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On the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and once known as Mesopotamia, Iraq was the site of flourishing ancient civilizations. Arabs invaded the region in the 7th century and brought the Muslim religion, and for a time Iraq was the heartland of the Islamic Empire. The 13th century Mongol invasion followed by Ottoman Turks, and Iraq became part of Ottoman Empire from the 15th century. It came under British control after World War I, and gained independence in 1932. After a military coup that overthrew the monarchy, Iraq was declared a republic in 1958. Territorial disputes with Iran led to a costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by United States-led, United Nations coalition forces during the Gulf War in early 1991. Following Kuwait's liberation, the United Nations Security Council required Iraq to surrender all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow United Nations verification inspections. Claims of continued Iraqi noncompliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions over a period of 12 years led to the United States-led justification for the  invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime. Of course, the actual legal basis for such claims remains a matter of debate. In October 2005, Iraqis approved a constitution in a national referendum and elected a Council of Representatives (CoR) in December 2005. The CoR approved most cabinet ministers in May 2006, marking the transition to a constitutional government. Iraq’s economy is dominated by the oil sector. The country has the world’s third-largest oil reserves and considerable gas reserves. Although it has improved considerably, the security situation remains volatile in Iraq.  Remaining United States troops in Iraq were scheduled to be fully withdraw by the end of 2011.

Country Forecast
Major Cities
City Population
Baghdad 5,672,513
Mosul 2,065,597
Basra 2,600,000
Key Data
Region : Middle East
Population : 32,585,692
Area Total : 437,072 km2
Area Land : 432,162 km2
Coast Line : 58 km
Capital : Baghdad
Climate : Mostly desert; mild to cool winters and dry, hot summers, with colder conditions in the mountain regions
Languages : Arabic is the main language; Kurdish is the other major language; Assyrian, Armenian, Turkish, Turkmen, Luri, and various other Indo-Aryan languages are also spoken in various communities
Currency : 1 Iraqi dinar = 1000 fils
Holiday : Anniversary of the Revolution is 17 July (1968), Army Day is 6 January
Average Daily TemperatureBoundaries
January : 9.40°C / 48.90°F
July : 34.60°C / 94.30°F
Annual Rainfall : 154.8mm / 6.1"
Iran 1458km
Saudi Arabia 814km
Syria 605km
Turkey 331km
Kuwait 242km
Jordan 181km
Ethnic DivisionsReligions
Arabs 77%
Kurds 20%
Assyrians, Turkomans, Iranians, Lurs, and Armenians 3%
Muslim 97%
Christian and Other 3%

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