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Talk:Iraq

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For future reference the Wikitravel:CIA World Factbook 2002 import can be found at Talk:Iraq/CIA World Factbook 2002 import.


Change to 'Understand' section[edit]

I've changed the following paragraph: The next twenty-five years took a grinding toll in the country, with a lengthy war with neighbouring Iran and sanctions following the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Iraq was invaded in 2004 by a coalition of forces, principally including the United States, United Kingdom, Poland and Australia, who removed the ruling regime. After a period of military occupation, sovereignty was transferred to a new Iraqi government in June 2004.

Iraq was invaded in 2003, not 2004. The invasion was led by the US. Iraq is still under occupation and sovereignty is not transferred to puppet governments. Christiaan 10.44, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Also changed this paragraph: The security situation is perilous in most areas of the country, and continues to deteriorate. A process of reconstruction is now taking place in Iraq. However, underground resistance to the Coalition Forces and the new governing council means guerrilla warfare, acts of terrorism, and kidnapping of foreign workers are ongoing problems.

Reconstruction is not taking place. Of the construction taking place most involves the building of US military installments. "Coalition Forces" is a term used by the western media. Much of the rest of the world calls it what it is, an occupation. Christiaan 10.54, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)

For the most part, I view your changes as non-neutral in tone and point of view. I will however work on toning down the emphasis that "sovergeinty has been transfered" since that at least appears more symbolic than factual. It might be a useful compromise to simply rip out recent history since only a moron goes to Iraq these days without knowing recent history, and we could then duck the entire issue until there is a democratically elected government in Iraq. -- Colin 23:03, 14 Nov 2004 (EST)
Okay, I took a shot at it. Please have a look and comment. Keep in mind that the important thing is to provide the traveller with information he actually needs. For example, the provisional government is a real problem for the traveller if they must get a visa, and the provisional govt is not issuing visas. -- Colin 23:17, 14 Nov 2004 (EST)
Alright I've made some more edits. For the most part I also view your changes as non-neutral. It was a US-led invasion - this is factual, not POV. It's important for travellers to realise that it was a US-led invasion (without the US this invasion would not have taken place) as this has a bearing on how certain people might expect to be treated while in Iraq. To say that Iraq was invaded by a "coalition of forces" is to suggest that its members wanted to invade and subsequently formed a coalition. In fact it was the US administration that wanted to invade (along with Tony Blair), so they attempted to form a coalition (much of it through bribery and blackmail) afer being snubbed by the UN. It might even be useful to explain to travellers that the invasion was not endorsed by the UN and therefore illegal under international law.
There is no grey area when it comes to sovereignty. Sovereign, by definition, is complete independence. Therefore anything other than complete independence is not sovereignty. The IGC is an executive that has been hand-selected by the invaders. It is in fact very clear how much power this executive has; the US government holds a veto on any decision. Far from sovereign.
It's not been a requirement to get a visa since the executive was installed. A visa has always been required to travel to Iraq.
It continues to be a military occupation - this is clearly evidenced by the fact that the construction taking place in Iraq at the moment is that of US military bases. And it belies the extremely dangerous situation on the ground to suggest that "a process of reconstruction is taking place". There is in fact a growing resistance taking place in the form of a guerilla war. To suggest a process of reconstruction is taking place is to critically misrepresent the situation to travellers.
I am uninterested in your political positions as they differ significantly from mine. I doubt you are much interested in mine. So I just won't go there if that's okay with you :-)
I appreciate many of your gramatical changes to the text. They help and are clear improvements.
I had some questions on your facts, so I visited Wikipedia. When you write in this article Iraqi Governing Council, I assume you mean the WikiPedia:Iraq Interim Governing Council which was disbanded upon the creation of WikiPedia:Iraq interim government. I deliberately ducked naming the government in my version cause I didn't know the name.
Wikipedia claims the current Iraqi government is recognized by the U.S., the United Nations, the Arab League and several other countries as being the sovereign government of Iraq. So while I think this implies that the word sovereign could be used, I also am uncomfortable with this usage so I added the phrase though it is unclear how much freedom of action this new government has to my version to at least make the mess visible to the traveler. I figure if we lay the ambigiuity bare to the reader of this article and make darn clear where the ambiguities lie, we are doing our job and making this the traveller's problem.
As for why I want the word sovereign in there at all, I think what is important is that we emphasis for the traveller that the interim-whateveritis may have some actual power over the traveller. The traveller needs a heads-up that they really do need to pay attention to both the interm-foo and the coalition.
Real reconstruction is occuring in some parts of the country. Kurdish areas are not a problem. But I think it's irrelevant to the traveller so how about we delete any mention of the reconstruction?
As for who picked the current government, it was done with the explicit consent of the UN. But a) it's unclear how the politics of that happened and b) I'm not sure it matters to the traveller. So again I ducked the issue by saying "it exists". In my view, the only reason for us to talk about this is to emphasize to the traveler that the coalition may or may not protect the traveller from the government; so again it's a warning to the traveller that they must not ignore the government, regardless of its origin.
So in summary, I'm not interested in justifying US actions, Coalition actions, US-Centric coalition issues, the authority or meanings of UN resolutions, or the moral authority of the government du-jour. I'm interested in making it darn clear that the traveller should a) watch their step, b) assume that in any situation, the coalition may claim authority and the traveller shouldn't count on appealing to any authority to overrule the coalition, and c) assume that in any situation, the interim government may claim authority and the traveller shouldn't count on appealing to any authority to overrule the interim government.
Anything that doesn't server the traveller should be deleted. (And no, I'm not saying everything you wrote doesn't server the traveller, I'm just trying to espouse the general principle we should guide the text with). -- Colin 22:04, 15 Nov 2004 (EST)
So while I was busy typing that stuff above, it looks like Evan rewrote sections for formatting and rewrote stuff to enhance the danger versus the politics. I can live with that. -- Colin 22:17, 15 Nov 2004 (EST)


I've added some of my experience from traveling in Iraq. I'm new here so if I've totally screwed this up, let me know! -- Jake
Looks fine. I just moved the drinking water situation to stay safe. And deleted the advice to brush with contaminated water because I do not believe in it. Besides it would not be specific to Iraq. I am not an expert on this, but we should have a solid medical reference before telling travelers to but contaminated water in their mouth. -- elgaard 10:10, 26 Apr 2005 (EDT)
Ah, I see. Alright, that makes sense. Is there an IRC channel for wikitravel? Also, I'm currently in Iraq, so if there is a pressing need for information, ask me questions and I'll post the updates in the main page. Also, where's a good reference for editing this wiki (with regards to shortcuts for making time stamps, etc? I'm new to wikis where I'm doing something other than an information dump. -- Jake 19:33, 26 Apr 2005 (ADT)
Your user page says you are a photographer. A few photos would be nice. And information about internet access, which you should know if you are writing from there.

Wikitravel:Help is a good reference, and IRC details are at Wikitravel:IRC channel.

Also, tap water potability is (IMHO) a clear Drink issue, perhaps with a second reference in Stay healthy. Jpatokal 11:22, 26 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Air Scotland[edit]

Regarding the removal of the Air Scotland info, and the comment that it will be relevant "in November 2005", considering it is currently so difficult to get into Iraq, wouldn't it make sense that someone using this guide would be planning a future trip, and thus information about airlines with future routes would be helpful? -- Wrh2 20:56, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT)

I agree, thus why I orignaly added it. --Admrboltz 23:08, 15 Jul 2005 (EDT)
I disagree. Until you can make reservations on Air Scotland to go to Baghdad (which you can't, now), nobody can use this information to make real plans. Also, if we leave speculative information in the guides, we have to be extra-careful to see the predictions stay current ("now it's planned for Dec 2005... now it's Mar 2006... Now they'll just be flying to Damascus instead..."). Rather than giving info on a scenario that exists in a company press release, why don't we instead concentrate on the zillions of routes, attractions, restaurants, museums, bars, hotels, lakes and villages that do exist, right now? --Evan 11:21, 16 Jul 2005 (EDT)
I disagree with your disagreement. If somebody comes across the article in Nov 2005 while making "real plans", they can at least give Air Scotland a call and see what's up. (And if they're really nice, they can update the article again!). Jpatokal 00:56, 17 Jul 2005 (EDT)
I'll try putting in some compromise text. Revise at will. --Evan 15:40, 17 Jul 2005 (EDT)
Looks good. For destinations served by only one or two airlines it seems like useful information to know that another airline might be joining the mix and that it could be worthwhile waiting a few months to buy tickets. Also, given a similar time-sensitive example like the constantly changing road-closure information in the Death Valley article (updated by at least three different people), it doesn't seem unreasonable to think that contributors will also keep this information current. -- Wrh2 16:02, 17 Jul 2005 (EDT)
I think my main concern is cluttering destination guides with lots of text that's not practical travel information. Rumors and press releases (is there a difference?) don't really fall inside my definition of "practical". --Evan 16:58, 17 Jul 2005 (EDT)
Would it be acceptable to modify the Wikitravel:Accommodation listings, Wikitravel:Restaurant listings and Wikitravel:Bar listings articles with a note that clarifies this issue by saying something like the following: "If a restaurant/accomodation/bar is not yet open or accepting reservations it should not be included in the article. An exception may be made for destinations that have two or fewer restaurants/accomodations/bars in the entire destination (for example "While there is currently no accomodation on Weddell Island, the owners of the lodge on Sea Lion Island plan to open a 10 room hotel in the spring of 2006")." It seems reasonable that people would want to know if there may be at least one or two options when they arrive. This could also apply to plane/bus/boat options, although I didn't see an obvious place to add that info. -- Wrh2 18:02, 17 Jul 2005 (EDT)

Politicality[edit]

'Terrorist': subjective; 'insurgent', less so.

I'd say resistance or rebel maybe? 82.43.244.187 16:14, 2 February 2007 (EST)

Twice over[edit]

This blog post cracked me up. A graphic mockup of our advice on how to blend in in Iraq. --Evan 00:09, 17 December 2006 (EST)

Do you know the blogger? -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 00:14, 17 December 2006 (EST)
Google knows all. And it'll email you about stuff you're interested in if you ask it nicely. -- Colin 00:19, 17 December 2006 (EST)

Carry A Weapon[edit]

Does anyone else realise that encouraging travellers to carry weapons in a foreign country is immoral, I did charity work in Baghdad in early 2006 and found the Iraqi Government and some of the Sectarian factions offered protection services which were adequate, lets say that! 82.43.244.187 14:31, 2 February 2007 (EST)

Hmmm, I'm not too concerned about "morality" but I am wondering if it's good advice. A gun doesn't get you much protection if a)everyone else has one and b)you don't know how to use it. Could packing heat actually make you more of a target? I'd think so. Maybe something more along the lines of "If you do not have training and experience protecting yourself in a combat zone, be sure to arrange for protection from the government or private companies." If there are no objections, I'll plunge forwardMaj 14:48, 2 February 2007 (EST)
I object. These are recommendations that have already been discussed. This is also a good way to remind people to either plan on (a) learning, (b) be prepared to rely on others of dubious loyalty or (c) DON'T GO. -- Colin 15:00, 2 February 2007 (EST)
Encouraging travelers to carry weapons is not necessarily immoral -- see Svalbard for an example. Presumably visitors to Svalbard who have qualms against firearms will simply choose to avoid situations where that would be required. The same principle applies here. -- Colin 15:00, 2 February 2007 (EST)
But seriously, here we're advising the use of firearms against nationals of said nation, simply because they are trying to defend their independence - I'm sure that kind of thing violates some international law or other. Licensed security organisations are quite adequate. 82.43.244.187 15:03, 2 February 2007 (EST)
I don't think it violates a law in an essentially lawless country. Will it make you prone to attacks? I'm not sure, one could argue for both camps. A contractor I met in Warsaw, who had spent most of the past year in Baghdad told me because of the situation he was required to carry a weapon at all times. Defending their independence seems like a very ridiculous stretch of reality. Its more like a lot of people are committing genocide and others are trying to survive. I'd tell travelers about the options you mention, but leave in the info as an alternative. If it comes to me and an murderer, I'm making sure I'm the one that walks way. -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 15:33, 2 February 2007 (EST)
We had a detailed discussion about this a while back on the Afghanistan talk page... I was very much opposed to suggesting carrying weapons, but I've left it alone with Iraq since it's (for the most part) in a much more volatile state... but I do think that Maj's suggested text above (or something similar) is a very good compromise... I vote for replacing it with that. ::: Cacahuate 01:08, 3 February 2007 (EST)
I do think that failing to mention security services is a mistake -- that should be placed as more important than carrying a weapon. But I still think the carry a weapon should be said so that the traveler will at least think about it. So if we could rewrite it to emphasize the security services and then mention a weapon as almost an afterthought, I'd support that. -- Colin 15:38, 3 February 2007 (EST)
The text that has been reverted is the following:
You should never travel alone. Always travel with a translator/guard, if possible, there are comprehensive security services both private and state available for your personal protection - you are strongly advised to use the available options for your own safety. If no security personnel are available, it may be advisable to carry a weapon of some sort, for example a revolver or stun weapon.
That seems vastly more informative than the original and also addresses the "carry a weapon" concern. It also seems more realistic - were I a contractor in Iraq, I just can't see myself walking around with an AK-47 over a shoulder; even though I know how to fire a handgun, I'd feel much safer if someone who did so professionally was watching my back. I'd like to see the updated text restored as soon as possible (perhaps changing "may be advisable" to "is advisable") unless anyone has any specific objections to the change. -- Ryan 15:57, 3 February 2007 (EST)
I agree, obviously considering it was my change... the lines of you must carry guns at all times is slightly innapropriate - any objections to revert? -- MiddleEastern 17:46, 3 February 2007 (EST)
I'm still going to have to say that (again, morality/appropriate-ness aside), I'm not sure if carrying a gun instead of real security is reasonable advice. I mean, you're taking a big risk with a team of professionals backing you up, I don't think a single traveller with or without a single gun is ever going to be a good idea here. I'd rather say "If no security personnel are available seriously reconsider your plans." Maybe we can compromise on text that mentions the possibility of self-protection via personal weapons but advises to seek professional/governmental support for any "independent" travel? If someone's with an agency that suggests packing heat, then that's their responsibility to train their people. (For the record I used to work at WHO and UNHCR and have had to read more than one briefing on mission safety-- nobody just got told to get themselves a weapon...) Maj 22:04, 3 February 2007 (EST)
I agree with Maj. Anyone working there is most likely working for an employer who is covering their safety issues. The carry a gun line can only be aimed at one group - naive travelers, precisely the same ones that should hire security. Those qualified to carry a weapon already know who they are. I propose this text:
"Independent travelers should never travel alone. Always travel with a translator/guard, if possible, there are comprehensive security services both private and state available for your personal protection - you are strongly advised to use the available options for your own safety. If employed in Iraq, consult your employer on how to handle your personal safety. Independent contractors should hire armed security and/or get proper training to handle a weapon themselves."
Again, those that are exceptions to any of this already know who they are. ::: Cacahuate 04:10, 4 February 2007 (EST)
I'm happy enough with that wording. I think training and professional support is really the only thing we can advise. No type of gun/weapon is going to give you much protection from a 1-ton-truck-bomb [1]... Maj 11:21, 4 February 2007 (EST)
(slight copyedit, wording) "Independent travelers should never travel alone. Always travel with a translator/guard. There are comprehensive private and state security services available for your personal protection - you are strongly advised to use the available options for your own safety. If employed in Iraq, consult your employer on how to handle your personal safety. Independent contractors should hire armed security and/or get proper training in appropriate protective gear and weapons."
I've inserted your wording into the article. But bear in mind that the Kurdish areas are not as dangerous, particularly for individuals whose race blends them into the population. I don't see why we are limiting the weapons advice to Independent Contractors. Could we change "Independant contractors" to something more general? -- Colin 14:33, 4 February 2007 (EST)
I've changed that to "all travellers", I think it's about alright now. :) any more ideas?MiddleEastern 14:57, 4 February 2007 (EST)

I just wanted to say that this discussion reads like a textbook perfect example of creating consensus. Good on us ;-). Maj 15:15, 4 February 2007 (EST)

Policy[edit]

The weapons issue is something I feel very strongly about, therefore I intend to propose that "encouragement of the use of firearms" be disallowed in wikitravel policy, at least if that advice is present without the mention of alternatives like trained security guards. How do I go about proposing this as policy, I can see procedure is slightly different to wikipedia so thought I should ask --MiddleEastern 18:32, 3 February 2007 (EST)

Have a look at Wikitravel:Illegal activities policy, or Wikitravel:Travelers' pub if the illegal activities policy doesn't seem appropriate. If you're proposing that policy be changed so that recommending carrying a firearm is never permitted I suspect that you'll be fighting an uphill battle as there are some legitimate cases for recommending that travelers carry a gun or other weapon - see Churchill and Svalbard for two specific examples. -- Ryan 18:38, 3 February 2007 (EST)
I've had a look round, but think it neccesary to propose some change to policy in this respect, see Wikitravel talk:Illegal activities policy, where my proposal is located - thanks --MiddleEastern 18:44, 3 February 2007 (EST)

I live in Baghdad, I'm a westerner. I will tell you that this is not only good advice for self defence, but for blending in as well. Every iraqi household invariably has one AK-47. Most males of military age have them on their person, however, it is necessary to have the proper card from the gov't unless you are a westerner. If you travel anywhere in iraq without a protective services detail or a weapon, you are plainly a simpleton. Of course I hate encouraging the use of weapons, as I abhor war and violence. But in this case it is not an encouragement so much as a statement of necessity. If you are white or black, or the religious sect of the day, you WILL be kidnapped. The people who do the kidnapping are not people, they are animals. You forfeit your humanity by doing the things they do. You carry a rifle in Africa to protect against lions or other wildlife, just as you would carry a rifle in Iraq to fight off the animals there. Even a lion gives the courtesy of killing you quickly, while these 'men' would saw your head off with a rusty dagger. This is not bias, this is not hate, this is simple fact. The situation that led up to their desperation is completely irrelevant, because the fact remains westerners are still having their heads sawn off. Is it a shame? Of course! Does that change the current facts? No. 214.13.141.100 12:38, 30 July 2007 (EDT)

Going to Baghdad as a tourist[edit]

I'm not considering this but I'm curious what is open to an international traveler once in Baghdad. Can the traveler enter the Green Zone? 66.91.225.188 18:41, 29 April 2007 (EDT)

This article[edit]

I believe this article should be brought above levels of speculations. Does anybody know that it is really safer to travel in Iraq with more people than alone for example (wouldn't several westerners attract more attention from insurgents than a single one?) Does anyone have statistics on how many tourists were kidnapped alone and how many together with other people? For that matter, does anybody have any statistics on how many tourists (i.e. not press or military supporters) were kidnapped or otherwise attacked at all? In case there are no such information these things should be removed from article and the information that "Iraq is unsafe for travellers" should be removed from other articles. South Africa for example is very dangerous too and tourists were killed and raped here, the murder rate and rape rate is highest in the world there especially Johannesburg but the articles doesn't have warnings above them despite of that. ਝܓ 13:08, 10 June 2007 (EDT)

First off, Wikitravel is not just for "tourists". Wikitravel is also for defense contractors, business travelers, heads of states, exchange students, people visiting family in different places, etc.
With regards to South Aftica's safety, if you have a problem with not including a travel warning in the South Africa and Johannesburg travel guides bring that up on the respective talk page for those articles, not on the Iraq talk page.
Also, what does it matter if there we don't provide statistics that indicate travelers to Iraq will face danger? If the country is unsafe for many Iraqis, then why wouldn't travelers be unsafe? It's a simple fact that Iraq is a dangerous place for anyone, so we've decided to alert potential travelers and anyone interested in what Wikitravel has to say that they will face danger if they travel to Iraq. For that reason I have reverted your deletion of the travel warning. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 13:27, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
Statistics are important if you tell such advices as "No traveller should ever travel alone.". No advices should be based solely on common sense of those who wrote them - common sense may lie and insurgency is different from petty crime. And regarding Johannesburg I wrote it here because a policy needs to be established what rates of harm to the tourists would constitute a warning. ਝܓ 13:41, 10 June 2007 (EDT)
I reworded it a little, but for the most part I think it's an accurate warning. Nobodies saying that things will happen to a visitor, but I can't think of a place on Earth that is significantly more dangerous than Iraq right now. Regarding Johannesburg, there are some pretty clear warnings in Johannesburg#Stay_safe. If you think they aren't accurate or need more info, propose that on the Jo'burg talk page. – cacahuate talk 15:43, 10 June 2007 (EDT)

Is anyone even aware of the fact that Iraq is safer now in comparison to 2003-2007 ? This article definitely needs alot of updating, but most importantly from people who are unbiased. There may also be a need for an article on Iraqi cuisines to be added, such an article is available on wikipedia, so maybe copy that on here? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 91.142.63.11 (talkcontribs)

Please give you best updating this, but remember - we don't want to paint a rosy picture either - we like to tell things like it is around here, not like e.g. Iraqi's catering to tourists would want it to be - Also we cannot copy content from Wikipedia - our licenses are incompatible. --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 10:33, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

tourism[edit]

i'm sure there are a few roaming around at the moment, at least in baghdad.... but sounds like travels may be cut unexpectedly short: [2]cacahuate talk 12:32, 7 February 2009 (EST)

Iraqport?[edit]

Could someone provide a citation for this think tank? I can't find it anywhere on the Internet.

Regions[edit]

Too many governorates

Currently, we are using the governorates, which is convenient and well-defined, but doesn't make much sense from a travel perspective or even an organizational perspective (16 is too many top-level regions). I don't know much about travel in the country, but war is God's way of teaching Americans geography, so I do have a few ideas about how to make this work.

First, some maps of interest for discussion:

Politically, the vogue is to think of the country's divisions in terms of Shia Arab areas, Sunni Arab areas, Baghdad/mixed, and Kurdish areas. I absolutely do not think that is a good way to break down the country, with the sole exception of Iraqi Kurdistan (currently, awkwardly, covered as Kurdistan), because it is de facto governed separately from the rest of Iraq. But then there is the intractable problem of determining its boundaries, which don't align with governorate boundaries (even if we include the Kirkuk Governorate, the Mosul area is but a small part of the Ninawa Governorate, the majority of which has nothing to do with Iraqi Kurdistan... All the same, we may just have to draw some controversial lines for the sake of our own convenience.

Since my knowledge of historical-cultural regions is very weak, I'll make a rough proposal based on geography more than anything else:

  • Mesopotamia/Land between the Rivers — the land between the rivers (the satellite map above should give a good idea of what this encompasses, H–M, P, and bits of A, N, and O). (This includes the areas between the Tigris and the Iranian border.) This one might need to be further broken down.
  • Iraqi desert — the relatively empty bulk of A, B, N, and O.
  • Iraqi Kurdistan/overly politically correct Northern Iraqi Mountains — C–F & the bit of B around Mosul.

Thoughts? --Peter Talk 02:57, 10 January 2010 (EST)

Iraqi Kurdistan should definitely be one of them, it's probably the safest travel region, much safer than the other ones. De jure it fits with the governorates, as only Duhok, Arbil and Sulaymania (C, D, E) are officially part of Iraqi Kurdistan, but in practice it doesn't fit with the governorates. So I think we should just scrap the governorates (it's not like we have enough content yet to boast so many subdivisions).
I also like the other ones, though the Mesopotamia region would by far be the most important one. But I don't see an obvious way of breaking the region up either. Maybe the area around Basra could be an idea. --globe-trotter 10:44, 10 January 2010 (EST)
Difficult one and it would be great if we had an expert on the cultural geography. Absent that, I would concur with the proposals so far and also urge for a further division of Mesopotamia. Basra would be a good starting point but I am not sure what, if anything, to the north fits with it culturally.--Burmesedays 11:48, 10 January 2010 (EST)
According to this Wikipedia article, Iraq has four —five if Baghdad Belts is included— main regions. If we are to use those regions, I propose to use the following names:
  • Iraqi Kurdistan for the Kurdish-inhabited north.
  • Al Jazira (Wikipedia article) for the region between Kurdistan in the north and Baghdad in the south (I oppose to use Mesopotamia as a name for an Iraqi region since Mesopotamia also occupies part of Syria and even a small part of Turkey in the north).
  • Central Iraq for towns and cities around Baghdad (can make use of a better naming though).
  • Iraqi Desert for western section bordering Jordan, or it can be just a part of Central Iraq.
  • Lower Mesopotamia for southern Iraq including the coast on the Persian Gulf (here, "Mesopotamia" seems appropriate, since lower half of it is nowadays completely Iraqi).
This proposal takes into account not only geographical differences but also cultural ones: Lower Mesopotamia is mostly Shia while others are dominated by Sunnis; Kurds are majority in Kurdistan etc...—Vidimian 12:40, 10 January 2010 (EST)
Seems like a great subdivision of Iraq! But what about the areas N and O in the picture? Would they go to Desert, Central Iraq or Lower Mesopotamia? --globe-trotter 13:07, 10 January 2010 (EST)
Round two
I like it, and have drawn up a new map to show how this will work (I'll fix aesthetics later). The majority of N & O should be in Iraqi Desert, but Najaf would go to Lower Mesopotamia. Baghdad Belts [4] is the popular name for the areas around the city, so it would be nice to use that.
The only problem is with the areas between the Belts, Al Jazira, and Iraqi Kurdistan. If we use the de-facto Iraqi Kurdistan boundaries, that will leave basically the whole of the Kirkuk Governorate (F) and central Diyala Governorate (H) without a home. It's quite clearly not part of any of the three regions. It might be possible to take care of this by having a more vague "Central Iraq" region, but perhaps someone else has a better idea? --Peter Talk 15:45, 10 January 2010 (EST)
Wikipedia's Baghdad Belts article says Diyala Governorate is a part of Baghdad Belts, and its capital, Baqubah, is almost as close as a suburb to Baghdad (50 km/30 mi), so I think we can seamlessly place it in Baghdad Belts.
Kirkuk is far more problematic. It's too far from Tigris to be placed in Al Jazira. Then, we have one sensible region left - Kurdistan, but Kirkuk not part of it in real world, at least officially. However, I don't know if Kurds are de facto in charge currently in the city (like whether seperate Kurdistan visas are valid there or not), and if they are, then Kirkuk should be placed in Kurdistan. Besides, our current Kurdistan article vaguely suggests that Kirkuk is already in Kurdistan (though I don't know if that article is factually correct), and if a referandum [5] takes place, it's likely that the city will officially be part of Kurdistan (though I don't know whether we should rely on this when choosing a region for Kirkuk).—Vidimian 20:54, 11 January 2010 (EST)

Here is another idea for Kirkuk: we can create a region named "Northern Iraq" but leave it unlinked, with Iraqi Kurdistan and Kirkuk Governorate linked directly from the main country page in paranthesis. Then, "Regions" section of the article would look like this:

(I have totally fabricated the descriptions to give an idea; they possibly are not accurate)

It's not important at all whether the boundary between Kirkuk Governorate and Kurdistan should be shown on the country map IMO, but they should be represented in the same colour (or at least in very similar shades).

If Kirkuk officially becomes a part of Kurdistan sometime in the future, then we can simply move the content and create redirects as necessary.—Vidimian 16:01, 12 January 2010 (EST)

Ah but the problem is that we don't want an article for Kirkuk Governorate—it would be totally empty aside from a lonely blue link to Kirkuk. I like your prior suggestion better, although including the remote parts of Diyala Governorate in the Belts seems like a stretch. I'll put up a new map to consider soon. --Peter Talk 16:23, 12 January 2010 (EST)
Kirkuk culturally and historically definitely belongs in Iraqi Kurdistan, so I wouldn't know where else to place it. We could notice in the article itself where it's safe to travel and where it's more dangerous. --globe-trotter 17:34, 12 January 2010 (EST)
Round 3
Alright, I think we're approaching something of a consensus, which I've put together in this latest map. I'm happy now to say that we've largely avoided the governorate boundaries, which were a Saddam Hussein creation perhaps best consigned to the dustbin of history. Any more thoughts? If not, I'll put this map in the article late tomorrow and call it done. --Peter Talk 21:32, 12 January 2010 (EST)
I don't know if this map is exactly the one that will be displayed on the country page but if it is, it would be nice to have a representive city for the Desert on it—there is not a single one yet. Ar Rutba for example already has an article.—Vidimian 07:20, 13 January 2010 (EST)
Done. --Peter Talk 13:01, 13 January 2010 (EST)

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