Iraq Recent History

This region, once called Mesopotamia, was the cradle of the Assyrian-Babylonian civilization. This land, made very fertile by the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, currently includes Iraq.

According to Abbreviationfinder, an acronym site which also features history of Iraq, it turned out that the Sumerians and the Akkadians lived in this area since ancient times. They founded the city of Babylon and formed a vast empire which was called the Babylonian Empire.

Around 1100 BC the Babylonians were overwhelmed by the Assyrians, a Nordic population, who founded a new empire with the capital Nivive. The Assyrians ruled the country for five centuries, after which the Babylonians managed to drive them out and rebuild their empire again.

In the 6th century BC, at the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Babylon also included Syria, Persia, Palestine and Egypt.

In 538 BC Cyrus, king of the Persians, arrived on the spot, who occupied the whole area and proclaimed himself king of the Babylonians. The Persians called this country “erak”, which means precisely “Persian” and since then the country located in Mesopotamia was called Iraq.

Persian domination lasted two centuries: then came that of the Seleucids, dynasty that reigned in the territory of ancient Syria; then that of the Parthians, population settled in the southeast of the Caspian Sea; and finally that of the Sassanids, dynasty that reigned in Persia.

In the seventh century AD Iraq was subjugated by the Arabs, coming from the Arabian Peninsula. Their domination lasted until the thirteenth century. In this period Iraq had a remarkable economic development; many cities were founded, including Baghdad, a great boost was given to trade, major irrigation works were carried out and art and culture were also widespread. But then they imposed their religion and language on Iraq; the latter became official since the tenth century.

In turn, the Arabs, at the end of the thirteenth century, were swept away by the Tartars who, for three centuries, dominated the country destroying everything that the Arabs had made, thus causing great misery.

Iraq Recent History

In the 16th century there was a new changing of the guard; the Persians drove out the Tartars and became the new masters of Iraq. But after a short time their power was opposed by the Ottoman Turks who were conquering all the countries of the Middle East. The war lasted for a long time but in the end the Turks had the upper hand and then in the 18th century Turkish domination began in Iraqi territory that would last until the beginning of the 20th century, when technological developments achieved in the West identified a new wealth in the world: oil. Iraq possessed vast oil fields and these caused the interest of some European powers including France, England and Germany.

The initiative to gain possession of Iraqi territory was taken by England during the 1st World War. And after long years of struggle against the Turks, in November 1918 it completely occupied the country. For three years she ruled against the population, and for this very reason, she decided to give Iraq an autonomous government. Thus, on August 23, 1921, the Kingdom of Iraq was established and Prince Feisal was placed on the throne.

Prince Feisal reigned amidst a thousand difficulties until 1933. On the one hand his subjection to England which had given him the kingdom and on the other the people, hostile to England, towards which the prince had to show off a not too submissive behavior towards the same. Therefore, in 1932, England aware of the situation, granted complete independence to Iraq, in exchange, however, for very advantageous oil and military concessions.

In 1933 Ghazi, son of Feisal, ascended the throne. The people began major anti-British street demonstrations, as Britain had completely appropriated the country’s oil fields.

Died in 1939 Ghazi, his son Feisal II was designated king. However, since he was only a three-year-old boy, his uncle Abdul-Illah took over the regency. Both he and Feisal II, when he came of age and ascended the throne, showed a certain propensity towards England. And then in 1958 some Iraqi officers broke out in a violent revolution in which both were killed. And since then the Republic was proclaimed in Iraq.

The insurgents, after the proclamation of the republic, also withdrew from the Arab Federation, of which King Huseyn of Jordan decreed the end on August 2, 1958.

The new Iraqi government initially oriented itself towards the United Arab Republic; then, however, between Qasim, head of the Iraqi and pro-communist revolt, and en-Nasir, head of the RAU, conflicts arose. Qasim also withdrew from the Baghdad Pact. All this stirred up discontent in the provinces, divided between pro-communists and Arab unionists. And on March 8, 1959, a revolt broke out, led by Colonel Abd el-Wahab esh-Shawwaf, in Mosul, attributed to Egyptian organizations. A thousand communists were arrested following this event.

Qasim’s uncertain behavior towards communism triggered another attack and this time right against him; in fact he was injured.

In December 1959 he signed an agreement with the Soviet Union for technical assistance, necessary for the development of the country and on January 6, 1960 he promulgated a special law that returned the various parties to the official resumption of their activities, but always under approval. of their plans by the Minister of the Interior.

Immediately they formed: the National Democratic Party, of socialist origin, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan and two communist formations: an “Orthodox” and a “Titoista”.

In March 1960, a “Palestine Liberation Army” was founded in Iraq, consisting of Arab refugees, with the specific aim of fighting anywhere and by any means against Israel.

In February 1963 the Qasim dictatorship ended, to give way to that of General Muhammad Arif, supported by the Ba’th Socialist Party. A period of coups and various reversals followed and with this internal instability there was the consequent uncertain foreign policy.

In resisting Israel, Iraq did not provide real military aid but in politics it was always uncompromising and close not only to Syria, but also to Algeria.

In October 1978 a Constitutional Charter was founded, a political direction common to Iraq and Syria.

In March 1979 the communists left the National Front; Vice-President of the Republic Husayn assumed the positions of head of state, army and party, thus becoming sole authority after the abandonment of President General H. al-Bakr.

Political relations with Egypt and Turkey strengthened while those with Iran and Syria, a friend of Tehran, where the Khomeinist revolution raged, deteriorated.

Husayn increased his popularity through the 1980 elections. He relaunched economic relations with the West (and diplomatic relations with the United States resumed in 1984).

The war with Iran began in mid-September 1980.

For the first times, Iraqi troops had some success but in 1981, having had time to reorganize militarily, Iran began to impose itself and Iraq suffered various blows including that dealt by Israel that destroyed the Tamuz nuclear power plant in Baghdad. There were many Iraqi losses.

In November 1985 Iran launched a violent attack which allowed the conquest of the Fao peninsula and the crossing of Satt el-Arab.

Chemical weapons and long-range missiles were also used. The situation was greatly worrying the United States and the western countries that hurried in 1987 to preside over the Gulf with air and naval forces.

In the spring of 1988 Iraq resumed the initiative and recovered positions around Basra. Then the United Nations intervened in August for a “ceasefire” and, amid a thousand difficulties, peace negotiations began.

With the 1989 elections Husayn was reconfirmed that he had to face a frighteningly ruined economic situation; heavy foreign debt, and everything that had been destroyed in the long war to be rebuilt.

He found himself at odds with the wealthy oil countries opposed to increasing the price of crude. Moreover, the great war potential it possessed suggested that Iraq meet its expansionist aims by turning to Kuwait. And on August 2, 1990 he occupied it, also trusting that the agreement reached with the western countries would stop his hostilities. Instead, not only was the condemnation of these countries immediate, but there was also a rift between the Arab countries.

The United Nations immediately authorized the application of sanctions and in November the use of force to block the Iraqi advance.

In January-February 1991, with the accession of Saudi Arabia to grant bases for the launch of war operations, the United States and all its allies launched a powerful offensive that forced Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. Iraq experienced a complete defeat with significant material damage and loss of life.

But Iraqi military action had also inflicted such losses on Kuwait as well as all the irreversible damage to the environment associated with the burning of oil wells applied by Iraq. But Iraq did not only target its repressive attacks on Kuwait. Shiite and Kurdish independence movements also suffered in abundance.

In the Arab world, meanwhile, in 1992, Syria and Egypt changed their attitude towards Iraq by refusing other operations against Baghdad.

On August 26, 1992 the United Nations decreed a change of borders, favorable to Kuwait, and relating to the oil area of ​​Rumayla and the port city of Umm Qasr, despite repeated Iraqi protests.

For many materials and products, the country had to undergo an embargo that allowed neither civil nor military reconstruction. This difficult situation in the economy had a profound political impact. There were various changes in the most important ministries. The only immovable head of state was always Saddam Husayn, who was re-elected in 1995.

This dictator, often with his hostile attitude, ran the risk of retaliation and conflict.

With the end of the Gulf War, it had been decreed by the United Nations that Iraq would have to grant entry to control commissions, which had the task of verifying the absence of armaments. Since Saddam Husayn repeatedly refused to let these commissions enter, more than once he was on the verge of reopening armed conflict.

Until Bill Clinton became president of the United States in November 1992, this was the situation. Then Baghdad, in November 1993, accepted the United Nations resolution and allowed for prolonged checks.


For the first time in 1996 the United Nations granted a limited sale, called “oil for food”, so that Iraq could sell a certain amount of oil to buy food and medicines.

At the beginning of 1998 there was a serious crisis. Behind the renewed refusal of Saddam Husayn at the inspections, the United States was on the verge of intervening by force. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, went on a mission to Baghdad and reached an agreement. The continual afterthoughts of the Iraqi dictator convinced the United States, with the sole support of Great Britain, to apply a new armed intervention and until December Clinton subjected Iraq to a series of airstrikes that were repeated also in 1999 until Saddam Husayn hired a different, moderate attitude and hostilities ceased. Not so for the embargo that is still ongoing.


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