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War in Iraq

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Information about Iraq

Geography
Iraq's terrain is mostly broad plains. But there are reedy marshes along the Iranian border in the south. Mountains border the region with Iran and Turkey.

The Iraq Flag
A description and picture of the Iraqi flag.

The Middle East

People
Iraq's two largest ethnic groups are Arabs and Kurds. Other distinct groups are Turkomans, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Iranians, Lurs, and Armenians. Arabic is the most commonly spoken language. Kurdish is spoken in the north, and English is the most commonly spoken Western language.

Iraqi Women Under Saddam's Regime
Iraq is a nation rich in culture, with a long history of intellectual and scientific achievement, especially among its women. However, Saddam Hussein's brutal regime silenced the voices of Iraq's women and men through violence and intimidation.

Iraqi Leaders
A list of the Iraqi leaders prior to the war.

Economy
Iraq's economy is characterized by a heavy dependence on oil exports and an emphasis on development through central planning. Prior to the outbreak of the war with Iran in September 1980, Iraq's economic prospects were bright.

History
Once known as Mesopotamia, Iraq was the site of flourishing ancient civilizations, including the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Parthian cultures. Muslims conquered Iraq in the seventh century A.D. In the eighth century, the Abassid caliphate established its capital at Baghdad, which became a frontier outpost on the Ottoman Empire.

Government
Iraq's judicial system was based on the French model introduced during Ottoman rule and had three types of lower courts--civil, religious, and special. Special courts tried broadly defined national security cases. An appellate court system and the court of cassation (court of last recourse) completed the judicial structure.

Foreign Relations
Iraqi-Iranian relations have remained cool since the end of the Iraq-Iran War in 1988. Outstanding issues from that war, including prisoner of war exchanges and support of armed opposition parties operating in each other's territory, remain to be solved.

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