جمهورية العراق (Arabic)
Komarî Êraq / كۆماری عێراق (Kurdish)
Jumhūriyyat al-ʿIrāq (Arabic)
|Republic of Iraq|
Motto : الله أَكْبَر
|Official language||Arabic and Kurdish|
|Form of government||federal republic|
|Government system||parliamentary system|
|Head of state||
|Head of government||
|Population density||90.55 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+ 2.07% per year|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.689 ( 120th ) (2018)|
|currency||Iraqi Dinar (IQD)|
|independence||October 3, 1932
(from the United Kingdom )
|Time zone||UTC + 3|
|ISO 3166||IQ , IRQ, 368|
The Republic of Iraq (officially: Arabic جمهورية العراق, DMG Ǧumhūriyyat al-ʿIrāq , Kurdish كۆماری عێراق Komarî Êraq ), Iraq for short or (internationally) also Iraq , is a state in the Middle East . Iraq borders on Kuwait , Saudi Arabia , Jordan , Syria , Turkey , Iran and the Persian Gulf and includes the greater part of the Mesopotamia , the " Mesopotamia " between the Euphrates and the Tigris , in which the earliest advanced civilizations of the Near East arose, as well as parts the adjacent desert and mountain regions . He is counted among the Mashrek states. The north of the country is the autonomous region of Kurdistan , which has its own parliament and armed forces ( Peshmerga ).
With around 38 million inhabitants, Iraq is one of the five largest countries in the Arab world . Its capital and largest city is the metropolis of Baghdad , other megacities are Basra , Mosul , Erbil , Sulaimaniya , Nadschaf , Kirkuk and Karbala . The refugee movements in the 20th and 21st centuries caused rapid urbanization in the country . Iraq is in fourth place in the world rankings of the countries with the most natural resources , its economy is based primarily on the export of oil and to a lesser extent on agriculture .
Today's Iraq emerged from the three Ottoman provinces of Baghdad , Mosul and Basra in 1920 . The Kingdom of Iraq existed from 1921 to 1958 , in 1958 the king was overthrown by a military coup and the republic was proclaimed. From 1979 to 2003 the country was ruled dictatorially by Saddam Hussein , the country waged wars against the neighboring states of Iran and Kuwait . The Iran War was supported by the Soviet Union and the United States. A multinational invasion force (“ coalition of the willing ”) led by the United States overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003 without building stable structures for the post-war era. The country's infrastructure was largely destroyed.
After the declared end of the war, during the occupation of Iraq from 2003-2011 there were civil war-like conditions, thousands of terrorist attacks, acts of war and violent crime , both against each other by various Iraqi groups and against the Western occupation forces. They claimed an unknown number of casualties and injuries, especially among Iraqi civilians. In 2010 most of the foreign troops were withdrawn after the country had stabilized in relative terms. The withdrawal was completed on December 18, 2011. In June 2014, ISIS militant Islamists captured parts of the country as part of the 2014 Iraq crisis . According to the Pentagon, around 55,000 square kilometers were under the control of IS in January 2015 , which corresponds to around 13% of the national territory. In December 2017, the Iraqi government announced that the Iraqi armed forces had taken full control of the Syrian-Iraqi border and that the war against IS was over.
Iraq belongs to the Orient . The countries of North Africa and Southwest Asia are usually included in the cultural area of the Orient. They are mainly in the area of the subtropical dry belt of the " Old World ".
In the northeast there is a 3000 m high mountain range from the foothills of the Taurus Mountains and the Zagros '. This chain is part of the alpine mountain range that extends eastward from the Balkan Mountains to Turkey, northern Iraq and Iran and then on to Afghanistan . The highest mountain is the Cheekha Dar with a height of 3611 m.
Iraq borders with Iran (1,458 km common border), Kuwait (240 km), Saudi Arabia (814 km), Jordan (181 km), Syria (605 km) and Turkey (352 km). With the exception of the border with Iran, which formed the eastern border of the Ottoman Empire until 1918, Iraq's border was determined by the colonial powers. The neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Iraq was divided between the two countries in 1975–1983. In addition, Iraq has a 58.3 km long coastline. The north of the country is formed by the Kurdistan Autonomous Region, which has established a de facto border within the country.
The north of Iraq, up to about the geographical latitude of Baghdad, lies in the area of the so-called westerly wind zone of the moderate latitudes and in summer under the influence of high pressure at temperatures between −6 ° C in winter and 51 ° C in midsummer (annual mean 22 ° C). The area south of Baghdad, on the other hand, belongs to the subtropical high pressure belt all year round . The summers are precipitation-free throughout the country and, with the exception of the mountain regions, are quite warm with average temperatures of around 33 to 34 ° C. Sometimes strong, year-round winds from the northwest mean that the cities of Baghdad and Basra, for example , are hit by dust storms on around 20 and 15 days a year , respectively.
Temperatures fluctuate between 50 ° C in summer and around zero in January. Frost is possible, especially in mountainous areas. Rain falls about 10 to 18 cm per year, the main rainy months are December to April. The areas bordering the Gulf are a little more humid.
rivers and lakes
Iraq is crossed by two important rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris . This was reflected in the geographical name Mesopotamia , which translated means "(land) between the two rivers". The Euphrates and Tigris come from the northwest from Syria and Turkey and traverse the country to the southeast. The Tigris and Euphrates converge at al-Qurna in southern Iraq. There they form the 193 kilometer long Schatt al-Arab / Arvandrud, which flows into the Persian Gulf . The Tigris and Euphrates were and are the country's lifelines, as they ensure the water supply for much of Iraq's agriculture and population. In the southeast of the country, the Faw peninsula juts out into the Persian Gulf between Iran and Kuwait , making it Iraq's only access to the sea.
The wetlands in southern Iraq, the so-called Ahwar , were systematically drained during the First Gulf War in the 1980s. The Iraqi government has been trying to re-irrigate these areas with international help since 2003.
Flora and fauna
Since there are different levels of precipitation in Iraq, there are also different types of vegetation. In Northern Iraq there is shrub vegetation and isolated forests . On the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris there are date palms and reed belts . The south, however, is only sparsely overgrown. Government projects to turn the desert areas into fertile soil were abandoned in the 1980s.
Various bird species such as vultures, buzzards, ravens and owls are native to Iraq, as do mammals such as caracals, hyenas, jackals, gazelles and antelopes. There is also a great abundance of fish on the Tigris, Euphrates and Shatt al-Arab. There were lions and ostriches in Iraq until the early 19th century.
Iraq has a population of around 29.6 million people (estimate for 2010), which corresponds to a population density of 70.3 people / km². About 67% of the population live in cities, of which 6.2 million people live in the Baghdad agglomeration alone. The capital region has a population density of 25,751 inhabitants / km². The city and the entire governorate of Baghdad together have 7.1 million people. Other populous governorates are Nineveh (2.8 million), Basra (1.9 million) and al-Suleymaniah (1.8 million). Large parts of the country, on the other hand, are very sparsely populated, especially in the dry south.
The country's population has increased almost fivefold in the past 50 years. Iraq has one of the youngest and fastest growing populations in the world. A population of over 80 million is forecast by the middle of the century.
|census||Residents (in millions)|
A census was scheduled for 2007 and was intended to include the three Kurdish provinces for the first time since 1987. The project was postponed again and again. According to the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, the main cause of the delay is primarily ethnic tensions in the north of the country.
The average life expectancy of Iraqis in 2016 was 69.2 years (women 71.4 years, men 67.0 years). The average age is 19.8 years for women and 19.6 years for men. The fertility per woman was 4 children. The population grew by around 2.5% in 2008. At 79.7%, the literacy rate of the population is far below the world average. 85.7% of all men can read and write, compared with 73.7% of women. The situation has worsened considerably in the last 30 years - at the end of the 1980s the proportion of illiterate people was only 10 to 12%.
Around 75–80% of the population living in Iraq today are Arabs , 15–20% are Kurds and 5% are Turkomans , around 600,000 Assyrians / Arameans (around 1.4 million around 2003), around 10,000 Armenians (35,000 before the fighting ) or members of other ethnic groups. Furthermore, 20,000 to 50,000 Marsh Arabs are said to live in the southeast . Turkoman sources estimate the proportion of their own ethnic group to be around 10%.
About 97% of the population are Muslim. Over 60% are Shiites and between 32 and 37% Sunnis ; the vast majority of Muslim Kurds are Sunni. Christians , Yazidis and other religions form a minority with around 3% compared to around 25% 100 years ago. Almost 2 million Christians have fled in recent years. Most of the Christians belong to the Eastern Christian communities: Chaldean Catholic Church , Assyrian Church of the East , Old Church of the East , Armenian Apostolic Church , Roman Catholic Church , Syrian Catholic Church , Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch , Assyrian Evangelical Church and others.
Up to 1948, 150,000 Jews still lived in Iraq . Due to flight and displacement in the 1940s following the establishment of the state of Israel, the number of Jews living in Iraq decreased very much and is currently estimated at less than 10 people. There are also Yazidis , Shabaks and several thousand Mandaeans . Recently there have been growing Zoroastrian communities in the Kurdish part of Iraq, especially in Sulaimaniya .
Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, the religious freedom of the various population groups was relatively high; the dictator's government included For example, the Christian Assyrian / Aramean Tariq Aziz or, for a short time, the Kurdish general Mustafa Aziz Mahmoud as minister . However, since the beginning of the war in March 2003, an estimated half of Iraqi Christians have left the country.
Refugees and displaced persons
Many Iraqis already left the country at the time of Saddam Hussein, and by the end of 2002 around 400,000 refugees were registered worldwide. Because of the unstable situation in the country, another 1.8 million people have left Iraq since 2003. At the height of the violence in 2006 and 2007, up to 3,000 people crossed the borders with Syria, Iran and Jordan every day. There are also over 1.6 million internally displaced persons. Due to a resolution by the EU interior ministers in November 2008, the Federal Government of Germany is obliged to accept 2,500 Iraqi refugees from Syria and Jordan.
Antiquity to modern times: from Mesopotamia to the Ottoman Empire
Iraq lies in the area of ancient Mesopotamia ( DMG Bayn an-Nahrayn = Arabic: "between the two rivers"); here are from the 4th millennium BC Some of the earliest advanced civilizations of mankind emerged ( Sumer , Akkad , Assyria , Babylonia , Mittani , Media ), which is why the region is now seen by many as the cradle of civilization .
After the Battle of Kadesia in 636, the Arab Muslims seized the area. Iraq became an important cultural center of the spreading Islam. In 762, Baghdad was founded by al-Mansur as the capital of the Abbasid caliphate and soon developed into the most important city in the Islamic world. The following period is also known as the heyday of Islam , in which science and arts in particular developed a significantly higher level than in Europe, for example.
In 1401 Baghdad was devastated by Timur , and in 1534 the country fell to the Ottoman Empire . Iraq has long remained an insignificant sideline; However, his geostrategic position on the intersection between Europe, British India, Central Asia, the Caucasus and South Arabia made him an object of world political interests from the First World War . During the First World War (on November 6, 1914, one day after the declaration of war on the Ottoman Empire), British troops and Arab insurgents marched together and occupied Baghdad in 1917.
Modern Iraq from 1920
In 1920 Great Britain detached the Vilayets Baghdad , Mosul and Basra from the former Ottoman Empire and merged them into today's Iraq. The Iraqi uprising of 1920 was bloodily suppressed. The League of Nations retroactively granted Great Britain the mandate over Iraq in 1922 . This is how the British Mandate Mesopotamia was established. On August 23, 1921, Faisal , son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca , was proclaimed king. The Kingdom of Iraq was admitted to the League of Nations on October 3, 1932.
The main oil activities in the country were brought together in the Iraq Petroleum Company , which emerged from the Turkish Petroleum Company in 1929 , paid only low concession fees and was entirely owned by foreign companies.
World War II and failed coup
When the Second World War broke out, the Iraqi government under Nuri as-Said broke off diplomatic relations with Germany and adopted a pro-British stance in foreign policy that was unaffected by army circles and broad sections of the population. On April 1, 1941, the army staged a coup and brought the anti - British politician Raschid Ali al-Gailani to the head of government, who proclaimed Iraq's neutrality and demanded the withdrawal of all British soldiers. On May 2, 1941, military clashes between British and Iraqi troops began, which lasted a month and ended with the Iraqi defeat.
With British support, Nuri as-Said took over the government again in October 1941. The contractually secured political, economic and military influence of Great Britain as a former mandate power in Iraq was permanently restored until the Baghdad Pact in the mid-1950s. On January 16, 1943, Iraq declared war on the fascist Axis powers .
In response to the establishment of the United Arab Republic , on February 14, 1958, the two Hashemite kingdoms of Iraq and Jordan declared their unification to form a British-backed Arab Federation . Under General Abdel Karim Qasim , the so-called "Free Officers" joined forces to shake off British control. On July 14, 1958, they overthrew and murdered the pro-British monarch ( Faisal II. 1935–1958). On July 15, the federation with Jordan was dissolved and the Republic of Iraq was proclaimed. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis flocked to the streets to celebrate ath-thawra (the revolution ).
With the proclamation of the republic, new political conditions were created. The monarchy was abolished and Iraq withdrew from the CENTO (Baghdad) Pact concluded with Turkey, Pakistan and Iran . Active and passive voting rights for women were provided for in the constitutional amendment of March 26, 1958, which was passed by the Parliament of the Kingdom of Iraq. However, the regime in power at the time was overthrown in the summer of 1958 before elections with women could take place. A women's suffrage , which led to an actual vote, was introduced in February 1980th The last British soldiers left the country on March 24, 1959.
Ba'ath Party coup in 1963
The small Iraqi Ba'ath Party , with the help of conspirators in the Iraqi army, carried out a coup against Qasim on February 8, 1963. Weakened by internal wing fighting, the Ba'ath Party was overthrown a few months later with the military coup of November 18, 1963 by President Abd al-Sallam Arif . Under his brother Abd ar-Rahman , Iraq broke off diplomatic relations with the United States in 1967. After a second coup on July 17, 1968, the Ba'ath Party regained power, Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr became President and Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (RKR), Saddam Hussein became Vice President and Deputy Chairman of the RKR.
In spring 1969 fighting broke out again between the government troops and the Kurds who had been fighting against the central government since 1961. Saddam Hussein and the Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani signed a peace treaty in March 1970 that guaranteed the Kurds political autonomy. The fighting lasted until April 1975, when Iraq signed the Algiers Agreement with neighboring Iran to reorganize the border on the Shatt al-Arab . Iran then ended its aid to the Kurds, which led to their surrender.
Time since the second Ba'ath Party coup; Hussein took power in 1979; Wars 1980-1991
When the Ba'ath Party was in power, mass executions and arbitrary arrests followed, mostly of communist and other left-wing intellectuals. Especially after Saddam Hussein came to power after al-Bakr's resignation on July 16, 1979, there were massive human rights violations, to which many Baathists also fell victim.
After months of conflict with Iran, Hussein ordered the Iraqi army on September 22, 1980 to attack the neighboring country with a total of nine out of twelve divisions. After initial successes, the Iraqi army had to withdraw further and further from 1982 and finally wage war in its own country from 1984. This First Gulf War lasted until 1988 and killed an estimated 250,000 Iraqis. During this war, the state also used chemical warfare agents several times against both the Iranians and its own people.
After a failed assassination attempt on Saddam Hussein, 600 residents of the small town of Dujail were arrested on July 17, 1982 and 148 of them were executed. In 1988 the regime started the so-called Anfal operation , in which it is estimated that up to 180,000 Iraqi Kurds were murdered.
On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi army marched into Kuwait and occupied the country. It was only through the intervention of international troops under the leadership of the United States that the country was liberated in the Second Gulf War in February 1991 . As a result of the occupation, the United Nations imposed sanctions on the country , which led to international isolation and the impoverishment of large sections of the population due to the mismanagement of the permitted trade goods.
1991 Suppression of the Shiite uprising, genocide: 60,000–100,000 dead (according to other estimates up to 300,000 dead). In 1991 the Shiites dared to revolt against the regime, first in southern Iraq and then in other regions, after an international coalition led by the USA had expelled the Iraqi troops from Kuwait. The government troops ended the uprising not only with military means. They also spread terror by randomly rounding up and executing civilians in Shiite cities. The mass graves from this period were only discovered after the fall of the regime in 2003.
2003 Iraq War, Hussein's removal and occupation
On March 20, 2003, the Iraq war began with air strikes on the capital Baghdad. In May 2003, US President Bush declared the major fighting ended and Iraq was divided into zones of occupation with the approval of the UN Security Council. On May 22, 2003, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 1483, which regulated the role of the UN and the occupying powers after the war.
After the formation of a transitional council at the end of 2003, the administrative mandate previously exercised by the coalition transitional administration was transferred to a representative Iraqi transitional government on June 28, 2004. Politically, Iraq has been in a transitional state since then: After this Third Gulf War , the previous power structures, especially the Revolutionary Command Council , no longer exist, but the new relationships, at that time between the Western occupation, the civil administration and the Iraqi Government Council , were not final established.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq apparently pursued the strategy of provoking a civil war between Shiites and Sunnis in order to prevent Iraq from finding a state. Death squads targeted supporters of the opposing religious group. Since 2003, the Jordanian Abu Musab az-Zarqawi has been regarded as the most important head of the Iraqi organization Ansar al-Islam (killed by US units on June 7, 2006). The US accused Iran and Syria of not doing anything against the intrusion of foreign fighters. Terrorist attacks waged by Sunnis and Shiites against one another, but above all the direct and indirect consequences of the American occupation, claimed between 100,000 and 1,000,000 deaths by 2008, depending on the study.
Withdrawal of US troops in 2009
On June 30, 2009, American combat troops left the cities and handed over their bases and other facilities to the Iraqi armed forces. The last US combat troops left the country in August 2010, and there have been 50,000 instructors and military advisers in the country since then. Their withdrawal was completed on December 18, 2011.
The second parliamentary elections since the new constitution came into force took place on March 7, 2010. The strongest force was Iyad Allawi- led Irakija with 91 seats in front of the rule of law coalition of incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki , which won 89 seats. The Iraqi National Alliance became the third largest force in parliament with 70 seats.
From 2014, parts of Iraq, such as the city of Mosul , were occupied by the terrorist organization Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant . Since the "Islamic State" (IS) began its advance in the north-west of the country in August 2014, 3.2 million people have been displaced. Many have found accommodation with host families, others live in camps or in cellars and backyards. During this time the Tikrit massacre was carried out by this terrorist cell.
In 2014 there were extensive missions in Iraq by the International Committee of the Blue Shield (Association of the National Committees of the Blue Shield, ANCBS), based in The Hague, to protect cultural assets (museums, archives, archaeological sites, monuments, etc. ) at risk of war and theft. ). Work on “no strike lists” was also drawn up in order to protect cultural assets in the event of air strikes.
In August 2019, Israeli forces apparently attacked several targets in Iraq that are attributed to the Shiite militias, which had carried the brunt of the fight against IS with the Iraqi army in the previous three years. US officials confirmed that Israel was responsible for at least one drone attack on Iraqi territory. A faction in the Iraqi parliament then blamed the USA for Israel's actions and called on the approximately 5,000 US soldiers who had remained in the country and who had also come to Iraq to fight IS in 2014 to withdraw immediately.
In January 2020, the Iraqi parliament voted for the complete withdrawal of all US troops from their own country. The background to this is the targeted killing of the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.
Iraqi politics has been shaped by two main factors since the founding of the state in 1921 and admission to the League of Nations (1932):
- the wealth of oil and the resulting interests of the West and Russia,
- the ethnic and religious differences of the three parts of the country, which correspond to the former Ottoman provinces of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra: Kurds and Turkmens in the north, Sunni Arabs in the center of the country and Shiites in the south.
The longstanding resistance to British influence, which lasted until the overthrow of King Faisal II (1958) and the nationalization of the oil companies, had a unifying effect. However, democracy was undermined by fierce power struggles that continue to have an impact among Pan-Arabists , Shiites and Kurds and in which the nationalist Ba'ath party prevailed in 1968. Their power passed in 1979 to the sole rule of Saddam Hussein, which was further strengthened by two "Gulf Wars" against Iran (1980–1988) and against Kuwait and its allies (1990/91).
In the 2019 Democracy Index of the British magazine The Economist, Iraq ranks 118th out of 167 countries and is therefore considered an "authoritarian regime". In the country report Freedom in the World 2017 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , however, the country's political system is rated as “unfree”.
Since it was founded in 1920, no common national identification of the three population groups, Shiites , Sunnis and Kurds , has come about. This lack of national unity left space for radical Islamic power strivings. Before the fall of Saddam, the Sunnis ruled, after the Americans had left, the Shiites, who "blew up" the former governing structure under "flimsy" arguments ( Baath Party ). The ethno-religious disputes continued to intensify and pose an acute threat to Iraqi unity.
In the meantime, the discussion about a new constitution continues. As a first step, a transitional constitution was solemnly signed on March 8, 2004 by the 25 members of the government council . After initial objections and a postponement of the date, the work was approved without any changes to the original draft.
The transitional constitution has governed the fate of the state since the transfer of power on June 28, 2004. According to the constitutional text, Iraq is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious parliamentary republic that is committed to democracy , pluralism and federalism . The text enshrines human, freedom and civil rights, the right to freedom of expression and assembly, and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities.
There is freedom of religion , with Islam being the state religion. The official languages are Arabic and Kurdish. In these languages there is a right to mother tongue instruction. Syrian-Aramaic and Turkish are also considered official languages in the administration.
Political power comes exclusively from the people in the context of free, equal and direct elections. The council of representatives elected by the people every four years is the highest legislative body of the state. The President and Prime Minister elected by the Council of Representatives jointly exercise the highest executive power. The legislation is based on the rules of Islam ( Sharia ) but also on the principles of democracy and the constitution . All Iraqis are equal before the law. The judiciary is independent from the other powers and the highest judicial body is the Federal Court of Justice , which includes an as yet undetermined number of Islamic legal scholars ( Sharia judges ). He supervises u. a. the constitutional conformity of the legislature .
The central government's competencies are foreign, defense, trade, immigration policy, currency, customs and metrology. The regions and provinces enjoy extensive autonomy. The provinces have the last word on matters that are decided jointly with the federal government. Provinces are entitled to form common administrative districts with far-reaching powers, provided this has been confirmed by the people in a referendum . The provinces are also entitled to maintain their own security forces.
The equality of women is explicitly guaranteed in the Constitution. At least 25% of the members of the Council of Representatives must be female. The controversial Article 39, however, provides that Iraqi citizens can submit to the civil justice of their own religious community, which can lead to a corresponding disadvantage in inheritance and divorce matters. Mineral resources, such as natural gas and oil , are the common property of all Iraqis. Their common use is determined jointly by the central government and the provinces.
On January 30, 2005, the elections for a transitional parliament (National Assembly) took place in which the United Iraqi Alliance ( UIA ), which was supported by Grand Ayatollah Ali as-Sistani , almost received 48.2% of the votes cast obtained an absolute majority of seats in parliament. A 55-member commission appointed by this transitional parliament had to draw up the final constitution by August 15, 2005, which was then voted on by referendum. 28 of the members of the commission belong to the UIA, the other seats are largely divided between the Kurds and the party alliance of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi , Iraqi list . The commission is headed by the moderate Shiite cleric Hummam Hammudi , his deputies are the Sunni Adnan al-Dschanabi and the Kurd Fu'ad Massum . US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized the composition of the commission because of the underrepresentation of the Sunnis , whereupon Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari promised to involve the Sunnis more in the political process. As a result, the Sunnis were offered a greater involvement in drafting the constitution.
On October 15, 2005, the new constitution was approved for voting. If two-thirds of voters in three provinces had voted no, the constitution would not have been adopted. According to the result, the voter turnout was over 60%. The constitution was passed with 78.59% of the vote. Only in the provinces of al-Anbar and Salah ad-Din did more than two thirds of the voters vote against, in a third province ( Ninawa ) the two-thirds majority of votes against is said to have only just been missed.
Head of state
According to the constitution, the appointment of a government is only possible with the consent of the Kurdish , Shiite and Sunni representatives in the Presidential Council .
According to the current constitution of 2005, the head of state is the President of the Republic of Iraq. On July 24, 2014, the Kurd Fuad Masum ( PUK ) was elected as new president by the Iraqi parliament with 211 to 17 votes. His deputies are the former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki , Iyad Allawi and Osama al-Nujaifi .
Around five months after the 2018 election in Iraq, the Kurdish politician Barham Salih was elected as the country's new head of state after several attempts. The members of parliament in Baghdad voted for him with 219 out of 329 votes. Traditionally, the presidency in Iraq belongs to a Kurd. Unlike in the past, the two major Kurdish forces, the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), were initially unable to agree on a candidate. Behind this is a bitter struggle for the distribution of power in the country.
After Haider al-Abadi was commissioned by President Fuad Masum to form a new government on August 11, 2014 , the previous Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki resigned on August 14. It was not until September 8 that al-Abadi and his cabinet obtained the approval of the majority in the Iraqi parliament and it was sworn in.
Prime Minister Al-Abadi's reform program announced in August 2015 on the occasion of protests against abuses and corruption in several Iraqi provinces is making slow progress. Measures such as the abolition of the post of deputy president or the replacement of ministerial posts were reversed or prevented by the Federal Supreme Court and the parliament. The finance and defense ministers lost their posts due to parliamentary votes of no confidence. Core government departments such as B. Home affairs, finance and defense are currently vacant, other departments such. B. Finance, trade and industry remain vacant.
The 2014 elections were the first since the US Army left. Despite strong security measures by the military and police, there were several attacks on polling stations.
|Rule of Law Coalition||92|
|Association for Reform||23|
|Patriotic Union of Kurdistan||19th|
|Democratic Party of Kurdistan||17th|
|Iraqi Islamic Values Party||19th|
|National reform trend||19th|
|Coalition of Diyala Our Identity||2|
|Islamic Union Kurdistan||2|
|Minorities ( Christians , Mandaeans , Yazidis , Shabak )||8th|
According to the transitional constitution, one third of every electoral roll had to be women. Around a quarter of all seats in the newly elected National Assembly are also women.
In the local elections in 2009, members of the local parliaments were elected in 14 of the 18 provinces. In the province of Kirkuk, the polls were canceled because the political groups could not agree on the framework. In the remaining three provinces, the autonomously governed Kurdish northern provinces, the election will take place at a later date. 15 million out of a total of 28 million eligible voters have previously registered for the election in order to be able to cast their votes. The polling stations were secured by thousands of Iraqi police officers and soldiers, largely without the involvement of the US Army. According to Reuters reports, unlike in 2005, the elections were largely peaceful.
The Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr won the parliamentary elections in 2018. His list Sairun ("We march") will receive 54 of the 329 seats in parliament, the electoral commission announced. In second place is an alliance of the politician Hadi al-Amiri, which is close to the Shiite militias and has close ties to neighboring Iran. The incumbent Shiite Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi came in third with his list. According to forecasts, this result had already been expected after the May 12 election.
The death penalty is still being used in Iraq . Amnesty International has documented numerous cases of torture and ill-treatment in prisons. These include: hanging up by the arms or legs for long periods of time, beating with cables and hoses, electric shocks, breaking arms and legs, almost suffocation from plastic bags or rape. Nonconformists and homosexuals are intimidated. The Kurdistan Autonomous Region authorities took action against people who criticized the government's corruption. Cases of torture and ill-treatment were also documented there.
Relations between Iraq and the US have changed significantly since the last US troops withdrew on December 18, 2011. With the withdrawal of the last combat brigade in August 2010, "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was over. Nonetheless, the US remains Iraq's most important international partner after Iran. Especially since the change of government in Iraq, the USA has endeavored to support a democratically legitimized and inclusive government. The USA also supports the Iraqi government in the fight against IS as part of the alliance of states against IS.
Relations with Syria are currently severely affected by the violent clashes in the neighboring country. Parts of the Iraqi region on the border with Syria are still under the control of IS. In addition, Iraq is severely affected by the influx of refugees from Syria.
Iraq currently maintains full diplomatic relations among its neighbors. a. to Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Syria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
On February 13, 2007, the Iraqi embassy in Riyadh reopened; Saudi Arabia resumed diplomatic relations with Iraq on February 21, 2012, and opened an embassy in Baghdad at the end of 2015 and recently a consulate general in Erbil. At the end of February 2017, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, was the first Saudi Foreign Minister to travel to Baghdad since 1990.
Saudi Arabia has an interest in a stable Iraq under an inclusive government that includes the different population groups in political decisions and institutions.
Relations with Kuwait, which had been strained for decades, have improved. During visits by the Kuwaiti Prime Minister to Baghdad and the Iraqi Foreign Minister to Kuwait, both sides agreed to resolve the outstanding issues regarding the compensation to Kuwait with the help of the United Nations Support Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). First and foremost, it is about the reparation that Iraq had to make after its attack on Kuwait on August 2, 1990.
There is an Iraqi-Kuwaiti Council of Ministers, from which, among other things, a tourism and investment agreement and an agreement on navigation in Khor Abdullah, the border area in the Persian Gulf, was reached.
Iraq's relations with other Arab states are also improving after numerous Arab diplomats fell victim to violence in Baghdad after 2003. In June 2009 Egypt again sent an ambassador to Baghdad and in November 2010 a consul general to Erbil. In September 2015, Qatar announced the first dispatch of an ambassador to Baghdad since 1990.
Relations with Turkey have recently deteriorated again. The focus is currently on tensions surrounding a Turkish military presence for training purposes in northern Iraq against the will of the Iraqi government. There are also differences with regard to the conflict in Syria, the problems that arise in dealing with the Kurds and the conflict over the water from the Tigris. The Turkish-Kurdish oil pipeline was opened in December 2013. Turkey's purchase of oil from the Kurdish regional government, bypassing the Baghdad central government, has deepened existing tensions. In addition to the aforementioned activities, Turkey has been militarily active since summer 2015 and without developing a permanent military presence in northern Iraq as part of its hostilities against the PKK.
Iraq maintains special relationships with its neighbor Iran, which are characterized by an eventful history. Despite the costly war between the two states in the 1980s, relations are historically very close. At the social and economic level as well as between the governments, there are diverse connections, borne by very different interests and which have been intensifying since the inauguration of the current Iraqi government. Thousands of Iranian pilgrims travel to the Shi'ite holy places in Iraq every year. a. to Karbala and Najaf.
"The federal system in the Republic of Iraq is made up of a decentralized capital, regions and governorates, and local administrations."
"The federal system of the Iraqi Republic consists of a capital territory, regions and governorates, and local governments."
The country is divided into 19 governorates ( muhafazat , singular muhafaza ):
A third administrative level local governments (local administrations) for minority areas that have not yet been implemented.
The biggest cities:
The capital Baghdad is the geographical, political and cultural center of the country and with 5.7 million inhabitants it is by far the largest urban agglomeration. Baghdad (Persian = God-given in the sense of: God's gift) was founded in 762 by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur as the new capital of the Islamic Empire and in 1920 it was declared the capital of the newly founded state of Iraq. The city was expanded particularly during the economic boom of the 1970s. The city was hardly affected in the First Gulf War, but Baghdad was repeatedly targeted by air raids in the Second and Third Gulf War. Baghdad is home to 3 of the country's 6 universities and the largest international airport in Iraq.
Located in the north, Mosul is in second place with around 2.9 million inhabitants. It is the center of Eastern Christian and Assyrian culture in Iraq. Mosul had been an important economic center since the 8th century, and the entire province of Nineve was not annexed to Iraq under international law until 1926.
The port city of Basra on the Persian Gulf, with around 2 million inhabitants, is the third largest city in the country and the center of the Shiite south. Basra was founded in 636 by Caliph Umar ibn al-Chattab as an Arab military base and trading center and was conquered by the Ottomans in the 16th century. In 1914, British troops marched into the city. During the First Gulf War, the city was badly affected due to its exposed location and economic importance. Basra has the largest transshipment port in the country, through which large parts of the oil produced are exported, as well as the university founded in 1964 and an international airport.
Erbil (Kurdish: Hewlêr) is the capital of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan and, at an estimated 7,000 years ago, one of the oldest still populated cities in the world. It is home to around 1.3 million residents. The city was only slightly damaged in the first two Gulf Wars. Erbil has an international airport.
Sulaimaniya (Kurdish: Silêmanî) is the fifth largest city in the country with around 800,000 inhabitants. The city has an international airport and a university.
On May 23, 2003, the forces of the former regime under Saddam Hussein were disbanded by the interim administration. A large number of the military legacies were destroyed. The new Iraqi armed forces were set up with the support of the United States , Great Britain , Australia and Jordan . In Iraq, the “coalition forces”, still primarily the USA and Great Britain, as the main part of the Multi-National Force Iraq, were responsible for internal and external security in the country until 2009 and worked closely with the new Iraqi army. The United States Forces Iraq (USF-I) left Iraq in 2011.
The Chief Joint Forces of the new Iraqi armed forces is 2007: General Babakir Zebari . The country spent almost 3.9 percent of its economic output or 7.4 billion US dollars on its armed forces in 2017. The relatively high defense spending is a burden on the state budget.
Private Security Companies:
Numerous military service providers and private security and military companies operate on behalf of the US military. Their number is estimated at around 15,000 - official numbers are not disclosed. The largest of these companies are:
- The Hart Group : Protecting Electrical Companies
- ISI Group : Protection of the coalition buildings
- Eriny's International : Personal Protection
- DynCorp : personal protection & training of the Iraqi police (contract value: 40 million US dollars)
- Blackwater USA : Personal Protection
- Armor Group / G4S : Personal protection, mine clearance & airport security
- Kroll Inc .: Personal Protection
- Global Risk Personal Protection
- Saber International Airport Security
Private military service providers have a special position in Iraq because it has not been clarified which law these companies are bound by and they do not have to provide any information about the number of employees or the number of victims.
The Iraqi road network covers 45,550 km, of which 38,400 are paved. Sections of rural roads and roads in urban centers (in which there is no public transport except for private bus lines / shared taxis) are multi-lane, otherwise even major rural roads are two-lane. Exceptions are the currently under construction and partly completed highways in the Kurdish north as well as the Basra - Baghdad - Jordan road , which is developed like a motorway over large stretches. At the moment the number of registered cars is exploding, mainly due to the skyrocketing income and the abolition of import duties, which is causing problems, especially in the Arab metropolitan areas, as there cannot be enough investments in the expansion of the road network due to the precarious security situation. This is why there are so many fatal accidents in road traffic. In 2013 there were a total of 20.2 road deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants in Iraq. For comparison: In Germany there were 4.3 deaths in the same year. A total of 6,800 people were killed in traffic.
The Iraqi rail network consists of three main lines converging in Baghdad and covers 2,339 km. A large part of the rail network, which is in a catastrophic state ( for example, often only the route of the Baghdad- Erbil line can be seen, the sleepers have been made into firewood and the rails are sold) is currently out of order, in fact only that is Baghdad- Basra line in operation. However, the train is only used by those with low incomes, as the reliability is so low that arrival times are not even given. A journey of over a day to the southern Iraqi metropolis, about 550 km away, is not uncommon. However, the new Iraqi government is investing a lot in reconstruction, and it is hoped to be able to resume regular rail operations in some time.
There are over 100 airports and airstrips in Iraq, the country also has six international airports ( Baghdad , Erbil , Basra , Mosul , Najaf and Sulaimaniya ), and Karbala Airport is currently under construction. Another airport in Tikrit is being planned.
The largest airline is the state-owned Iraqi Airways .
The once important inland navigation is possible on 1,015 km of canals and rivers, but today it only plays a subordinate role.
The number of landline connections is estimated at around 1.2 million across the country, 40% of which are said to be in the capital, Baghdad. Due to the ailing networks and poor infrastructure, a third of them are not functional. In 2016, 17.2% of Iraqis had internet access.
Mobile phone use, which had been banned until then, rose from 300,000 subscribers in 2003 to over 23 million in 2011, meaning that in March 2011 a good 78% of the country was covered. The three companies Zain Iraq, Asiacell and Korek dominate the market. However, a UMTS network does not yet exist.
In Saddam Hussein's time, the Internet was only accessible to the rich and reliable. To gain access, you had to file an application with the Department of Communications and pay a fee of about $ 4,000. Use has increased rapidly since the fall of the regime, even though only 1.1% of the population has a private connection. Many political parties also have their own websites. At the moment, however, Internet publications do not have any influence on the masses, the medium is used almost exclusively for communication. The young people often use the PCs made available in the various youth centers. Broadband and wireless connections are also available in the metropolitan areas.
The country's electricity production could not keep up with the increasing demand in the years after 2003, which is why there are still frequent blackouts. In summer 2012, with a consumption of 15,000 megawatts, only 7200 megawatts could be produced. The supply was therefore an average of 8–9 hours. Most Iraqis are therefore still dependent on emergency power generators.
In June 2010, due to the poor supply situation, protests broke out in Nassirija and Basra, in which one person was killed. The Iraqi electricity minister resigned on June 22, 2010.
The preschool (mostly state-run in Iraq, but in recent years more and more fee-based private preschools have been founded) can be attended in the age group between four and five years.
Since 1970, there has been a general nine-year compulsory schooling in Iraq, school and university education is provided by the state. State-recognized private schools were not admitted until the early 1990s.
Primary school education lasts six years, with the first four grades being the lower grades and grades 5 and 6 being the upper grades. English is taught from the 5th grade . Attending primary school is followed by attending secondary school for a further three years. The secondary school is completed after a uniform final examination and the acquisition of the secondary school leaving certificate. Attending middle school is necessary to obtain the Abitur; This again three-year school form concludes with a central Abitur examination in six school subjects (Arabic, English, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology) and entitles to study.
The three largest universities in the country ( University of Baghdad , al-Mustansiriyya University and the Baghdad Technical University , also known as al-Hikma) are represented in the capital, Baghdad. Other universities are located in Basra ( University of Basra ), Mosul ( University of Mosul ), Erbil ( Salahaddin University , University of Kurdistan Hewlêr ), Sulaimaniya ( University of Sulaimani ) and Dohuk ( University of Duhok ).
Iraq is essentially an agrarian state, but since the first oil discoveries in 1927, its economy has focused almost exclusively on the export of oil. After all foreign oil companies were nationalized in 1972 and the oil crisis led to a rapid rise in oil prices, there was an economic boom in the country from the mid-1970s, the country's gross domestic product grew by an average of 11.7% between 1970 and 1980. This rapid development liked this Much of the Iraqi population will also benefit. In 1979 Iraq had cash reserves worth $ 35 billion; in 1980, oil revenues were $ 26 billion.
However, the First Gulf War slowed this development, so the country's GDP shrank by 8.1% between 1980 and 1985 and again by 1.7% from 1985 to 1989. The UN embargo (1991–2003) almost paralyzed the economy. With 100 billion US dollars in debt, Iraq is one of the most heavily indebted countries in the world. The country's economy is still suffering from the aftermath of the Gulf Wars, the UN embargo and the current unstable situation.
The gross domestic product amounted to approx. 229.3 billion US dollars in 2013, the economic growth rate was 4.2%. The inflation rate is 1.9%, the unemployment rate is given as around 13%. In 2012, Iraq exported goods worth $ 93.9 billion. The main customers were the USA, India and South Korea. The imports totaled 56.9 billion dollars and come mostly from Syria, Jordan, Turkey and the USA. The main imports were machinery, various processed products, chemicals and food.
The country's low level of integration with the global economy and the associated relatively high degree of independence of Iraq from global markets have spared the country from the current economic crisis. Individual areas even benefit directly from the global recession. According to the National Investment Commission of Iraq (INIC), the number of international construction and contracting companies in Iraq has skyrocketed since the beginning of the global economic crisis. Other investors are to follow suit and bring more foreign capital into the country. The Kurdish Investment Minister Herish Muharam Muhamad recently even let himself be carried away to the comparison that investments in Iraq are "safer than Wall Street".
According to a government study, around 23% of Iraqis live below the poverty line, on less than $ 2.50 a day. Another problem is corruption in the country. According to the corruption perception index published by Transparency International , Iraq is one of the most corrupt states in the world. In 2017, the country ranked 169th out of a total of 180.
All GDP values are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).
(purchasing power parity)
|99.09 billion||94.69 billion||88.65 billion||164.36 billion||259.04 billion||271.86 billion||296.01 billion||309.62 billion||341.67 billion||355.90 billion||383.32 billion||420.75 billion||488.22 billion||533.94 billion||547.54 billion||580.31 billion||652.33 billion||658.79 billion|
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
(as a percentage of GDP)
The currency of the country is the Iraqi Dinar at 1000 Fils, introduced in 1932 . Between 1991 and 2003 there were two currencies in Iraq, the so-called Swiss dinar , which was used in the Kurdish north (value: 1 US dollar = 0.33 dinar), and the printed dinar with the image of Saddam Hussein, which was used after 1991 replaced the Swiss dinar (value: 1 US dollar = about 3500 dinars). The New Iraqi Dinar was introduced on October 15, 2003, replacing both currencies (value: 1 US dollar = about 1150 dinars).
Natural resources / mining
The most important industry in the country is oil production .
Iraq is a founding member of OPEC , which was founded on September 14, 1960, and has the largest explored oil reserves (113 billion barrels ) after Saudi Arabia and Canada (which for the most part has so-called unconventional, expensive oil, e.g. tar sands ). It is estimated that total reserves could amount to as much as 250 billion barrels of oil and gas. Up to 45 billion barrels of this are in the north in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region , a large part of which is in the Kirkuk field. Iraq is one of the countries that lie in the so-called strategic ellipse .
In 1902 the search for oil began with the first well in the Zagros Basin (northeast Iraq). The first oil discovery came about 20 years later. In 1927 a gigantic oil deposit was discovered with the well known as Baba Gurgur 1 - the Kirkuk field. At first, 1 million barrels of oil flowed into the environment before the escaping oil could be controlled. The field extends over 150-200 km and has an oil-bearing layer 610 m thick. The original amount of oil in the field is given as 17 billion barrels. It had about 1/5 the amount of oil in the largest oil field in the world ( Ghawar in Saudi Arabia) and is one of the so-called "super giants".
By 1972, the entire Iraqi oil industry was nationalized under the umbrella of the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) .
Oil production has increased continuously since 1969 and reached its peak in 1979 with 3.5 million barrels per day (bopd). The war with Iran and the First Gulf War caused oil production to collapse. In 1981, 900,000 bopd were funded and in 1991 only 300,000 bopd were funded.
On March 22, 2003, the United Nations lifted the sanctions against Iraq. The USA and Great Britain, as occupying powers, retained the financial management of Iraqi oil production until a government was set up.
By 2003, 75 large oil and gas fields had been discovered. Nine of them are "super giants" (including Kirkuk, Rumalia South, Rumalia North and Majnoon) and 22 "giants".
The enormous oil reserves in the Kurdish part of Iraq are also the reason for the long-standing dispute between the Kurdish regional government and the central government in Baghdad. Since 2003, the Kurdish government has concluded contracts for the exploration and exploitation of oil fields with around 30 western companies.
On May 8, 2009, however, the government in Baghdad issued this permit to export Kurdish oil. From June 1, 2009, 60,000 bopd flowed from the Tawke field via pipelines to the Mediterranean oil loading port in Ceyhan , Turkey. At the end of June 2009, exports from the Taq Taq field began with 40,000 bopd. In September 2009, however, Kurdistan stopped exporting because no agreement could be reached with Baghdad about payment for exports. Neither Kurdistan nor the oil producers received any money. After the Iraqi elections in early 2010 and the formation of a government in late 2010, new negotiations to resolve this conflict began. With the result that on February 3, 2011 exports were started with 10,500 bopd. Just 3 days later, 50,000 bopd should be reached and a further increase to 100,000 bopd should follow. The state-owned "State Oil Marketing Organization" (SOMO) in Baghdad is responsible for the sale. The Tawke Field is being developed by the DNO. Genel Enerji (Turkey) and Sinopec (China) operate the Taq Taq field.
On May 17, 2009, the Austrian OMV and the Hungarian MOL acquired shares in the Khor Mor and Chemchemal gas fields. From 2014–15, one billion cubic meters of gas are expected to flow into Europe from these fields every day. OMV and MOL are shareholders in the Nabucco gas pipeline, which is currently being planned and built.
In June and December 2010, stakes in the Iraqi fields listed below were given to western oil companies. The investments provide for fixed payments per barrel. If the plans are adhered to, the production of Iraq will increase from 2.5 million bopd in 2009 to 12 million bopd in 2016. This would make Iraq the largest oil producer in the world. This drastic expansion of production will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition, there is a considerable need for skilled workers, oil drilling equipment, pipelines and everything that goes with it. Experts therefore doubt that Iraq can achieve its goals.
- Rumaila Field (17.7 billion barrels): CNPC + BP, $ 2 per barrel, target output: 2.8 million bopd, making it the second largest oil producing field in the world
- Majnoon Field (13 billion barrels): Royal Dutch Shell + Malaysia's Petronas; Participation $ 1.39 per barrel, output target: 1.8 million bopd
- West Qurna Field Phase 2 (12 billion barrels): Lukoil + Statoil Hydro, $ 1.15 per barrel, target output: 1.8 million bopd
- Halfaya field (4 billion barrels): CNPC + Total + Petronas, production target: 535,000 bopd
- Badra Field (2 billion barrels): GazpromNeft + Kogas + Petronas + TPAO, production target 170,000 bopd, $ 5.50 a barrel
- Garraf Field (860 million barrels): Petronas + Japex, $ 1.49 per barrel, target output: 230,000 bopd
- Najmah field: Sonangol
- Qaiyarah field: Sonangol
- Middle Furat: by Kerbala, no bidder
Compared to other Middle Eastern countries, Iraq has abundant water; agriculture is also an important branch of the economy in which around 40 percent of all Iraqi workers are employed. In the north there thanks to rainfall and mild weather rainfed agriculture ; in the south there is mostly irrigation farming . Wheat , rice , maize , barley as well as fruit and vegetables are grown (mainly for self-sufficiency). Until the 1980s, the country was self-sufficient in most foodstuffs, but now Iraq has to import most of its basic needs.
The most important agricultural products are dates . In the 1970s, Iraq provided 75% of the world's dates, but this proportion fell sharply due to the massive deforestation and drainage during the First Gulf War and the Second Anfal Operation in 1991. In 2008, at 281,000 tons, only half of the production of the 1980s was achieved. In addition, the population has fallen from over 30 million palm trees to under nine million.
The country is hardly developed industrially. The main industries are food processing, textile industry , manufacturing of building materials and the petrochemical industry . Most of the industrial plants are located in Baghdad and in the north.
The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures equivalent to US $ 77.8 billion , which was offset by revenues equivalent to US $ 52.4 billion. This results in a budget deficit of 15.2% of GDP .
The national debt amounted to 2016 106.4 billion US dollars or 63.7% of GDP.
In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
There has been a wide variety of media in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The new Iraqi constitution officially guarantees freedom of the press. On the press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Iraq was able to improve to 145th place in 2009 (2008: 158, 2007: 157th), but the organization found that Iraqi journalists were increasingly using reprisals state authorities are exposed. In the 2017 press freedom ranking, Iraq ranks 158th out of 180 countries.
Eight journalists were killed in Iraq in 2017. According to the Reporters Without Borders report, the victims' deaths are directly related to their journalistic activities.
In general it can be said that in Iraq one has to distinguish between two types of media: the party-controlled and the independent. Every major party in Iraq has its central organ, and quite a few also maintain television channels. The Kurdish parties maintain central organs in both Kurdish and Arabic.
The first Iraqi newspapers appeared at the time of the Ottoman occupation of Iraq. On June 15, 1869, the country's first newspaper, al-Zawraa, was published; it was to be published in Baghdad by March 11, 1917. On June 25, 1889, the first newspaper appeared in Mosul, followed by the first newspaper in Basra on December 31, 1889.
The first Iraqi constitution of 1921 guaranteed freedom of the press. The Iraqi press was considered the freest in the Middle East until 1958.
After the fall of the monarchy in 1959, all newspapers critical of the government were closed and pre-censorship was introduced. In 1969 private newspapers were banned. The Iraqi communists were allowed to run their own daily newspaper from 1973 to 1979; however, this was also banned after Saddam Hussein came to power. Between 1979 and 2003 the press was entirely in the hands of the Husseins. The daily newspapers published in 2003 were al-Jumhuriya, al-Thawra, al-Qadissiya, al-Iraq, Babil as well as the sports newspaper al-Baath al-Riyadi and the English-language Baghdad Observer. Due to the paper shortage caused by the sanctions, the newspapers had to cut the number of their pages and reduce the size of their editions to a quarter of the pre-war level; from 1999 they appeared twice a week in their normal size.
Today the seven most important newspapers are:
- al-Sabah - funded by Iraqi Media Network , founded by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)
- al-Zaman - editorial office is in London, printing locations in Baghdad and Basra
- al-Mada - Baghdad
- al-Mashriq - Baghdad
- al-Dustur - Baghdad
- Iraq Today - English language weekly newspaper
- al-Mujahed, al-Shahed, Thaura Islamiyya - Baghdad , Islamist
There is a vast number of radio stations in Iraq, many of them local. Virtually every political association has at least one local radio station. The important radio stations are:
- Republic of Iraq Radio - Successor to Iraq Media Network-Radio Baghdad , founded by the CPA
- Radio Nahrain - Basra, financed by the British
- Voice of Iraq - private broadcaster, Baghdad (medium wave)
- Hot FM - private radio station, Baghdad (FM music station)
- Radio Dijla - private station, Baghdad (FM talk and music station)
Iraqi television began broadcasting in 1956, making it one of the oldest television networks in the Middle East. In addition to the regular state broadcaster, Udai Hussein founded al-Shabab TV in 1994 , which broadcast foreign films and programs. The Iraq Satellite Channel went on air in the late 1990s . The installation of satellite dishes was strictly prohibited during Saddam Hussein's tenure.
In 2003 al-Iraqia became the successor to Iraq Television , and several private television stations were also set up. The most important are al-Sharqiya , al-Baghdadiya , al-Fayhaa , al-Sumaria , al-Furat and the US coalition broadcaster al-Hurray . Kurdistan TV had already started broadcasting in the Kurdish north in 1999 . Foreign TV channels such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya are also seen.
Iraq can be categorized into five geographical cultural areas: the Kurdish and Turkmen cultures with their centers in Erbil and Sulaimaniya, which are divided into the Sunni culture with their center around Baghdad and the Shiite culture with their center Basra, the culture of the settled Arabs, the Assyrian Culture, present in several cities in the north and the culture of the nomadic Marshal Arabs who live in the swamps between Baghdad and Basra.
Films have been shown in Baghdad since 1909 and these were mostly intended for the British audience. It was not until the 1940s, under the rule of King Faisal II , that a film industry began to develop when French and British film companies settled in Baghdad. In 1955 the film Haidar Al-Omar's Fitna wa Hassan , a film adaptation of the Romeo and Juliet story, was released in cinemas, and the film was also registered abroad. After the coup of 1958, the Cinema and Theater General Organization was founded, it coordinated and planned future films in the interests of the state. So mainly documentaries were shot. After 1979, the Iraqi film industry fell into its greatest crisis due to the scarcity of resources triggered by the Iraqi-Iranian war. Nevertheless, in 1980 the 6 hour epic about the life of Saddam Hussein was completed. The film industry suffered another blow after the Kuwait War when an embargo was imposed on the country.
Since the US invasion of the country in 2003, the industry has slowly tried to regenerate and there are isolated film projects such as Kilomètre zéro . There are also numerous foreign films that have Iraq as their theme, for example Retour à Babylone by the Iraqi director Abbas Fahdel or Valley of the Wolves - Iraq .
Since 1880 theater troupes have been traveling to Iraq from Europe to play in schools and community halls, primarily for British audiences. Iraqi writers began to write plays in the 20th century. The great theaters are the Rasheed , the Mansour and the Folk Theater. Plays by Iraqi, Indian and Turkish authors as well as the great dramas of world literature are performed.
The oud (short-necked lute) and the rabāb (string instrument) dominate Iraqi music. Well-known musicians on these instruments include Munir Baschir (1928–1997), Ahmed Mukhtar (* 1967) and Nasir Schamma (* 1963). The country's most successful pop singer is Kaẓim al-Saher (* 1961), who has sold more than 30 million records in his career. The singers Shada Hassoun - who participated and won in the fourth season of the most famous Arab music casting show "Star Academy" - and Dalli and the singer Maǧid al-Muhandes are also known.
The most popular sport in the country is football . The national soccer league is very popular. Important football clubs are al-Zawraa , al-Talaba , al-Shorta , al-Quwa al-Jawiya (all from Baghdad), al-Minaa (Basra) and Erbil SC . The largest football stadium in the country is the al-Shaab stadium in Baghdad, built in 1966 with a capacity of 66,000 spectators. In 2013, a sports complex with a main stadium for 65,000 spectators and another stadium for 10,000 spectators was completed in Basra.
The Iraqi national team won several regional titles. Her greatest successes were qualifying for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and winning the title at the 2007 Asian Football Championship . Another success was fourth place in the 2004 Olympic Games . The Iraqi football association is called al-Ittihad al-ʿiraqi li-kurat al-qadam , English Iraq Football Association , IFA.
Other sports such as weightlifting , martial arts , futsal , basketball and swimming are also popular. At the Olympic Summer Games in Rome in 1960 , the weightlifter Abdu l-Wahid Aziz won the bronze medal in the lightweight, which is still the only Olympic medal in the country.
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-  , ( UNDP )
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