Flag of Iraq

Iraq

The Republic of Iraq is a country in the Middle East, bounded by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the west and Syria to the northwest. It has a very narrow section of coastline to its south east at Umm Qasr on the Persian Gulf.

There are several suggestions for the origin of the name of Iraq: one is that it comes from the Aramaic language, meaning 'the land along the banks of the rivers', whilst another suggestion dates back to the Sumerian city of Uruk (or Erech). Al-Iraq was the name used by the Arabs themselves for the land since the 6th century.

Iraq has a rich history dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, and has been part of the Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, Parthian, Arab, Ottoman and British empires. Beginning with the invasion in 2003, a multinational coalition of forces, mainly American, has occupied Iraq. The invasion has led to increased civil violence and political break-down, and the aftermath of war, severe shortages of food, lawlessness and essential medicine throughout the country hamper the nation's chances of prosperity any time soon. According to the 2007 Failed States Index, Iraq is considered the world's second most unstable country (after Sudan).

Map of Iraq