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Welcome to Iraq, the birthplace of history! Iraq’s Tigris and Euphrates rivers turned this Middle Eastern desert into the world’s first farmland. Over six millenia, Iraq’s civilizations have laid foundations for the rest of the world. They built great stone ziggurats and soaring mosques. They invented the wheel, the calendar, and the written word. With their riches, they also attracted war. Conqueror after conqueror—the bloodthirsty Assyrians, Alexander the Great, the Mongols, the British, and more—sought to claim Mesopotamia for their own. Today, Iraq’s enormous oil deposits, the cheapest to produce in the world, interest outside powers most. From the Taurus and Zagros mountains in the north to marshy Basra in the south, Iraqis have suffered under oppressive rulers and dictators for a thousand lifetimes. Today they cry out for a chance at freedom and democracy. The country’s lasting legacy in stone and thought hints that the determined Iraqi people will find their path to greatness once more.