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Iraq, a nation in western Asia, is bordered by Syria to the west, Jordan to the southwest, Saudi Arabia to the south, Iran to the east, and Turkey to the north. Baghdad, Iraq’s largest city, is located centrally. Two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, provide Iraq with a considerable amount of arable, fertile land. Nearly 80% of the population is Arab, with Kurds composing most of the remaining 20%, together with much smaller Turkoman and Assyrian minorities.

Lasting social turmoil began in Iraq with competing alliances formed during the British-led Mesopotamian campaign of 1917 against the German-allied Ottoman Empire during World War I. The Kurdish population of Iraq sided with Ottoman rule, whereas the Armenian, Assyrian, and Arab tribes allied with the British. Competing sociopolitical ...

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