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/ ɪrɑːk /


Množina reči Iraq je Iraqs.

Al-Iraq · Irak · Iraq · Republic of Iraq

Country in SW Asia, bounded N by Turkey, E by Iran, SE by the Persian Gulf and Kuwait, S by Saudi Arabia, and W by Jordan and Syria.
The 1970 constitution, amended 1973, 1974, and 1980, provides for a president who is head of state and chair of a Revolutionary Command Council (RCC). Day-to-day administration is under the control of a council of ministers over which the president also presides. The president is also regional secretary of the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party which, although not the only political party in Iraq, so dominates the country's institutions as to make it virtually a one-party state. There is a 250-member national assembly, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term, but ultimate power lies with the president.
The area now occupied by Iraq was formerly ancient Mesopotamia and was the center of the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian civilizations 6000 BC–AD 100. It was conquered 114 by the Romans and was ruled 266–632 by the native Sassanians before being invaded 633 by the Arabs.
In 1065 the country was taken over by the Turks and was invaded by the Mongols 1258; Baghdad was destroyed 1401 by Tamerlane. Annexed by Suleiman the Magnificent 1533, Iraq became part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire 1638, as the separate vilayets (regions) of Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul.
independent kingdom
Occupied by Britain in World War I, Iraq was placed under British administration by the League of Nations 1920. In 1932 Iraq became a fully independent kingdom, but until World War II Iraq's increasing formal autonomy masked a continued political and military control by Britain. In 1933 the reigning king, Faisal I, died and was succeeded by his son Ghazi; the leading figure behind the throne was the strongly pro-Western general Nuri-el-Said, who was prime minister 1930–58. In 1939 King Ghazi was killed in an accident, and Faisal II became king at the age of three, his uncle Prince Abd al-Ilah acting as regent until 1953 when the king assumed full powers.
In 1955 Iraq signed the Baghdad Pact, a regional collective security agreement, with the USSR seen as the main potential threat, and in 1958 joined Jordan in an Arab Federation, with King Faisal as head of state. In July of that year, a revolution overthrew the monarchy, and King Faisal, Prince Abd al-Ilah, and General Nuri were all killed.
The constitution was suspended, and Iraq was declared a republic, with Brig Abd al-Karim Kassem as head of a left-wing military regime. He withdrew from the Baghdad Pact 1959 and was killed 1963 in a coup led by Col Salem Aref, who established a new government, ended martial law, and within two years had introduced a civilian administration. He died in an airplane crash 1966, and his brother, who succeeded him, was ousted 1968 and replaced by Maj Gen Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. He concentrated power in the hands of a Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and made himself head of state, head of government, and chair of the RCC.
In 1979 Saddam Hussein, who for several years had been the real power in Iraq, replaced al-Bakr as RCC chair and state president. In 1980 he introduced a National Charter, reaffirming a policy of nonalignment and a constitution that provided for an elected national assembly. The first elections took place that year.
Iran–Iraq War
Iraq had, since 1970, enjoyed a fluctuating relationship with Syria, sometimes distant and sometimes close enough to contemplate a complete political and economic union. By 1980, however, the atmosphere was cool. Relations between Iraq and Iran had been tense for some years, with disagreement over their shared border, which runs down the Shatt-al-Arab waterway. The 1979 Iranian revolution made Iraq more suspicious of Iran's intentions, and in 1980 a full-scale war broke out. Despite Iraq's inferior military strength, Iran gained little territory, and by 1986 it seemed as if a stalemate might have been reached. The fighting intensified again in early 1987, by which time hundreds of thousands of lives had been lost on both sides and incalculable damage to industry and property sustained.
Following Iranian acceptance of United Nations cease-fire provisions, the war came to an end 1988. Peace talks made little progress on fundamental issues of territory or prisoner-of-war repatriation. Hussein took advantage of the end of hostilities to turn his combat-hardened army against Kurdish separatists, many of whom had sided with Iran. After the war's end, Iraq moved to support Christian forces in Lebanon against Syrian- and Iranian-backed Muslims. The Iraqis also launched a ballistic missile on a successful test, causing concern about Iraq's suspected nuclear-weapons development. In 1989 an unsuccessful coup attempt against President Hussein was reported.
Gulf War
In 1990 Hussein reopened a long-standing territorial dispute with neighboring Kuwait while seeking to assume leadership of the Arab world. Following increasing diplomatic pressure, Iraqi troops invaded and annexed Kuwait on 2 Aug, installing a puppet government and declaring it part of Iraq. As Iraqi troops massed on his borders, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia requested help from the US and the UK, and a rapid buildup of US ground and air power and British aircraft began. Meanwhile the UN Security Council condemned the invasion, demanded Iraq's withdrawal, and imposed comprehensive sanctions including an embargo. These were to be enforced by a multinational naval force led by the US. To make its substantial presence in Saudi Arabia seem more legitimate, the US sought contributions from other UN members but with only limited success. Unsuccessful attempts to find a peaceful solution to the dispute were made by Egypt, Jordan, France, the US, the UK, and the UN.
To ensure the safety of his border, President Hussein hastily concluded a permanent peace treaty with Iran, under which he conceded virtually everything for which he had fought the Iran–Iraq War and both countries agreed to release all prisoners of war.
Refusing to withdraw from Kuwait, President Hussein sought to prevent a military strike against him by compelling thousands of non-Iraqi adult males, mainly British and American, living in Iraq to remain there, moving some to unknown strategic locations. Meanwhile, a mass exodus of foreign workers who were allowed to leave created enormous refugee problems in neighboring Jordan.
In Dec 1990 the UN Security Council set a 15 Jan 1991 deadline for Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, after which force could be used. Soon afterwards US president Bush offered talks with Iraq and proposed a UN-sponsored international conference to discuss the Middle East's problems. Saddam Hussein then announced that all foreign hostages in Kuwait and Iraq would be allowed to return home. Nevertheless, Iraqi troops were not removed from Kuwait by the deadline and on 16 Jan the US-led Allied forces began the aerial bombardment of Baghdad as the first phase of operation Desert Storm, the military campaign to liberate Kuwait; the Iraqi military response during the air campaign was largely limited to the firing of Scud missiles into Israel and Saudi Arabia. A last-minute peace initiative by the USSR to avoid a land battle failed, and on 23 Feb the Allied land offensive began, with thousands of Iraqi troops immediately surrendering without a fight to the advancing Allied armies. On 28 Feb 1991, after 100 hours of gro
und fighting, the Iraqi forces capitulated and agreed to a cease-fire. The total number of Iraqis killed in the war was estimated at around 200,000. By March, Iraq had conceded to peace negotiations.
Kurds and Shiites revolt
Following Iraq’s defeat, various factions within the country began uprisings against the government. Shiites revolted in the S and in the N Kurds briefly gained control of many cities. The ferocity of the Iraqi counterattack in the N forced more than 1 million Kurds to flee to mountainous regions on the borders with Turkey and Iran, where thousands died from exposure, hunger, and related diseases. In response to public outcry at their plight, Allied forces were stationed in the region and a “safe zone” set up, within which humanitarian aid was provided over a three-month period. An autonomy agreement offered to the Kurds was rejected in June and subsequent negotiations saw little progress. A multinational force, “Operation Poised Hammer”, was retained on the Turkish border after the withdrawal of US and allied forces from N Iraq July 1991. Talks were resumed in Nov but Iraqi harassment of Kurds continued.
UN resolutions violated
After an initial compromise agreement on UN inspection of suspected arms-production sites in July 1991, Saddam Hussein continued to violate the terms of the cease-fire agreement, rejecting UN resolutions on weapons and human rights, and carrying out further obstruction of UN arms inspections.
US attacks
In Aug 1992 the UN Security Council imposed a “no-fly zone” over S Iraq to protect the Shiite community. Following alleged Iraqi infringements of the zone and incursions into the demilitarized zone of Kuwait, US-led forces carried out a number of air strikes against Iraqi missile and radar sites Jan 1993. Relations improved in the succeeding months, but in June 1993 Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad were hit by US missiles. The US claimed the action was carried out in retaliation for an alleged plot against former president George Bush. Despite the UN-imposed “no-fly zone”, persecution of Shiites in the south continued.
sanctions and their effects
The UN Security Council refused 1994 to lift economic sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War despite evidence of their serious effects on the civilian population. Saddam, in Oct, again massed his forces near the Kuwait border, apparently to draw attention to his country's economic plight. His actions prompted a speedy and massive response from the US-led international community, but the situation improved after Hussein publicly renounced his claim to Kuwait in Dec. In so doing, he fulfilled one of the conditions required for the lifting of UN sanctions. Dismantling of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and fair treatment of its minorities were among the other conditions stipulated by the UN, and since these had not been met, the sanctions were extended Jan 1995.
A republic in the Middle East; the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia was in the area now known as Iraq; Also called: Al-Iraq, Irak.

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