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Iraq,[lower-alpha 1] officially the Republic of Iraq,[lower-alpha 2] is a country in the Middle East. It is a federal parliamentary republic that consists of 19 governorates. The country is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, the Persian Gulf and 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. The Iraqi people are diverse, with similarly diverse geography and wildlife. Most Iraqis are Muslims minority faiths include Christianity, Yazidism, Mandaeism, Yarsanism and Zoroastrianism.[10][2] The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish; others also recognised in specific regions are Turkish (Turkmen), Suret (Assyrian), and Armenian.[11] Iraq is the 33rd most-populous country in the world.

Quick facts: Republic of .plainlist ...
Republic of Iraq
  • جمهورية العراق (Arabic)
    Jumhūriīyet al-ʿIrāq
  • کۆماری عێراق (Kurdish)
    Komarî Êraq
Anthem: موطني
"My Homeland"
Location of Iraq
and largest city
33°20′N 44°23′E
Official languages
  • Recognised regional languages
Ethnic groups
GovernmentFederal parliamentary republic
Abdul Latif Rashid
Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani
Mohamed al-Halbousi
Faiq Zidan
LegislatureCouncil of Representatives
3 October 1932
14 July 1958
15 October 2005
438,317 km2 (169,235 sq mi) (58th)
 Water (%)
4.62 (as of 2015)[4]
 2023 estimate
43.5 million (35th)
82.7/km2 (214.2/sq mi) (125th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
Increase $512.926 billion[5] (48th)
 Per capita
Increase $12,141[6] (114th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
Increase $297.341 billion[6] (47th)
 Per capita
Increase $7,038 [7] (111th)
Gini (2012)29.5[8]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.686[9]
medium · 121st
CurrencyIraqi dinar (IQD)
Time zoneUTC+3 (AST)
Driving sideright
Calling code+964
ISO 3166 codeIQ
  1. Constitution of Iraq, Article 4 (1st)

Starting as early as the 6th millennium BC, the fertile alluvial plains between Iraq's Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, referred to as Mesopotamia, gave rise to some of the world's earliest cities, civilisations, and empires in Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria.[12] Mesopotamia was a "Cradle of Civilisation" that saw the inventions of a writing system, mathematics, timekeeping, a calendar, astrology, and a law code.[13][14][15] Following the Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia, Baghdad became the capital and the largest city of the Abbasid Caliphate, and during the Islamic Golden Age, the city evolved into a significant cultural and intellectual centre, and garnered it a worldwide reputation for its academic institutions, including the House of Wisdom.[16] The city was largely destroyed at the hands of the Mongol Empire in 1258 during the siege of Baghdad, resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to frequent plagues and multiple successive empires.

Modern Iraq dates to 1920, when the British Mandate for Mesopotamia was created under the authority of the League of Nations. A British-backed monarchy was established in 1921 under Faisal. The Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq gained independence from the UK in 1932. In 1958, the monarchy was overthrown and the Iraqi Republic created.[17] Iraq was ruled by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party from 1968 until 2003, led by Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr and then by Saddam Hussein, as a one-party state. Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, sparking a protracted war that ended as a stalemate in 1988, with devastating losses for both sides. In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, leading to global condemnation and a military campaign waged by US-led international coalition that expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait. A 2003 invasion launched by another US-led coalition as part of its "Global War on Terror", resulted in the defeat of Ba'athist Iraq and execution of Saddam Hussein. Discontent with the de-Ba'athification policies of the Provisional Authority stirred up an anti-American insurgency, which escalated into a sectarian civil war. In 2005, new constitution was adopted and multi-party parliamentary elections were held in Iraq. Withdrawal of US troops from Iraq began in 2008, and American occupation officially ended in 2011.[18] Continued repression and sectarian policies of Nouri al-Maliki's Shia government caused the 2012–13 Iraqi protests, after which a coalition of Ba'athist and Sunni militias took up arms during the 2013 Anbar campaign. The climax of the campaign was the Northern Iraq offensive by the Islamic State group that marked its rapid territorial expansion, prompting the return of American troops to fight the War in Iraq, which lasted until 2017. Iran has also intervened in Iraq since 2014, expanding its influence through sectarian parties and Khomeinist militia groups, triggering widespread protests in Iraq.[19]

Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic. The president is the head of state, the prime minister is the head of government, and the constitution provides for two deliberative bodies, the Council of Representatives and the Council of Union. The judiciary is free and independent of the executive and the legislature.[20] Iraq is considered an emerging middle power[21] with a strategic location[22] and a founding member of the United Nations, the OPEC as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF. From 1920 to 2005, Iraq experienced spells of significant economic and military growth and briefer instability including wars.