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العراق Iraq

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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The primary divisions in the colonial borders are Sunni vs Shia and Arab vs Kurd. Other minority groups suffer accordingly, such as Yezidi, Jewish (expelled), and Assyrian communities.

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World War I


The British Army's Mesopotamia campaign initally had mixed success. After taking Basra in 1914 the British quickly advanced to Baghdad's outskirts. However, they then suffered significant losses and surrended at Kut after a siege of 146 days in April 1916. The British began a second advance late that year and took Baghdad in 1917 and Mosul in 1918.


1921 - 1958

At the Cairo Conference in March 1921, Feisal Ibn Hussein Ibn Ali (a Hashemite) ruled the Hajaz and was chosen as Iraq's first king. Feisal was chosen by Winston Churchill, then the British Colonial Secretary, along with a group of Middle East experts including Gertrude Bell and T E Lawrence. Previously, the Ottom provinces in Mesopotamia were centered on Baghdad, Mosul, and Basra. Combining the three provinces created a power struggle between Arabs vs Kurds, and Sunni vs Shia. The new country's name Iraq has an unclear etymology, but it was used by Arab geographers since the 10th century CE to refer to central and southern Mesopotamia.

Oil discovery


A huge gusher was discovered at Baba Gurgur, near Kirkuk. It was brought into use in 1934 by the Iraq Petroleum Company, and remains the basis for northern Iraqi oil production today. It generates up to a million barrels per day, almost half of all Iraqi oil exports. Other significant oil fields are in the south.



The League of Nations granted Iraq its independence on 1932 Oct 03, but the British maintained military bases imperial influence in Iraq until after World War II.

World War II

In 1941, Rashid Ali al-Gaylani (an ex-Prime Minister of Iraq) staged a pro-Nazi coup in Baghdad and seized control from Abd al-Illah, the Regent for King Faisal II. British troops quickly ended Gaylani's regime and restored the Regent. Gaylani fled to Berlin where he was received by Adolf Hitler. The British occupied Iraq for the remainder of the war.

Mustafa Barzani

Mustafa Barzani led the Kurdish struggle for independence from the 1930s until his death in 1979. Exiled to the Soviet Union in the late 1940s, Kassem invited Barzani back to Iraq following the monarchy's collapse. Barzani's demands for autonomy sparked clashes that led Kassem to take military action against the Kurds in 1961. Following a cease-fire in 1970 and a series of unsuccessful negotiations Barzani resumed fighting in 1974 with support from Iran and the US. When defeated in 1975, Barzani fled to the US.

Monarchy ends

1958 Jul 14

A revolution led by General Abdul Karim Kassem and Colonel Abdul Sala Arif overthrew Iraq's monarchy. Faisal II and other members of the royal family were executed. Kassem established a Republic with himself as Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, and Arif as Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister.

Ba'athist Coup


A Ba'athist coalition overthrew Kassem's government, electing Abdul Salam Arif as President. The Ba'ath party was a secular Arab nationalist movement that advocated unity for all Arabs, as well socialism and freedom from colonialism. Following Arif's death in a mysterious helicopter crash in 1966, his ineffectual brother Abdul Rahman Arif assumed power.


1968 Jul 17

Nasserite (Arab nationalist) and Ba'ath army officers staged a bloodless coup that overthrew and exiled Abdul Rahman Arif. Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, Prime Minister and Vice-President of Iraq under Abdul Salam Arif, was elected Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council and President of Iraq. Shortly after, al-Bakr exiled his Nasserist allies in order to ensure the Ba'ath party's leadership.

Rise of Saddam Hussein

1969 - 1979

Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr appointed Saddam Hussein as Deputy Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council and Vice-President of Iraq in 1969. Saddam gradually became the government's strongman and finally assumed the Presidency after forcing al-Bakr to resign on 1979 Jul 16.

Iran-Iraq War


Iran and Iraq have long disputed their shared border, particular about the Shatt al-Arab waterway leading to the Persian Gulf. In 1980, Iraqi forces (with support from Arab states, the US, the Soviet Union, and much of Europe) invaded Iran and the ensuing Iran-Iraq war lasted eight years with 1.5 million casualties.



Toward the end of the Iran-Iraq War, the Iraqi regime began the Anfal (Arabic for spoils of war), a genocide against the Kurds. Adult male Kurds were especially targeted for massacre, and population displacement was practiced across Kurdistan, where poor Kurds were moved (especially out of cities) and replaced with poor Arabs from the south. In 1988, the Halabja massacre occured, the worst chemical attack in history.

Persian Gulf War


Iraq's invasion, looting, and annexation of Kuwait in 1990 August resulted in economic sanctions and a drumbeat for war. In 1991, with UN authorization, a coalition of 34 countries (led by the US) expelled Iraqi troops from Kuwait. Retreating Iraqi forces set fire to over 500 Kuwaiti oil wells. Eventually, Iraq agreed to abide by UN resolutions.

NATO Invasion


Led by the US, a coalition led by the US invaded Iraq ostensibly to disarm the country and seize the now-famously called weapons of mass destruction. This ended Saddam's regime, and led to the decade-long occupation of Iraq. In 2004, an Iraqi interim government was installed.

Nouri al-Maliki


Elections in 2005 propelled Nouri al-Maliki as Prime Minister. Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish leader who fought for independence for over fifty years, became Iraq's president.

Massacre in سبايكر Speicher

2014 Jun

Estimates over 1700 where the Tigris ran red with blood. On 2014 Sep 02, families of those deceased protested at the Iraqi Parliament. link link link link link link link


There are some discrepancies between federal Iraq's governorates, and how the KRG delineates or splits its three federally defined governorates.

الأنبار alAnbar
البصرة alBasrah
المثنى alMuthana
القادسية alQadisiya
النجف anNajaf
التعميم atTamim
بابل Babil
بغداد Baghdad
ذى قار Di Qar
ديالى Diyala
كربلاء Karbala
ميسان Maysan
نينوى Ninawa
صلاح الدين Salah adDin
واسط Wasit
اربيل Arbil (Kurdistan Regional Government)

السليمانية asSulaymaniya (Kurdistan Regional Government)

دهوك Dohuk (Kurdistan Regional Government)


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