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Yearbook 2016

Iraq. During the year, the Iraqi military pushed the Islamic State (IS) from much of the territory occupied by the terrorist sect in 2014 and 2015. At the beginning of the year, after a long offensive control over Ramadi, the capital of the Sunni-dominated province of Anbar in the west, was secured. The devastation of the city was reported to be enormous, worse than anywhere else in Iraq so far. Much was destroyed during eight months by the US-led alliance's aerial bombings and Iraqi artillery field, and IS blasted and destabilized many remaining buildings during its retreat.

2016 Iraq

Since Ramadi was captured, Iraqi forces surrounded al-Falluja, on the road between Ramadi and Baghdad. In May, an offensive was launched against the city and in June IS was reported to have been driven away. Around 80,000 civilians fled from al-Fallujah during the fighting.

According to countryaah, the current population of Iraq is 40,222,504. The long-awaited offensive to take back Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and IS's last major stronghold in Iraq, began in October. In total, over 100,000 combatants were estimated: Iraqi government soldiers, Kurdish peshmerga forces, and mainly Shia Muslim militia groups. Support was provided by the US-led alliance, which included some 60 nations, based on an air base six miles from the city. In the first few weeks, more than 100 villages and small communities were liberated outside the city and then the attack was started against Mosul itself, where 1.5 million residents are estimated to be located and perhaps 5,000 IS warriors.

Iraq Population

The offensive against Mosul triggered a wave of unprecedented suicide bombings - more than 100 suicide bombers must have attacked the advancing soldiers over the course of a few weeks. Often they used cars packed with explosives that were driven at high speed to the enemy. IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a statement, ordered his forces to stand and not retreat. There were reports that tens of thousands of people were held as human shields in Mosul and that IS warriors entrenched themselves in a widespread network of tunnels under the city.

The fighting around Iraq triggered new refugee flows during the year. In total, 3.8 million Iraqis were estimated to have been displaced from their homes since IS proclaimed its caliphate in 2014.

In addition to the fighting, IS carried out a long series of terrorist attacks during the year, often by suicide bombers and often with double-digit deaths. Iraq was the country in the world most affected by terrorist activity. The victims were often civilian Shia Muslims, whom the Sunni Muslims in IS considered to be apostates. The deadliest single act, which occurred in July, claimed the lives of 300 people when an explosive charge exploded in the Shi'ite Muslim area of Karada in Baghdad.

In total, about 15,000 Iraqi civilians were estimated to have been killed in acts of violence during the first eleven months of the year.

After the terrorist attack in Karada, Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghabban resigned and later in July several ministers left the government. In August, Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi, who was suspected of corruption, was deposed. The country thus stood without the regular chief of defense for the Mosul offensive. A month later, Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari was allowed to go, also accused of bribery. It was considered to risk exacerbating the already strained economic situation, with war economy, continued low oil prices and a massive budget deficit. During the year, Zebari had successfully negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a billion loan in exchange for economic reform. The settlement was expected to release a total of $ 18 billion in aid over three years.

In October, Parliament voted unexpectedly through a ban on import, manufacture and sale of alcohol, which was justified by the fact that laws under the Constitution must not conflict with Islam. Opponents appealed against the law, claiming it constituted a violation of religious freedom.

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