Iraq is a former country located in the center of the Middle East, ancient Mesopotamia. As a functional unit, it dissolved in 1990, though it continues on in several incarnations today.
Historically, the territory comprising Iraq was known in Europe by the Greek toponym 'Mesopotamia' (Land between the rivers). Iraq has been home to continuous successive civilizations since the 6th millennium BC. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates is identified as the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of writing and the wheel.
Throughout its long history, Iraq has been the center of the Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid and Abbasid empires, and part of the Achaemenid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Mongol, Safavid, Afsharid, Ottoman and British empires. The Kingdom of Iraq was founded in 1932.
The Kingdom of Iraq was eventually replaced by a republican government in 1958. The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party took power 1963 and 1968 and ruled the country until Iraq's dissolution. Ba'athist rule in Iraq first occurred briefly in 1963 under Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr until overthrown that same year. Ba'athism was restored to power five years later after al-Bakr and the Ba'ath Party overthrew Abdul Rahman Arif. Ba'athism became entrenched in Iraq's government as a dominant-party system committed to pan-Arab unification, Iraqi nationalism, state socialism, and secularism. Al-Bakir resigned as President in 1979 and was replaced by Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti.
At the time of Doomsday, Iraq was embroiled in a war with Iran called the First Gulf War, also known as the Iraq-Iran War. Although both countries were effectively cut off from foreign aid, Iraq had the upper hand regarding military equipment. Unhindered by any retaliation by the destroyed superpowers, Saddam Hussein started to massively produce chemical weapons, bombing more than eleven Iranian cities with these weapons, as well as bombing the front lines, trying to mount an offensive of his own. Meanwhile, refugees from Syria began to pore into Iraq from the west. Chemical weapons were again used to restore order to areas with significant refugee populations.
First Gulf War
Thanks to the massive use of chemical weapons after Doomsday, Iraqi forces were able to turn the tide in the war. These attacks would prove successful, as during one of these bombing raids on Tehran the Grand Ayatollah, Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini, was killed during a joint prayer for all who were lost during the cataclysm that had occurred months before, along with a substantial part of Iranian leadership. Coupled by the loss of many high ranking leaders, the Iranian forces started to crumble during Iraq's relentless assaults. The Iraqis would gain ground, pushing the front to a line from the city of Kermanshah to the north to the city of Ahvaz to the south. After a stalemate had developed on this line for several years, Khamenei had no choice but to concede to Iraqi demands and give them the occupied territories, along with Kharg Island on April 15th 1986. Thanks to this new territory, Iraqi gained most of its territorial aims, including most of Khruzestan. This allowed for full and unimpeded sea access for Iraq and vastly increased oil production, which enabled Iraq to further enlarge their military and economy. With this war over, Saddam began to look elsewhere for expansion in the weakened Middle East.
In 1988, Saddam Hussein began to demand the annexation of Kuwait. He desired the "errant fourteenth province" and claimed that it was Iraqi in the past and should be Iraqi once again. In 1989, the Iraqi military began making movements around the Kuwaiti border in order to scare the Gulf States into submission and prepare for the coming invasion. Thousands of troops were stationed along the Iraq-Kuwait border readying for the invasion. In a move unexpected by the Iraqis, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ordered troops to the Iraq-Kuwait and Iraq-Saudi borders in response to Iraq's military movements. While Iraq could have defeated the GCC on land, conquered Kuwait, and continued marching into Saudi Arabia, the GCC could blockade Basra and the Straits of Hormuz, which would cut off almost all Iraqi trade and prevent them from selling their oil. After realizing the potential risks of the situation, Iraqi forces pulled back from the border and the standoff ended.
Second Gulf War
In 1990 after the end of the Kuwait Crisis, Iran, using the Muslim Liberation Army, detonated a radiological bomb at the site of a speech being given by Saddam in Baghdad. The MLA was formed by Iran to act as an asymmetrical weapon to be used against Iraq. Their highly ideological leaders decried the secularism of Iraq and made it their goal to end Saddam's regime. By slowly infiltrating the Iraqi government since the end of the First Gulf War and obtaining radioactive material from Israel, they were able to construct and plant a radiological bomb at the site of Saddam's appearance. The explosion and subsequent radiation poisoning killed most of Iraq's senior leadership. The bombing coincided with a massive Iranian invasion in the east and a Kurdish invasion from the north. Iranian and Kurdish rebels attacked Iraqi forces behind the front-lines and crippled their supply lines. Between the chaos in the central leadership and the invasion, Iran retook their lost territories and crossed into Iraqi territory. Kurdistan was able to conquer most of the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. During the chaos, the small Assyrian population also declared their independence, backed by Kurdistan. Luckily, Saddam wasn't killed by the explosion and died slowly over the three days after the bombing. He was able to appoint his son (name) as President of Iraq. Unfortunately, he was unable to secure control of the government and military and was unable to reverse their military defeat. By the end of 1990, Kurdistan and Assyria had gained their independence and Iran had stopped their advance. Iraq was forced to acknowledge their gains.
After the death of Saddam Hussein and the radiological attack on Baghdad, the centralized government of the Republic of Iraq began to fracture. During the war, some unity was maintained to hold against the Iranians and Kurds, but even then, disorganization and disunity among the generals and the government ruined the efforts of the superior Iraqi military to hold back their advance. At the end of the war, the peace came rather suddenly. Iraqi troops were fleeing from the front-lines, while others were standing firm. Some of the Shi'ites in the Iraqi army mutinied and began attacking Sunni units. Some even fled to Iran. Kurdish insurgents were still fighting in some areas of the north to further expand the Kurdish state. Soon, various generals began attempting to seize control of the country. Revolts occurred in the Governorates of Babil, Al-Muthanna, Al-Najaf, and Wasit. In addition, Shia revolts broke out across the country. Iraq risked collapsing into chaos.
In the north, Kurdish insurgents continued to fight despite the armistice with the Republic of Kurdistan. Their goal was to seize control of Kirkuk and Mosul, but the Iraqi government was fighting fiercely to keep them under Republican control due to their large population and oil reserves. Ultimately, Kurdish insurgents were forced back into Kurdistan by 1995 and the cities remained under Republican control. After the insurgency subsided, much of the remaining Kurdish population in the area was expelled.
After the Shia rebellion broke out, some generals returned their forces to Republican control to prevent the rise of a Shia state. Others, such as the eccentric General (name) in the Babil Government continued to fight, in this case for a third Babylonian Empire. Despite these continued revolts, their forces were isolated in the governorates they control while the bulk of the Iraqi military was directed at the Shia rebellion. Shia rebels were driven out of Baghdad and central Iraq, but they were besieging the city of Basra. Republican forces were able to drive Shia rebels from all governorates except Al-Basra and parts of Thi Qar and Misan. Once Basra fell, Iran recognized the new Shia state in 1992 and Iraq was forced to withdraw.
Once Basra was lost, the Iraqi government was left to due with the remaining rebels and insurgents in the southwest and central regions of the country. These revolts switched between open rebellion and underground insurgency constantly. Some rebels even moved into parts of northern Saudi Arabia for safety, which incurred the wrath of the Saudi military later on. These rebellions were also fed by Iran and allowed Iran to increase their influence in areas of Republican Iraq throughout the 1990s.
After the peace in late 1990 went into effect, the surviving Iraqi government attempted to regain control of remaining areas of the country under their control. Due to the raging civil war, the Shia were able to rise up against the regime and fight against the central government. However, this early rebellion during the civil war only served to unite the Sunni Iraqis in crushing the Shia. Led by Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, Shia rebels attempted to rise up in Saddam City in Baghdad, but were forced to flee south to Basra where there were more Shia. After a brutal crackdown, the Shia rebellion was defeated in central Iraq, crushing all dreams of ruling the whole of Iraq, and the insurgency began in Southern Iraq.
After fleeing to Basra, al-Sadr and his son, Muqtada al-Sadr, formed an insurgent group known as the Mahdi Army. Backed by Iranian arms, training, and money, the insurgents gained influence in rural areas of southern Iraq, though the central government was able to resist their takeover. With revolts still racking the central government and military, Basra fell to rebel forces on April 9, 1992 and Ba'athist forces were forced to flee from much of southern Iraq. Iran immediately recognized the new Islamic Republic of Iraq and signed an alliance with them. Due to the Iranian alliance with the new state, Baghdad was forced to end their campaign against them, but still refuses to recognize the rebel state.
Kurdistan and Assyria
After the collapse of the Republic of Iraq, two new states arose in the north, Kurdistan and Assyria. Kurdistan was originally founded shortly after Doomsday in what was southern Turkey. With the area in chaos, they gathered in their capital Van and established the first independent Kurdish state. During the Iran-Iraq War, Kurdistan joined with Iran against Iraq to liberate their brothers to the south. After the death of Saddam Hussein and the resulting chaos, most of the Kurdish-inhabited areas of northern Iraq fell under the control of Kurdistan. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, thousands of Kurds within Iraqi controlled territory were expelled to Kurdistan to ensure continued Iraqi control of their northern provinces. While this almost started a war between the two countries, Kurdistan was forced to do nothing due to the absence of Iranian assistance and the threat of Turkey near their border. Since then, Kurdistan has been a quiet state disinterested in expansion and has maintained stability in northern Iraq. However, many Kurds continue to desire control of Kirkuk and Mosul, though most realize they will never be able to regain them as long as the Iraqi government continues to exist.
Another minority within Iraq, the Assyrians, also found the opportunity to establish their independence after the collapse of the Republic. The few districts inhabited by Assyrians banded together and established the small Republic of Assyria. Due to their small population and relative poverty, Assyria could not expand or protect itself from stronger states. As a result, it was completely encompassed by Kurdistan. However, the Kurds allowed their independence to continue due to their common plight. Today, Assyria is a de facto protectorate of Kurdistan and a major Middle Eastern banking center.
Remnants of the Regime
Due to the loss of Kurdistan and the Basra region, Iraq was extremely weakened. Without the security of mountainous Kurdistan and the sea access of Basra, the still-struggling Iraqi government was forced to restructure their country. Oil pipelines were diverted to run through Saudi and Jordanian territory. The Iraq-Syria-Lebanon pipeline was extended to travel to Al Jazeera and Turkey, which provided the new main outlet for Republican oil. Though revenues were greatly reduced, the Republican government was still able to maintain most of their military and built a strengthened security apparatus. The state was further weakened through the three years of civil war, which has resulted in the increased militarization of the Iraqi state. Later during the Shia and Kurdish insurgency, the security apparatus, with the support of the Sunni tribes, implemented harsh measures to prevent the spreading of the insurgency. Baghdad and other Shia areas under Republican control were harshly suppressed, though these measures were successful in limiting the spread of the insurgency in the central part of the country.
The Republican military survived the First Gulf War with moderate damage. Most of their losses were due to disorganization rather than outright defeat. However, the insurgency and civil war exacted a steep toll on the military. During early attempts to use heavy equipment, such as tanks, to crush the insurgency failed, many armor units were critically damaged and its been difficult to replace some of those losses. The civil war saw major battles between various armored divisions within the Iraqi military. Some heavy weapons production has begun to be able to replace these weapons. However, the Republican infantry was strengthened through the intense combat and has become one of the most professional counterinsurgency forces in the Middle East. Thanks to the infantry, rebel-controlled territory was limited to the southern most regions around Basra.
Today, the Republic of Iraq still controls most of Iraq. The disputed zones that formed between the Republic and the breakaway states still exist, however, though they've decreased to a strip one to five km wide between the countries due to the expulsion of the Kurds. Its military is still reasonable strong, though weaker than most of its neighbors. Due to the need to have allies to resist Iranian encroachment, Iraq has reached out to the GSU and Turkey, fellow Sunni states, to help. The GSU Iraqi intervention in the mid-2000s was carried out with the assistance of the Republic of Iraq to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iraq from seizing southwest Iraq and the Kuwaiti border areas.
Nations of Former Iraq
The remains of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. It is a secular Ba'athist dictatorship ruled by Saddam's eldest son, Uday Hussein. It is the largest of the Iraqi states, but also the most vulnerable.
A state originally formed in southeastern Turkey following Doomsday, Kurdistan expanded into northern Iraq following the Second Gulf War and the disintegration of Iraq. It now controls most of the Kurdish-inhabited areas of northern Iraq.
This microstate in northern Iraq was formed by Assyrian Christians who seized control regions populated by their people during the chaos of the Second Gulf War. It is a protectorate of Kurdistan.
Formed after the fall of Basra, the Islamic Republic of Iraq is the Shia government in southern Iraq. It claims to the be the true Iraqi state and lays claim to the whole of Iraq. It is an Iranian satellite nation.
Since the Second Gulf War, Iraq has become a battleground for the interests of surrounding states. The Gulf States Union actively supports Sunni states in the country and intervened in southern Iraq in (some year). Iran has gained control of some territory in southern Iraq along the Iranian border and they are a strong supporter of the Shi'ite Islamic Republic of Iraq. There have also been minor incursions into the area by Jordan, which is working with the GSU in their support of Sunni states.