Iraq is an independent nation in Western Asia. With the capital city of Baghdad, Iraq 2020 population is estimated at 40,222,504 according to countryaah. 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 Britain.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: 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 southern Iraq. For Iraq political system, please check carswers.
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 landowners.
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 oil revenues.
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 to Sinjarberget.
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 enemy.
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 the Interior.
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 Air Force.
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 Muslim world.
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.