Iraqi Kurdistan, officially called the Kurdistan Region by the Iraqi constitution, is located in the north of Iraq and constitutes the country's only autonomous region.
Kurdistan or Greater Kurdistan, is a roughly defined geo-cultural region wherein the Kurdish people form a prominent majority population, and Kurdish culture, language, and national identity have historically been based.
Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest, and Syria to the west.
The Kurds also the Kurdish people are an ethnic group in the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a contiguous area spanning adjacent parts of eastern and southeastern Turkey, western Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria.
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It is frequently referred to as Southern Kurdistan, as Kurds generally consider it to be one of the four parts of Kurdistan, which also includes parts of southeastern Turkey, northern Syria, and northwestern Iran.
Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.
Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country in Eurasia, mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe.
Iran, also known as Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a sovereign state in Western Asia.
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The region is officially governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government, with the capital being Erbil.
Local government is a form of public administration which, in a majority of contexts, exists as the lowest tier of administration within a given state.
Erbil, also spelt Arbil or Irbil, and also known as Hewler, is the capital city of Erbil Governorate and of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Kurdistan is a parliamentary democracy with its own regional Parliament that consists of 111 seats.
Masoud Barzani, who was initially elected as president in 2005, was re-elected in 2009.
Masoud Barzani is an Iraqi Kurdish politician who has been President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region since 2005, as well as leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party since 1979.
In August 2013 the parliament extended his presidency for another two years.
His presidency concluded on 19 August 2015 after the political parties failed to reach an agreement over extending his presidency term.
The new Constitution of Iraq defines the Kurdistan Region as a federal entity of Iraq, and establishes Kurdish and Arabic as Iraq's joint official languages.
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that was first spoken in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world.
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction.
The four governorates of Duhok, Hawler, Silemani, and Halabja comprise around 41,710 square kilometres and have a population of 5.5 million.
Dohuk is the capital of Dohuk Governorate in Kurdistan and part of Iraqi Kurdistan, with a population of approximately 350,000 inhabitants, consisting mostly of Kurds, with a minority population of Assyrian Christians that greatly fluctuate in numbers due to the state of violence in the plain below and all over Kurdistan.
Halabja, is a city in Iraqi Kurdistan and the capital of Halabja Governorate, located about 240 km north-east of Baghdad and 14 km from the Iranian border.
In 2014, during the 2014 Iraq Crisis, Iraqi Kurdistan's forces also took over much of the disputed territories of Northern Iraq.
The disputed territories of Northern Iraq are regions defined by article 140 of the Constitution of Iraq as being Arabised during the Baath Party rule in Iraq.
The establishment of the Kurdistan Region dates back to the March 1970 autonomy agreement between the Kurdish opposition and the Iraqi government after years of heavy fighting.
However, that agreement failed to be implemented and by 1974 Northern Iraq plunged into the Second Iraqi–Kurdish War, another part of the Iraqi-Kurdish conflict between the Kurds and the Arab-dominated government of Iraq.
The Iraqi–Kurdish conflict consists of a series of wars and rebellions by the Kurds against the central authority of Iraq during the 20th century, which began shortly after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and lasting until the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The Second Kurdish–Iraqi War was the second chapter of the Barzani rebellion, initiated by the collapse of the Kurdish autonomy talks and the consequent Iraqi offensive against rebel KDP troops of Mustafa Barzani during 1974–1975.
Further, the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, especially the Iraqi Army's Al-Anfal Campaign, devastated the population and environment of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Al-Anfal campaign , also known as the Kurdish genocide, Operation Anfal, simply Anfal or Genocide in Iraq was a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish people in northern Iraq, led by Ali Hassan al-Majid in the final stages of Iran–Iraq War.
The Iraqi Army, officially the Iraqi Ground Forces, is the ground force component of the Iraqi military, having been active in various incarnations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Iraq lasting from 22 September 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran, to August 1988.
Following the 1991 uprising of Kurds in the north and Shias in the south against Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Kurdistan's military forces, the Peshmerga, succeeded in pushing out the main Iraqi forces from the north.
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003.
Shia is a branch of Islam which holds that the Islamic Prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor.
Despite significant casualties and the crisis of Kurdish refugees in bordering regions of Iran and Turkey, the Peshmerga success and establishment of the northern no-fly zone following the First Gulf War in 1991 created the basis for Kurdish self-rule and facilitated the return of refugees.
The Gulf War, codenamed Operation Desert Shield for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Storm in its combat phase, was a war waged by coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.
The problem of Kurdish refugees and displaced people arose in the 20th century in the Middle East, and continues to loom today.
As Kurds continued to fight government troops, Iraqi forces finally left Kurdistan in October 1991, leaving the region with de facto autonomy.
In 1992, the major political parties in the region, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, established the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq and the subsequent political changes led to the ratification of the new constitution in 2005.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq lasted from 20 March to 1 May 2003 and signaled the start of the Iraq War, which was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom by the United States.