1 Tojashakar

Essay About Iraq History

Iraq is one of the easternmost countries of the Arab world, located at about the same latitude as the southern United States. It is bordered to the north by Turkey, to the east by Iran, to the west by Syria and Jordan, and to the south by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Iraq has 36 miles (58 km) of coastline along the northern end of the Persian Gulf, giving it a tiny sliver of territorial sea. Followed by Jordan, it is thus the Middle Eastern state with the least access to the sea and offshore sovereignty.

Relief

Iraq’s topography can be divided into four physiographic regions: the alluvial plains of the central and southeastern parts of the country; Al-Jazīrah (Arabic: “the Island”), an upland region in the north between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; deserts in the west and south; and the highlands in the northeast. Each of these regions extends into neighbouring countries, although the alluvial plains lie largely within Iraq.

Alluvial plains

The plains of lower Mesopotamia extend southward some 375 miles (600 km) from Balad on the Tigris and Al-Ramādī on the Euphrates to the Persian Gulf. They cover more than 51,000 square miles (132,000 square km), almost one-third of the country’s area, and are characterized by low elevation, below 300 feet (100 metres), and poor natural drainage. Large areas are subject to widespread seasonal flooding, and there are extensive marshlands, some of which dry up in the summer to become salty wastelands. Near Al-Qurnah, where the Tigris and Euphrates converge to form the Shatt al-Arab, there are still some inhabited marshes. The alluvial plains contain extensive lakes. The swampy Lake Al-Ḥammār (Hawr al-Ḥammār) extends 70 miles (110 km) from Al-Baṣrah (Basra) to Sūq al-Shuyūkh; its width varies from 8 to 15 miles (13 to 25 km).

Al-Jazīrah

North of the alluvial plains, between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, is the arid Al-Jazīrah plateau. Its most prominent hill range is the Sinjār Mountains, whose highest peak reaches an elevation of 4,448 feet (1,356 metres). The main watercourse is the Wadi Al-Tharthār, which runs southward for 130 miles (210 km) from the Sinjār Mountains to the Tharthār (Salt) Depression. Milḥat Ashqar is the largest of several salt flats (or sabkhahs) in the region.

Deserts

Western and southern Iraq is a vast desert region covering some 64,900 square miles (168,000 square km), almost two-fifths of the country. The western desert, an extension of the Syrian Desert, rises to elevations above 1,600 feet (490 metres). The southern desert is known as Al-Ḥajarah in the western part and as Al-Dibdibah in the east. Al-Ḥajarah has a complex topography of rocky desert, wadis, ridges, and depressions. Al-Dibdibah is a more sandy region with a covering of scrub vegetation. Elevation in the southern desert averages between 300 and 1,200 feet (100 to 400 metres). A height of 3,119 feet (951 metres) is reached at Mount ʿUnayzah (ʿUnāzah) at the intersection of the borders of Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. The deep Wadi Al-Bāṭin runs 45 miles (75 km) in a northeast-southwest direction through Al-Dibdibah. It has been recognized since 1913 as the boundary between western Kuwait and Iraq.

The northeast

The mountains, hills, and plains of northeastern Iraq occupy some 35,500 square miles (92,000 square km), about one-fifth of the country. Of this area only about one-fourth is mountainous; the remainder is a complex transition zone between mountain and lowland. The ancient kingdom of Assyria was located in this area. North and northeast of the Assyrian plains and foothills is Kurdistan, a mountainous region that extends into Turkey and Iran.

The relief of northeastern Iraq rises from the Tigris toward the Turkish and Iranian borders in a series of rolling plateaus, river basins, and hills until the high mountain ridges of Iraqi Kurdistan, associated with the Taurus and Zagros mountains, are reached. These mountains are aligned northwest to southeast and are separated by river basins where human settlement is possible. The mountain summits have an average elevation of about 8,000 feet (2,400 metres), rising to 10,000–11,000 feet (3,000–3,300 metres) in places. There, along the Iran-Iraq border, is the country’s highest point, Ghundah Zhur, which reaches 11,834 feet (3,607 metres). The region is heavily dissected by numerous tributaries of the Tigris, notably the Great and LittleZab rivers and the Diyālā and ʿUẓaym (Adhaim) rivers. These streams weave tortuously south and southwest, cutting through ridges in a number of gorges, notably the Rū Kuchūk gorge, northeast of Barzān, and the Bēkma gorge, west of Rawāndūz town. The highest mountain ridges contain the only forestland in Iraq.

Drainage

The Tigris-Euphrates river system

Iraq is drained by the Tigris-Euphrates river system, although less than half of the Tigris-Euphrates basin lies in the country. Both rivers rise in the Armenian highlands of Turkey, where they are fed by melting winter snow. The Tigris flows 881 miles (1,417 km) and the Euphrates 753 miles (1,212 km) through Iraq before they join near Al-Qurnah to form the Shatt al-Arab, which flows another 68 miles (109 km) into the Persian Gulf. The Tigris, all of whose tributaries are on its left (east) bank, runs close to the high Zagros Mountains, from which it receives a number of important tributaries, notably the Great Zab, the Little Zab, and the Diyālā. As a result, the Tigris can be subject to devastating floods, as evidenced by the many old channels left when the river carved out a new course. The period of maximum flow of the Tigris is from March to May, when more than two-fifths of the annual total discharge may be received. The Euphrates, whose flow is roughly 50 percent greater than that of the Tigris, receives no large tributaries in Iraq.

Irrigation and canals

Many dams are needed on the rivers and their tributaries to control flooding and permit irrigation. Iraq has giant irrigation projects at Bēkma, Bādūsh, and Al-Fatḥah. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, Iraq completed a large-scale project that connected the Tigris and Euphrates. A canal emerges from the Tigris near Sāmarrāʾ and continues southwest to Lake Al-Tharthār, and another extends from the lake to the Euphrates near Al-Ḥabbāniyyah. This connection is crucial because in years of drought—aggravated by more recent upstream use of Euphrates water by Turkey and Syria—the river level is extremely low. In 1990 Syria and Iraq reached an agreement to share the water on the basis of 58 percent to Iraq and 42 percent to Syria of the total that enters Syria. Turkey, for its part, unilaterally promised to secure an annual minimum flow at its border with Syria. There is no tripartite agreement.

Following the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi government dedicated considerable resources to digging two large canals in the south of the country, with the apparent goal of improving irrigation and agricultural drainage. There is evidence, however, that these channels were also used to drain large parts of Iraq’s southern marshlands, from which rebel forces had carried out attacks against government forces. The first was reportedly designed to irrigate some 580 square miles (1,500 square km) of desert. The vast operation to create it produced a canal roughly 70 miles (115 km) long between Dhī Qār and Al-Baṣrah governorates. The second, an even grander scheme, was reportedly designed to irrigate an area some 10 times larger than the first. This canal, completed in 1992, extends from Al-Yūsufiyyah, 25 miles (40 km) south of Baghdad, to Al-Baṣrah, a total of some 350 miles (565 km).

The two projects eventually drained some nine-tenths of Iraq’s southern marshes, once the largest wetlands system in the Middle East. Much of the drained area rapidly turned to arid salt flats. Following the start of the Iraq War in 2003, some parts of those projects were dismantled, but experts estimated that rehabilitation of the marshes would be impossible without extensive efforts and the expenditure of great resources.

Soils

The desert regions have poorly developed soils of coarse texture containing many stones and unweathered rock fragments. Plant growth is limited because of aridity, and the humus content is low. In northwestern Iraq, soils vary considerably: some regions with steep slopes are badly eroded, while the river valleys and basins contain some light fertile soils. In northwest Al-Jazīrah, there is an area of potentially fertile soils similar to those found in much of the Fertile Crescent. Lowland Iraq is covered by heavy alluvial soils, with some organic content and a high proportion of clays, suitable for cultivation and for use as a building material.

Salinity, caused in part by overirrigation, is a serious problem that affects about two-thirds of the land; as a result, large areas of agricultural land have had to be abandoned. A high water table and poor drainage, coupled with high rates of evaporation, cause alkaline salts to accumulate at or near the surface in sufficient quantities to limit agricultural productivity. Reversing the effect is a difficult and lengthy process.

Heavy soil erosion in parts of Iraq, some of it induced by overgrazing and deforestation, leaves soils exposed to markedly seasonal rainfall. The Tigris-Euphrates river system has thus created a large alluvial deposit at its mouth, so that the Persian Gulf coast is much farther south than in Babylonian times.

Example of a Expository essay on Countries about:

iraq / islam / middle east

 

Iraq is a country located in South-West Asia. It borders with Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, with Jordan and Syria. In the south it is washed by the Persian Gulf. It is a unique culture when it comes to its history, culture and what is even more important – its people. The national color of Iraq cannot leave any person indifferent as it causes strong emotions. First of all this country has a type of land to any cultivated taste: rivers, mountains, plains, swamps and even deserts. In fact, Iraq now occupies the territory which was known from the scriptural times as Mesopotamia – the land “between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates”. Its population created the first civilization in the region, which was based on irrigated cropping. This gave a great start for the development of region and historical importance.  Later, Iraq became a part of such great ancient states as Babylonia and Assyria. Bagdad – is the capital of Iraq and basically is the concentration of all the diversity of the country. If these people were able to create such archeological places of interest as Hatra or Al-Ukhaidir, than they cannot be underestimated.

I    It is important to mention the fact that Iraq is a republic and the head of the country is the president. Iraqi people use dinar as a monetary unit. As for the modern people of Iraq, it is necessary to say that many ethnical and religious groups live there. And all these ethnical and religious groups have highly influenced the culture and life of Iraq. Jews and Turks are among the dominating ethnical groups.  The mainly spoken language is the Arabic (which actually is the official language of the state) and the Kurdish language. As for the religious preferences, it might be said that approximately 95% of the population are Muslims with a correspondingly small percentage of Christians and Jews. At the presents moment, around 90% of the Iraqi people can write and read.

As it has been mentioned before, all the diverse ethnical and religious groups living in Iraq have greatly influenced the development, traditions and culture of the country. Nevertheless, the Muslim perception of the world and philosophy remain the base of the social life. The country provides the Iraqi people with free education but with the dominant amount of males in schools. Iraqi people prefer the humanities as the high emotionality often results in creativity.  One of the brightest examples is the popularity of poetry in Iraq as of a way to reflect feelings. This kind of self-expression is accepted and very respected in Iraq.  Theaters are welcomed and attended in Iraq, along with the attempts of the state to revive national music and dance. Nevertheless, the mass audience prefers music in the Arabic language. Historically the Iraqi people play the lute and the zither.  As for the development of the population, the society of Iraq was formed mainly under the influence of the Arabic language, Islam and the Arabic culture, though other ethnical and religious groups influenced it too. During the XX century, under the impact of the western culture, increasing urbanism and the modernization, the traditional social groups were blurred, but did not disappear completely. The communities of small cities and villages survived as separate social units and for the general body of the population the religious belonging remains the most important sign of the group or individual self-consciousness.

     As for the country itself and important fact is that all the establishments in the sphere of social security are under the patronage of the state. The state system of social security provides pensions and disability benefits. In order to give correct picture of the situation in Iraq it is necessary to say that almost all the medical establishments in the country are state establishment. Medical aid is either free or very cheap. Along with the World Health Organization, Iraq participated in the program aimed against malaria, trachoma and other diseases. The state of Iraq tries its best to take care of its diverse population and to cope with the difficulties it faces. Nevertheless, in spite of all the positive moments, The Iraqi people live in poverty and very often their work can provide them only with food and shelter in order to survive. It is very hard to talk about any sort of economic “stability” in Iraq, for now as it is a developing country. Notwithstanding all these aspects, the people of Iraq are friendly and have a unique culture and history.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works cited:

 

Tripp, Charles.A History of Iraq.Cambridge University Press,2000

 

Iraq. Encyclopedia Britannica. September 5, 2007. October 1, 2008.

<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/293631/Iraq>

 

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