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iraq - Newest pictures
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World> Countries> Iraq

Facts & Figures
President:Jalal Talabani (2005)
Prime Minister:Nuri al-Maliki (2006)
Land area:167,556 sq mi (433,970 sq km)
Population (2011 est.):31,129,225 (growth rate: 2.345%); birth rate: 28.19/1000; infant mortality rate: 40.25/1000; life expectancy: 70.85
Capital and largest city (2009 est.):Baghdad, 5.751 million
Largest cities:Mosul 1.447 million; Erbil 1.009 million; Basra 923,000; As Sulaymaniyah 836,000 (2009)
Monetary unit:U.S. dollar
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Geography
Iraq, a triangle of mountains, desert, and fertile river valley, is bounded on the east by Iran, on the north by Turkey, on the west by Syria and Jordan, and on the south by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It is twice the size of Idaho. The country has arid desert land west of the Euphrates, a broad central valley between the Euphrates and the Tigris, and mountains in the northeast.
Government
The dictatorship of Saddam Hussein collapsed on April 9, 2003, after U.S. and British forces invaded the country. Sovereignty was returned to Iraq on June 28, 2004.
History
From earliest times Iraq was known as Mesopotamia—the land between the rivers—for it embraces a large part of the alluvial plains of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
An advanced civilization existed in this area by 4000B.C.Sometime after 2000B.C., the land became the center of the ancient Babylonian and Assyrian empires. Mesopotamia was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 538B.C.and by Alexander in 331B.C.After an Arab conquest in 637–640, Baghdad became the capital of the ruling caliphate. The country was pillaged by the Mongols in 1258, and during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries was the object of Turkish and Persian competition.


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