Susan M. Hassig and Laith Muhmood Al Adely's book Iraq (Culture of the world) tackles every aspect of the Iraqi life from geography, culture, climate to international relations. The two argue in their book that Iraq has been subject of major discussions featured in news all over the world in the last ten years of the 20th century and in the early years of the 21st century. Its ancient history has fascinated and owed many though, triggering the international community to have many negative reactions. In ancient days, Iraq was known as Mesopotamia meaning "land between two rivers-the Euphrates and the Tigris" with Arabs, Sumerians, Turks and Babylonians contributing to the prosperity of the country. This has made Iraq to be known as "the cradle of civilization." They later discuss Iraq's climate, geography, fauna, governance, economy, flora and the country's history as discussed below.
Iraq's geography is made of mountains in the north, marshland on river banks and deserts in the south. The Iraq terrain is rugged seen in the citizens who live in poverty and war though still holding to their religion, beliefs, customs and interests. The country's geographical location is in the south western region of Asia. Iraq's fertile land is found between the two rivers which has supported agriculture for many years. Although besides the lands fertility, the country's topography and vegetation is changing drastically with west and southern parts changing into deserts and the north transforming into cold mountainous regions.
There are steppe desert plains towards the west. This makes the place to be scarcely populated due to the rocky terrain plus the harsh climatic conditions. The northern foothills region receives abundant rainfall thus producing a lot of grain for the country. The foothills have many archeological sites like the ancient city of Assyria. The northeastern mountains are inhabited by many people due to its fertile land for pastures and the favorable cool climate. The later is also the land with richest oil fields. Although, being remote, the mountains act as a shelter for criminals and rebels.
Iraq is discussed to have unreliable climate. The north experiences freezing cold winters and very hot summers; the west is a desert thus dry; eastern sides are tropical thus humid. Iraq is a dry country. Averagely, the country's summer temperatures range from 24to 43 degrees Celsius while 4 to 16 degrees Celsius in winter. It receives little rainfall, approximately 130cm per year. The rain evaporates quickly making the country to depend on irrigation for cultivation. Rarely the country experiences destructive floods.
The book talks about the flora of the country. The country has a variety of vegetation due to the different climates experienced. Examples of trees growing in the high altitude are alpine plants, oak trees, juniper and hawthorn. The vegetation grows sparingly due to the elevated salt concentration and the unfavorable climate. The country has desert flora which survive in the hot summer and thrive in the in spring after rainfall. Dates are also grown many parts of Iraq. The plant is referred to as "the plant of life" due to its many uses. It is used to make a variety of dishes, the palm is used for weaving and date pits are ground to create a beverage.
The country has little fauna in relation to its size. Mostly, individuals keep camels as they survive very well in deserts. They require little water for survival and can travel long distances. The deserts have a variety of nocturnal animals. The Euphrates and Tigris provide a habitat for fresh water fish.
The authors list the cities in Iraq. Iraq has many cities examples are Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Kirkuk. Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq, grew from a small village which had become the heart of traditions and education. Right now, it is the center of government with many industries i.e. oil industries and food processors. The city was greatly affected by the gulf wars. Their bombs targeted armed forces and administration buildings mainly the governments'. Currently, the city is being renovated. Though, this process is being slowed by international permits that stop countries from supplying Iraq with building materials.
According to the book, Iraq has the best history. It is believed to be the root of civilization in 3500B.C. An example is the cylinder seals found there. They were pressed into clay and used to create signatures. The city built ziggurat which are pyramid shaped temples that made weapons and measuring gadgets. The authors also talks about the countries golden age and the foreign conquest. Iraq was then declared an independent kingdom in October 1932. The country was later faced with problems internally and with neighboring countries. In the late 1940's, the country faced economic crisis caused by worldwide shortages and the mass exodus of Jews to Israel from Iraq. This was also as a result of World War II.
In 1991, there was an Iraq-Iran war which drastically affected their economy. Hussein and Al-Sabath family governing Kuwaiti disagreed on various issues. Oil fields lied in their border causing them to quarrel since 1958. Overproduction of oil by Kuwait to recover money to pay their loaner, lowered oil prices which also affected Iraq. Later, Hussein organized groups to attack Kuwait causing the Al-Sabath to exile to Saudi Arabia. United Nations reacted by sanctioning economic approval on Iraq that the country could not export their oil. United Nations created military troops by December 1990 which used force to vacate Iraq troops from Kuwait. Iraq did not withdraw from Kuwait and thus United Nations organized to attack Iraq. This affected Iraq as the war claimed 100,000 lives of Iraqis.
The country had dictatorship governance since 1979 during Saddam Hussein's reign. The weapons used against Iraq affected them. Weapons made of poisons that could spread through water and air was used against Iraq. Iraq planned a terrorist attack and later attacked United States in September 2001. This has been causing quarrels between the two countries up to date. U.S government prepared to attack Iraq, although people who took part in the first Gulf War II were against it. Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was producing mass destruction weapons which the U.S government targeted to destroy.
The second gulf war began on 19th of March, 2003 when the U.S government planned missiles to a palace that was believed to have Saddam Hussein and his family hiding. The bombers targeted Iraq cities that are scarcely populated to avoid massacre and destroying the infrastructure. However, they were met by organized guerrilla opposition that was very fierce and this resistance never materialized. The U.S Special Forces planned and with the backing from the Kurdish militias they took over the oil fields in the north. Tikrit, Hussein's hometown was taken by the U.S troop and Iraqis celebrated his down fall. The main agenda of the war was to replace Saddam Hussein's dictatorship rule. Desperation of the Iraqis caused them to rob museums, institution and citadels of their leaders. The Iraqis who had flown from the country started to go back to the country and declaring themselves leaders in both religious and political fields. There was no clear governance. U.S assigned their factories to restore the destroyed infrastructure. Citizens built hope for brighter future in 2003 after the collapse of military authoritarianism.
Iraq developed into a sovereign state from the association of countries authorized by British government on 3rd of October,1932 and transferred its leadership from an Alliance of Provisional Power to Iraq government on 28th of June,2004. Thus the government has a parliamentary democracy type of governance.
Iraq claims to have 143 barrels of crude oil and in 2009 it signed a major production deal with international oil companies. The country has set a target of 2.2million barrels for 2011 after the steady rise in shipments from the Kurdish region.
In conclusion, Iraq as a country has fantastic geographical and archeological sites with variable climate. The harsh climatic conditions experienced has made the country to depend on irrigation for agriculture and has also minimized the types of animals domesticated by Iraqis i.e. most of them keep camels. The country is portrayed to be rich with oil though being devastated with the recurrent war and bad governance. Globally, renaissance of producing oil and gas in Iraq would help reduce oil prices globally. This would assist in increasing oil quantity after the sharp worldwide depression that occurred in 2008-2009 which led to a steady increase in its price. Iraq has the possibility to become one of the world's chief oil manufacturers given its vast oil resources. Overpowering rebels in the Middle East of Iraq has helped Iraq which is now progressing. This book explores Iraq's geography, past, government, wealth, citizens, and traditions.