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|Republic of Iraq
Jumhūrīyat Al-ʿIrāq (Arabic)
Komara Îraqê (Kurdish)
Map of Iraq
|Motto: الله أكبر (Arabic)
God is the Greatest
|Official language(s)||Arabic, Kurdish|
|-||Prime Minister||Nouri al-Maliki|
|Independence||from the Ottoman Empire and later the United Kingdom|
|GDP (PPP)||2007 estimate|
|-||Per capita||3,600 (129)|
|Currency||Iraqi dinar (
|Time zone||MSK (UTC+3)|
Iraq (Arabic: العراق, Al-Irāq), officially the Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جمهورية العراق, Jumhūrīyat Al-Irāq, Kurdish: كؤماری عهراق, Komara Îraqê; Neo-Aramaic: ܥܸܪܵܩ), is a country in the Middle East, with its borders between Iran to its east, Saudi Arabia to its west and Kuwait to the south. The capital city is Baghdad. With a population of 28,945,657  it occupies the land of ancient Mesopotamia with central Iraq being dominated by valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
Located in what is essentially a desert, the winters are mild to cold with cloudless hot, dry summers. The northern mountain ranges produce snow that at times when it melts floods central and southern Iraq. During Saddam Hussein's reign, he displaced thousands of gallons of water, drained most of the inhabited marsh areas east of An Nasiriyah by drying up or diverting the feeder streams and rivers. A well established population of Marsh Arabs inhabited these areas for many years were displaced by hundreds of thousands. This disregard for natural habitats to flourish within Iraq in turn devestated the areas wildlife and human populations. 
During the 20th century, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the land of Iraq was ruled by the British during World War I. Iraq gained independence in 1932 and 20 years later, in 1958 it was established as a republic.  Since this classification took place Iraq has been ruled by a number of military dictators. The July 14 Revolution as it is called, was a coup that brought Brigadier General Abdul Karim Qassim to power lasting until 1963. It was then overthrown by Colonel Abdul Salam Arif who was replaced by his brother, Rahman Arif in 1966.
Saddam Huessein, arguably the most important and devastating leader in Iraq's short history as an internationally recognized country held the reigns as a vicious dictator from 1979 to 2003, 23 years. When born in Tikrit, Saddams parents were poor farmers, and at age 10 Saddam moved to Baghdad, Iraq. His father either left early in his childhood or died, while his mother raised him in Tikrit, now in Baghdad he is being raised by his Uncle. At age 24 Saddam leaves Iraq because of his assassination attempt on the current leader. He goes to Egypt and enters Cairo University School of Law. Two years later the Baathist party takes control and Saddam returns to Iraq, on arrival he marries his cousin Sajida Khair. 
The movement of the Baath Party is taking hold and in 1968 Rahman Arif was overthrown by the Arab Socialist Baath Party. This movement gradually came under the control of Saddam Hussein as he becomes vice-president from 1969 to 1979 when prompted by the death of the current president al-Bakr, Saddam gains complete control.  Populations were silenced that dissented from his dictorial reign, Saddam Hussein as he took power, immediately listed off names of people who he thought were traitors to his Baath political movement. Woman as a population within Iraq were routinely intimidated at a federal level through strong-arm tactics by their secret police. One of Saddams sons, Uday Hussein is responsible for numerous killings within Iraq against the civilian population, the Iraqi government and even their own family, luring son-in-laws Hussein Kamel and Saddam Kamel back to Iraq after they defected to Jordan only to murder them on their return. 
In 1980, one year into the Saddam Hussein dictatorship, the eight-year Iran-Iraq War erupted over a piece of land supposedly. However radical elements of Iran namely the Islamic Revolution had taken place. With the Iranian leader promising to export such, effectively stirring Shia populations of Iraq had to of made Saddam willing to issue a preemptive attack. The Iranian population were ready and willing to join military ranks, most of which were radical religious zealots focusing not on traditional warfare but rather full frontal charge making them easy targets.
During the war which ultimately took 1,000,000 lives, weapons of mass destruction were used against the civilian minority population of the Kurds by the Iraqi government in the form of chemical nerve gas. It was an attempt to silence the Kurdish population to the North, however its realized goals fell short and in reality elevated Saddam Hussein to a blatant murderer to the international community. Even though the Iranians outnumbered the Iraqis 45 million to 16 million, Iraq is the decisive victor of one of the most bloodiest wars in middle east history. By 1986 tactics were perfected and through the civilian population coming into harmony with military command, Iraq is able to dominate on the battlefield. 
US Invasion of 2003
Re-building of Iraq
Provincial Iraqi Control
Iraq is governed by Provincial Civil Authorities, which in turn are directed by the provincial governor. Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC) is a way to gauge the transition or self-government ability, from U.S. control to local provinical administrations responsible under the conditions of the Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility (JCTSR). The recommendation of transfer is submitted to the Ministerial Committee for National Security (MCNS) which is chaired by the current Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.
There are 18 provinces that make up Iraq and 13 have been handed over to Provincial Iraqi Control, which are;
- Baghdad (بغداد)
- Salahad Din (صلاح الدين)
- Diyala (ديالى)
- Wasit (واسط) - Now under PIC
- Maysan (ميسان) - Now under PIC
- Al-Basrah (البصرة) - Now under PIC
- DhiQar (ذي قار) - Now under PIC
- Al-Muthanna (المثنى) - Now under PIC
- Al-Qadisiyah (القادسية) - Now under PIC
- Babil (بابل) - Now under PIC
- Karbala‘ (كربلاء) - Now under PIC
- An-Najaf (النجف) - Now under PIC
- Al-Anbar (الأنبار) - Now under PIC
- Ninawa (نينوى)
- Dahuk (دهوك) - Now under PIC
- Arbil(Erbil) (أربيل) - Now under PIC
- At Ta’mim (التأميم)
- As-Sulaymaniyah (السليمانية) - Now under PIC 
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Iraq CIA World Factbook
- ↑ Iraq: Devastation of Marsh Arabs by Human Rights Watch. January 25, 2003.
- ↑ Saddam Hussein biography CBC News. December 29, 2006.
- ↑ Iraq Wikipedia
- ↑ Uday Hussein Global Security
- ↑ Iraq: A Population Silenced U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor ; Washington, DC ; December 2002
- ↑ FOCUS ON: HUMAN RIGHTS IN SADDAM’S IRAQ The Violent Coercion and Repression of the Iraqi People by U. S. Department of State
- ↑ FMFRP 3-203 - Lessons Learned: Iran-Iraq War MARINE CORPS HISTORICAL PUBLICATION. 10 December 1990.
- ↑ Provincial Iraqi Control MNF-Iraq. 01 January 2009.
- H.R.4655 Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Enrolled Bill (Sent to President)) Iraq Watch
- Saddam trial told of Iraq torture by BBC. 6 December 2005.
- Understanding Iraq Through Anbar's Lens - With Anbar Security Handed To Iraq, A Look At Iraq In Plain Terms by Steve Schippert; September 2, 2008
- Latest draft of the U.S.-Iraq security agreement LA Times Blogs