Ben Peltz Aidan Borkan Yadin Rosen


Iraq is a country that was formed by thousands of years of culture. Within the last 100 years, it has stood in the forefront of people’s minds due to controversial actions, which, ironically, solidified it as an unstable nation. Iraq has been a very nationalistic country; Over the course of a half decade there were three major “revolutions” of Iraqi government, and ethnic discrimination becoming a mainstay of the country. Militaristic leaders ruled the latter half of the 20th century with an iron fist, with Saddam Hussein massacring thosands until his ousting in 2003. Surprisingly, one of the only things that hasn’t changed much during the 20th century was Iraq’s borders. Iraq has always been a country unmoved by foreign power, the only real influences from outside powers being invasions (English and American occupations). Since the beginning of the 21st century, the world’s focus on Iraq has been shifted to its terrorist activity, highlighted by the US war on terrorism in Iraq. Overall, Iraq is a “stably unstable” country, and a country whose issues represent the Middle East on a greater level.

nice summary. Provides good context and invites the reader into the wiki.

Geography of Iraq

A map of Iraq as it was under the British Mandate (Crica. 1921) - Iraq retained these borders even after it gained independence

Map of Modern Day Iraq (circa. 2009)


  • 1920: Iraqi state under British mandate created proceeding fall of Ottoman Empire
  • 1932: Iraqi independent state founded on October 3 under the approval of the league of nations
  • 1941 - 1945: Iraq’s defeat on May 31, 1941 in the Anglo-Iraqi war in WWII leads to the Britain's re-occupation of Iraq, shifting the nation's allegiance in the war against the axis.
  • 1958: Iraq becomes a republic after the monarchy is overthrown in a military coup
  • 1972: Iraqi Petroleum Company nationalized resulting from anti-western sentiment on June 1
  • 1979: Saddam Hussein, a Ba'ath Party loyalist, takes power
  • 1980-1988: Upwards of a million people die in the Iran-Iraq war, many of which are civilians
  • 1991: Iraq attempts to invade Kuwait beginning January 17, Iraqi forces are quickly driven back by the US, which subsequently imposes economic sanctions
  • 2003: United State begins invasion of Iraq beginning March 20, Saddam Hussein is ousted by December 14
  • 2005: First free elections are held in Iraq under US supervision, beginning to pave the way towards stability
some clearer context for this video is needed.

your timeline could use some attention to formatting so that capitalization is consistent/

Twentieth Century Issues In Iraq

For thousands of years, Mesopotamia, the region which later became the independent nation of Iraq, served as a battle ground for ethnic and tribal disputes. This perpetual combat between the many small groups that comprise the population has shaped the history of this region and continues to do so to this day. During the twentieth century, as Iraq solidified as an independent nation-state, these conflicts persisted and greatly affected the actions of its government and its people. To augment the strife that consumed this tumultuous area of the world was the discovery of massive reserves of crude oil, an indispensable resource of the twentieth century that created competition for who could obtain this valuable commodity. The combination of inter-ethnic violence and the struggle to control and profit from Iraq’s oil caches proved to be by far the most important issues that faced the nation in the twentieth century.

Ethnic Violence [1918 - Present Day]

Headlines regarding the Assyrian Massacre

Following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the immediate question posed to the West was how to partition and control their new landholdings in the Middle East. Iraq was placed under the control of the British, who set up the area as a mandated territory in 1920. Faisal I was instated as the reigning monarch of Iraq under the authority of a plebiscite that was rigged by the British authorities. This move angered many Iraqis because Faisal was of the Hashemite clan and the ethnically diverse populace did not feel that it was fair to
empower a member of one clan while failing to represent the innumerable other ethnic factions in Iraq. Faisal attempted to alleviate this tension by promoted Pan-Arabic unity and appointed members of many different ethnic groups to his cabinet. Later in Faisal’s rule, however, the Iraqi government condoned and facilitated the Assyrian Massacre, in which members of Kurdish and Arab tribes indiscriminately killed Assyrian civilians, who were Christian, in retaliation to disingenuous claims by local governments that the Christians were planning terrorist plots. This massacre marked the first documented case of large-scale ethnic violence in Iraq, an issue that plagued Iraq and has continued to do so.

The ethnic and tribal warfare that characterizes Iraq can be broken down into several major conflicts, none of which appear to be dissipating any time soon. Firstly, the Kurdish minority, which constitutes a considerable percentage of the Iraqi population, has been persecuted by the ethnically Arab majority, in the form of periodic exterminations and attacks of Kurdish populations, most notably under Saddam Hussein in the late twentieth century. In addition, many Iraqis identify themselves with clans and tribes that have long running feuds and disputes amongst themselves.(it would be helpful to further elaborate on this for a sentence or so..) Religion also played a role in dividing Iraq, for the Shi’a Muslims were brutally oppressed by the Sunni majority. This disunity of the Iraqi people posed a huge problem for the newly formed nation in the twentieth century and is still a
huge destabilizing influence in Iraq today.

Excellent job providing sold analysis to put the facts and details into a context that helps the reader understand Iraq!

Iraq Stumbles In World War II [1941]
Iraqi fighters man a bunker in the Anglo-Iraq War

When World War II engulfed the world in the 1940s, Iraq, under the rule of King Faisal II, decided to side with the Germans in accordance with the population’s entrenched anti-British sentiments. This proved to be a huge error, for it resulted in the British declaring war on Iraq, which was completely unprepared to defend itself because the Germans did not follow through on their promise to send supplies and reinforcements. (RUN-ON SENTENCE!) The Iraqi forces were subsequently crushed and Iraq was force to change their allegiance, an overall highly taxing affair on the Iraqi economy.

Oil Causes Conflict [1927 - Present]
Men at work on one of Iraq's early pipelines

As the use of petroleum based engines and machines proliferated throughout the world at the start of the twentieth century, the demand for oil exploded exponentially. In 1925, a venture to search for oil in Iraq was initiated, and was met with great success in 1927 when massive supplies of oil were discovered. While the uncovering of such a plethora of oil, and natural gas, was a great boost for the Iraqi economy, it also created a multitude of problems that debased Iraqi development and progress. The abundance of such a crucial resource made Iraq a paramount target for exploitation from Western powers that needed this ‘liquid gold’ to fuel their economies and military complexes. Both Britain and Iraq maneuvered for leverage in Iraq in order to seize as much control of the oil flow as possible. In 1966 the Iraqi government founded the Iraq National Oil Company in an attempt to curb foreign intervention and give the government solid control over the production and exportation of oil. This was very successful in many regards, but foreign powers continued to angle for opportunities to exploit Iraq’s oil wealth for decades to come.

Brutality Under Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party Regime [1963 - 2003]

In 1963 Iraq reached a major point that would define its history for the next four decades. In February of that year the Ba’ath party, an explanation of the Ba'ath Party's goals would be helpful here. an organization that had existed since 1947,
Victims of Hussein's horrific regime
orchestrated a successful coup that toppled the government that had held shaky control since the 1958 coup that usurped the Hashemite monarchy of old. One of the members of this party was Saddam Hussein, a ruthless opportunist who after climbing up the party’s ranks for years finally assumed complete control in 1979. Under Hussein, hundreds of thousands of Kurds were methodically executed in an ethnic cleansing campaign that stayed under the radar of many Western powers. This exasperated pre-existing ethnic tensions inIraq and fueled the fire for even more civilian conflicts. During the Iran-Iraq war Saddam authorized the use of chemical warfare that led to the inhumane slaughter of thousands of civilians, as well as the torture of prisoners. In addition to the obvious horrible human cost to the Iraqi population, this had the doubly detrimental effect of tarnishing Iraq’s reputation and decreasing other nations’ likelihood to donate aid to the country. Hussein was arguably the worst single person in all of Iraq’s history and one of the worst dictators to have ever ruled.

21st Century Issues

Pre September Eleventh Attacks

In the twilight of Saddam Hussein's iron rule over Iraq, the nation came under the crushing stranglehold of economic sanctions that dealt a near death blow to its economy and led to mass starvation. The West put a choke-hold over trade to Iraq resulting in shortages of food and a scarcity of water. A system that allocated rations to Iraqi citizens was implemented, but the 1000 calorie rations were insufficient in nutritional value and were not universally distributed. An estimated 1,000,000 Iraqis died of starvation and malnutrition, and many enraged citizens turned to radicalism and terrorism in desperation. This set the stage for the Iraq War, which came just several years later.

Post September Eleventh Attacks

Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq
Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq
Religious Extremism

One of the chronic problems that engulfed Iraq in the beginning of the 21st century was the virulent proliferation of Islamic extremism, as fundamentalists of rival religious factions and religions began committing heinous crimes and attacks on civilian areas. Sectarian conflict ensued as Sunni and Shi’a terrorists began bombing religious temples and killing scores of people associated with their opposing Islamic sects. Saddam Hussein, a devout Sunni, sided with his own sect and his government did nothing to ensure protection for Shi'a civilians. The minority of Christians, composing less than a twentieth of the populace, were placed in constant danger of militant Islamists. Armed Sunnis began attacking caravans of Shiite pilgrims and obliterating their mosques in the name of martyrdom. In retaliation, militant Shi'as attacked Sunni mosques. According to the United States Marine Academy, there are militant Shi'a groups in Iraq, that are armed by Iran, working as their surrogates to fight against America. Aggravating the tension, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a militant group founded with the intent of creating autonomous states within Turkey, entrenched itself in Iraq at this time, transforming it into a haven for terrorism. Religious violence, a perennial disruptor of Iraqi peace, reared its ugly head at the turn of the millennium and began manifesting itself in a new manner: systematic terrorism. Iraq is still afflicted with religious terrorism, which continues to claim the lives of innocent people every day and define the nation's character.

Article On The Spread Of Terrorism In Iraq

Governmental issues
Signing the new Iraqi Constitution - Full Text at
Signing the new Iraqi Constitution - Full Text at

The formation of a strong, centralized, government, that can effectively protect the people and make decisions backed by the populace, is a substantial challenge facing Iraq. With the first democratic election in 2005 came a Shi'a prime minister and Sunni vice president. However, with the threat of violence from terrorist organizations as a penalty for voting, a large portion of Iraqis did not participate in the election. Thus the power of the government that was established is not expansive, but rather diminishes greatly past the major cities, leaving the countryside mostly unprotected. The weakness of the government created an Iraq that was essentially broken into a group of fragmented semi-autonomous regions outside of the sphere of influence of the government based in Baghdad. A constitution was also put into effect in addition to this democratic system, but its power has yet to be thoroughly validated. Beleaguered by widespread corruption and stressed by a constant struggled for power, Iraq has yet to create a government capable of efficaciously reigning the nation.

American war crimes have been documented at the infamous Abu Ghraib detention center
American war crimes have been documented at the infamous Abu Ghraib detention center
American War Crimes

With the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 began also a string of war crimes, committed by the American army, that have ravaged Iraqi civilian population, unfortunately caught in the crossfire of the war on terrorism. Approximately 80,000 civilians, almost twenty times the amount of casualties accrued by the US forces themselves, have been unintentionally killed. With the large swaths of land in the country side serving as an enclave of terrorism, Al-Qaeda and other groups have situated themselves within civilian areas. To eradicate this organization, America has raided towns, at times killing the wrong people in acts of man-slaughter. There have also been accounts of civilian massacres occurring under the orders of American army, mostly being condoned by America courts. War crimes committed by Americans have adulterated the nation's relationship with Iraq. As US involvement draws to a close in Iraq, there are still many dead yet to be accounted for.

Economic Issues
With the deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, came economic despair as foreign investments and exportation significantly decreased. The oil-centered economy became severely crippled prior and levels of unemployment skyrocketed. The exportation of oil decreased from its previously low levels on account of economic sanctions invoked by Western powers in response to Saddam Hussein's tyranny. Foreign investments in Iraq reached drastically low levels as investors were deterred by the bleakness of Iraq's predicament. Within Iraq, the economy virtually shut down and trade slowed to a near halt. The frequent looting of businesses in the midst of the chaotic transition from Saddam's rule following the invasion in 2003 caused further desperation for business owners and stock holders. Businessmen in Iraq were unable to access their money as their accounts had been frozen or emptied by looters, further amounting to the dire circumstances businesses faced. Iraq became a destitute sinkhole of poverty, and only recently has it been showing signs of a rebound.

US forces Withdrawal
As the American army withdraws from Iraq, their replacements, forces staffed by the Iraqi people themselves, are relatively ill-prepared to take on the daunting task of protecting the country from terrorism, prompting many to view the withdrawal as too rushed. The Iraqi military, along with shady hired contractors, have been faced to fight against terrorism with the odds against them. As the American army leaves Iraq, many of the problems they once sought to remedy have been left unresolved, leaving the region vulnerable to potential catastrophe. Iraq remains susceptible to extremist control as the nation struggles to solidify national unity and maintain peace in the volatile country. The end of the Iraq war brings into question the preparedness of the Iraqi military and ability to maintain security in the deeply divided nation.

(More info at )

Low Quality of Life
The main problem with Iraq in the 21st century, however, is an overall low quality of life for its people, with shortages of basic necessities being a common. Power outages are frequent in Iraq as the government continues to fail to supply a reliable source of electricity. Without power, Iraqi’s are subject to lower levels of productivity and progression. These power outages spark riots and protests to occur, further worsening the situation by shattering the fragile stretches of calm. Medicine shortages ravage Iraq; the average citizen does not have accessibility to health care. Clean water is scarce in Iraq, as the nation is practically landlocked and bereft of expansive watershed or means to desalinate. The combination of these inadequacies have crippled both Iraq's economy and the ability of its people to advance, but perhaps this new decade will finally herald a turning point of the country for the better.

Key Personnel in Iraqi History

King Faisal I, the First Regent of Iraq
King Faisal I [1885 - 1933]

The first leader of the nation of Iraq was Faisal bin Ali al Hashemi, a member of the Hashemite tribe that was instated by the British government as the monarch of the mandated territory in 1920, a controversial move at the time. In the beginning of Faisal’s thirteen year reign he tried to please all of his subjects, promoting pan-Arabism and Iraqi unity. He also showed support for Jewish migration into Palestine by signing Faisal-Weizmann agreement, a formal recognition on his part of the Balfour declaration. In the later part of his rule however Faisal’s good will deteriorated significantly. He condoned the murder of Christian Assyrians within Iraqi borders and revoked his support of Jewish claims in Palestine. In 1932 Faisal I reached an agreement with the British to terminate Iraq’s status as a mandated territory and be recognized as an independent nation. Less than a year later Faisal died of a heart attack, a very inopportune tragedy for the new nation.

King Ghazi I, Faisal's Successor
King Ghazi [1912 - 1939]

King Faisal’s successor was his son Ghazi bin Faisal, an inexperienced young man who was only 21 years old when the authority of ruling an entire nation was thrust upon him. Like his father, Ghazi was a strong nationalist and a supporter of pan-Arabism, and he supported a coup within his own country to replace the publicly-supported government with a military rule. This coup was the first to occur in a twentieth century Middle-Eastern nation state, marking the beginning of an era of military dominance in the region. Ghazi died in a car accident, that was suspected of being an assassination, in 1939, without accomplishing much for Iraq.

Faisal II, the Last King of Iraq
Faisal II, the Last King of Iraq
King Faisal II [1935-1958]

Iraq’s Hashemite monarchy took a turn for the ridiculous after the death of King Ghazi. His sudden death put his four year old son in charge of a nation that was still struggling to find its way in the rapidly evolving political arena of the twentieth century arena. Because Faisal could not really exert any real power due to his young age, Iraqi military leaders effectively controlled the country until he was old enough assume control. While Faisal II sat on the sidelines Iraq made several horrible blunders including combating England in the Anglo-Iraq war and suffering a humiliating defeat. In 1953, at the age of eighteen, Faisal II finally gained sufficient support to grab the reigns of his nation. However, his rule was short lived, for resent for the monarchy had reached a critical level by that point. In 1958 Faisal II was assassinated as part of the July 14th Revolution and the regency was dissolved. Iraq then underwent a period of instability and power grabbing until 1979 when Saddam Hussein clasped his iron grip on the troubled nation.

Hidden behind Hussein's comical mustache was one of the most evil minds of the 20th century
Saddam Hussein [1937 - 2006]

When trying to list the most brutal dictators in history, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin immediately jump to the top of the list. However, among their ranks as one of the most oppressive autocrats is Saddam Hussein, the totalitarian leader of Iraq for 24 long years. Hussein violently seized power in 1979 through a military coup in which he assumed full control of the ruling Ba’ath party. Immediately, Hussein began to cultivate a cult of personality around himself, by means of proliferate propaganda and suppression tactics against his enemies. A clear sociopath(yes, he was among history's worst dictators, but be careful of going over board in describing his actions. Let them speak for themselves, Hussein orchestrated a genocide of the Kurdish inhabitants of Iraq in order to make it a pure Arab state. He also engaged in two failed military campaigns, the Iran-Iraq war and the invasion of Kuwait. The first altercation was a panicked move on Hussein’s part. He feared that Iran, which just underwent a revolution that made it a theocracy, could pose a threat to Iraq’s security and his personal power, and thus attacked the neighboring nation. The war raged on for eight years, in which Hussein instructed his forces to use many inhumane tactics including the implementation of banned chemical weapons. The war ended in gridlock, with over one million casualties accrued in total. Hussein’s attempted invasion of Kuwait what motivated the invasion of Kuwait? was also an epic failure, with his forces being demolished or forced to turn back by United States forces within days. Hussein was finally kicked out of power in 2003 by invading US forces and was caught and executed in 2006, marking the end of one of history’s most bloodthirsty megalomaniacs. hyperbole

What about Al-Maliki Iraq's current PM?

Videos and Other Resources
Each of these videos provides excellent information. I would have liked to see a brief summary of each clip so that the wiki visitor could have a sense of what they would be seeing and how it connects to the content of the wiki overall.

History Channel- History Of Iraq (part 7) 4:49-End

History Channel- History Of Iraq (part 8) 0:00-End

History Channel- History Of Iraq (part 9) 0:00-End

BBC Iraq Pagethis BBC page is just okay. I don't think it is sharing anything new with the wiki visitor that you have not already shed light upon with your own excellent analysis. I would have liked to see something more interesting that took the reader in a new direction.

Excellent use of images and video. I would have liked to see captions putting the videos in context, but the information presented in the clips is relavant and telling. Occassional lapses in editing and grammar are found throughout the wiki.

Overall, an excellent job. Your work shows a clear effort to understand and synthesize the information you gathered in your research rather than a mere recordation of "what happened". You do an excellent job providing analysis of the "why" which leaves the reader with a clear sense of the current issues in Iraq as well as their historical context. In a few areas, greater explanation of the events would be helpful, as noted in my comments.