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Governorates of Iraq

Iraqi Governorates
المحافظات العراقية (Arabic)
پارێزگاکانی عێراق (Kurdish)
Also known as:
محافظة (Arabic)
پارێزگا, Parêzgeha (Kurdish)
The original 18 governorates
Category Federated state
Location Republic of Iraq
Number 19 governorates
Populations 337,000 (Halabja) – 7,055,200 (Baghdad)
Areas 734 km2 (283.4 sq mi) (Baghdad) – 138,500 km2 (53,476 sq mi) (Al Anbar)
Government Governorate
Subdivisions Districts

Iraq consists of 19 governorates (muḥāfażah in Arabic), also known as "provinces". Former President Saddam Hussein divided the country into eighteen governorates in the 1970s for reasons of ethnic manipulation. A portion of the Kurdish-inhabited area of the country was granted autonomy in 1970. In 2003, after opposition from Kurdish people regarding the division of Kurdistan into governorates, the autonomous standing of only three Iraqi Kurdish provinces was re-confirmed in 2005 in the constitution of Iraq, leaving out many other Kurdish majority regions, such as Kirkuk, Khanaqin, Sinjar and Mandali-Badra, outside the autonomous Kurdish region. In 2014 the decision was made to create the Halabja Governorate out of the Halabja District of Sulaymaniyah Governorate.

On 21 January 2014, the Council of Ministers of the Government of Iraq approved in principle proposals to create more governorates. The Council announced that two new governorates Tal Afar and Tuz Khurmatu would be formed from the current Nineveh Governorate and Saladin Governorate, respectively. It was also announced that the city of Fallujah of the Al Anbar Governorate would become a separate governorate, which was announced in response to a Sunni Islamist uprising in the city.


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