Shia Islam is one of the two main branches of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident at Saqifah; this view contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who they claim was appointed Caliph through a Shura, i.e. community consensus in Saqifa, to be the first rightful Caliph after the Prophet. Unlike the first three Rashidun caliphs, Ali was from the same clan as Muhammad, Banu Hashim as well as being the prophet's cousin and being the first male to become Muslim. Adherents of Shia Islam are called Shias of Ali, Shias or the Shi'a as a collective or Shi'i or Shi'ite individually. Shia Islam is the second largest branch of Islam: as of the late 2000s, Shia Muslims constituted 10-15% of all Muslims. Twelver Shia is the largest branch of Shia Islam, with 2012 estimates saying that 85% of Shias were Twelvers.
Shia Islam is based on the Quran and the message of Muhammad attested in hadith, on hadith taught by their Imams. Shia consider Ali to have been divinely appointed as the successor to Muhammad, as the first Imam; the Shia extend this Imammah doctrine to Muhammad's family, the Ahl al-Bayt, some individuals among his descendants, known as Imams, who they believe possess special spiritual and political authority over the community and other divinely ordained traits. Although there are many Shia subsects, modern Shia Islam has been divided into three main groupings: Twelvers and Zaidis, with Twelver Shia being the largest and most influential group among Shia; the word Shia means followers and is the short form of the historic phrase shīʻatu ʻAlī, meaning "followers of Ali", "faction of Ali", or "party of Ali". Shi'a and Shiism are the forms used in English, while Shi'ite or Shiite, as well as Shia, refer to its adherents; the term for the first time was used at the time of Muhammad. At present, the word refers to the Muslims who believe that the leadership of the community after Muhammad belongs to Ali and his successors.
Nawbakhti states that the term Shia refers to a group of Muslims that at the time of Muhammad and after him regarded Ali as the Imam and Caliph. Al-Shahrastani expresses that the term Shia refers to those who believe that Ali is designated as the Heir and caliph by Muhammad and Ali's authority never goes out of his descendants. For the Shia, this conviction is implicit in the history of Islam. Shia scholars emphasize that the notion of authority is linked to the family of the prophets as the verses 3:33,34 shows: "Indeed, God chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of'Imran over the worlds – Descendants, some of them from others, and God is Hearing and Knowing." Shia Muslims believe that just as a prophet is appointed by God alone, only God has the prerogative to appoint the successor to his prophet. They believe God chose Ali to be Muhammad's successor, the first caliph of Islam; the Shias believe. Ali was Muhammad's first-cousin and closest living male relative as well as his son-in-law, having married Muhammad's daughter Fatimah.
Muhammad invited people to Islam in secret for three years. In the fourth year of Islam, when Muhammad was commanded to invite his closer relatives to come to Islam he gathered the Banu Hashim clan in a ceremony. At the banquet, he was about to invite them to Islam when Abu Lahab interrupted him, after which everyone left the banquet; the Prophet ordered Ali to invite the 40 people again. The second time, Muhammad invited them to join, he said to them, I offer thanks to God for His mercies. I praise God, I seek His guidance. I believe in Him and I put my trust in Him. I bear witness. God has commanded me to invite you to His religion by saying:. I, warn you, call upon you to testify that there is no god but God, that I am His messenger. O ye sons of Abdul Muttalib, no one came to you before with anything better than what I have brought to you. By accepting it, your welfare will be assured in the Hereafter. Who among you will support me in carrying out this momentous duty? Who will share the burden of this work with me?
Who will respond to my call? Who will become my vicegerent, my deputy and my wazir? Ali was the only one to answer Muhammad's call. Muhammad told him to sit down, saying, "Wait! Someone older than you might respond to my call." Muhammad asked the members of Banu Hashim a second time. Once again, Ali was the only one to respond, again, Muhammad told him to wait. Muhammad asked the members of Banu Hashim a third time. Ali was still the only volunteer; this time, Ali's offer was accepted by Muhammad. Muhammad "drew close, pressed him to his heart, said to the assembly:'This is my wazir, my successor and my vicegerent. Listen to him and obey his commands.'" In another narration, when Muhammad accepted Ali's eager offer, Muhammad "threw up his arms around the generous youth, pressed him to his bosom" and said, "Behold my brother, my vizir, my vicegerent... Let all listen to his words, obey him." Sir Richard Burton writes about the banquet in his 1898 book, saying, "It won for a proselyte worth a thousand sabers in the pers
Iraqi Kurdistan called the Kurdistan Region of Iraq by the Iraqi constitution, is an autonomous region located in northern Iraq. It is referred to as Southern Kurdistan, as Kurds consider it to be one of the four parts of Greater Kurdistan, which includes parts of southeastern Turkey, northern Syria, northwestern Iran; the region is governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government, with the capital being Erbil. Kurdistan is a parliamentary democracy with its own regional Parliament. Masoud Barzani, elected as president in 2005, was re-elected in 2009. 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 term. The new Constitution of Iraq defines the Kurdistan Region as a federal entity of Iraq, establishes Kurdish and Arabic as Iraq's joint official languages; the four governorates of Duhok, Erbil and Halabja comprise around 46,861 square kilometres and have a population of 5.9 million.
In 2014, during the 2014 Iraq Crisis, Iraqi Kurdistan's forces took over much of the disputed territories of Northern 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. Further, the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War the Iraqi Army's Al-Anfal Campaign, devastated the population and environment of Iraqi Kurdistan. Following the 1991 uprising of Kurds in the north and Shia Arabs in the south against Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Kurdistan's military forces, the Peshmerga, succeeded in pushing out the main Iraqi forces from the north. Despite significant casualties and the crisis of Kurdish refugees in bordering regions of Iran and Turkey, the Peshmerga success and the Western establishment of the northern Iraqi no-fly zone following the First Gulf War in 1991 created the basis for Kurdish self-rule and facilitated the return of refugees.
As Kurds continued to fight government troops, Iraqi forces 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 subsequent political changes led to the ratification of a new constitution in 2005. The name Kurdistan means "Land of the Kurds"; the suffix -stan is Persian for "place of" or "country". In English translations of the Constitution of Iraq, it is called "Kurdistan", four times in the phrase "region of Kurdistan" and once in the phrase "Kurdistan region"; the regional government calls it the "Kurdistan Region". The full name of the government is the "Kurdistan Regional Government", abbreviated "KRG". Kurds refer to the region as Başûrê Kurdistanê or Başûrî Kurdistan, referring to its geographical location within the whole of Kurdistan. During the Baath Party administration in the 1970s and 1980s, the region was called the "Kurdish Autonomous Region".
The Kurdistan Region is mountainous, with the highest point being a 3,611 m point known locally as Cheekha Dar. Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan include the Zagros, Sinjar Mountains, Hamrin Mountains, Mount Nisir and Qandil mountains. There are many rivers running through the region, distinguished by its fertile lands, plentiful water, picturesque nature; the Great Zab and the Little Zab flow from the east to the west in the region. The Tigris river enters Iraqi Kurdistan from Turkish Kurdistan; the mountainous nature of Iraqi Kurdistan, the difference of temperatures in its various parts, its wealth of waters make it a land of agriculture and tourism. The largest lake in the region is Lake Dukan. There are several smaller lakes, such as Darbandikhan Lake and Duhok Lake; the western and southern parts of the Kurdistan Region are not as mountainous as the east. Instead, it is rolling plains vegetated by sclerophyll scrubland. Vegetation in the region includes, oaks, platanus, olive trees, hawthorn, oriental plane, cherry plum, rose hips, pistachio trees, pear, mountain ash and Turkish pines.
The desert in the south is steppe and would feature xeric plants such as palm trees, date palm, poa, white wormwood and chenopodiaceae. Animals found in the region include the Syrian brown bear, wild boar, gray wolf, golden jackal, Indian crested porcupine, red fox, goitered gazelle, Eurasian otter, striped hyena, Persian fallow deer, onager and the Euphrates softshell turtle. Bird species include, the see-see partridge, Menetries's warbler, western jackdaw, Red-billed chough, hooded crow, European nightjar, rufous-tailed scrub robin, masked shrike and the pale rockfinch. Due to its latitude and altitude, Iraqi Kurdistan is cooler and much wetter than the rest of Iraq. Most areas in the region fall within the Mediterranean climate zone, with areas to the southwest being semi-arid. Due to the summers being less extreme, thousands of tourists from the hotter parts of Iraq come to visit the region in t
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq. The population of Baghdad, as of 2016, is 8,765,000, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world, the second largest city in Western Asia. Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time of its inception, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural and intellectual center for the Islamic world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions, as well as hosting multiethnic and multireligious environment, garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the "Centre of Learning". Baghdad was the largest city of the Middle Ages for much of the Abbasid era, peaking at a population of more than a million; the city was destroyed at the hands of the Mongol Empire in 1258, resulting in a decline that would linger through many centuries due to frequent plagues and multiple successive empires. With the recognition of Iraq as an independent state in 1938, Baghdad regained some of its former prominence as a significant center of Arab culture.
In contemporary times, the city has faced severe infrastructural damage, most due to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the subsequent Iraq War that lasted until December 2011. In recent years, the city has been subjected to insurgency attacks; the war had resulted in a substantial loss of historical artifacts as well. As of 2018, Baghdad was listed as one of the least hospitable places in the world to live, ranked by Mercer as the worst of 231 major cities as measured by quality-of-life; the name Baghdad is pre-Islamic, its origin is disputed. The site where the city of Baghdad developed has been populated for millennia. By the 8th century AD, several villages had developed there, including a Persian hamlet called Baghdad, the name which would come to be used for the Abbasid metropolis. Arab authors, realizing the pre-Islamic origins of Baghdad's name looked for its roots in Persian, they suggested various meanings, the most common of, "bestowed by God". Modern scholars tend to favor this etymology, which views the word as a compound of bagh "god" and dād "given", In Old Persian the first element can be traced to boghu and is related to Slavic bog "god", while the second can be traced to dadāti.
A similar term in Middle Persian is the name Mithradāt, known in English by its Hellenistic form Mithridates, meaning "gift of Mithra". There are a number of other locations in the wider region whose names are compounds of the word bagh, including Baghlan and Bagram in Afghanistan or a village called Bagh-šan in Iran; the name of the town Baghdati in Georgia shares the same etymological origins. A few authors have suggested older origins for the name, in particular the name Bagdadu or Hudadu that existed in Old Babylonian, the Babylonian Talmudic name of a place called "Baghdatha"; some scholars suggested Aramaic derivations. When the Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur, founded a new city for his capital, he chose the name Madinat al-Salaam or City of Peace; this was the official name on coins and other official usage, although the common people continued to use the old name. By the 11th century, "Baghdad" became the exclusive name for the world-renowned metropolis. After the fall of the Umayyads, the first Muslim dynasty, the victorious Abbasid rulers wanted their own capital from which they could rule.
They chose a site north of the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon, on 30 July 762 the caliph Al-Mansur commissioned the construction of the city. It was built under the supervision of the Barmakids. Mansur believed that Baghdad was the perfect city to be the capital of the Islamic empire under the Abbasids. Mansur loved the site so much he is quoted saying: "This is indeed the city that I am to found, where I am to live, where my descendants will reign afterward"; the city's growth was helped by its excellent location, based on at least two factors: it had control over strategic and trading routes along the Tigris, it had an abundance of water in a dry climate. Water exists on both the north and south ends of the city, allowing all households to have a plentiful supply, uncommon during this time. Baghdad eclipsed Ctesiphon, the capital of the Sassanians, located some 30 km to the southeast. Today, all that remains of Ctesiphon is the shrine town of Salman Pak, just to the south of Greater Baghdad.
Ctesiphon itself had replaced and absorbed Seleucia, the first capital of the Seleucid Empire, which had earlier replaced the city of Babylon. According to the traveler Ibn Battuta, Baghdad was one of the largest cities, not including the damage it has received; the residents are Hanbal. Bagdad is home to the grave of Abu Hanifa where there is a cell and a mosque above it; the Sultan of Bagdad, Abu Said Bahadur Khan, was a Tartar king. In its early years, the city was known as a deliberate reminder of an expression in the Qur'an, when it refers to Paradise, it took four years to build. Mansur assembled engineers and art constructionists from around the world to come together and draw up plans for the city. Over 100,000 construction workers came to survey the plans. July was chosen as the starting time because two astrologers, Naubakht Ahva
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was President of Iraq from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization the Iraqi Ba'ath Party—which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and socialism—Saddam played a key role in the 1968 coup that brought the party to power in Iraq; as vice president under the ailing General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, at a time when many groups were considered capable of overthrowing the government, Saddam created security forces through which he controlled conflicts between the government and the armed forces. In the early 1970s, Saddam nationalized oil and foreign banks leaving the system insolvent due to the Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War, UN sanctions. Through the 1970s, Saddam cemented his authority over the apparatus of government as oil money helped Iraq's economy to grow at a rapid pace. Positions of power in the country were filled with Sunni Arabs, a minority that made up only a fifth of the population.
Saddam formally rose to power in 1979, although he had been the de facto head of Iraq for several years. He suppressed several movements Shi'a and Kurdish movements which sought to overthrow the government or gain independence and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War. Whereas some in the Arab world lauded Saddam for opposing the United States and attacking Israel, he was condemned for the brutality of his dictatorship; the total number of Iraqis killed by the security services of Saddam's government in various purges and genocides is conservatively estimated to be 250,000, or liberally estimated at 1.5 million. Saddam's invasions of Iran and Kuwait resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, he acquired the title "Butcher of Baghdad". In 2003, a coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, in which U. S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair falsely accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda.
Saddam's Ba'ath party was disbanded and elections were held. Following his capture on 13 December 2003, the trial of Saddam took place under the Iraqi Interim Government. On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted by an Iraqi court of crimes against humanity related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'a, sentenced to death by hanging, he was executed on 30 December 2006. Before he was born, cancer killed both Saddam's brother; these deaths so depressed Saddam's mother that she attempted to abort her pregnancy and commit suicide. When her son was born, Sabha "would have nothing to do with him", Saddam was taken in by an uncle, his mother remarried, Saddam gained three half-brothers through this marriage. His stepfather, Ibrahim al-Hassan, treated Saddam harshly after his return. At about age 10, Saddam fled the family and returned to live in Baghdad with his uncle Kharaillah Talfah. Talfah, the father of Saddam's future wife, was a devout Sunni Muslim and a veteran of the 1941 Anglo-Iraqi War between Iraqi nationalists and the United Kingdom, which remained a major colonial power in the region.
In his life relatives from his native Tikrit became some of his closest advisors and supporters. Under the guidance of his uncle he attended a nationalistic high school in Baghdad. After secondary school Saddam studied at an Iraqi law school for three years, dropping out in 1957 at the age of 20 to join the revolutionary pan-Arab Ba'ath Party, of which his uncle was a supporter. During this time, Saddam supported himself as a secondary school teacher. Revolutionary sentiment was characteristic throughout the Middle East. In Iraq progressives and socialists assailed traditional political elites. Moreover, the pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt profoundly influenced young Ba'athists like Saddam; the rise of Nasser foreshadowed a wave of revolutions throughout the Middle East in the 1950s and 1960s, with the collapse of the monarchies of Iraq and Libya. Nasser inspired nationalists throughout the Middle East by fighting the British and the French during the Suez Crisis of 1956, modernizing Egypt, uniting the Arab world politically.
In 1958, a year after Saddam had joined the Ba'ath party, army officers led by General Abd al-Karim Qasim overthrew Faisal II of Iraq in the 14 July Revolution. Of the 16 members of Qasim's cabinet, 12 were Ba'ath Party members. To strengthen his own position within the government, Qasim created an alliance with the Iraqi Communist Party, opposed to any notion of pan-Arabism; that year, the Ba'ath Party leadership was planning to assassinate Qasim. Saddam was a leading member of the operation. At the time, the Ba'ath Party was more of an ideological experiment than a strong anti-government fighting machine; the majority of its members were either educated professionals or students, Saddam fit the bill. The choice of Saddam was, according to historian Con Coughlin, "hardly surprising"; the idea of assassinating Qasim may have been Nasser's, there is speculation that some of those who participated in the operation received training in Damascus, part of the UAR. However, "no evidence has been produced to implicate Nasser directly in the plot."
The assassination attempt was conceived as revenge for communist massacres that killed h
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq
The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq is an Iraqi Shia Islamist Iraqi political party. It was established in Iran in 1982 by Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim and its political support comes from Iraq's Shia Muslim community. Prior to his assassination in August 2003, SCIRI was led by Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim. After Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's death in 2009 his son Ammar al-Hakim became the group's new leader. In light of its gains in the three 2005 elections and government appointments, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council became one of Iraq's most powerful political parties and was the largest party in the Iraqi Council of Representatives until the 2010 Iraqi elections, where it lost support due to Nuri Al-Maliki's political party rise. ISCI's militia wing was the Badr Brigade, where the party used it during the Iraq Civil War of 2006–2007. After the civil war, Badr Brigade turned into a political force of itself and left ISCI, although the two continue to be part of a coalition in Iraq's parliament. After the departure of Badr Brigade, ISCI created.
Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq was founded in Iran in 1982 during the Iran–Iraq War after the leading Islamist insurgent group, Islamic Dawa Party, was weakened by an Iraqi government crackdown following Dawa's unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. SCIRI was the umbrella body for two Iran-based Shia Islamist groups and the Islamic Action Organisation led by Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi. Another of SCIRI's founders was Ayatollah Hadi al-Modarresi, the leader the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain; the Iranian Islamic revolutionary government arranged for the formation of SCIRI, based in exile in Tehran and under the leadership of Mohammad-Baqir al-Hakim. Hakim, living in exile in Iran, was the son of Ayatollah Mohsen-Hakim and a member of one of the leading Shia clerical families in Iraq. "He declared the primary aim of the council to be the overthrow of the Ba'ath and the establishment of an Islamic government in Iraq. Iranian officials referred to Hakim as the leader of Iraq's future Islamic state..."However, there are crucial ideological differences between SCIRI and al-Dawa.
SCIRI supports the ideologies of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that Islamic Government must be controlled by the ulema. Al-Dawa, on the other hand, follows the position of Iraq's late Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr, al-Dawa co-founder, that government should be controlled by the ummah. Despite this ideological disagreement, several of SCIRI's factions came from al-Dawa before the 2003 invasion of Iraq; this historical intersection is significant because al-Dawa was viewed as a terrorist group during the Iran–Iraq War. In February 2007, journalists reported that Jamal Jaafar Muhammed, elected to the Iraqi parliament in 2005 as part of the SCIRI/Badr faction of the United Iraqi Alliance, was sentenced to death in Kuwait for planning the al-Dawa bombings of the French and American embassies in that country in 1983. With the fall of Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Iraq, SCIRI rose to prominence in Iraq, working with the other Shia parties, it gained popularity among Shiite Iraqis by providing social services and humanitarian aid, following the pattern of Islamic organizations in other countries such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
SCIRI is alleged to receive money and weapons from Iran, is accused of being a proxy for Iranian interests. The party leaders have toned down many of the party's public positions and committed it to democracy and peaceful cooperation. SCIRI's power base is in the Shia-majority southern Iraq; the council's armed wing, the Badr Organization has had an estimated strength of between 4,000 and 10,000 men. Its Baghdad offices are based in a house that belonged to Ba'athist Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, its leader, Ayatollah al-Hakim, was killed in a car bomb attack in the Iraqi city of Najaf on August 29, 2003. The car bomb exploded as the ayatollah was leaving a religious shrine in the city, just after Friday prayers, killing more than 85. According to Kurdish Intelligence officials, Yassin Jarad Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's father-in-law, carried out the car bombing. In the Shia Islamist–dominated government in post-invasion Iraq, SCIRI controlled the Interior Ministry; the Iraqi Interior Minister, Bayan Jabr, was a former leader of SCIRI's Badr Brigade militia.
In 2006 the United Nations human rights chief in Iraq, John Pace, said that every month hundreds of Iraqis were being tortured to death or executed by the Interior Ministry under SCIRI's control. According to a 2006 report by the Independent newspaper:'Mr Pace said the Ministry of the Interior was "acting as a rogue element within the government", it is controlled by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Another is the Mehdi Army of the young cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, part of the Shia coalition seeking to form a government after winning the mid-December election. Many of the 110,000 policemen and police commandos under the ministry's control are suspected of being former members of the Badr Brigade. Not only counter-insurgency units such as the Wolf Brigade, the Scorpions and the Tigers, but the commandos and the highway patrol p
Iran called Persia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2, it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, to the west by Turkey and Iraq; the country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center. Iran is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BCE, it was first unified by the Iranian Medes in the seventh century BCE, reaching its greatest territorial size in the sixth century BCE, when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire, which stretched from Eastern Europe to the Indus Valley, becoming one of the largest empires in history.
The Iranian realm fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and was divided into several Hellenistic states. An Iranian rebellion culminated in the establishment of the Parthian Empire, succeeded in the third century CE by the Sasanian Empire, a leading world power for the next four centuries. Arab Muslims conquered the empire in the seventh century CE; the Islamization of Iran led to the decline of Zoroastrianism, by the country's dominant religion, Iran's major contributions to art and science spread within the Muslim rule during the Islamic Golden Age. After two centuries, a period of various native Muslim dynasties began, which were conquered by the Seljuq Turks and the Ilkhanate Mongols; the rise of the Safavids in the 15th century led to the reestablishment of a unified Iranian state and national identity, with the country's conversion to Shia Islam marking a turning point in Iranian and Muslim history. Under Nader Shah, Iran was one of the most powerful states in the 18th century, though by the 19th century, a series of conflicts with the Russian Empire led to significant territorial losses.
The Iranian Constitutional Revolution in the early 20th century led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the country's first legislature. A 1953 coup instigated by the United Kingdom and the United States resulted in greater autocracy and growing Western political influence. Subsequent widespread dissatisfaction and unrest against the monarchy led to the 1979 Revolution and the establishment of an Islamic republic, a political system that includes elements of a parliamentary democracy vetted and supervised by a theocracy governed by an autocratic "Supreme Leader". During the 1980s, the country was engaged in a war with Iraq, which lasted for eight years and resulted in a high number of casualties and economic losses for both sides; the sovereign state of Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power, its large reserves of fossil fuels – which include the world's largest natural gas supply and the fourth largest proven oil reserves – exert considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy.
The country's rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the third largest number in Asia and 11th largest in the world. Iran is a multicultural country comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris and Lurs. Organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized Iran's women's rights record; the term Iran derives directly from Middle Persian Ērān, first attested in a third-century inscription at Rustam Relief, with the accompanying Parthian inscription using the term Aryān, in reference to the Iranians. The Middle Iranian ērān and aryān are oblique plural forms of gentilic nouns ēr- and ary-, both deriving from Proto-Iranian *arya-, recognized as a derivative of Proto-Indo-European *ar-yo-, meaning "one who assembles". In the Iranian languages, the gentilic is attested as a self-identifier, included in ancient inscriptions and the literature of the Avesta, remains in other Iranian ethnic names Alan and Iron.
Iran has been referred to as Persia by the West, due to the writings of Greek historians who referred to all of Iran as Persís, meaning "land of the Persians", while Persis itself was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, today defined as Fars. As the most extensive interaction the Ancient Greeks had with any outsider was with the Persians, the term persisted long after the Greco-Persian Wars. In 1935, Reza Shah requested the international community to refer to the country by its native name, effective March 22 that year; as The New York Times explained at the time, "At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country." Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably. Today, both Iran and Persia are used in cultural contexts, while Iran remains irreplaceab
Arabs are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands, they form a significant diaspora, with Arab communities established around the world. The first mention of Arabs is from the mid-ninth century BCE as a tribal people in eastern and southern Syria and the north of the Arabian Peninsula; the Arabs appear to have been under the vassalage of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the succeeding Neo-Babylonian, Achaemenid and Parthian empires. Arab tribes, most notably the Ghassanids and Lakhmids, begin to appear in the southern Syrian Desert from the mid 3rd century CE onward, during the mid to stages of the Roman and Sasanian empires. Before the expansion of the Rashidun Caliphate, "Arab" referred to any of the nomadic and settled Semitic people from the Arabian Peninsula, Syrian Desert, North and Lower Mesopotamia. Today, "Arab" refers to a large number of people whose native regions form the Arab world due to the spread of Arabs and the Arabic language throughout the region during the early Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries and the subsequent Arabisation of indigenous populations.
The Arabs forged the Rashidun, Umayyad and the Fatimid caliphates, whose borders reached southern France in the west, China in the east, Anatolia in the north, the Sudan in the south. This was one of the largest land empires in history. In the early 20th century, the First World War signalled the end of the Ottoman Empire; this resulted in the defeat and dissolution of the empire and the partition of its territories, forming the modern Arab states. Following the adoption of the Alexandria Protocol in 1944, the Arab League was founded on 22 March 1945; the Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland whilst respecting the individual sovereignty of its member states. Today, Arabs inhabit the 22 Arab states within the Arab League: Algeria, Comoros, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen; the Arab world stretches around 13 million km2, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast.
Beyond the boundaries of the League of Arab States, Arabs can be found in the global diaspora. The ties that bind Arabs are ethnic, cultural, identical, nationalist and political; the Arabs have their own customs, architecture, literature, dance, cuisine, society and mythology. The total number of Arabs are an estimated 450 million. Arabs are a diverse group in terms of religious practices. In the pre-Islamic era, most Arabs followed polytheistic religions; some tribes had adopted Christianity or Judaism, a few individuals, the hanifs observed monotheism. Today, about 93% of Arabs are adherents of Islam, there are sizable Christian minorities. Arab Muslims belong to the Sunni, Shiite and Alawite denominations. Arab Christians follow one of the Eastern Christian Churches, such as the Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic churches. Other smaller minority religions are followed, such as the Bahá'í Faith and Druze. Arabs have influenced and contributed to diverse fields, notably the arts and architecture, philosophy, ethics, politics, music, cinema, medicine and technology in the ancient and modern history.
The earliest documented use of the word "Arab" to refer to a people appears in the Kurkh Monoliths, an Akkadian language record of the ninth century BCE Assyrian conquest of Aram, which referred to Bedouins of the Arabian Peninsula under King Gindibu, who fought as part of a coalition opposed to Assyria. Listed among the booty captured by the army of king Shalmaneser III of Assyria in the Battle of Qarqar are 1000 camels of "Gi-in-di-bu'u the ar-ba-a-a" or " Gindibu belonging to the Arab; the related word ʾaʿrāb is used to refer to Bedouins today, in contrast to ʿarab which refers to Arabs in general. The term Arab and ʾaʿrāb are mentioned around 40 times in pre-Islamic Sabaean inscriptions; the term Arab occurs in the titles of the Himyarite kings from the time of'Abu Karab Asad until MadiKarib Ya'fur. The term ʾaʿrāb is driven from the term Arab according to Sabaean grammar; the term is mentioned in Quranic verses referring to people who were living in Madina and it might be a south Arabian loan-word into Quranic language.
The oldest surviving indication of an Arab national identity is an inscription made in an archaic form of Arabic in 328 using the Nabataean alphabet, which refers to Imru' al-Qays ibn'Amr as "King of all the Arabs". Herodotus refers to the Arabs in the Sinai, southern Palestine, the frankincense region. Other ancient Greek historians like Agatharchides, Diodorus Siculus and Strabo mention Arabs living in Mesopotamia, in Egypt, southern Jordan, the Syrian steppe and in eastern Arabia. Inscriptions dating to the 6th century BCE in Yemen include the term "Arab"; the most popular Arab account holds that the word "Arab" came from an eponymous father called Ya'rub, the first to speak Arabic. A