The country of Iraq, in the Middle East, has been in the news lately for violence and fighting.

The fighting has been between the government and those who oppose it.

Shia and Sunni
Most people in Iraq are Muslim. However, there are two main  branches of the faith: Shia and Sunni.

These two groups disagree about how the country should be run.
The government in Iraq is Shia while the Isis militants are Sunni.
While most people in Iraq are Shia, about 90% of the world’s Muslims are Sunni.

Over the last month an Islamist extremist group called Isis, which has links to terrorist group Al-Qaeda, has taken control of several cities in the north of the country.This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the area to avoid the fighting.

The violence is getting closer and closer to the capital city, Baghdad.

Iraq’s troubled history
In 2003 the USA and the UK government decided to send troops into the country.

George W Bush and Tony Blair, believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) are nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that can kill many people in one go. Iraq’s leader at the time, Saddam Hussein, said he didn’t have any weapons like this.

No weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.

Starting the conflict was controversial but both the UK and the USA  said they needed to do something to stop the situation getting worse.

Who was Saddam Hussein?
Lots of Iraqis wanted to see the end of their President, Saddam Hussein. He was a leader who treated many people cruelly.
After a long man hunt he was captured by US forces in 2003 and sentenced to death. He died on 30 December, 2006, in Iraq’s capital Baghdad.

This invasion was supposed to be quick but it turned into a long war,. It  lasted for eight years.

More than 4,500 American troops died. No one knows exactly how many Iraqis were killed but it was many thousands.

The early history of Iraq
Iraq was created in 1921 by the British government after they seized control. However, the country was given  independence in 1932.
A number of different governments controlled the country after that, until Saddam Hussein seized power in 1979.
Things went well for Iraq until 1991 when the country decided to invade  another country called Kuwait.
Many countries – including the US and UK – joined together to force Iraq’s army out of Kuwait in a conflict called the Gulf War, in 1991.

Article written by  Editor

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