Republic of Iraq

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Flag of Iraq Flag of Iraq
Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with three green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; the phrase ALLAHU AKBAR (God is Great) in green Arabic script - Allahu to the right of the middle star and Akbar to the left of the middle star - was added in January 1991 during the Persian Gulf crisis; similar to the flag of Syria, which has two stars but no script, Yemen, which has a plain white band, and that of Egypt which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band; design is based upon the Arab Liberation colors.

Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by Britain during the course of World War I; in 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of military strongmen ruled the country, the latest was SADDAM Husayn. Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait, but was expelled by US-led, UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years led to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. Coalition forces remain in Iraq, helping to restore degraded infrastructure and facilitating the establishment of a freely elected government, while simultaneously dealing with a robust insurgency. The Coalition Provisional Authority, which temporarily administered Iraq after the invasion, transferred full governmental authority on 28 June 2004, to the Iraqi Interim Government (IG), which governed under the Transitional Administrative Law for Iraq (TAL). Under the TAL, elections for a 275-member Transitional National Assembly (TNA) were held in Iraq on 30 January 2005. Following these elections, the Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) assumed office. The TNA was charged with drafting Iraq's permanent constitution, which was approved in a 15 October 2005 constitutional referendum. An election under the constitution for a 275-member Council of Representatives (CoR) was held in December 2005. The CoR approval in the selection of most of the cabinet ministers on 20 May 2006 marked the transition from the ITG to Iraq's full-term government. - CIA World Factbook.

Map of Iraq

Iraqi Coat of Arms

Tension over Iraqi flag hits N Iraq -
Hundreds of Iraqi flags bearing the phrase 'Allah Akbar' have appeared throughout the streets of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in what analysts are calling an act of Arab defiance.

Iraq unveils new 'inclusive' flag
The design consists of a pale blue crescent on a white background, with a yellow strip between two blue lines at the bottom.

Iraq - Fotw
Description and Symbolism of the Iraqi Flag.
Evolution of the Present Iraqi Flag   

Iraq -
Iraq has a rich history dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. Historians identify the region between the Tigris River and the Euphrates River as the Fertile Crescent, a cradle of civilization, and as the birthplace of writing.

Iraq - U.S. Department of State
        Almost 75% of Iraq's population live in the flat, alluvial plain stretching southeast from Baghdad and Basrah to the Persian Gulf. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers carry about 70 million cubic meters of silt annually to the delta. Known in ancient times as Mesopotamia, the region is the legendary locale of the Garden of Eden. The ruins of Ur, Babylon, and other ancient cities are in Iraq.
        Iraq's two largest ethnic groups are Arabs and Kurds. Other distinct groups are Turcoman, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Persians, and Armenians. Arabic is the most commonly spoken language. Kurdish is spoken in the north, and English is the most commonly spoken Western language.
        The majority (60-65%) of Iraqi Muslims are members of the Shi'a sect, but there is a large (32-37%) Sunni population as well, made up of both Arabs and Kurds. Small communities of Christians, Jews, Bahais, Mandaeans, and Yezidis also exist. Most Kurds are Sunni Muslim but differ from their Arab neighbors in language, dress, and customs.
Political Conditions
        Since March 2006, the Government of Iraq has been a broad coalition led by a Shi’ite legislative bloc known as the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA). The UIA currently holds 128 of 275 seats in the Council of Representatives. The UIA is currently composed of SCIRI, the al-Sadr movement, al-Da’wa, Jama’at al-Fadilah, and various independents. Politicians with Sunni religious affiliations, including the Tawafooq and Hewar groups, presently hold 59 seats in the Council of Representatives. The Kurdish bloc known as the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan (which includes the KDP & PUK) holds 53 legislative seats. Ayad Allawi’s Iraqi National Accord (INA) holds 25 seats. The remaining seats are composed of various independent and secular politicians.
        With regard to the executive branch, much care has been given to ensure that there is proportionate distribution of ministerial positions among the three major ethnic groups. For example, in the Presidency Council, President Jalal Talabani is Kurdish, Deputy President ‘Adil ‘Abd al-Mahdi is a Shi’a Muslim, and Deputy President Tariq al-Hashimi is a Sunni Muslim. Additionally, the Council of Ministers consists of 18 Shi’a Muslims, 8 Sunni Muslims, 8 Kurds, and 5 members of Ayad Allawi’s secular INA.
        The Government of Iraq is currently working toward amending the Constitution. The process is likely to be a long and careful one, as consideration needs to be given to the interests of each of the three major ethnic groups. Issues to be addressed include federalism and the sharing of oil revenues.