country name, 1920, from an Arabic name attested since 6c. for the region known in Greek as Mesopotamia; often said to be from Arabic `araqa, covering notions such as "perspiring, deeply rooted, well-watered," which may reflect the impression the lush river-land made on desert Arabs. But the name may be from, or influenced by, Sumerian Uruk (Biblical Erech), anciently a prominent city in what is now southern Iraq (from Sumerian uru "city").
Republic in the Middle East, bordered by the Persian Gulf, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia to the south; Jordan and Syria to the west; Turkey to the north; and Iran to the east. Its capital and largest city is Baghdad.
Note: The ancient civilization of Mesopotamia emerged in the valley between the Euphrates River and Tigris River in what is now Iraq.
Note: Ruled by Saddam Hussein, a dictator who invaded Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. (See also Persian Gulf War.)