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Iraq[Country flag of Iraq]
[Country map of Iraq]

Introduction Iraq
Background:
Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by Britain during the course of World War I; in 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of military strongmen ruled the country, the latest was SADDAM Husayn. Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait, but was expelled by US-led, UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years resulted in the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. Coalition forces remain in Iraq, helping to restore degraded infrastructure and facilitating the establishment of a freely elected government, while simultaneously dealing with a robust insurgency. The Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government (IG) in June 2004. Iraqis voted on 30 January 2005 to elect a 275-member Transitional National Assembly that will draft a permanent constitution and pave the way for new national elections at the end of 2005.
Geography Iraq
Location:
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Geographic coordinates:
33 00 N, 44 00 E
Map references:
Middle East
Area:
total: 437,072 sq km
land: 432,162 sq km
water: 4,910 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Idaho
Land boundaries:
total: 3,650 km
border countries: Iran 1,458 km, Jordan 181 km, Kuwait 240 km, Saudi Arabia 814 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 352 km
Coastline:
58 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate:
mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq
Terrain:
mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: unnamed peak; 3,611 m; note - this peak is not Gundah Zhur 3,607 m or Kuh-e Hajji-Ebrahim 3,595 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
Land use:
arable land: 13.15%
permanent crops: 0.78%
other: 86.07% (2001)
Irrigated land:
35,250 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
dust storms, sandstorms, floods
Environment - current issues:
government water control projects have drained most of the inhabited marsh areas east of An Nasiriyah by drying up or diverting the feeder streams and rivers; a once sizable population of Marsh Arabs, who inhabited these areas for thousands of years, has been displaced; furthermore, the destruction of the natural habitat poses serious threats to the area's wildlife populations; inadequate supplies of potable water; development of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers system contingent upon agreements with upstream riparian Turkey; air and water pollution; soil degradation (salination) and erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Law of the Sea
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - note:
strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
People Iraq
Population:
26,074,906 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 40% (male 5,293,709/female 5,130,826)
15-64 years: 57% (male 7,530,619/female 7,338,109)
65 years and over: 3% (male 367,832/female 413,811) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.43 years
male: 19.35 years
female: 19.51 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.7% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
32.5 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
5.49 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 50.25 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 56.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 44.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.7 years
male: 67.49 years
female: 69.97 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.28 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 500 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Nationality:
noun: Iraqi(s)
adjective: Iraqi
Ethnic groups:
Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%
Religions:
Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
Languages:
Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 40.4%
male: 55.9%
female: 24.4% (2003 est.)
Government Iraq
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Iraq
conventional short form: Iraq
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
local short form: Al Iraq
Government type:
none; note - the Iraqi Interim Government (IG) was appointed on 1 June 2004
Capital:
Baghdad
Administrative divisions:
18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Arbil, As Sulaymaniyah, At Ta'mim, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit
Independence:
3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration); note - on 28 June 2004 the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government
National holiday:
Revolution Day, 17 July (1968); note - this holiday was celebrated under the SADDAM Husayn regime but the Iraqi Interim Government has yet to declare a new national holiday
Constitution:
interim constitution signed 8 March 2004; note - the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) was enacted 8 March 2004 to govern the country until an elected Iraqi Government can draft and ratify a new constitution in 2005
Legal system:
based on civil and Islamic law under the Iraqi Interim Government (IG) and Transitional Administrative Law (TAL)
Suffrage:
formerly 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) President Jalal TALABANI (since 6 April 2005); Deputy Presidents Adil Abd AL-MAHDI and Ghazi al-Ujayl al-YAWR (since 6 April 2005); note - the President and Deputy Presidents comprise the Presidency Council)
head of government: Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) Prime Minister Ibrahim al-JAFARI (since April 2005); Deputy Prime Ministers Rowsch SHAWAYS, Ahmad CHALABI, and Abid al-Mutlaq al-JABBURI (since May 2005)
cabinet: 32 ministers appointed by the Presidency Council, plus Prime Minister Ibrahim al-JAFARI, Deputy Prime Ministers Rowsch SHAWAYS, Ahmad CHALABI, and Abid al-Mutlaq al-JABBURI
elections: held 30 January 2005 to elect a 275-member Transitional National Assembly that will draft a permanent constitution and pave the way for new national elections at the end of 2005
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Mejlis Watani (consisting of 275 members elected by a closed-list, proportional-representation system for the period between the National Assembly election and the formation of a permanent Iraqi government pursuant to the establishment of a permanent constitution)
elections: held 30 January 2005 to elect a 275-member Transitional National Assembly that will draft a permanent constitution and pave the way for new national elections at the end of 2005
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - United Iraqi Alliance 48.2%, Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan 25.7%, Iraqi List 13.8%, others 12.3%; number of seats by party - United Iraqi Alliance 140, Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan 75, Iraqi List 40, others 20
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court appointed by the Prime Minister, confirmed by the Presidency Council
Political parties and leaders:
Al-Sadr Movement [Muqtada Al-SADR]; Constitutional Monarchy Movement or CMM [Sharif Ali Bin al-HUSAYN]; Da'wa Party [Ibrahim al-JA'FARI]; Independent Iraqi Alliance or IIA [Falah al-NAQIB]; Iraqi Hizballah [Karim Mahud al-MUHAMMADAWI]; Iraqi Independent Democrats or IID [Adnan PACHACHI, Mahdi al-HAFIZ]; Iraqi Islamic Party or IIP [Muhsin Abd al-HAMID, Hajim al-HASSANI]; Iraqi National Accord or INA [Ayad ALLAWI]; Iraqi National Congress or INC [Ahmad CHALABI]; Iraqi National Unity Movement or INUM [Ahmad al-KUBAYSI, chairman]; Jama'at al Fadilah or JAF [Ayatollah Muhammad ' Ali al-YAQUBI]; Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP [Masud BARZANI]; Muslim Ulama Council or MUC [Harith Sulayman al-DARI, secretary general]; Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK [Jalal TALABANI]
note: the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan, the Iraqi List, and the United Iraqi Alliance were only electoral slates consisting of the representatives from the various Iraqi political parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
an insurgency against the Iraqi Interim Government and Coalition forces is primarily concentrated in Baghdad and in areas west and north of the capital; the diverse, multigroup insurgency is led principally by Sunni Arabs whose only common denominator is a shared desire to oust the Coalition and end US influence in Iraq
International organization participation:
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAS, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), WToO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Rend Rahim FRANCKE
chancery: 1801 P Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 483-7500
FAX: [1] (202) 462-5066
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires James F. JEFFREY
embassy: Baghdad
mailing address: APO AE 09316
telephone: 00-1-240-553-0584 ext. 4354; note - Consular Section
FAX: NA
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with three green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; the phrase ALLAHU AKBAR (God is Great) in green Arabic script - Allahu to the right of the middle star and Akbar to the left of the middle star - was added in January 1991 during the Persian Gulf crisis; similar to the flag of Syria, which has two stars but no script, Yemen, which has a plain white band, and that of Egypt which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band; design is based upon the Arab Liberation colors
Economy Iraq
Economy - overview:
Iraq's economy is dominated by the oil sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign exchange earnings. Iraq's seizure of Kuwait in August 1990, subsequent international economic sanctions, and damage from military action by an international coalition beginning in January 1991 drastically reduced economic activity. Although government policies supporting large military and internal security forces and allocating resources to key supporters of the regime hurt the economy, implementation of the UN's oil-for-food program beginning in December 1996 helped improve conditions for the average Iraqi citizen. Iraq was allowed to export limited amounts of oil in exchange for food, medicine, and some infrastructure spare parts. In December 1999, the UN Security Council authorized Iraq to export under the program as much oil as required to meet humanitarian needs. The drop in GDP in 2001-02 was largely the result of the global economic slowdown and lower oil prices. Per capita food imports increased significantly, while medical supplies and health care services steadily improved. Per capita output and living standards were still well below the pre-1991 level, but any estimates have a wide range of error. The military victory of the US-led coalition in March-April 2003 resulted in the shutdown of much of the central economic administrative structure. Although a comparatively small amount of capital plant was damaged during the hostilities, looting, insurgent attacks, and sabotage have undermined efforts to rebuild the economy. Despite continuing political uncertainty, the Iraqi Interim Government (IG) has founded the institutions needed to implement economic policy, and has successfully concluded a debt reduction agreement with the Paris Club. The high percentage gain estimated for GDP in 2004 is the result of starting from a low base.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$54.4 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
52.3% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $2,100 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 13.6%
industry: 58.6%
services: 27.8% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
6.7 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA, industry NA, services NA
Unemployment rate:
25% to 30% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
25.4% (2004 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $17.1 billion
expenditures: $28.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.6 billion (2004 budget)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep, poultry
Industries:
petroleum, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing, fertilizer, metal fabrication/processing
Industrial production growth rate:
NA
Electricity - production:
32.6 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 98.4%
hydro: 1.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
33.7 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
1.1 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
2.25 million bbl/day (2004 est.); note - prewar production (in 2002) was 2.03 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
383,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
1.49 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - imports:
NA
Oil - proved reserves:
112.5 billion bbl (2004 est.)
Natural gas - production:
2.35 billion cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
2.35 billion cu m (2002 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
3.149 trillion cu m (2004)
Current account balance:
$-560 million (2003 est.)
Exports:
$10.1 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
crude oil (83.9%), crude materials excluding fuels (8.0%), food and live animals (5.0%)
Exports - partners:
US 51.9%, Spain 7.3%, Japan 6.6%, Italy 5.7%, Canada 5.2% (2004)
Imports:
$9.9 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food, medicine, manufactures
Imports - partners:
Syria 22.9%, Turkey 19.5%, US 9.2%, Jordan 6.7%, Germany 4.9% (2004)
Debt - external:
$125 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
more than $33 billion in foreign aid pledged for 2004-07 (2004)
Currency (code):
New Iraqi dinar (NID) as of 22 January 2004
Currency code:
NID, IQD prior to 22 January 2004
Exchange rates:
New Iraqi dinars per US dollar - 1,890 (second half, 2003), 0.3109 (2002), 0.3109 (2001), 0.3109 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Iraq
Telephones - main lines in use:
675,000; note - an unknown number of telephone lines were damaged or destroyed during the March-April 2003 war (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
20,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: the 2003 war severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq including international connections; USAID is overseeing the repair of switching capability and the construction of mobile and satellite communication facilities
domestic: repairs to switches and lines destroyed in the recent fighting continue, but sabotage remains a problem; cellular service is expected to be in place within two years
international: country code - 964; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region), and 1 Arabsat (inoperative); coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey; Kuwait line is probably nonoperational
Radio broadcast stations:
after 17 months of unregulated media growth, there are approximately 80 radio stations on the air inside Iraq (2004)
Radios:
4.85 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
21 (2004)
Televisions:
1.75 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.iq
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)
Internet users:
25,000 (2002)
Transportation Iraq
Railways:
total: 2,200 km
standard gauge: 2,200 km 1.435-m gauge (2004)
Highways:
total: 45,550 km
paved: 38,399 km
unpaved: 7,151 km (1999)
Waterways:
5,275 km (not all navigable)
note: Euphrates River (2,815 km), Tigris River (1,895 km), and Third River (565 km) are principal waterways (2004)
Pipelines:
gas 1,739 km; oil 5,418 km; refined products 1,343 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Al Basrah, Khawr az Zubayr, Umm Qasr
Merchant marine:
total: 14 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 83,221 GRT/125,255 DWT
by type: cargo 11, petroleum tanker 3 (2005)
Airports:
111; note - unknown number were damaged during the March-April 2003 war (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 79
over 3,047 m: 21
2,438 to 3,047 m: 36
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 10 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 32
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 9 (2004 est.)
Heliports:
6 (2004 est.)
Military Iraq
Military branches:
Iraqi Armed Forces: Iraqi Regular Army (includes Iraqi Special Operations Force, Iraqi Intervention Force), Iraqi Navy (former Iraqi Coastal Defense Force), Iraqi Air Force (former Iraqi Army Air Corps) (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age; the Iraqi Interim Government is creating a new professional Iraqi military force of men aged 18 to 40 to defend Iraq from external threats and the current insurgency (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 5,870,640 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 4,930,074 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males: 298,518 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1.3 billion (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
NA
Transnational Issues Iraq
Disputes - international:
coalition forces assist Iraqis in monitoring boundary security; Iraq's lack of a maritime boundary with Iran prompts jurisdiction disputes beyond the mouth of the Shatt al Arab in the Persian Gulf; Turkey has expressed concern over the status of Kurds in Iraq
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 150,000 (Palestinian Territories)
IDPs: 1,340,280 (ongoing US-led war and Kurds' subsequent return) (2004)

This page was last updated on 1 November, 2005


 
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