Since the early second millennium A.D.a land situated in the heart of the Near East was known as the land of Kurds, and later as Kurdistan. The land has born many names in the ancient and intermediate history, but the maps drawn during the last five centuries defined the land of Kurds by the name (Kurdistan), since it is a geographical term bearing an ethnic meaning. Kurdistan lies in the heart of the Middle East, and has an area of 500 thousand km2, distributed mainly over four neighboring states. The international boundaries drawn after World War One defined Kurdistan as encompassing Eastand South-East of Turkey, North-West of Iran, North Iraq, and North-East of Syria with separate spots in the North of the country until the west of Aleppo. The different parts of Kurdistan bore secondary names according to the country that it lies in.
Iraqi Kurdistan is the region of North Iraq, particularly distinguished by its mountainous nature. The Northern and Eastern parts that are neighboring to Turkey and Iran are of rugged mountainous nature, getting little and little as we go west and south, making the Kurdish areas neighboring the rest of Iraqi areas an undulating land, where the two Iraqi Regions (Kurdistan region from the rest of Iraqi Federal areas) are separated by Hamreen chain of mountains that goes from Al Fatha region on the Tigris river South of Mosul to the suburbs of Mandali town. Kurdistan has much more water than it needs.A number of rivers originate in Kurdistan or Turkey and Iran, such as Tigris, Khabour, Great Zab, small Zab and Sirwan River. All these rivers flow from the North East to the South West, except the Tigris River that comes from the North, and as soon as it passes the Mosul until North East Tikrit draws the natural limit separating Iraqi Kurdistan and Iraqi federal.
The Region also has a large amount of underground water and thousands of natural and artificial springs, in addition to numerous fertile plains such as the plains of Sindi, Hareer, Erbil, Nineva, Qaraj, Kirkuk, Bitwen, Bazian, Garmian, and Saleyee.Kurdistan is a naturally rich Iraqi Region. On top of the natural resources comes oil, as the oil reserve that the Region possesses amounts to 45 billion barrels. The soil also contains a lot of minerals, such as: sulfur, phosphate, uranium, copper, iron, lead, zinc, nickel, and marble. The area of Kurdistan is estimated to 78, 736 km2, that is more than about 18% of the total area of Federal Iraq. The largest part of the Region’s area is subject to the Kurdistan Regional Government. There are as well large areas, estimated to almost 40% of the region, which is considered by the Iraqi Constitution as “Disputed Territories”, it encompasses the Kirkuk Governorate and parts of the Nineva, Salahaddin and Diyala governorates.
These parts are waiting to be returned to the geographical domain of Kurdistan, according to a mechanism defined by the Constitutional Article 140, stipulating naturalization (that is the removal of traces and remains of ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, and colonization for political purposes; the retracing of the administrative map of governorates before they were changed by the Iraqi authorities between 1968 and 2003, conducting a census of the population, and finally the referendum. It should be noted that the lands of Kurdistan Region are favorable for habitation and reconstruction.
Both irrigated and non-irrigated agriculture are possible, and water can be found everywhere, or at least can be driven to most of the Region’s area with affordable efforts. The distribution of cities, towns, and villages show that the geography of the Region is generally lively and favorable to habitation, construction, reconstruction, and production.
The only reason behind the delayed growth and development of the country is probably the instability and the long dating conflict that the people of Kurdistan has gone through to get their rights all during the twentieth century. The best evidence of this is the growth that Kurdistan has witnessed in the years following the collapse of Dictatorship in 2003, with all its threats. Indeed, the Kurdistan Region still has much to do to modernize and to build civilized and prosperous urban society, but the first steps have been made towards this objective, with the projects implemented by the Kurdistan Regional Government.