The modern state of Iraq is young, founded in
the 20th century under British supervision, but the area
around Euphrates and Tigris has been the scene of some
of the oldest civilizations in human history. Here,
Sumerians, Babylonians, Romans, Persians, Arabs and many
others have ruled great empires. From the 16th century,
today's Iraq was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, right up
to the First World War when the area was conquered by
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Iraq, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Archaeologists have found traces of 120,000 year old
settlements on the fertile plain between the two rivers.
According to the researchers, agriculture was practiced
with irrigation 9,000 years ago and metal production was
a known art. In the two-river country of Mesopotamia,
the world's first civilization was later born: the
Sumerian empire 3200-2000 BC. The Sumerians ruled over a
large number of city states in the part that now forms
After the summers, Mesopotamia was conquered by
Elamites, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians
before Alexander the Great in 330 BC entered the Persian
Empire and brought Hellenistic culture to the area.
Alexander was followed by the Romans and Mesopotamia
became the subject of battles between Rome and various
regional kingdoms, such as the Sassanids, for centuries,
before the area was conquered by Arabs after the Battle
of Jalula in 637.
Mesopotamia quickly became Islamized and from the
year 750, with the newly built capital Baghdad, became
the center of the Abbasid caliphate. It flourished for
half a millennium and was the strongest empire of the
time in the Arab Empire.
In the middle of the 13th century, the Mongols
invaded Baghdad under Genghis grandson Hülegü. Then
followed three centuries of power struggles between
Mongols, Persians and Turks before the Turks' kingdom,
the Ottoman (or Ottoman) Empire, in 1535 conquered the
Iraq of that time.
But from the conquest of the Mongols and for nearly
six centuries ahead, the area lacked a strong, unified
leadership. Local Sheikhs and clan leaders had real
power. In the mid-19th century, however, the role of the
Ottoman Empire strengthened Baghdad's role at the
expense of the local rulers. A land reform, combined
with the influence of Western economic thinking, led
many Sheikhs to go from being the spiritual and worldly
leaders of the people to becoming almost feudal
The Ottoman Empire collapsed in the First World War.
Already in 1914 Britain conquered Basra in southern Iraq
and in 1918 the Turks were driven away from Kirkuk in
the north. In 1919, the British were given a mandate by
the United Nations foremen of the United Nations (NF) to
govern the area, which came into force in 1920. At the
same time, opposition to British rule had increased
among newly formed nationalist organizations, and as
news of the NF's decision became known, and the British
said no to the Iraqis' demand for independence,
resistance to a bloody revolt developed. One triggering
factor was when one of the Shia Muslims' most prominent
Ayatolls in June 1920 called for a rebellion against the
foreign occupation. When the uprising ended at the end
of the year, about 500 British soldiers had fallen. The
role of Shia Muslims in the revolt caused a
long-standing distrust between them and the British.
Iraq was constructed by three ancient Ottoman
provinces with different characters: the partially
Kurdish Mosul, which was first incorporated in 1926, the
Sunni Arab Baghdad and the Shi'ite Muslim Basra. The
construction gave rise to internal conflicts. As king of
the kingdom, the British appointed a prince from the
Hashemite royal family, Faisal bin Hussein, who had been
proclaimed king in Syria in 1920 but deposed by France
in the same year.
Iraq became an independent Hashemite kingdom in 1932,
but British influence remained strong. The years leading
up to the Second World War were marked by religious and
ethnic conflicts, and revolts were defeated by the army.
The pro-British elite enriched themselves from growing
The bloodiest year since 2007
The government says that 2014 was the bloodiest year in the country since
2007. According to data compiled by the Ministry of Health, Home Affairs and
Defense, at least 15,538 people were killed during the year, and more than
22,000 were injured. The British-based organization Iraq Body Count arrives at
an even higher figure, 17,073 killed civilians.
The Kurds strike back against IS
Kurdish military forces go offensive against IS on two fronts. After a few
days, the Kurds are said to have broken through IS lines and opened a corridor
Iranian flight attacks IS
US defense sources confirm that Iranian fighter aircraft attacked IS in
Diyala province in eastern Iraq. The sources say that the attacks did not occur
in cooperation with the United States and that both sides are keen to avoid
confrontation. However, US Secretary of State John Kerry says that the Iranian
efforts are "positive" and that there is a silent agreement that IS is a common
Oil settlement with the Kurds
The Iraqi government and Kurdish autonomy agree on the conditions for oil
exports from the Kurdish region. From the turn of the year, the Kurdish autonomy
is allowed to export 250,000 barrels per day and the disputed province of Kirkuk
300,000 barrels per day. The oil will be delivered via Kurdish lines but under
the supervision of the federal Iraqi oil company. In return, the Kurdish
regional government gets its share of the state revenue again and the Kurdish
defense peshmerga gets part of the national military budget.
Turkey lets in Kurdish militia
Kurdish soldiers, peshmerga, are allowed to go to the Kurdish-dominated
Syrian city of Kobane via Turkish land. Kobane is under severe pressure from IS.
The government is complete
The new government is complemented when Parliament approves Sunni Khalid
al-Obaidi as Minister of Defense and Shiite Muhammad al-Ghabban as Minister of
Military support from the United States
US President Barack Obama decides to allocate $ 25 million in military aid to
the Iraqi army and the Kurdish peshmer family. On September 10, Obama will give
a line talk explaining that the United States has now embarked on a long-term
effort to "weaken and ultimately destroy" IS.
New government almost ready
On September 8, Parliament approved the new government presented by Haider
al-Abadi. The heavy positions of the Minister of the Interior and Defense are
thus far missing. al-Abadi's representative Nuri al-Maliki is named one of three
vice presidents, one in practice a ceremonial post.
On August 22, UNHCR says that up to 700,000 Iraqis have moved to the Kurdish
region, most of them in early June.
Haider al-Abadi becomes prime minister
Newly elected President Fuad Masum gives Parliament's first Deputy Speaker
Haider al-Abadi from the Dawap Party the task of forming a new government.
The US bombs IS
On August 7, the United States launches a bomb attack against IS. More
countries will join later. The United States, Iran, the United Kingdom, Germany,
Italy, Albania, Australia and many other countries decide to send weapons to the
Kurds and / or Iraqi government.
Kurdish counter-offensive against IS
Kurdish troops go on counter-offensive and are for the first time supported
by soldiers from the PKK guerrilla and its Syrian branch, whose armed forces are
called the YPG. The PKK and YPG forces help later in the month to free Kurds
from the Sinjar Mountains, via Syria. The Kurds are also supported by the Iraqi
IS attacks Yazidis
IS makes a sudden attack north of the Mosul region towards the Kurdish
autonomy and occupies several Christian-dominated locations, including Iraq's
largest almost entirely Christian city, Qaraqosh, and the Yazid minority areas
around the Sinjar Mountains in the northwest. The KDP party's Kurdish peshmerga
forces are surprised and are retiring quickly. Tens of thousands of people flee.
IS reportedly destroying churches. Worst of all, the Yazidis are affected, where
many men are murdered and women removed as slaves. Some Yazidis flee up the
Sinjar Mountains where they are besieged by IS.
Change of presidential post
The seriously ill President Talabani returns after more than 18 months of
medical care in Germany, before the Iraqi parliament chooses the 76-year-old
Kurdish politician Fuad Masum as his successor. According to the informal
division of power prevailing in Iraq, the presidential post is to be held by a
Kurd. Masum also comes from Talabani's party, PUK.
Christians are fleeing
Large crowds of Christians flee from Mosul. Most people go to the nearby
Kurdish-controlled area. Before 2003, there were about 60,000 Christians in
Mosul, but that number had dropped to 35,000 in June this year. An additional
10,000 left the city following IS's takeover in June.
Kurdish independence is implied
Kurdish region president Massoud Barzani says a referendum on Kurdistan
independence will be held "within a few months". He claims that Iraq's
disintegration is already a fact after the Islamic State's advance.
Over 2,400 dead in one month
In June, according to the UN, at least 2 417 people were killed in Iraq in
the political violence. Nearly 2,300 are damaged. More than 60 percent of the
victims are civilians.
Isis exclaims caliphate and changes its name to IS
Isis proclaims a "caliphate" in the parts of Iraq and Syria controlled by the
Islamists. The leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is designated as the leader of the
Islamic State, Caliph, a title that traditionally marked the claim of leadership
for all Muslims of the world. At the same time, Isis is shortening its name to
the Islamic State (IS) only, signaling that it now claims to rule the entire
Isis consolidates the grip on northern Iraq
Later in the month, the group will take over cities and border crossings in
western Iraq, towards Syria and Jordan. The Iraqi army rallies to
counter-offensive, with support from both Kurdish and Shiite militia forces.
However, Tikrit and Mosul remain under Isi's control. The US sends an aircraft
carrier to the Persian Gulf to provide Iraq with air support. The Iraqi
government is demanding US support in the form of air strikes against jihadists,
which have grown ever closer to Baghdad.
Isis takes Mosul after fast offensive
From June 10, Isis surprisingly occupies the city of Mosul and much of the
surrounding province of Nineveh. Around half a million people are forced to
flee. Strengthened by weapons, ammunition and other US equipment left by the
army in Mosul, Isis can advance further, while Sunni Muslim groups in other
cities begin to revolt and army forces retreat. Tikrit and several other cities
fall into Isis's hands, while Kurdish so-called peshmerga associations take
Kirkuk, which has long wanted to incorporate into Kurdish self-government.
Election success for the Prime Minister
The preliminary results of the parliamentary elections show that Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki's rule of law is clearly the biggest. The turnout is
about 62 percent. The result is seen as a success for Maliki.
Parliamentary elections despite violence
Despite the growing violence in the country, the parliamentary elections on
April 30 can be conducted in relatively quiet forms. More than 9,000 people are
running for parliament's 328 seats. In the troubled Sunni-dominated province of
Anbar, the election can only be partially carried out. A dozen people are killed
during the day in violent acts linked to the elections in Sunni areas. According
to the Election Commission, turnout is around 60 percent.
400,000 homeless people
The UN envoy to Iraq says about 400,000 people have lost their homes because
of violence in the western part of the country so far this year.
Breaking between terrorists
al-Qaeda's international leadership formally distances itself from Isis.
Shial leaders leave politics
Radical religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr announces that he is leaving
politics. His organization the Sadr movement has six ministerial posts and 40
seats in parliament. The party's work on social issues, media and education will
continue, he says.
Kurdish oil exports receive criticism
The Baghdad government is reacting strongly to a message from the Kurdish
regional government that it has made its first supply of oil directly to Turkey
through a newly built pipeline. The central government accuses the Kurdish
leaders of violating the Iraqi constitution and says that future oil sales
directly from Kurdistan should be considered smuggling.
Isis takes over big city
Isis is reported to take full control of al-Fallujah and parts of al-Ramadi,
in western Iraq. It is the first time in many years that Islamist jihadists have
taken over a whole larger city.