Iraq is a country with different influences from surrounding countries like Turkey, Kuwait, Iran and others. With many different influences comes many different languages and dialects that Iraq incorporates into their own language. According to The World Fact Book, 75%-80% of the population 37,056,169 in Iraq are Arab, 15-20% are Kurdish, and 5% of the population are Turkoman, Assyrian, or other. 99% of the population is Muslim, with the Shia making up 60-65% and the Sunni making up 32-37%. The next religion is Christianity with .8%, Hindu, Buddhism, Judaism, folk religions, unaffiliated people, and others fall under less than .1%. Since most of the population in Iraq is Muslim and either Arab or Kurdish, Arabic and Kurdish are the official languages of Iraq with Turkmen (Turkish dialect), Assyrian, and Armenian as other spoken languages.
Because the majority of the population is Arab and Muslim, minority groups and non-Muslims always have little information on them and their culture. Two minority or indigenous cultures of Iraq are the Marsh dwellers and the Yezidi, mentioned in my first post. The Marsh dwellers are sub-group of the Arab community (Arabic as the official language) that mainly inhabit the Mesopotamian marshlands, interconnected lakes, mudflats, and wetlands of modern-day southern Iraq and Iran. These dwellers traditionally have constructed artificial islands and have depended on fishing, hunting, and rice and date cultivation to survive. Most of the population of these dwellers has decreased since the 2003 war and the Saddam Hussein regime, leaving about 80,000 in Iraq and others spread out around the world.
The Yezidi are a severely poor oppressed people that have the longest surviving ancient religion. Residing in northern Iraq with about 500,000 and many others spread around the world, Yezidis mainly speak Kurmanji, a northern Kurdish dialect that may become nonexistent in the future. Recently, the Yezidi community and other minority groups have been persecuted by ISIS. The Yezidi population in Iraq is slowly falling, and since one cannot convert to Yezidism and can only be born into it, it may soon become nonexistent with ISIS’s continued attacks. According to Fox News article, ‘Iraq’s Christians, Yezidi say Kurds failed them in fight against ISIS’ Yezidi and other minority groups in Iraq are not getting help in the fight against ISIS, “No one is protecting the minorities, they are all only protecting their own interests,” a representative from the global advocacy group Stand with Assyria told FoxNews.com. Even though there is severe prejudice against Marsh dwellers and the Yezidi people, there are still no laws protecting their rights as of yet.
With all the turmoil and internal conflicts that Iraq has, many people may not realize that Iraq is a part of international organizations like the IMF, UN, or the WTO. Iraq joined the IMF (International Monetary Fund) on December 27, 1945 and has since been helping assist Iraq in strengthening economic institutions and advising the Iraqi government on economic policies and reforms, stated by the IMF. Recently, a request for a SMP (Staff-Monitored Program) has been approved by the IMF for Iraq. This SMP will aim to help the Iraqi government, economy, and its budget problems since the recent ISIS attacks and drop in global oil prices.
Iraq has been in talks about finally joining the WTO (World Trade Organization). In the past, the WTO has been unwilling could have been hesitant to accept Iraq as a member because of Millennium goals that had been set up for the country With the recent conflicts happening, it would seem that Iraq would never be fit for the WTO, but it seems that things are finally looking up for them. Hashem Hatem told AKnews that Iraq is working to a well-prepared plan to raise its status from observing member to permanent member of the WTO without affecting the country’s internal economic situation. In the article ‘Iraq is now eligible to enter the World Trade Organization’, Ghalibi added in a press statement: “Iraq is qualified now to enter the World Trade Organization because of its transformation into what is known as a market economy, despite the positive effects that may affect the economy in Iraq if it were to enter the WTO, that the government has taken a number of measures and controls that facilitate the way for her entry into the WTO including the enactment of important laws contribute to the development of the Iraqi economy.” There is some light in this dark, chaotic country.