The Iraq Portal

A view of Baghdad, Iraq
A view of Baghdad, Iraq

Flag of Iraq
Coat of Arms of Iraq
Iraq

Iraq (Arabic: الْعِرَاق, romanizedal-ʿIrāq; Kurdish: عێراق, romanized: Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق Jumhūriīyet al-ʿIrāq; Kurdish: کۆماری عێراق, romanized: Komarî Êraq), 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 including Iraqi Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Armenians, Yazidis, Mandaeans, Persians and Shabakis with similarly diverse geography and wildlife. The majority of the country's 40 million citizens are Muslims, and other recognized religions include Christianity, Yazidism, Mandaeism, Yarsanism and Zoroastrianism The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish, with other recognized regional languages being Neo-Aramaic, Turkish and Armenian.

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 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. Since its independence, Iraq's political history has been characterized by periods of significant economic and military growth, as well as periods of political and economic instability. (Full article...)

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Karbala collage2.jpg

Karbala or Kerbala (Arabic: كَرْبَلَاء, romanizedKarbalāʾ [karbaˈlaːʔ], /ˈkɑːrbələ/ KAR-bə-lə, also US: /ˌkɑːrbəˈlɑː/ KAR-bə-LAH;) is a city in central Iraq, located about 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Baghdad, and a few miles east of Lake Milh, also known as Razzaza Lake. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 700,000 people (2015).

The city, best known as the location of the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE, or the shrines of Imam Husayn and Abbas, is considered a holy city for Shia Muslims, in the same way as Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Tens of millions of Shi'ite Muslims visit the site twice a year, rivaling Mecca and Mashhad by the number of pilgrims annually. The martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali is commemorated annually by millions of Shi'ites. Up to 8 million pilgrims visit the city to observe ʿĀshūrāʾ (the tenth day of the month of Muharram), which marks the anniversary of Husayn's death, but the main event is the Arbaʿīn (the 40th day after 'Ashura'), where up to 30 million visit the graves. Most of the pilgrims travel on foot from all around Iraq and more than 56 countries. (Full article...)

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Milkau Oberer Teil der Stele mit dem Text von Hammurapis Gesetzescode 369-2.png
The Code of Hammurabi (Codex Hammurabi), the best preserved ancient law code, was created ca. 1760 BC (middle chronology) in ancient Babylon. It was enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi.

Did you know...

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  • ...that the oldest known writing system, known as cuneiform, was developed in southern Iraq during the Sumerian civilization.
  • ...that the oldest laws were written in Iraq by the Sumerian King Ur-Nammu.
  • ...that Iraq is second only to Saudi Arabia in oil reserves.
  • ...that the national soccer team of Iraq won the AFC Asian Cup in 2007.
  • ...the wheel was invented in the southern Iraqi city of Ur.
  • ...that Iraq is the largest producer of dates with more than 400 types and more than 22 million date palms.
  • ...that Iraq’s national dish is Masgouf (impaled fish) and its national cookie is Kleicha (meaning circle or wheel), both of which can be traced back to antiquity.
  • ...in the 1940s and 1950s, Iraq had 4/5 of the world's Arecaceae population, these numbers have drastically decreased in the last few decades.

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Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr
Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr
Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (Arabic: آية الله العظمى السيد محمد باقر الصدر; 1 March 1935 – 9 April 1980), also known as al-Shahīd al-Khāmis (the fifth martyr), was an Iraqi philosopher, and the ideological founder of the Islamic Dawa Party, born in al-Kadhimiya, Iraq. He was father-in-law to Muqtada al-Sadr, a cousin of Muhammad Sadeq al-Sadr and Imam Musa as-Sadr. His father Haydar al-Sadr was a well-respected high-ranking Shi'a cleric. His lineage can be traced back to Muhammad through the seventh Shia Imam Musa al-Kazim. Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr was executed in 1980 by the regime of Saddam Hussein along with his sister, Amina Sadr bint al-Huda. (Full article...)

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