Arabic calligraphy is an ancient art whose roots stretch back to Baghdad under the Abbasid Empire. It is out of modern day Iraq that some of the earliest Arabic scripts emerged. Many of these remain widely practised until the present day. The art has always occupied an important place in Iraq’s artistic scene - but that was before 2003. FRB follows two Iraqi calligraphers both of whom still practise the art away from their native Iraq. This is their story:
The prevalence of child soldiers during Iran and Iraq's long war is a little known reality whose impact is felt until the present day. Thousands of boys, some said to have been as young as nine, fought alongside regular armed forces.
The experience was chilling. Thousands died in suicidal missions and on the front line. Echoes of the Iranian boy soldier experience can be heard in Iraq today with children being recruited by various sides in Iraq's current war against terror.
Back in March 2007, in the midst of Iraq's sectarian strife, a suicide blast tore through Baghdad's centuries old centre of knowledge and culture. The site was al Mutanabbi street, where thirty people died and one hundred others were injured.
The attack as many predicted at the time did not mark the death of Iraq's cultural capital, it marked it's rebirth. We take a look back at al Mutanabbi on the ninth anniversary since life on the street was turned upside down.
Diyala, east of Iraq, has seen a resurgence of sectarian motivated crimes at the hands of government backed militias. Residents, at least those that remain, live in an uncertain climate where death is always near.
Tensions continue to flare as militias, belonging to the popular mobilisation forces, unleash their reign of terror over the province.
Peshmerga forces from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Kurdish militias in northern Iraq have bulldozed, blown up and burned down thousands of homes. This was done in an apparent effort to uproot Arab communities in revenge for their perceived support for the so-called Islamic State (IS) and to establish control of a disputed area of the country they have long claimed as theirs.
Donotella Rovera, an Amnesty crisis researcher, explores the aftermath of these actions:
The scene of a recent attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran provoked memories of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, in which Iranian students stormed America’s embassy, and held 52 hostages for 444 days.
In this video package, Al Arabiya television revisits the event that shook America following the rise of Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini:
January 6 marks national Iraqi armed forces day, which for many symbolises historic military successes, sovereignty and independence.
FRB looks back at the history of the Iraqi army on the 95th anniversary of its formation:
Doctors in the land of the two rivers have nowhere to run, hide or turn. Thousands fled in 2003 after an orchestrated campaign of assassinations swallowed many invaluable physicians, never to be seen again. The problem has returned.
Tribal mobs and their militia henchmen are hunting doctors down and forcing them to pay blood money – fasl – a financial sum paid to the patient's next of kin in the event of their death. Death has become a commodity for these gangs, exploiting the absence of the state, and existing weaknesses of Iraq's health care, and the vulnerable position doctors find themselves in, for personal gain.
This FRB special feature takes a closer look at the latest wave of attacks against Iraqi physicians and the dilapidating state of health over the past decade:
The reputation Iraq once had as the premier location for copper buyers has been flattened by consecutive wars.
Years of turmoil have left Iraq's once-booming copper industry in threads. It's artisans are hard to find, but one man remains standing:
OPEC'S second largest oil producer, Iraq, struggles to feed its own population.
Over a year of heavy fighting in the town of Abu Ajil, Salahuddin province in Iraq resulted in massive displacement of people and destruction of houses and infrastructure.
Those returning to the town today are struggling to rebuild their lives back to relative normalcy. The ICRC is helping tens of thousands of people cope by providing them with food and other relief items: