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Map of Iraq
Map of Iraq


Iraq was once part of the Ottoman Empire, which is related to Turkey. It was occupied by the United Kingdom during World War I. In 1920 it was decided to become a separate country with the United Kingdom helping it. It became an independent kingdom in 1932. It became a "republic" in 1958, but it actually was a type of dictatorship until 2003. The last dictator was Saddam Husayn. It had a big war with Iran over territory from 1980-1988. In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by an attack of many other countries, including the United States.
After attacking Kuwait, the United Nations required Iraq to remove all weapons of mass destruction (weapons like atomic bombs and missles) and to allow inspections.
Iraq did not listen to the United Nations for twelve years, though, so the United States attacked it (along with friends of the United States).
In 2005, a Constitution was created. The United States had a strong military presence in Iraq until December 2008. Now there are less American soldiers, but there are still a lot. On January 31, 2009, Iraq had elections in many provinces.

Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait


28,945,657 (July 2009 est.)
Ethnic groups
Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian, or other 5%


Muslim 97% (Shia 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%

Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Turkoman (a Turkish dialect), Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic), Armenian

total population: 74.1%

Official Government Name

Republic of Iraq

Capital city




Administrative Divisions
18 governorates and 1 region; Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Arbil, As Sulaymaniyah, At Ta'mim, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Kurdistan Regional Government*, Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit

October 3, 1932 (but still under British administration);

note: on June 28, 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred power to the Iraqi-controlled Government

Ratified on October 15, 2005

18 years of age; universal.

Executive Branch
chief of state: President Jalal Talabani; Vice Presidents Adil ABD AL-MAHDI and Tariq al-HASHIMI
head of government: Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki
cabinet: 36 ministers appointed by the Presidency Council, plus Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI and Deputy Prime Ministers Barham SALIH and Rafi al-ISSAWI
Legislative Branch
Council of Representatives. It is not split into two parts.

Judicial Branch

A court system that is like that of the United Kingdom.


There has been a conflict going on in Iraq since the United States-led invasion in 2001. Approximately two million Iraqis have left the country because of the conflict. Several different ethnic groups and religious groups also fight with each other.

Additional resource: World History -- McDougal Littell -- The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudel