Much has been made of the differences between Iraq's ethnic and religious groups: the historically dominant Sunni Arabs of central Iraq, the Kurds in the north, the majority Shiites of the south, and other groups, including Turkomans, Assyrian Christians, and Iranians. Some experts believe that without careful mediation of the tensions between these groups, Iraq could dissolve into ethnic conflict and even civil war. This map offers an overview of the major groups, their concerns, and their internal divisions, and where they generally fall on the Iraqi landscape.
Click on the shaded regions of the map to read more about each group. Click on Baghdad to read about the Iraqi Governing Council.
Sources: CIA publications, Coalition Provisional Authority, Council on Foreign Relations, Stanley Foundation, BBC, and other news organizations.