Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

Understanding Iraq

Original Publication Date: January 2006

Ethnic Religious Tensions


Central to understanding Iraq’s past and present is noting the ethnic and frequently overlapping religious divisions within the country. These divisions mirror economic and political separations as well. Tensions among groups have been perpetuated by foreign rulers for centuries and Iraqi political leaders during the 20th century. Strong rulers controlled intergroup hostilities or exploited them to prevent a united backlash. Without a clear central authority, these conflicting forces threaten to plunge Iraq into an ongoing state of chaos.


In terms of ethnic groups, approximately 75% of Iraqis are Arabs; 20% are Kurds. Turkomans, Assyrians, Armenians, and other relatively small groups comprise the remaining five percent. All but a small percentage of Iraqis are Muslim. The two main groups of Muslims are Sunni and Shiite (or Shia) with the latter comprising 60-65%. As this 2004 country profile map of majority groups shows (2004 Country Profile Inset Map: Majority Groups, Figure 4A) the Shiites live mostly in central and southern Iraq, and the Sunnis are located in the north. Most of the Kurds are Sunnis and they live in the highlands of northern Iraq, where they are in the majority. Under Saddam Hussein, most of the ruling elite was from the Sunni Arab population. Poverty is widespread among the Shiites. Kurds had even less power than Shiites in national affairs although in recent decades they have won more control over regional matters. In the late 1980s, Shiites were represented at all levels of the ruling Baath party roughly in proportion to government estimates of their numbers in the population.[i]


Tensions between and among the religious and ethnic groups in Iraq have a long-standing history. During times of strong central rule, these conflicts were kept under control or exploited when necessary. The Sunni-Shiite conflict has existed since the beginning of domination by the Umayyad Caliphate in 661 C.E., and is based, in part, on events that occurred in Iraq hundreds of years ago. When the founder of Islam, the prophet Muhammed, died there was a dispute over who his successor would be. Some hoped his son-in-law, Ali, would be named caliph. When Ali’s son, Hussein, tried to claim the post, he was killed in Karbala and his head sent to Damascus, the center of the Sunni Caliphate. The martyrdom of Hussein is one pillar of the Shiite faith. The other pillar is the belief in the Hidden Imam, who disappeared in the 10th century and Shiites believe will return as a redeemer. These divisions continued during the era of Mongol rule in the 1200s. Tensions were perpetuated and in some ways exacerbated during Ottoman rule from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Ottoman Sunnis favored their Iraqi coreligionists regarding educational and employment opportunities, and denied the Shiite political power. As a result, the Sunnis gained much more administrative experience. Foreign rulers used these divisions to their advantage.

Tensions among these groups surfaced after Iraq gained its independence in the 1920s. These tensions were a source of trouble for the newly elected king, Faisal I. The Allies who wrote the Treaty of Versailles after World War I created the modern borders of Iraq, an arrangement that resulted in a nation of people and religions that were not naturally cohesive and had longstanding animosities. Shiites in both urban areas and south of the Euphrates feared complete Sunni domination in the government, and even though the Shiites comprised over 60% of the population, they occupied relatively few government positions. On the economic level, aside from a small number of wealthy landowners and merchants, the Shiites worked as sharecroppers and menial urban laborers. Economic divisions reinforced the Sunni- Shiite split, and it intensified Shiite efforts to obtain a greater share of the new state’s budget.

The new king had to build a local power base in Iraq. He accomplished this task primarily by winning the support of Iraqi-born military officers who had served in the Ottoman army, Sunni Arab businessmen, and religious leaders in Baghdād, Al Başrah, and Mosul. Faisal also had to relinquish some local control to win the support of the Shiite south, the Sunni Arab tribes, and the Kurds. The British encouraged the King to give chieftains control over their tribes, including judicial powers and responsibility for tax collection. Thus Sunni Arab urban leaders and some Kurdish chieftains came to dominate the government and the army.

In addition to the Sunni-Shiite split, other ethnic groups were included in new state, such as the Kurds and the Assyrians. Both groups had hoped for their own autonomous states, and rebelled against this forced national identity. The Kurds, the majority of whom lived in the area around Mosul, fought for their own independence throughout the 1920s. The Assyrians, distant descendents of the ancient empire located in the area north of the Tigris River and then residing in southern Turkey, were also unhappy at being included in the new Iraqi state. Britain had resettled 20,000 Assyrians in northern Iraq around Zakhu and Dahuk after Turkey suppressed a British-inspired Assyrian rebellion in 1918. As a result, approximately three-fourths of the Assyrians who had sided with the British during World War I now found themselves citizens of Iraq. Thousands of Assyrians had been incorporated into the Iraqi Levies, a British-paid and British-officered security force separate from the regular Iraqi army. They had been encouraged by the British to consider themselves superior to the majority of Arab Iraqis because they were Christian. The British also had used the Iraqi Levies for retaliatory operations against the Kurds, in whose lands most of the Assyrians had settled.[ii]


Tensions among religious and ethnic groups continued and in many ways worsened during Saddam Hussein’s last thirty years of rule. Religious and secular divisions also fragmented the nation during this period. Most Sunnis and Shiites are religiously observant but Hussein’s Baath party was committed to secularism, socialism, and pan-Arab unionism. Although the Shiites had been underrepresented in government posts during the period of the monarchy, they made substantial progress in education and business, in the decade before the Baath Party came to power in 1963. Hussein used his power against all groups who objected to his rule. After the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, he used his remaining military forces to suppress rebellions by Shiites in the south and Kurds in the north. Hundreds of thousands of Kurdish refugees fled to Turkey and Iran. U.S., British, and French troops landed inside Iraq’s northern border to establish a Kurdish enclave with refugee camps to protect another 600,000 Kurds from Iraqi government reprisals. In addition, international forces set up no-fly zones in both northern and southern Iraq to ensure the safety of the Kurdish and Shiite populations. In 1994 Iraq continued its efforts to crush internal resistance with an economic embargo of the Kurdish-populated north and a military campaign against Shiite rebels in the southern marshlands. The Shiites were quickly subdued, but the crisis in the Kurdish region, which had long suffered from internal rivalries, was prolonged. Kurds had often disputed over land rights, and as their economic and political security deteriorated in the early 1990s, the conflicts became more extreme.[iii]


In the wake of Hussein’s overthrow in 2003, the crucial question is what will be the role of different religious and ethnic groups in Iraq. Questions of representation are important as are long standing ethnic divisions. There are efforts to redress past inequities, a stated desire to protect minority rights, and the need to balance religious and secular goals. The US guided political process has tried to address these concerns yet they are frequently at cross purposes with one another. Shiites hope for proportional representation given their majority status and both Kurd and Sunni Arabs want their minority rights protected.

There are also divisions within the Shiite world itself. Each of the three major Shiite factions has its own militia. As is often the case, when people are denied political power, religious leaders come to the forefront to lead. This has certainly been the case in the Shiite world in Iraq, and Shiite clerics are viewed as protectors of their followers, hence the development of militias independent of official Iraqi forces. One group is lead by Moktada al-Sadr whose anti-American position is appealing to his followers. His main rival is Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Al-Hakim encouraged retaliation for the bombing in Samarra and his anti-American position is also winning him additional support. Most importantly, the United States has aligned itself with secular Iraqis who simply do not have influence with many of the Iraqi people, especially in time of hardship and violence. The Sunni Muslims, who have always had access to political power, do not have the same extent of religious leadership that can influence and incite their followers.

Many within Iraq are concerned that the US has dominated the process too much. The Shiites, the majority group, claim the process is undemocratic, religious fundamentalists want an Islamic foundation to the political and legal system, and the Kurds want to retain autonomy in their own region. In October 2005, Iraqi voters approved a new, permanent constitution to replace the interim constitution adopted in June 2004. Voters in provinces largely populated by Shias and Kurds, who represent 80 percent of Iraq’s population, overwhelmingly approved the constitution. The electoral laws permitted a rejection of the constitution if two-thirds of voters in three provinces voted against it. Voters in two Sunni-dominated provinces voted no by margins of more than two-thirds, but in a third Sunni-majority province, Nineveh, only 55 percent voted against, failing to reach the two-thirds majority required for rejection.

But the election of a new government cannot undo centuries of ethnic and religious divisions. Indeed with the chaos wrought by the insurgency, Iraq is returning to a familiar pattern—the resurgence of local authority and the power of tribal and family loyalties. One result is the return to overt hostilities between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, most evident in the killings of death squads by both sides. More subtle tensions within the social landscape have surfaced as well. Tensions within intermarried families and the complete absence of any new intermarriages reveal the absence of accommodation. Furthermore, to escape the danger of the insurgency, people are withdrawing to regions of the country that are ethnic and religious strongholds for a sense of safety and protection. Another affect has been the resurgence of local authority. Secular institutions have disappeared and those services are now being provided by families and clans. Opportunities for socializing among groups have disappeared and resulted in a retrenchment into familiar negative attitudes and behaviors.

Extreme violence began in late February 2006, and its continuation seems to threaten even the most optimistic efforts to restore peace to the country. A February 22, 2006 bombing of the Shiite Askariya Shrine in Samarra led to retaliatory bombings of Sunni mosques and continued killings on both sides, with escalating violence causing many to fear a descent into a full scale civil war. Many hoped for a reduction of US troops in Iraq, but the increasing violence of recent weeks has led to a delay in this decision.


  1. To what extent do ethnic and/or religious divisions mirror economic and political divisions within Iraq?
  2. How are current ethnic and religious divisions within Iraq the result of long standing causes?
  3. How have religious tensions within Iraq been shaped by forces outside of the country?
  4. How is politics the battlefield upon which religious and ethnic battles are fought?
  5. Upon what common issues can Iraqis agree despite religious differences?
  6. To whose advantage is it that Iraqi religious groups put aside their differences?
  7. Which forces in the past have benefited from the internal religious divisions within Iraq?
  8. Why do some religious leaders work against Western efforts to promote democracy?
  9. How has the current political process accepted the religious tensions within the country and tried to accommodate them?

The Role of Oil


Iraq’s location has long made it central to the affairs of other nations. The presence of oil makes it crucial to the concerns of other nations and provides Iraq with a powerful weapon in an increasingly industrial and global economy. Regional conflicts, international sanctions, the 2003 US invasion, and resulting efforts to rebuild the damaged economy amidst an ongoing insurgency and sectarian violence has greatly affected Iraqi oil production for the last 25 years.


After the discovery of oil at Baku (on the west side of the Caspian Sea) in the 1870s (1993 Middle East Oil and Gas, Figure 5A), foreign groups began seeking concessions for exploration in Iran and in the area of the Ottoman Empire that became Iraq after World War I. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later renamed the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and still later British Petroleum) was granted a concession in Iran and discovered oil in 1908. Shortly before World War I, the British government purchased majority ownership of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The war highlighted the necessity of control over the area’s oil resources. For Iraq, transportation remained the main obstacle to the efficient exporting of oil and highlighted its reliance on relations with other nations to facilitate this process. By 1938, Iraq began to export oil in significant quantities. Production averaged 4 million tons per year until World War II, when restricted shipping in the Mediterranean forced production down sharply.

Iraqi oil production rebounded fairly quickly and government oil revenues grew to $100 million in 1952. The increased oil payments, however, did little for the masses. Corruption among high government officials increased; oil companies employed relatively few Iraqis; and the oil boom also had a severe inflationary effect on the economy, particularly the urban poor and the salaried middle class.

The monarchy largely ignored the discontent among those left out of the growing national wealth. Even when the secular Baath party overthrew the monarchy in the 1960s, it continued this elite control. Saddam Hussein, in power from 1979 until 2003, maintained the government’s central role in the oil-driven economy.


Other nations in the region were affected and influenced by Iraqi oil production. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed in 1960 as an economic manifestation of the Pan-Arab movement. It was also fraught with internal dissent over production amounts and whether to link access to political behavior. The eight-year shutdown of the Suez Canal that followed the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War increased the importance of Mediterranean oil producers because of their proximity to European markets. Cold War tensions also surfaced in the area when Iraq used Soviet money to enhance its productivity. The USSR provided more than $500 million worth of aid for drilling rigs, pumps, pipelines, a deep-water port on the Persian Gulf, tankers, and a large contingent of technicians. The October 1973 Arab-Israeli War allowed the Iraqis to take complete control of their oil resources, and Iraq became one of the strongest proponents of an Arab oil boycott of Israel’s supporters. Oil exports were further restrained in April 1982, when Syria closed the pipeline running from Iraq to the Mediterranean. In response, Iraq launched a major effort to establish alternative channels for its oil exports. For the last 25 years, Iraq’s oil production has been compromised by regional tensions stemming from conflicts with Iran and Kuwait, and resulting international condemnation in the form of UN sanctions.


The early 1970s was an important time for the Iraqi economy and the government’s role in it. In 1972 the government nationalized the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), which had been owned by foreign oil companies. The nationalization, together with the rise in the price of crude oil that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) engineered in 1973, had the effect of raising Iraq’s oil revenues from $1 billion in 1972 to $8.2 billion in 1975.

This sharp increase in revenue solidified the government’s role in the economy, making it the primary agent for transferring wealth from the petroleum industry to the rest of the economy. The government allocated economic resources to various sectors of the economy and among different social classes and groups. Beginning in the 1970s, the Iraqi government’s policies affected employment, income distribution, and economic development. It carried out extensive economic planning and exercised heavy control over agriculture, foreign trade, communication networks, banking services, public utilities, and industrial production, leaving only small-scale industry, shops, farms, and some services to the oversight of the private sector.


Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait had severe repercussions for its oil industry. The United Nations imposed economic sanctions which hurt Iraq’s ability to earn revenue from oil exports. Damage from the fighting further affected its economic capabilities. By 1996, Iraq was in a dire situation so the United Nations created the oil-for-food agreement, which permitted Iraq to export oil worth $2 billion every six months in exchange for the right to purchase food and medicine for its civilian population. Iraq was not able to pump the necessary amount for a variety of reasons, including damage to equipment and loss of skilled workers. Therefore Iraq did not export as much oil as was allowed. Consequently, in 1996 Iraq exported oil worth only $400 million and imported food and medicine worth $492 million. The UN agreed in 1998 to increase the value of the oil-for-food arrangement to $5.2 billion every six months. Iraq’s economic policy at the start of the 21st century focused mainly on building a coalition of nations to support the removal of these UN sanctions. The primary way the Iraqi government could win support from other nations was by promising lucrative post-sanction oil contracts to potential allies. Most experts believed that Russia, China, and France would have been the main beneficiaries of these promises. The Hussein government focused on circumventing the sanctions, primarily through oil smuggling.[iv]


The military victory of the US-led coalition in March-April 2003 resulted in the shutdown of much of Iraq’s central economic administrative structure (2004 Country Profile Inset Map: Oil and Gas, Figure 5B). Although a comparatively small amount of capital plant was damaged during the hostilities, looting, insurgent attacks, and sabotage have undermined efforts to rebuild Iraq’s economy. Since Hussein’s removal, the United States has spent billions of dollars to revive Iraq’s oil industry. By March 2004 Iraq was producing about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, nearly as much as it produced prior to the 2003 war, yet far below production capabilities. The U.S. expenditures were also aimed at restoring and upgrading Iraq’s oil fields and refineries. Much of the work was contracted to U.S. and other foreign oil companies, as Hussein’s departure also marked the shift from a state-run economy to a market economy.

Many factors have prevented Iraq from reaching projected production amounts. Reports of corruption and mismanagement abound. Additionally, recent investigations conclude that smuggled oil revenues provide a source of funding for insurgent forces. Indeed the greatest obstacle to a renewed and viable industry is security. Until Iraqis control sabotage and smuggling, they will not reap the full potential of this valuable resource.


  1. What was the impact of other nations owning Iraq’s oil resources? Of Iraq taking control of these resources?
  2. Do all Iraqis benefit equally from the nation’s oil wealth? How has this division occurred and what is the impact?
  3. How is oil symbolic of the broader economic and political policy of the government at each stage of Iraq’s history in the last century?
  4. Is it good that the United States has allowed so much foreign investment to rebuild Iraq’s oil industry?
  5. Why did Saddam Hussein nationalize the oil industry in 1972?
  6. How is economic security and success tied to the political situation in each historic period?


Iraq in the Middle East


Several strands weave together and occasionally threaten to strangle this most vital region. The morass of religion, politics and economics intersects and far too often collides. The twentieth century witnessed global contact fraught with contradictory aspirations. The dominant role the United States continues to play reflects these contradictions: dependence on oil, commitment to democracy, efforts to combat the terrorism and the preservation of Israel. It is an area of rational calculation and revolutionary values with Iraq at its center.


For centuries, foreign powers have shaped both internal and regional events in the Middle East. Religion too has been central to the development of the region for millennia. Along with religion came culture, resistance, and frequent exploitation by leaders who used faith to shape and manipulate the lives of the masses.

The “Cradles of Civilization” began in the Middle East. The first records of settled societies were in this region: Sumer, Mesopotamia, Akkadia, Egypt, and Persia were among those civilizations that had complex legal and administrative systems. They were the centers of art and science. Conquests by other states in the region began in the 8th century before the Common Era (BCE): Assyria in 722 bcE, Babylonia in 586 bcE, Persia in 550 BCE and finally Macedonia under Alexander the Great between 334 and 323 bcE.

These indigenous empires were replaced by three phases of foreign rule: the Muslims in the 600s[link to Iraqi historical map, Age of the Caliphs, figure 2A], the Ottomans in the 1500s [link to Iraqi historical map, Ottoman Empire, figure 2C]and the the Europeans in the early 1900s [link to Iraqi historical map, Colonial Past, figure 2D]. The political unity of the Muslim world disintegrated in the 9th and 10th centuries, but the region retained some of its unity through a common legal and commercial system, as well as shared literature, high culture, and religion. By the 11th century, European Christians began to challenge Muslim predominance in the Mediterranean, retaking Sicily and much of Spain by the mid-12th century. At the same time, the papacy inaugurated the Crusades. [link to Iraqi historical map, Early Crusades, figure 2B]. Although the religious purpose of recapturing the area from the Muslims failed, trade between the Middle East and Western Europe was established. The last nomadic group to migrate west from inner Asia, the Mongols, arrived in the 13th century. Originally pagans, the Mongols soon embraced Sunni Islam and became its zealous defenders.

Late in the 13th century, a Muslim warrior known as Osman began to lead successful raids against the Byzantine strongholds in western Anatolia. His followers, the Ottomans, extended control in all directions, forging an empire that would be the principal political force in the western Islamic world for 600 years. At its height in the second half of the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire included southeastern Europe, Anatolia, Iraq, western Iran, Greater Syria, Egypt, the western Arabian Peninsula, and the coast of North Africa between Egypt and eastern Morocco. Further east the Ottomans’ contemporaries and rivals the Safavids established a dynasty in Iran and Afghanistan between 1501 and 1722, imposing Shiite Islam as the official religion and founding the modern Iranian state.


Although there had been some contact between Europe and the Middle East for centuries, by the mid-18th Century the region took on greater importance to the Europeans because of its strategic position en route to India and other parts of Asia, areas increasingly central to European economic and political development. As industrialization progressed, first in Britain and then in other European nations, the demand grew for both raw materials and markets for manufactured products. Groups within the Ottoman Empire were affected by this contact with the West. Ideas of nationalism appealed to intellectuals and a nascent middle class. Against these ideological directions were economic considerations, most importantly the British desire to develop and protect its oil interests.

After WWI ended, Middle Eastern nations took steps towards political independence yet retained many aspects of the colonial system. Although the stated purpose of this Mandate System was to foster eventual independence, it enabled European nations to benefit from resources, and permitted local elites power and opportunity for individual wealth. The inequity of this arrangement fueled anti-Western and nationalistic sentiments. Indeed anti-Ottoman sentiment was easily converted to anti-European attitudes. Europeans were unwilling to cede real authority as independence came to individual Middle Eastern nations from the 1920s to the 1960s. An important legacy of this era was the local ruling elite that was both trained by and beholden to Western power.


The creation of an independent Jewish state perpetuated instability in the region. In November 1947, the United Nations agreed to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish areas, and Britain announced that it would leave the region by May 15, 1948. The Jews accepted the proposal, but the Arabs rejected it as a violation of their right to self-determination. Violence erupted and soon turned into full-scale civil war. When Israel was declared an independent Jewish state upon British withdrawal, forces from neighboring Arab countries joined the war against Israel. Armed conflict between Israel and the other nations in the region continues. To this day, it remains a tension fraught with strides and struggles, with the ultimate hope of a two state solution. This path is frequently interrupted by violence, defiance, terrorism and retaliation.


Despite the secular position of most Middle Eastern leaders in the early years after gaining independence, many in the area now promote a revival of Islam. Given the strong link between these first national leaders and the West , those who are now pro-Islam are often anti-Western. This attitudinal development was fostered by the spread of literacy, wider access to education, and the growth of modern communications networks. With the formation of new classes and political institutions came increased pressure to end foreign rule and to widen political participation. Most early political movements were secular and the years immediately following World War II seemed to be a time of great hope and optimism for the peoples of the Middle East. By the 1970s, however, Muslims in many countries began to seek, often violently, the revival of Islamic law in both governmental and wider societal spheres.   The most successful attempt to establish an Islamic state was the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1978 and 1979.

The Islamic revival has many causes: the perceived failure of mass political movements in the second half of the 20th century, the deeply undemocratic and unrepresentative regimes in power in almost all Middle Eastern states, continued tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, pro-Western attitudes of rulers like the Shah of Iran and Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat, the increasing gap both within and among states between rich and poor, and widespread misery and despair caused by war, inflation, unemployment, and poverty.

Politically motivated Islamic groups continue to operate in many Middle Eastern countries in the early 21st century. In general, these groups express anger and frustration against what they regard as corrupt and illegitimate regimes, against U.S. activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, and continuing U.S. support for Israel. However, violence has not been confined to the struggle against tyranny and injustice, but has also been directed against individual advocates of tolerance and democracy. Most Middle Eastern governments have responded with varying degrees of repression, both against Islamists and those urging respect for human rights. It is also widely believed in the Middle East that the West, and especially the United States, largely controls the affairs of the region, and that the corrupt governments of the Middle East survive because the West needs them in order to protect its interests there. These beliefs have caused considerable anti-Western sentiment and widespread feelings of cynicism and disempowerment.[1]


The major sources of tension in the Middle East today are insurgent violence, religious fundamentalism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. High oil prices help maintain the authoritarian regimes but the potential for instability persists amidst calls for both more democratic and theocratic governments. Certainly the US role in the region underscores many of these contradictory goals. Dependence on oil, ideological commitments to democracy, preservation of Israel, Palestinian rights and the need to combat terrorism all compound and frequently confound those who work to bring stability to the region. Leaders wish to fight terrorism but frequently act in ways that make it easy for groups such as Al Queda to flourish. The original US hope that the removal of Saddam Hussein would result in a moderate, pro-western Shiite force in Iraq as a ballast to fundamentalists in Iran has clearly failed and as some observers have noted is strengthening fundamentalism in Iraq. Violence among Sunni, Shiite and Kurd forces within Iraq has implications for the overall stability in the region. One fear is that it will lead to renewed hostilities within other countries.   Iran has a Shiite majority as well. Sunni dominated countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait might come to the aid of their co-religionists within Iraq.


  1. Do Islamic fundamentalists speak for the masses? How has the history of foreign involvement in the region shaped current political issues?
  2. To what extent is religion a proxy for economic and political issues in the region?
  3. On what issues are the nations of the Middle East united?
  4. How has religion been central to the region since the dawn of civilization?
  5. What external realities are common to all nations of the Middle east? Internal problems?
  6. What did independence really mean for the individual nations of the Middle East?
  7. How was the rise of Islamic fundamentalism been caused as much by internal conditions as a response to external ones?
  8. Is Islamic fundamentalism simply a response to Western attitudes and behaviors or does it go deeper?


BBC News:World:Country Profiles: Iraq


Country Report: Information Please

Library of Congress: Especially for Researchers: Federal Research Division: Country Studies: Iraq

Yergin, Daniel. The Prize. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991.

[1] www.msn.encarta: Middle East: History: Islamic Revival and Iranian Revolution

[i] Iraq: Population Demographics

[ii] Iraq: History: Iraq as an Independent Monarchy

[iii] www.msn.encarta: Iraq: History: Saddam Hussein’s Role: Kurdish Strife

[iv]www.msn.encarta: Iraq: Economy: Iraqi Economy Under Hussein

www.msn.encarta: Iraq: History: Saddam Hussein’s Rule: Sanctions