The Iraq Portal

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

Flag of Iraq
Flag of Iraq
Coat of Arms of Iraq
Coat of Arms of Iraq
Iraq's location on a map of the Middle East and the world.

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in West Asia and in the geopolitical region known as the Middle East. With a population of over 46 million, it is the 31st-most populous country. It is a federal parliamentary republic that consists of 19 governorates. The country 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. The Iraqi people are diverse, with similarly diverse geography and wildlife. As part of the Arab and Muslim world, most Iraqis are Arab Muslims – minority faiths include Christianity, Yazidism, Mandaeism, Yarsanism, and Zoroastrianism. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish; others also recognized in specific regions are Turkish (Turkmen), Suret (Assyrian), and Armenian.

Modern Iraq dates to 1920, when a Mandate was created by League of Nations. A British-backed monarchy was founded in 1921 under Faisal. The Hashemite kingdom gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the kingdom was overthrown and a republic was created. Iraq was ruled by the Ba'ath Party from 1968 to 2003, led by Al-Bakr and then by Saddam Hussein, as a one-party state. Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, sparking a war that ended as a stalemate in 1988. In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, leading to a military campaign waged by a US-led international coalition that expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait. An invasion launched by another US-led coalition as part of its "War on Terror" in 2003 resulted in the defeat of Ba'athists and Saddam's execution. Discontent with the de-Ba'athification policies of the Provisional Authority stirred up an anti-American insurgency, which escalated into a sectarian civil war. In 2005, a new constitution was adopted and multi-party parliamentary elections were held in Iraq. Withdrawal of US troops began in 2008, and the occupation officially ended in 2011. Continued repression and sectarian policies of Nouri al-Maliki's Shia government caused protests, after which a coalition of Ba'athist and Sunni militias took up arms during a campaign. The climax of the campaign was the North Iraq offensive by the ISID that marked its rapid territorial expansion, prompting the return of American troops to fight the war, which lasted until 2017. Iran has also intervened since 2014, expanding its influence through sectarian parties and Khomeinist militia groups, triggering widespread protests. (Full article...)

Najaf or An-Najaf or Al-Najaf (Arabic: ٱلنَّجَف) or An-Najaf al-Ashraf (Arabic: ٱلنَّجَف ٱلْأَشْرَف), is a city in central Iraq about 160 km (99 mi) south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2024 is about 1.41 million people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate. It is widely considered amongst the holiest cities of Shia Islam and one of its spiritual capitals, as well as the center of Shia political power in Iraq. It is reputedly the burial place of Muhammad's son in law and cousin, ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib. It is also the location of the largest cemetery in the world, Wadi-us-Salaam, of one of the most important seminaries in the Shi'i Islamic world, and a major pilgrimage destination for Shia Muslims. (Full article...)

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Did you know...

  • ...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.

Selected biography - show another

Rifat Chadirji (Arabic: رفعت الجادرجي Rifa'a al-Khādarjī, also Romanized Rifa'at Al Chaderchi; 6 December 1926 – 10 April 2020) was an Iraqi Turkmen architect. He was often referred to as the father of modern Iraqi architecture, having designed more than 100 buildings across the nation. (Full article...)

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