Iraq. According to Countryaah.com, Iraq population in 2020 is estimated at 40,222,504. Iraq, which was already politically unstable and violent, ended up in an acute war and crisis situation during the year, where the formation of the state itself seemed to be on the verge of collapse.
Already at the beginning of the year, the central government lost control of large areas of the Anbar province in the west to the Sunni Muslim extremist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). After a couple of months, according to the UN, 400,000 people had been displaced from their homes. At the same time, the security situation was still difficult elsewhere, with repeated bloody explosions that demanded close to 1,000 human lives each month.
Despite the uncertain situation, parliamentary elections were held on April 30, the third since Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003 and the first since the US withdrew its military forces in 2011. The election itself was relatively calm. The largest, by a wide margin, became Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s partial Alliance Rule of Law, with 92 of the 328 seats. A total of over 30 party groups took place in Parliament. The election results, presented after three weeks, pointed to a third term for al-Maliki. At the same time, he was increasingly accused of being powerless and unilaterally favoring the Shi’ites and shutting out, above all, the Sunnis, which was believed to be a contributing cause of the rising violence.
On June 10, ISIS suddenly entered Mosul in the north, Iraq’s second largest city. It happened quickly; military and police fled neck over head from the city. Both the government and the outside world seemed to be taken to the bed by the advance of ISIS, a former al-Qaeda-linked group formed in Iraq but also fought in the civil war in Syria.
Within days ISIS had taken control of large parts of the province of Nineveh. The government announced a state of emergency and both al-Maliki and storayatoll Ali al-Sistani urged Shia Muslims to take up arms to defend themselves. At the same time, the Kurdish militia, the peshmerga, took the opportunity to occupy the oil city of Kirkuk outside the Kurdish-controlled areas in the northeast. Soon tens of thousands of people were on the run and the outside world was horrified by images of massacres, beheadings and crucifixions. ISIS came across large quantities of weapons left by the retiring army and gained control of large oil fields.
ISIS proclaimed a “caliphate” on June 30, a state based on a strict interpretation of Islam, and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named caliph. At the same time, the group changed its name to the Islamic State (IS). The caliphate consisted of areas controlled by IS in western Iraq and eastern Syria, which included an area large in half Sweden.
Kurdish region president Massoud Barzani said Iraq as a state collapsed and within a few months the Kurds would vote for an independent Kurdistan.
When the newly elected parliament met for the first time in July, it ended with boycotts and total lockdown. Only at the third meeting did members succeed in electing a President. Later, the Kurd Fuad Masum was elected president.
Despite the emergency situation, al-Maliki also stubbornly resisted the pressure to resign and accept the government-appointed president. Only in mid-August did he leave with him, following pressure from the US and Iran, among others. New Prime Minister became Haider al-Abadi, who presented his government in early September. However, several important ministerial posts were not approved by Parliament until October.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||$ 649,300,000,000|
|GDP growth rate||-2.10%|
|GDP per capita||$ 16,700|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||25%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||7.00%|
|National debt||59.70% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||$ 47,020,000,000|
|Number of visitors||892,000|
IS continued its advance in the Kurdish-dominated area of the north, where tens of thousands more were driven from their homes. Many of them were Christians or Yazidis, but even moderate Sunni Muslims fled for their lives. In the beginning of August, the United States launched air strikes against IS in Iraq and gradually gained more than 50 countries, including ten Arab states. Large parts of the world condemned IS as a terrorist group accused of ethnic cleansing, genocide and unprecedented brutality against civilians. In September, air strikes were also launched against IS positions in Syria.