Iraq's main food crops include wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, and dates (of which Iraq is one of the world's largest producers).
Attacks on key economic facilities—especially oil pipelines and infrastructure—have prevented Iraq from reaching projected export volumes, but total government revenues have been higher than anticipated due to high oil prices.
The name Al-Iraq was used by the Arabs themselves, from the sixth century, for the land Iraq covers.
On February 26, 1991, Iraqi troops began retreating out of Kuwait, setting fire to Kuwaiti oil fields as they left.
An aspect of Iraqi etiquette, televised around the world during the 2003 invasion, was the beating of Saddam Hussein's statue after its toppling.
Iraq's oil production costs are among the lowest in the world.
Introduced by the Sumerians, the concept was re-introduced in the late nineteenth century, transforming Iraq from a feudal society, where sheikhs provided spiritual and tribal leadership, to a society separated between landowners and sharecroppers.
Iraq is divided into 18 governorates (or provinces).
The loss of men in the Iran-Iraq War prompted the government to provide grants to men to marry war widows to increase the population.
The League of Nations granted France mandates over Syria and Lebanon and granted the United Kingdom mandates over Iraq and Palestine (which then consisted of two autonomous regions, Palestine and Transjordan).
More than 140,000 Coalition troops remain in Iraq.
Some argue that the 2003 Iraq Census shows that Sunnis were a slight majority, with Sunnis making 59 percent of the population, and Shi’ites 40 percent.
Assyrian and Turkmen are official languages in areas where the Assyrians and Iraqi Turkmen are located respectively.
Iraq has a narrow section of coastline measuring 58 km (36 mi) on the northern Persian Gulf.
Iraqi music stars include Ahmed Mukhtar and the Assyrian Munir Bashir.
During the Iran-Iraq War, women studied and worked in fields normally filled by men.
On May 1, 2003, Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, where he gave a speech announcing the end of major combat operations in the Iraq war.
The most popular sport in Iraq is soccer or football.
Beginning in the seventh century C.E., Islam spread to what is now Iraq during the Islamic conquest of Persia, led by the Muslim Arab commander Khalid ibn al-Walid.
The Umayyad Caliphate, ruling from Damascus in the seventh century, ruled the province of Iraq.
Mass graves in Iraq have become well known since the U.S. led invasion.
The U.S. and the United Kingdom declared no-fly zones over Kurdish northern and Shiite southern Iraq to oversee the Kurds and southern Shiites.
The concept of private property has a long history in Iraq.
In 2006 Foreign Policy Magazine named Iraq as the fourth most-unstable nation in the world.
The UN immediately imposed economic sanctions against Iraq, and five days later, the United States began to deploy forces to Saudi Arabia.
Iraq has also produced a pop star-in-exile in Kazem al Saher, whose songs include Ladghat E-Hayya, which was banned for its racy lyrics.
About 25,000 to 60,000 Marsh Arabs live in southern Iraq.
Critics estimate that more than 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of the sanctions.
Iraq's total external debt was around $120-billion at the time of the 2003 invasion, and had grown by $5 billion by 2004.
Long before Saddam Hussein, Iraq had been split along social, ethnic, religious, and economic fault lines: Sunni versus Shi'ite, Arab versus Kurd, tribal chief versus urban merchant, nomad versus peasant.
Any nuclear ambitions had been thwarted in 1981, when Israeli aircraft bombed the Osiraq nuclear research center, near Baghdad, to prevent the regime from using the reactor for creation of nuclear weapons.
Iraq shares borders with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the west, Syria to the northwest, Turkey to the north, and Iran to the east.
Iraqi politicians have been under significant threat by the various factions that have promoted violence as a political weapon.
Iraq was historically known as Mesopotamia, which, in Greek, literally translates to "between the rivers."
Before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Ba'ath Party officially ruled Iraq through a nine-member Revolutionary Command Council, which enacted legislation by decree.
Sumerians believed in private property, still an important notion in Iraq today.
The rebellions were encouraged on February 2, 1991, by a broadcast on CIA run radio station The Voice of Free Iraq broadcasting out of Saudi Arabia.
On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, following Iraqi contentions that Kuwait was illegally slant-drilling petroleum across Iraq’s border.
Under the Ba’athist regime, a government organization known as the General Federation for Iraqi Women had a branch in each province, and had a stated aim of promoting literacy and higher education for women.
On November 20, 2004, the Paris Club of creditor nations agreed to write off 80 percent ($33-billion) of Iraq's $42-billion debt to club members.
Almost 75 percent of Iraq's population lives in the flat, alluvial plain stretching southeast from Baghdad to Basra and the Persian Gulf.
An oil-fueled economic boom that hit Iraq in the 1970s brought a migration to urban centers.
Under the Rashidun Caliphate, the prophet Mohammed's cousin and son-in-law, Ali, moved his capital to Kufa "fi al-Iraq" when he became the fourth caliph.
Iraq was allowed to export limited amounts of oil in exchange for food, medicine, and some infrastructure spare parts.
Soon after, these helicopters, and much of the Iraqi armed forces, were refocused toward fighting against a Shiite uprising in the south.
In 2003, 40.4 percent of Iraqis aged 15 or older were literate, while in the 1980s the literacy rate was about 80 percent.
An International Compact with Iraq is being established to integrate Iraq into the regional and global economy, while recognizing the need to resolve destabilizing security and political conflicts.
Iraqi music has a slow tempo, and features predominantly minor keys.
An insurgency against the Government of Iraq and Coalition forces is concentrated in Baghdad and in areas north, northeast, and west of the capital.
The world's first known civilization, the Sumerian culture, flourished in Iraq around 3000 B.C.E.
Saddam's regime lasted throughout the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988), during which Iraqi forces attacked Iranian soldiers and civilians with chemical weapons.
Despite political uncertainty, Iraq is making some progress in building the institutions needed to implement economic policy.
The Iraqi cities of Al-Kut and Nasiriyah declared war upon each other immediately to establish dominance in the new country, and Coalition forces quickly found themselves embroiled in a potential civil-war.
Iraq was the first Arab country to elect a woman to a parliamentary position, although many believed she was given the position to show that Saddam Hussein’s regime was progressive.
The vice-president to the elderly al-Bakr, Saddam Hussein, spearheaded Iraq's nationalization of the Western-owned Iraq Petroleum Company, and cemented his authority over the apparatuses of government.
The combination of rain shortage and extreme heat makes much of Iraq a desert.
Common meats in Iraqi cooking are lamb and beef.
Iraq is bordered by Jordan to the west, Syria to the northwest, Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the south.
In 1958, the Iraqi Army overthrew the reinstated Hashemite monarchy in a coup known as the July 14 Revolution, and brought Brigadier General Abdul Karim Qassim to power.
Iraq's seizure of Kuwait in August 1990, subsequent international economic sanctions, and damage from military action by an international coalition beginning in January 1991 drastically reduced economic activity.
Iraqis also enjoy hockey and swimming, plus a little golf.
The UN High Commission for Refugees has estimated that nearly two million Iraqis have fled the country in recent years, mostly to Jordan and Syria.
A long convoy of retreating Iraqi troops formed along the main Iraq-Kuwait highway.
The Euphrates originates in Turkey, is augmented by the Khabur River in Syria, and flows through Iraq from the northwest to join the Tigris at Al Qurnah.
Under the Persian Sassanid dynasty, there was a region called "Erak Arabi," referring to the part of the south western region of the Persian Empire that is now part of southern Iraq.
At 168,743 square miles (437,072 square kilometers), Iraq is the 58th-largest country in the world, after Morocco.
Iraq was granted independence in 1932 on the urging of King Faisal, though the British retained military bases and transit rights.
Iraq has 15 universities, and a number of technical institutes.
The United Kingdom invaded Iraq in 1941 for fear that the government of Rashid Ali might cut oil supplies to Western nations, and because of strong idealogical leanings to Nazi Germany.
Iraqi maqam is a specific kind of improvised performance, and can be traced as far back as the Abbassid era.
The United States established the Coalition Provisional Authority to govern Iraq.
Controlling inflation, reducing corruption, and implementing structural reforms such as bank restructuring and developing the private sector, will be key to Iraq's economic prospects.
Iraq was historically known as Mesopotamia, which, in Greek, literally translates to "between the rivers."
Over one million Iraqis are believed to be missing in Iraq as a result of executions, wars and defections, of whom hundreds of thousands are thought to be in mass graves.
There have been many large-scale waves of emigration from Iraq, beginning early in the regime of Saddam Hussein and continuing through to 2007.
Ethnic Assyrians (most of whom are adherents of the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East) account for most of Iraq's sizable Christian population, along with Armenians.
Thousands of portraits, posters, statues and murals were erected in Saddam Hussein’s honor all over Iraq.
At the peace conference, Iraq won the approval of the use of armed helicopters on their side of the temporary border, ostensibly for government transit due to the damage done to civilian transportation.
Saddam Hussein claimed a unique role for Iraq in the history of the Arab world.
Iraq's formal economy is dominated by the oil sector, which has traditionally provided about 95 percent of foreign exchange earnings.
Iraq was known in ancient times as Mesopotamia, the world's first civilization.
Sites have been discovered in all regions of the country and contain members of every major religious and ethnic group in Iraq as well as foreign nationals, including Kuwaitis and Saudis.
The Sadr City district of the capital Baghdad is the most densely populated area in Iraq, and is home to around two million impoverished Shi'ite Muslims.
Government authority was transferred to an Iraqi Interim Government in 2004 and a permanent government was elected in October 2005.
WARNING: Travel to Mosul, Al-Qaim, Hawijah etc. is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. Traveling to areas like Basra, Najaf, Karbala, and the majority of Kurdistan is safe. The north-east provinces which comprise Iraqi Kurdistan can be considered safe for foreigners, the margins for error are small and accuracy is limited.
Britain seized Iraq from Ottoman Turkey during World War I and was granted a mandate by the League of Nations to govern the nation in 1920. A Hashemite monarchy was organized under British protection in 1921, and on October 3, 1932, the kingdom of Iraq was granted independence.
It has a narrow section of coastline on the northern Persian Gulf. There are several suggestions for the origin of the name of Iraq; one dates back to the Sumerian city of Uruk (or Erech). Another suggestion is that Iraq comes from the Aramaic language, meaning "the land along the banks of the rivers."
Iraq has long reflected cultural diversity. Although Iraqis generally are a religious and conservative people, there are strong secular tendencies in the country. Iraq is a Muslim nation with Arabic and Kurdish as its official languages. As such, Islamic holidays are celebrated.
Iraqi food is so strongly influenced by its neighboring countries, Turkey and Iran, it is one of the few nations of the Middle East to lack a unique cuisine. Like the Turks, Iraqis like to stuff vegetables and eat a lot of lamb, rice, and yogurt. Like Iranians, they enjoy cooking fruits with beef and poultry.
The Muslim population of Iraq is approximately 60–65 percent Shi'a, 15–20 percent Arab Sunni and 17 percent Sunni Kurdish. Iraqi Kurds are mainly secular Sunnis, with a sizeable Shia Feyli population. Most Kurds are located in the northern areas of the country, with most following the Shafi school of Islamic law.
For many Iraqis, those items remain as unattainable today as they were under Saddam Hussein. The simple truth is that Iraq as currently constituted can never be a stable democracy, and thus American warfighters sent there to shore up Maliki's faltering regime are likely to find themselves defending a dictatorship.Jun 20, 2014
In early 1990 Iraq was accusing Kuwait of stealing Iraqi petroleum through slant drilling, although some Iraqi sources indicated Saddam Hussein's decision to attack Kuwait was made a few months before the actual invasion.