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Iraq (Arabic: ٱلْعِرَاق‎‎, al-ʿIrāq; Kurdish: عێراقÊraq), officially the Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق‎‎ Jumhūriīyah al-ʿIrāq; Kurdish: کۆماری عێراق‎‎ Komarî Êraq), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, 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. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Yazidis, Shabakis, Armenians, Sabian-Mandaeans, Circassians, and Kawliya. Around 95-98% of the country's 38 million citizens are Muslims, with small minorities of Christians, Yarsans, Yezidis and Mandaeans also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.
Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km (36 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf. These rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, historically known as Mesopotamia, is often referred to as the cradle of civilisation. It was here that mankind first began to read, write, create laws and live in cities under an organised government—notably Uruk, from which "Iraq" is derived. The area has been home to successive civilisations since the 6th millennium BC. Iraq was the centre of the Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian empires. It was also part of the Median, Achaemenid, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, Ayyubid, Seljuk, Mongol, Timurid, Safavid, Afsharid and Ottoman empires.
The country today known as Iraq was a region of the Ottoman Empire until the partition of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th century. It was made up of three provinces, called vilayets in the Ottoman Turkish language: Mosul Vilayet, Baghdad Vilayet, and Basra Vilayet. In April 1920 the British Mandate of Mesopotamia was created under the authority of the League of Nations. A British-backed monarchy joining these vilayets into one Kingdom was established in 1921 under Faisal I of Iraq. The HashemiteKingdom of Iraq gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Iraqi Republic created. Iraq was controlled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003. In 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, sparking a protracted war which would last for almost eight years, and end in a stalemate with devastating losses for both countries.
After an invasion by the United States and its allies in 2003, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party was removed from power, and multi-party parliamentary elections were held in 2005. The US presence in Iraq ended in 2011, but the Iraqi insurgency continued and intensified as fighters from the Syrian civil war spilled into the country. Out of the insurgency came a highly destructive group calling itself ISIL, which took large parts of the north and west. It has since been largely defeated. Disputes over the sovereignty of Kurdistan Region continue. A referendum about the full sovereignty of Kurdistan Region was held on 25 September 2017. On 9 December 2017, then-Iraqi Prime MinisterHaider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIL after the group lost its territory in Iraq.
Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates, four of which make up the autonomous Kurdistan Region. The country's official religion is Islam. Culturally, Iraq has a very rich heritage and celebrates the achievements of its past in both pre-Islamic as well as post-Islamic times and is known for its poets. Its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class as well as producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets. Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF. (Full article...)
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The Iraqi Turkmen (also spelled in the singular as Turkoman and Turcoman; Turkish: Irak Türkmenleri), also referred to as Iraqi Turks, Turkish-Iraqis, or the Iraqi-Turkish minority, (Arabic: تركمان العراق‎‎; Turkish: Irak Türkleri) are Iraqis of Turkic origin who mostly adhere to a Turkish heritage and identity. Most Iraqi Turkmen are the descendants of the Ottoman soldiers, traders and civil servants who were brought into Iraq from Anatolia during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Despite the popular reference to the Turks of Iraq as "Turkmen", they are unrelated to the Turkmen people of Turkmenistan and do not identify as such.
The Iraqi Turkmen form the third largest ethnic group in Iraq, after the Arabs and Kurds. According to the Iraqi Ministry of Planning in 2013, the Iraqi Turkmen population numbered 3 million out of Iraq's 34.7 million inhabitants. They mainly reside in northern and central Iraq and share close cultural and linguistic ties with Turkey, particularly the Anatolian region. (Full article...)
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Marshland in the south of Iraq.
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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.
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Ali al-Sistani in 2009
Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani (Arabic: علي الحسيني السيستاني‎‎; Persian: على حسينى سيستانى‎, born 4 August 1930), commonly known as Ayatollah Sistani, is one of the most influential Iraqi Shia marja' of Iranian origins living in Iraq.
He is described as the leading spiritual leader of Iraqi Shia Muslims, and one of the most senior scholars in Shia Islam. He has been included in all editions of "The Muslim 500: The World's Most Influential Muslims" mostly in the top ten positions since 2009. He is one of the eight Maraji’ mentioned in the most recent edition. In 2005, al-Sistani was listed among the Top 100 intellectuals of the world. In 2005 and 2014, he was also nominated for Nobel Prize Award towards his efforts for establishing peace. (Full article...)
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Last edited on 7 May 2021, at 12:47
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