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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 strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last 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. US forces remained in Iraq under a UNSC mandate through 2009 and under a bilateral security agreement thereafter, helping to provide security and to train and mentor Iraqi security forces. In October 2005, Iraqis approved a constitution in a national referendum and, pursuant to this document, elected a 275-member Council of Representatives (COR) in December 2005. The COR approved most cabinet ministers in May 2006, marking the transition to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half century. In January 2009, Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all governorates except for the three governorates comprising the Kurdistan Regional Government and Kirkuk Governorate. Iraq held a national legislative election in March 2010 - choosing 325 legislators in an expanded COR - and, after nine months of deadlock the COR approved the new government in December 2010. Nearly nine years after the start of the Second Gulf War in Iraq, US military operations there ended in mid-December 2011.


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Government

Country name
Conventional long form Republic of Iraq
Conventional short form Iraq
Local long form Jumhuriyat al-Iraq
Local short form Al Iraq

Government type
Parliamentary democracy

Capital
Name Baghdad
Geographic coordinates 33 20 N, 44 24 E
Time difference
UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions
18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah) and 1 region*; Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah (Ad Diwaniyah), An Najaf, Arbil (Erbil), As Sulaymaniyah, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Kirkuk, Kurdistan Regional Government*, Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit

Independence
3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration); note - on 28 June 2004 the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government

National holiday
Republic Day, July 14 (1958); note - the Government of Iraq has yet to declare an official national holiday but still observes Republic Day

Constitution
Ratified 15 October 2005 (subject to review by the Constitutional Review Committee and a possible public referendum)

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law

International law organization participation
Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state
President Jalal TALABANI (since 6 April 2005); Vice Presidents Tariq al-HASHIMI and Khudayr Musa Jafar Abbas al-KHUZAI
Head of government
Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI (since 20 May 2006)
Cabinet
The Council of Ministers consists of the prime minister and cabinet ministers he proposes; approved by an absolute majority vote by the Council of Representatives
Elections
President elected by Council of Representatives (parliament) to serve a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 11 November 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
Election results
President Jalal TALABANI reelected on 11 November 2010; parliamentary vote count on second ballot - 195 votes; Nuri al-MALIKI reselected prime minister

Legislative branch
Unicameral Council of Representatives (325 seats consisting of 317 members elected by an optional open-list and representing a specific governorate, proportional representation system and 8 seats reserved for minorities; members serve four-year terms); note - Iraq's Constitution calls for the establishment of an upper house, the Federation Council
Elections
Last held on 7 March 2010 for an enlarged 325-seat parliament (next to be held in 2014)
Election results
Council of Representatives - percent of vote by coalition - Iraqi National Movement 25.9%, State of Law coalition 25.8%, Iraqi National Alliance 19.4%, Kurdistan Alliance 15.3%, Goran (Change) List 4.4%, Tawafuq Front 2.7%, Iraqi Unity Alliance 2.9%, Kurdistan Islamic Union 2.3%, Kurdistan Islamic Group 1.4%; seats by coalition - NA

Judicial branch
The Iraq Constitution calls for the federal judicial power to be comprised of the Higher Judicial Council, Federal Supreme Court, Federal Court of Cassation, Public Prosecution Department, Judiciary Oversight Commission and other federal courts that are regulated in accordance with the law

Political parties and leaders
Badr Organization [Hadi al-AMIRI]; Da'wa Party [Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI]; Da'wa Tanzim [Hashim al-MUSAWI branch]; Da-wa Tanzim [Abd al-Karim al-ANZI branch]; Fadilah Party [Hasan al-SHAMMARI and Ammar TUAMA]; Goran (Change) List [Nushirwan MUSTAFA]; Hadba Gathering [Athil al-NUJAYFI]; Iraqi Covenant Gathering [Ahmad Abd al-Ghafur al-SAMARRAI]; Iraqi Constitutional Party [Jawad al-BULANI]; Iraqi Front for National Dialogue [Deputy Prime Minister Salih al-MUTLAQ]; Iraqi Islamic Party or IIP [Usama al-TIKRITI]; Iraqi Justice and Reform Movement [Shaykh Abdallah al-YAWR]; Iraqi National Accord or INA [Ayad ALLAWI, former Interim Government prime minister]; Iraqi National Congress or INC [Ahmad CHALABI]; Iraqi National Accord or INA [Ayad ALLAWI]; Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq or ISCI [Ammar al-HAKIM]; Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP [Kurdistan Regional Government President Masud BARZANI]; Future National Gathering [Finance Minister Rafi al-ISSAWI]; National Iraqiyun Gathering [Usama al-NUJAYFI]; National Movement for Reform and Development [Jamal al-KARBULI]; National Reform Trend [former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-JAFARI]; Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK [President Jalal TALABANI]; Renewal List [Vice President Tariq al-HASHIMI]; Sadrist Trend [Muqtada al-SADR]; Sahawa al-Iraq [Ahmad al-RISHAWI]
Note
Numerous smaller local, tribal, and minority parties

Political pressure groups and leaders
Sunni militias; Shia militias, some associated with political parties

International organization participation
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CICA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the us
Chief of mission Ambassador Jabir Habib JABIR
Chancery
3421 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20007
Telephone [1] (202) 742-1600
FAX [1] (202) 333-1129

Diplomatic representation from the us
Chief of mission
Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Robert Stephen BEECROFT
Embassy Baghdad
Mailing address APO AE 09316
Telephone
1-240-553-0589 ext. 5340 or 5635; note - Consular Section
FAX NA

Flag description
Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great") in green Arabic script is centered in the white band; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white); the Council of Representatives approved this flag in 2008 as a compromise temporary replacement for the Ba'athist Saddam-era flag
Note
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

National symbol(s)
Golden eagle

National anthem
Name "Mawtini" (My Homeland)
Lyrics/music
Ibrahim TOUQAN/Mohammad FLAYFEL
Note
Adopted 2004; following the ousting of Saddam HUSSEIN, Iraq adopted "Mawtini," a popular folk song throughout the Arab world, which also serves as an unofficial anthem of the Palestinian people


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  Iraq (Baghdad):


  GPS points from Iraq (Baghdad)

Binayi Arbil

Qada' Zakho Muhafazat Dahuk

Jasim Al Muthanna

Al Hawr Muhafazat Baghdad


Tall Sir Ninawa

Gir-e Baqsho Muhafazat Dahuk

Darbarula As Sulaymaniyah




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