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Al Anbar

Anbar Governorate
محافظة الأنبار
Anbar Province
Governorate

Coordinates: 32°54′N 41°36′E / 32.900°N 41.600°E / 32.900; 41.600Coordinates: 32°54′N 41°36′E / 32.900°N 41.600°E / 32.900; 41.600

Country  Iraq
Capital Ramadi
Governor Qasim Mohammad Abid Hammadi al-Fahadawi
Area
 • Total 138,501 km2 (53,476 sq mi)
Population (July 2011 Estimate)
 • Total 1,561,400 [1]

Al Anbar Governorate (Arabic: الأنبار‎; al-’Anbār) (or Anbar Province) is the largest governorate in Iraq geographically. Encompassing much of the country's western territory, it shares borders with Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The provincial capital is Ramadi, other important cities include Fallujah and Haditha.

Before 1976 the governorate was known as Ramadi; before 1962, it was known as Dulaim. In 1976 it was renamed Al Anbar Province.

Just about all the inhabitants of the province are Sunni Muslims and mostly from the Dulaim tribe.

Etymology

The name of the governorate is from the Persian: انبار, ’Anbār‎, which means "granaries" in Arabic as this region was the primary entrepot on the western borders of Lakhmid Kingdom.

Geography

Geographically, Anbar governorate consider part of the Arabian Peninsula. The region's geography is a combination of steppe and true desert, characterised by a desert climate, low rainfall and a large variation in temperature between day and night. Summer temperatures rise to 42 degrees Celsius, whilst in the winter average lows reach 9 degrees Celsius. The northwesterly and southwesterly winds are sometimes to a maximum speed of 21 m / sec. Average rainfall in winter to 115mm.

The most important agricultural crops in Al-Anbar are wheat, potatoes, autumn, barley, maize and vegetables and fodder. There are also a large number of orchards and the province has 2.5 million palm trees. Agriculture depends on perfusion or through the rivers and the wells and the rains.

The Euphrates River flows diagonally from the north to the southeast, passing through six of the seven districts:

Government

  • Governor: Qasim Mohammad Abid Hammadi al-Fahadawi
  • Deputy Governor: Fuad Jatab Hamad Khalaf al-Karbuli
  • Deputy Governor: Hikmat Jassim Zaidon Khalaf al-Mohemdi
  • Provincial Council Chairman (PCC): Dr. Jassim Mohammad Hamid Husayn al-Halbusi

Population

In the 1920s, the governorate had 250,000 people from a total population in Iraq of 2 million. It is believed that the total population of Anbar was between 2 to 6 million people in the 1960s but there is no precise sources because Anbar was a dangerous area at that time and the majority of the residents lived on the banks of the Euphrates River outside cities and the towns, however there were between 1.9 million and 2.9 million inhabitants in the other districts of Al Anbar.[2]

According to UN statistics in 2003 the population of Al Anbar is 1,230,169.[3]

There are no precise estimates of the population which include all of the cities and towns and villages in Anbar. According to a 2003 estimate by the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq, the population was 1,230,140.

Anbar During the United States War in Iraq

The geographic challenge of the Anbar Governorate is demonstrated by two contrasting facts: While it is Iraq’s largest governorate, it also is its most sparsely populated. For a governorate that is approximately the size of Bangladesh, it is home to fewer than 1.8 million Iraqis. Most of the population lives in the major cities, like Ramadi and Fallujah, and almost everyone else lives within a short distance of the Euphrates River that snakes from Baghdad to the Syrian Border near Al Qa’im.[4]

Its strategic challenge was demonstrated, in part, by casualty statistics. During the first four years of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), the Anbar Province was the deadliest province for American service members, claiming approximately one-third of American fatalities.[4]

In a country where most were associated with the Shi’ia branch of Islam, the Anbar Province was the Sunni stronghold that had long provided Saddam Hussein with the support he needed to remain in power.[4]

During the early years of Operation Iraqi Freedom, it provided an important base for Al Qaeda and insurgent operations.[4]

Part of its significance came from the fact that the Western Euphrates River Valley served as an important infiltration route for foreign fighters headed to Iraq’s heartland.[4]

The New York Times compared this region to the Vietnam War’s Ho Chi Minh Trail, as foreign fighters and insurgents used the river valley to move in relative safety from the Syrian border to cities like Baghdad, Ramadi and Fallujah.

The contrast between the fertile Euphrates River Valley and the rest of the province is striking. Along the Euphrates, groves of fruits and vegetables and acre after acre of date palms are surrounded by a lushness that paints the area a vivid green. Just a few miles from the Euphrates, however, the barren landscape turns brown. With the exception of an occasional Bedouin, the desert is essentially empty.

Whether traveling by aircraft, vehicle, or on foot, the Anbar Governorate is vast. During a time when improvised explosive devices (IEDs) became the weapon of choice for insurgents, the need to patrol and travel throughout the province became one of the Marine Corps’ greatest challenges. The threat of insurgent activity, when combined with the challenges that long-distance travel, choking dust, and stifling heat created, made the Anbar Province a difficult area of operation.[4]

Cities and towns

See also

References

External links

  • Iraq Inter-Agency Information & Analysis Unit Reports, Maps and Assessments of Iraq's Governorates from the UN Inter-Agency Information & Analysis Unit
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