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Iraq

 
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Iraq

Impact of the Iranian Revolution on Iraqi Shias

In 1964 Ayatollah Khomeini was expelled from Iran to Turkey, and he was then granted asylum by Iraq (see The Iran-Iraq Conflict , ch. 1). His theological erudition and idealism earned him a significant following in An Najaf, where ulama (religious leaders) and students from throughout the Shia world formed an important circle of learned men. The Baath socialist regime, however, with its secular, anticlerical stance, was never comfortable with Shia religious leaders and their followers.

Relations between the Iraqi regime and the Shia clerics deteriorated during the Imam Husayn celebrations in February 1977, when police interference in religious processions resulted in massive antigovernment demonstrations in An Najaf and in Karbala. Several thousand participants were arrested, and eight Shia dignitaries, including five members of the clergy, were sentenced to death and were executed. In 1978, in an effort to quell the Shia unrest and to satisfy the shah's request, Baghdad expelled Ayatollah Khomeini, who sought refuge in France.

In another attempt to minimize Shia dissent, the Iraqi government had deported to Iran 60,000 Shias of Iranian origin in 1974. In the months following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Iraqi government deported nearly 35,000 more ethnic Iranians.

Deportations, the suppression of the Shia ulama, and the death under suspicious circumstances of Shia leader Imam Musa as Sadr all contributed to the deterioration of relations between Baathist Iraq and Islamic Iran. The ranking Shia religious leader, Sayyid Abu al Qasim al Khoi, refrained from either sanctioning or opposing the Baath government, but the government feared Sadr because of his leadership qualities and because of his close association with Khomeini.

Beginning in 1980, Iran actively promoted its own revolutionary vision for Iraq. All anti-Iraqi Islamic organizations, including Ad Dawah al Islamiyah, commonly called Ad Dawah (see Political Opposition , ch. 4) and the Organization of Islamic Action were based in Tehran, where they came under the political, religious, and financial influence of the ruling clergy. To control rivalry and infighting among the different groups, Iran helped to set up the Supreme Assembly for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI) on November 17, 1982. It was headed by Iraqi cleric Hujjat al Islam Muhammad Baqir al Hakim. Establishing SAIRI was viewed as a step toward unifying the political and military work of all groups and as an attempt to unite them under a single command directly supervised by their Iranian counterparts. In return, SAIRI acknowledged the leadership of Khomeini as the supreme commander of the Islamic nation. Nevertheless, the majority of Iraqi Shias resisted Tehran's control and remained loyal to Iraq.

Data as of May 1988

 

Iraq - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Government and Politics
  • National Security

  • Go Up - Top of Page






    GENERAL FACTS & LINKS

    Country name
    Iraq
    conventional long form
    Republic of Iraq
    conventional short form
    Iraq
    local long form
    Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
    local short form
    Al Iraq

    Area -
    total: 437,072 sq km
    land: 432,162 sq km
    water: 4,910 sq km

    Geographic Location - Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

    Map references - Middle East

    Capital - Baghdad

    Border Countries - Iran 1,458 km, Jordan 181 km, Kuwait 242 km, Saudi Arabia 814 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 331 km

    Major Cities - Baghdad

    Independence -
    3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

    National holiday - Revolution Day, 17 July (1968)

    ISD CODE
    Iraq 964

    Languages Spoken - Arabic (official) and Kurdish

    Weather Forecast -  Baghdad  Mosul  Saddam Irq-Afb / Civ  Shaibah / Basrah

    Major Airports - Baghdad

    Ports - Umm Qasr, Khawr az Zubayr, and Al Basrah have limited functionality

    Population -24,001,816 (July 2002 est.)

    Religion - Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%

    Nationality - Iraqi(s)

    Currency - Iraqi dinar

    Currency Code - IQD

    National Bird - "Kew" (Chukar)

    Lakes - Hammer

    Rivers - Euphrates, Tigris

    Terrain - Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey

    Climate - Mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq

    Geography - Strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

    Waterways - 1,015 km
    note: Shatt al Arab is usually navigable by maritime traffic for about 130 km; channel has been dredged to 3 m and is in use; Tigris and Euphrates Rivers have navigable sections for shallow-draft boats; Shatt al Basrah canal was navigable by shallow-draft craft before closing in 1991 because of the Gulf war

    Natural hazards - Dust storms, sandstorms, floods

    Natural Resources - petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulphur


    More Iraq related links from
    1Up Info

     Iraq Country Facts

     Middle Eastern Political Geography

     Iraq Political Geography

     Middle Eastern Physical Geography

     Iraq Towns & Cities

     Iraq History


    Iraq related links from
    1Up Travel

     Iraq Country Guide

     Iraq Detailed Maps

     Iraq Flag

     More Iraqi Flags

     Iraq Geography

     Iraq Travel Warnings

     Iraq Cities Weather

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    Information Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies


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