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The Iraq Portal

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Iraq's location on a map of the Middle East and the world.

The Republic of Iraq (Arabic: العراقal-‘Irāq About this sound العراق , Kurdish: عيَراق), is a Middle Eastern country in southwestern Asia encompassing most of Mesopotamia as well as the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. It shares borders with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the west, Syria to the northwest, Turkey to the north, and Iran to the east. It has a very narrow section of coastline at Umm Qasr on the Persian Gulf.

There are several suggestions for the origin of the name of Iraq; one dates back to the Sumerian city of Uruk (or Erech). Another suggestion is that Iraq comes from the Aramaic language, meaning "the land along the banks of the rivers." Some suggest that the word was adapted from the Arabic for "well-grounded country", as something of a marketing ploy by the British.

Under the Sassanid dynasty, there was a region called "Iraq Arabi" which referred to the southern part of modern Iraq. Al-Iraq was the name used by the Arabs themselves for the land since the 6th century.

Selected article

MaDonal is a restaurant located in the town of Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. It purposely resembles McDonald's, both in appearance and menu for instance, MaDonal's menu includes "Big Macks." It is one of two McDonald's-like restaurants in the town; the other one, Matbax, claims that MaDonal is "cheap quality". The quality of the food has been criticized by some bloggers as well.

The owner, Suleiman Qassab, was a fighter in the Kurdish resistance during the 1970s. He became a refugee in Vienna, Austria, where he got a job as a cook at McDonald's. In the 1990s, he applied for permits to create a McDonald's in Iraq, but the McDonald’s Corporation turned him down. In response, he established MaDonal Restaurant, which became a successful business. Since establishing MaDonal, Qassab has offered free food to U.S. forces, been threatened by suicide bombers, and has become a "Kurdish celebrity." Qassab hopes to one day turn MaDonal into an actual McDonald's restaurant. MaDonal is popular with Sulaymaniyah's youth, and the upper middle class. It is open even during Ramadan. Sociologist George Ritzer sees MaDonal as part of a trend of other countries developing their own regional variations of McDonald’s. Journalist Christopher Hitchens said it was "reassuring" to see signs of progress like MaDonal "in an atmosphere that only a few years ago was heavy with miasmic decay and the reek of poison gas."

Selected picture

Iraqi Kurdish village orchard.jpg

Orchard in the north of Iraq

Did you know...

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  • ...that Iraq is divided in three large ethnic groups?
  • ...that the oldest known writing system, known as cuneiform, was developed in southeastern Iraq by the Sumerian civilization?
  • ...that the desert between Kuwait and Baghdad consists of a clay silt that swells when wet. This creates a water resistant layer of soil that keeps following rain on the surface where it quickly evaporates.
  • ...that the oldest laws were written in Iraq by the Sumerian King Ur-Nammu.
  • ...that Iraq was the site for four great ancient civiliations: Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian.
  • ...that Iraq is second only to Saudi Arabia in oil reserves.
  • ...that the wheel was invented in Iraq.
  • ...that the national soccer team of Iraq won the AFC asian cup 2007.
  • ...that maybe Iraq had electricity thousands of years ago with the so called Baghdad Battery.
  • ...that tigris and euphrates are the biggest rivers in iraq
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Iraq news

June 24

  • A bomb went off at an Iraqi office building in Baghdad, killing 6 Iraqis, 2 American soldiers, and 2 American citizens. The attack injured 10 people. The US military blames the attack on rogue members of Shia Muslim militias. The attack is believed to be a suicide bombing, but the US military is investigating allegations that a bomb was planted in the building. BBC News

June 21

  • Mowaffak al-Rubai'e, the most senior security official in Iraq, said he has good evidence that indicates 5 British hostages are still alive. The five men were taken from Iraq's Ministry of Finance over a year ago by armed militants. BBC News

June 19

March 17

March 18

  • The smuggling of stolen antiquities from Iraq's rich cultural heritage is helping finance Iraqi extremist groups, said the U.S. investigator who led the initial investigation into the looting of Baghdad's National Museum.

March 19

  • The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, said Iran continues to support Iraqi insurgents and Syria is allowing foreign fighters passage into Iraq.

Selected biography

Nadhmi Auchi (Arabic:نظمي أوجي) is a British billionaire businessman who was born in Iraq. In the Sunday Times Rich List 2007 ranking of the wealthiest people in the UK he was placed 18th with an estimated fortune of £1,995 million. Nadhmi Auchi graduated in Economics and Political Science from the Mustansiriyah University, Baghdad in 1967. He also worked with the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, becoming Director of Planning and Development. In 1979 he founded General Mediterranean Holding SA of Luxembourg. He was Vice-Chair of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University between 1996 and 2000. He has been president of the Anglo-Arab Organisation since its founding in 2002. In recognition of Nadhmi Auchi's extensive business, charitable and humanitarian activities across the world, numerous awards and honorary positions have been bestowed on him, including a number of Royal and State decorations. In 1996, the President of the Tunisian Republic, His Excellency Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, decorated him as an Officer of the Order of the Republic. In 2002, he was also awarded the Grand Cordon of the order of Independence by His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Nadhmi Auchi was honoured in 2003 by the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George with the honour and dignity of Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I in recognition of his major contributions to inter-church and inter-faith dialogue. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted him his Coat of Arms in 2004. In the same year the President of the Republic of Lebanon, His Excellency General Emile Lahoud, awarded Mr Auchi with the First Grade of the Lebanese Order of Merit having already appointed him as a Commander of the National Order of the Cedar in 2000. He was also awarded the Ponitifical Order of St. Sylvester Pope and Martyr by John Paul II in 2004.

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