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The area has been home to successive civilisations since the 6th millennium BC.Iraq was the centre of the Akkadian, Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires.Its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class as well as producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets. at the south and east of the Jazira Plateau, which forms the northern and western edge of the "al-Iraq arabi" area.Since approximately 10,000 BC, Iraq (alongside Asia Minor and The Levant) was one of centres of a Caucasoid Neolithic culture (known as Pre-Pottery Neolithic A) where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world.

It was here that mankind first began to read, write, create laws, and live in cities under an organised government—notably Uruk, from which "Iraq" is derived.

The "Cradle of Civilization" is thus a common term for the area comprising modern Iraq as it was home to the earliest known civilisation, the Sumerian civilisation, which arose in the fertile Tigris-Euphrates river valley of southern Iraq in the Chalcolithic (Ubaid period).

It was here, in the late 4th millennium BC, that the world's first writing system and recorded history itself were born.

Out of the insurgency came a highly destructive group calling itself ISIL, which took large parts of the north and west.

It has since been largely defeated and only retains small territory.