World Country Iraq

About the world country Iraq, its location, size, population, and who is in power.

NATIONS OF THE WORLD

IRAQ

Location: In the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, bordered by Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, in the Middle East. Size: 167,924 sq. mi. (434,924 sq. km.). Population: 14,042,000 (71% Arabs, 18% Kurds; 50% Shia Muslim, 40% Sunni Muslim).

Who Really Rules: Iraq is controlled by the Arab Socialist, or Ba'ath, party of Iraq, which took power in a 1968 coup. President Saddam Hussein's government does not tolerate opposition. In 1979 several Ba'ath leaders were charged with conspiring to overthrow Hussein and executed.

In 1975 the central government brought the Kurdish minority under control, but the predominantly Sunni Ba'ath leadership fears an uprising by the Shia majority, which has been urged to rebel by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. In 1980 Hussein executed the leader of Iraq's Shiites. The central government also continues to face opposition from the Kurdish minority, which seeks autonomy.

For many years Iraq received most of its arms from the Soviet Union, but relations have cooled since 1978, when Hussein decimated the Iraq Communist party leadership. Iraq now buys weapons from France and imports technology from Japan. Hussein's hope of using his oil wealth and well-equipped military to lead the Arab region was dealt a serious blow in 1980, when his invading army met stiff resistance from the disorganized Iranian armed forces in Iran's Khuzistan Province.

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