Iraq ( Arabic: العراق al-'Irāq; Kurdish: عێراق Eraq), officially known as the Republic of Iraq (Arabic: جُمُهورية العِراق ; Kurdish: کۆماری عێراق Komari Eraq), is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.
Links to Peel
Peel was an opponent of the war against Iraq. He voted for the Labour Party in the 1997 General Election, but got disillusioned with the government when amongst others, Tony Blair supported the bombing of the country in 1998 and the invasion of 2003 to remove Saddam Hussein.
Peel made a prophetic comment on his May 2003 (FSK) show saying that the war in Iraq would be a continuing war and will continue for a long time in one form or another:
"As you might imagine there has been an amazing amount of hypocritical nonsense about the, well the, recent war in Iraq. In my own opinion, it is a continuing war and will continue for a long time in one form or another and the newspapers of course, have been interesting to say the very least, some of them are desperate, some of them are pro-war, others are extremely anti-war."
"I wonder whether in another thirty-five years time they'll be a comparable compilation LP about the Iraq war. I suspect probably not. I've not actually heard any records at all that were critical of it, although there must have been some somewhere."In fact, a reggae artist named Cocoa Tea recorded several singles that were critical of any war against Iraq; all were shunned by daytime radio, although Peel did play those tracks when Iraq was occupying Kuwait and the time when the US were contemplating bombing the country before the 2003 war.
The following artists from Iraq recorded sessions for the John Peel Show: