Iraq’s population in 2015 was estimated to be around 36 million people, making it the 15th most populous country in the Middle East. The majority of Iraqis identify as Shia Muslim, with sizeable minorities of Sunnis and Kurds also present. The Iraqi economy is heavily reliant on oil exports, with the sector accounting for roughly two-thirds of the country’s GDP. Other exports include agricultural products and textiles. Iraq has strong trade ties with its Middle Eastern neighbours, particularly Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as other countries worldwide. In terms of politics, Iraq is a parliamentary republic with a multi-party system. In 2015 Haider al-Abadi was the Prime Minister after winning reelection in 2014. In foreign relations, Iraq is a member of both the United Nations and Arab League and is actively involved in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations. Relations with its Middle Eastern neighbours have been mostly positive but tensions remain between Iraq and Turkey over territorial disputes. See ehealthfacts for Iraq in the year of 2005.
Iraq. The war against the extremist group Islamic State (IS), which captured around one-third of Iraq last year, raged all year. Against IS, the government army fought with the support of a US-led alliance of other states, which mainly carried out air strikes, as well as Iran-backed Shi’ites, Kurdish forces and some Sunni groups. According to COUNTRYAAH, Baghdad is the capital of Iraq which is located in Western Asia. The situation was complicated by some hostility even between the groups.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Iraq country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
According to UN data, an average of around 1,000 people were killed a month, of which just over half civilians, in fighting and terrorist acts in only those parts of the country that the government side reasonably controlled. More than 3 million were reported to have moved their homes one year after IS proclaimed its caliphate at the end of the year 2014. The majority were internally displaced, but many also left the country.
At the beginning of the year, IS was pushed back somewhat, including the return of the city of Tikrit in April. Despite an offensive, however, the government side failed to return Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Instead, in May, IS entered after a fast offensive Ramadi, the capital of the largest province of Anbar in the west. The government then gave the go-ahead for Shia militia to try to fight back IS in the Sunni-dominated province, causing concern for increased contradictions between Shia and Sunni Muslims in the country. Towards the end of the year, the government side was reported to have regained control of most of Ramadi.
IS was accused of brutal abuses against civilians and of enslavement and ethnic cleansing against minority groups. When the city of Sinjar in the north was recaptured in November, several mass graves with remains were found after hundreds of Yazidis. Hundreds, perhaps several thousand, Yazid women were also held as sex slaves by IS. The UN agency UNESCO accused the group of “cultural cleansing” because of the systematic destruction of ancient art treasures and ruins that are considered part of the world heritage.
In October, a US-Iraqi Special Forces attacked IS in the Kirkuk province, releasing some 70 people who were held captive and reported to be on the run. A soldier who died in connection with the operation was reported to be the first American killed since the US launched its attack on IS in 2014. The US official line was that there were no US ground troops in the country. By contrast, there were US air traffic controllers in Baghdad and Erbil, and the US cooperated closely with both the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces. The US-led alliance, with direct attacks or support, participated in a number of NATO countries as well as Australia, Jordan and Morocco.
The inadequate electricity supply was reminded of a heat wave with temperatures around 50 degrees, triggering extensive demonstrations against corruption and against the government. As a result, in August Parliament approved reforms aimed at corruption, wastage and divisions between the peoples. Among other things, it was decided that the system of three Vice-Presidents and three Deputy Prime Ministers should be abolished, a system introduced to distribute items between the three dominant groups of Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds. The number of ministries would also be lost.
In December, the World Bank approved a US $ 1.2 billion loan to help Iraq cope with rising security costs and falling oil prices.
In the spring of 2007, the Danish government decided to withdraw the Danish forces from Iraq in August of that year. The argument was that peace and order had now been created and that the Iraqis in the Basra area themselves could safeguard their security. The propaganda was not entirely consistent with the truth. During the period from August 2006 to August 2007, the attacks on the Danish military camp outside Basra increased tenfold, and during the actual evacuation of the soldiers, where the Danish War Minister Gade was present, the camp was exposed to grenade attacks. The Minister of War had to mark the Danish “victory” over the Iraqis lying on the ground.
The Danish forces were to be used in Afghanistan, where the security situation gradually developed even worse than in Iraq.
At the beginning of 2007, the United States decided to send another 20,000 troops to Iraq. The number thus reached 160,000. At the same time, the superpower changed strategy from attacking the military to buying the opposition groups with US $. Just as during the invasion, the United States managed to break the backbone of the Iraqi army by buying the millions of dollars of senior officers, it now bought millions of opposition leaders of the opposition groups and gradually dissolved the military resistance to the occupying power.
In 2008, the United States plunged deep into the Iraqi state money box. This year alone, Iraq bought over $ 12.5 billion. US $ weapons in the US. Thus, it accounted for more than a third of US $ 36 billion death knifes exports. US $ this year. On top of this came the purchase of 36 F-16 aircraft.
2008 Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan – with western backing
In February 2008, Turkey invaded Iraqi Kurdistan with over 10,000 soldiers. By then, since December 2007, the country had exposed Iraqi Kurdistan to regular aircraft attacks. The 10,000 soldiers penetrated up to 20 km into Iraqi Kurdistan in an offensive targeting the separatist organization PKK. International law allows one country to conduct short “hot-pursuit” operations a few miles into another country when an identified armed enemy is chased. The Turkish invasion was not of the “hot-pursuit” type, but was of an actual invasion, and was therefore a very serious violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. The Turkish invasion put the United States in a particularly difficult situation. The United States is a close ally of NATO member Turkey, while the superpower keeps Iraq occupied. The path of the Turkish invasion was cleared as early as May 2007, when the United States’ Foreign Minister Condoleeza Rice met with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül. Gül made it clear to Rice that at some point Turkey would invade Iraq in search of the PKK. The United States immediately evacuates all North American civilians and soldiers from Iraqi Kurdistan and “transfers” 3 days later all responsibility for security in Iraqi Kurdistan to the Iraqi Kurdish forces. At the same time, Iraqi Kurdistan leader Massoud Barzani declares that Iraqi Kurdish forces will defend themselves in the event of a Turkish attack. Turkey now has 100,000 troops marched along the Iraqi Kurdistan border. In early June, there are a few Turkish air strikes, artillery attacks and a single “hot-pursuit” operation. However, it will be ½ years before Turkey launches a major attack. In October, the PKK implements a series of successful actions against the Turkish military, killing dozens of soldiers. On December 16, 50 Turkish fighter aircraft attack targets in Iraqi Kurdistan, and on February 21, 2008, Turkey launches its invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan after several days of aircraft and artillery attacks. It will stay in Iraqi Kurdistan for 1 week. The Turkish military killed 527 partisans and 27 Turkish soldiers. PKK gets 127 Turkish soldiers killed and 9 partisans. The number of civilian casualties is unknown, but more people are reported killed. Although the Turkish military runs some PKK camps over, they are facing fierce resistance elsewhere. In April new comprehensive Turkish air strikes will be carried out.
The Turkish invasion, aircraft and artillery attacks were met by fierce protests from both the Iraqi Kurdistan regional government and the Iraqi central government, but Iraq refrained from defending its sovereignty militarily. Massoud Barzani changed his stance, declaring that Iraqi Kurdistan would first provide military resistance if Turkish forces directly attacked the civilian population or reached more inhabited areas. The EU understood the Turkish invasion, but called for restraint. So much for the EU’s respect for national sovereignty of states. The United States was in a particularly difficult situation, expressed concern that the invasion could “destabilize the entire region”, yet expressed understanding of Turkey’s position and urged the country to withdraw quickly. The Turkish invasion did not weaken the PKK.