Iraq second-largest city, Mosul, in the northern part of the country, was originally the biblical city of Nineveh. It was the capital of the ancient empire of Assyria. Nineveh was another city that Nimrod had built.
The modern country of Iraq was carved out of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, and was first known as the "Kingdom of Iraq" in 1921, and later, since the monarchy was overthrown in 1958, it has been called the Republic of Iraq.
After the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington D.C. Iraq became the focus of attention as a sponsor of terrorism. Saddam Hussein was a despicable tyrant who slaughtered his own people, even using chemical weapons of mass destruction against them, and was believed to be developing nuclear weapons. He ignored and defied multiple resolutions by the United Nations to allow inspectors to determine the extent of their nuclear activities. In March of 2003 the United States and Great Britain invaded Iraq to overthrow Hussein and stop any development of weapons of mass destruction. The weapons were never found, though there was evidence that they were shipped to Syria just before the invasion. Saddam Hussein was eventually found, tried, and executed in 2006.
The United States rebuilt Iraq's infrastructure and helped them establish free elections and a form of democracy. Unfortunately, the reforms could not stop the civil strife between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the country, so a seemingly endless cycle of violence prevailed and cost the lives of more than 4 thousand Americans in the process. Meanwhile, the sizeable Christian community in Iraq was persecuted and nearly driven out of the country. The U.S. finally withdrew troops from Iraq in 2011. Immediately after that there was an upsurge of terrorist factions, foreshadowing an undesirable future for the nation.
The ancient ruins of Babylon, which were undergoing a massive renovation by Saddam Hussein, were not greatly affected by the war. "Mystery Babylon" makes a major appearance in the Book of Revelation. The woman riding the Beast in Revelation 17 is symbolic of a one-world religion that gives its power to the Antichrist regime of the End Times. This "united religion" will be made possible by the absence of the Church after the rapture has taken place, and an uneasy truce between religions including Islam.
Many Old Testament prophecies foretold the destruction of Babylon. Isaiah and Jeremiah said that it would be desolate and never inhabited again (Isaiah 13:19-20; Jeremiah 50:39). The Babylonian Empire was conquered by the Medo-Persian Empire, and in time the city did become virtually uninhabited, but many Bible scholars think that the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy is still future, and it may apply to "Mystery Babylon."
In July, 2014 the radical jihadist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), captured a number of cities in Syria and Iraq, and claimed that they were establishing a new Islamic caliphate, with the goal of reclaiming the lands once held by the Ottoman Empire. Using the most brutal tactics seen in our lifetime -- including beheadings, crucifixions, mass slaughter, and burying opponents alive -- they invaded large portions of Syria and Iraq, and drove out almost all Christians. This new, illigitimate force is motivated by Sunni Islamic theology, and will undoubtedly be resisted by the Shite branch of Islam, led by Iran. They will also be opposed by Western powers, including the United States and the more moderate Sunni nations such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
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