insisted that the United States must obtain the consent of the UN Security Council before attacking Iraq. With the beginning of the invasion, the UN Secretary General withdrew from the Iraqi problem and even complied with US demands, ordering UN inspectors to leave Iraq in order to save their lives during the American bombing.

The UN was initially limited to humanitarian cooperation with the US military, but in August 2003 this activity also ceased after the building of the UN mission in Baghdad was blown up and Kofi Annan's special representative, Sergiu Vieira de Mello, died.

It was only in 2004 that the US turned to the UN to make the new Iraqi authorities they created legitimate. UN experts said that in the current situation it is too early to form the country's parliament, since real democratic elections are impossible. The United States did not heed the advice and continued to act according to its own schedule, which caused criticism from the UN Secretary General.

This statement came days after US Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted that the US would not be able to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and it was their discovery and elimination that was put forward by the US as the main reason for the invasion of Iraq.

Meanwhile, Great Britain, Australia, Poland, Japan stated that they do not agree with Kofi Annan.

Kofi Annan declared the Iraqi campaign illegal just when the situation around Iran is heating up to the limit, and his statement can be considered an attempt to prevent the development of events according to the Iraqi scenario. On December 18, 2011, the last US forces were withdrawn from Iraq. The rest of the military is guarding the US embassy, ​​and there are also some officers in the Iraqi army.

Relations with Russia
Iraq has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation.

August 25 - September 9, 1944 - established diplomatic relations with the USSR at the mission level.
January 3 - 8, 1955 - diplomatic relations are interrupted by the government of Iraq.
July 18, 1958 - an agreement was reached on the resumption of diplomatic relations at the level of embassies.


Economics and finance

The volume of GDP at PPP for 2014 amounted to 526.1 billion US dollars - 36th place in the world (about 15,300 US dollars per capita - 102nd place in the world). The rate of decline in the economy recorded in 2014 is 2.1%. The revenue side of the state budget for 2014 was $86.03 billion, the expenditure side was $97.57 billion, and the budget deficit was 5.2% of GDP.

In 2008, 40,000 refugees returned to Baghdad. In early 2009, the director of a Baghdad real estate company noted a significant increase in apartment prices associated with the return of refugees, which he attributed primarily to the end of the war.

The growth of industrial production amounted to 7.9% in 2007, 10.5% in 2008 (11th place in the world), 3.4% in 2009. GDP growth was 1.5% in 2007, 9.5% in 2008 and 4.3% in 2009.

At the same time, oil production has partially survived, but its transportation abroad, especially to Turkey, is unstable due to ongoing sabotage in part. Kurds in the north often transport oil to Turkey using "automobile oil pipelines" (columns of "loaders").



Public life is largely determined by Islamic traditions and regulations (Sharia, according to the Constitution). All Muslim religious holidays are celebrated in the country: the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, celebrated after the Muslim fasting of Ramadan, the feast of breaking the fast (id-al-fitr), the feast of sacrifice (id-al-adha). There are also calendar rituals dating back to pre-Islamic times associated with the beginning of field work, harvesting, shearing sheep, etc.


Traditional clothing

The traditional clothing of the Arabs of Iraq, varying in detail in different parts of the country, is generally close to the North Arab Bedouin costume. Men wear tapering, usually white trousers and a long, wide shirt (dishdasha) tied with a belt (natak). In cold weather, an open raincoat (aba) is put on top. The headdress is a scarf (yashmag), held by a woolen plait (agal) twisted around the head. The most common shoes are wooden or leather sandals, and among more affluent people - soft shoes. The clothes of the rice growers and fishermen of southern Iraq are often limited to a loincloth.

Women's clothing consists of trousers, a long dress (atag) - bright colors for young women and dark for older women - and a silk or woolen cloak-aba. The head is covered with a dark scarf, tied on the forehead with a strip of fabric (chardag). Another handkerchief (foot) descends from the chin to the chest; women who have made a pilgrimage to holy places wear a white foot. Jewelry and amulets worn by women are very diverse - rings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants, earrings, nose rings and brooches, made from a wide variety of materials.


National cuisine

The food is dominated by dates, barley and wheat cakes, rice, sour milk, vegetables. Dates are eaten with cakes and tea, they are used to make pasta, sugar, halva, sweet drinks, vodka. Steep porridge (burgul) is cooked from rice, which is usually eaten with sour milk (la-(ban). In some places, fish dishes are in use, but fish, in particular in Baghdad, is much more expensive than meat. Of the traditional meat dishes, which are especially popular on holidays, pilaf, roast (kebab), fried minced meat balls (kub-ba), meat-stuffed eggplants and tomatoes (dolma), etc. are popular.

Among the favorite drinks are tea, coffee, fruit sherbets, lemonade - hamud, sour milk diluted with water and salt. Since October 2016, it has been prohibited throughout the country to produce, import and sell alcoholic beverages.


Folk music

Iraqi folk music, known as the music of Mesopotamia, belongs to the music of the Arab world, but at the same time contains elements of Turkish, Persian and Indian musical cultures.


Mass media

The state television and radio company IMN (Iraqi Media Network - Iraqi Media Network) (until 2003 IBTE (Iraqi Broadcasting and Television Establishment - "Establishment of Iraqi Radio and Television")), includes the Al Iraqiya TV channel (until 2003 - Iraqi TV) and radio station Radio Republic of Iraq.


Armed forces

Ground forces: 133 thousand people; Air force: 1 thousand people, 34 aircraft and 26 helicopters; Naval forces: 1 thousand people; special operations forces. Expenses - 8.6% of GDP (2006).


Creation of the Iraqi Security Forces
The UN Security Council in 2004 adopted a resolution that provides for the creation of an Iraqi security force.

The Americans, especially since 2007, have sought to recruit Iraqi generals and senior officers who served in the military and intelligence services under Saddam Hussein. Many of them had extensive experience in local warfare, having gone through the Iran-Iraq war and Operation Desert Storm. In addition, some of these former high-ranking military had connections in the circles of the Iraqi Resistance and were respected by the insurgents.

The Iraqi National Guard, established in 2004 to provide internal security, was disbanded in 2005 because morale was low and it was overrun by Iraqi Resistance agents. The same fate had previously befallen the Iraqi Civilian Protection Corps (ICDC), the forerunner of the National Guard.

A number of cities, in particular Fallujah, with the consent of the Americans, since 2007, were controlled by the so-called "Sunni militia", and, in fact, by legalized rebels, who in return pledged not to allow attacks on the Americans in the territory under their control.

Since the end of 2007, both international and Iraqi security force casualties have steadily declined.

According to a February-March 2007 poll, 51% of the Iraqi population supported insurgent attacks on US troops.