Peoples of Iraq: the Arabs

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The week dedicated to the peoples of Iraq could only start with the Arabs, the largest group in the country and whose history is also a metaphor for the entire nation

Different Arabs

The entire Arab world carries within it a thousand thousand ethnic and linguistic facets, a consequence of the role of merchants that has always distinguished this people, bringing them literally to every sea and every land; Iraq, in turn, reserves an even greater complexity for its own history, even older than the term “Arab”. Impossible for anyone not to remember how legendary men such as Gilgamesh, Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar lived in those lands, so great that they are still remembered today.

Arabs Iraq

Iraq, however, was not born in these forms except with the Treaty of Sevres of 1920, uniting 3 vilayets (Baghdad, Basra and Mosul) with very different souls from each other both in culture and ethnicity. In these days we will deal better with Kurds and Turkmen, but first, it is necessary to deepen the majority population: the Arabs, who make up about 70% of the population in Iraq.

Arabs before the Arabs

The latter represent de facto all those Semitic populations that, since the time of the Akkadians, in 3000 BC. dominated the region. Due to a solid continuity of power and a strong Semitic substratum, the Mesopotamian dialect is one of those that most inherited from the past, so much so that it should be the most similar to ancient Aramaic. The latter was in fact used as a lingua franca from the 1st millennium BC. to the 1st millennium AD, being replaced by the aforementioned dialect only with the arrival of the Muslims.

Arabs Iraq

In the meantime, however, he had absorbed many words of ancient local (Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian) and foreign languages (Persian, Greek and Turkish), composing one of the most fascinating, ancient and varied dialects of the entire Arab world.

Union of peoples

Obviously, the melting pot took place both on a linguistic and ethnic level, so much so that, according to some research carried out on genes, Iraqi Arabs are more related to neighboring populations than to the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula. This is certainly due to the complex history of the country which, as we said, being one of the cradles of human civilization, over the course of history has seen various peoples take up residence there, building, in the long run, stronger ties than ever with other populations.

Arabs Iraq

It should not be forgotten that it was from these bonds that the Arab ethnicity became predominant, also welcoming many who “chose to become Arabs”. Most of the Assyrians who converted to Islam, in fact, renounced their identity in favor of the Arab one, considered (wrongly) closer to God and more facilitating for various business. It is no coincidence that, according to the aforementioned researches, the population closest to the Iraqi Arabs would be the Assyrians, who, not surprisingly, began to inhabit modern Iraq at the same time as the Akkadians. The Arabs of Iraq therefore represent one of the interesting populations of the whole Middle East, combining their millenary history with a melting pot of cultures that has never stopped and which, even today, is able to amaze every lover of anthropology.

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