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Map of Iraq


 Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

Geographic coordinates: 33 00 N, 44 00 E

Map references: Middle East

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: 3,631 km
border countries: Iran 1,458 km, Jordan 181 km, Kuwait 242 km, Saudi Arabia 814 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 331 km

Coastline: 58 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: not specified
territorial sea: 12 nm

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: Gundah Zhur 3,608 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 9%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 79% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 25,500 sq km (1993 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 Shi'a Muslims, who have 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 Tigris-Euphrates Rivers system contingent upon agreements with upstream riparian Turkey; air and water pollution; soil degradation (salinization) and erosion; desertification

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification


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Population: 21,722,287 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44% (male 4,865,820; female 4,711,791)
15-64 years: 53% (male 5,794,336; female 5,662,163)
65 years and over: 3% (male 320,672; female 367,505) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.2% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 38.58 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.57 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 62.41 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.52 years
male: 65.54 years
female: 67.56 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.23 children born/woman (1998 est.)

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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58%
male: 70.7%
female: 45% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Iraq
conventional short form: Iraq
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
local short form: Al Iraq

Data code: IZ

Government type: republic

National capital: Baghdad

Administrative divisions: 18 provinces (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)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Revolution, 17 July (1968)

Constitution: 22 September 1968, effective 16 July 1970 (provisional Constitution); new constitution drafted in 1990 but not adopted

Legal system: based on Islamic law in special religious courts, civil law system elsewhere; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President SADDAM Husayn (since 16 July 1979); Vice President Taha Muhyi al-Din MARUF (since 21 April 1974); Vice President Taha Yasin RAMADAN (since 23 March 1991)
head of government: Prime Minister SADDAM Husayn (since 29 May 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Mikhail AZIZ (since NA 1979); Deputy Prime Minister Taha Yasin RAMADAN (since NA May 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad Hamza al-ZUBAYDI (since NA May 1994)
cabinet: Council of Ministers
note: there is also a Revolutionary Command Council; Chairman SADDAM Husayn, Vice Chairman Izzat IBRAHIM al-Duri
elections: president and vice presidents elected by a two-thirds majority of the Revolutionary Command Council; election last held 17 October 1995 (next to be held NA 2002)
election results: SADDAM Husayn reelected president; percent of vote—99%; Taha Muhyi al-Din MARUF and Taha Yasin RAMADAN elected vice presidents; percent of vote - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Watani (250 seats; 30 appointed by SADDAM Husayn to represent the three northern provinces of Dahuk, Arbil, and As Sulaymaniyah; 220 elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 24 March 1996 (next to be held NA 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—NA

Judicial branch: Court of Cassation

Political parties and leaders: Ba'th Party, SADDAM Husayn, central party leader

Political pressure groups and leaders: political parties and activity severely restricted; opposition to regime from disaffected members of the Ba'th Party, Army officers, tribes, and Shi'a religious and ethnic Kurdish dissidents; the Green Party (government-controlled)

International organization participation: ABEDA, ACC, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-19, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic representation in the US: none; note—Iraq has an Interest Section in the Algerian Embassy headed by Dr. Khairi AL ZUBAYDI; address: Iraqi Interests Section, Algerian Embassy, 1801 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20036; telephone: [1] (202) 483-7500; FAX: [1] (202) 462-5066

Diplomatic representation from the US: none; note—the US has an Interests Section in the Polish Embassy in Baghdad, which is in the Masbah Quarter (opposite the Foreign Ministry Club); address: P. O. Box 2447 Alwiyah, Baghdad; telephone: [964] (1) 719-6138, 719-6139, 718-1840, 719-3791; FAX: [964] (1) 718-9297

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 that has two stars but no script and the flag of Yemen that has a plain white band; also similar to the flag of Egypt that has a symbolic eagle centered in the white band


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Economy—overview: The Ba'thist regime engages in extensive central planning and management of industrial production and foreign trade while leaving some small-scale industry and services and most agriculture to private enterprise. The economy has been dominated by the oil sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign exchange earnings. In the 1980s, financial problems caused by massive expenditures in the eight-year war with Iran and damage to oil export facilities by Iran led the government to implement austerity measures and to borrow heavily and later reschedule foreign debt payments; Iraq suffered economic losses of at least $100 billion from the war. After the end of hostilities in 1988, oil exports gradually increased with the construction of new pipelines and restoration of damaged facilities. Agricultural development remained hampered by labor shortages, salinization, and dislocations caused by previous land reform and collectivization programs. The industrial sector, although accorded high priority by the government, also was under financial constraints. Iraq's seizure of Kuwait in August 1990, subsequent international economic embargoes, and military action by an international coalition beginning in January 1991 drastically changed the economic picture. The UN-sponsored economic embargo has reduced exports and imports and has contributed to the sharp rise in prices. The Iraqi Government has been unwilling to abide by UN resolutions so that the economic embargo could be removed. The government's policies of supporting large military and internal security forces and of allocating resources to key supporters of the regime have exacerbated shortages. Industrial and transportation facilities, which suffered severe damage, have been partially restored. At current prices, oil exports are about one-third of their prewar level because of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 986—the UN's oil-for-goods program—in December 1996. Shortages of spare parts continue. In accord with the oil-for-goods deal, Iraq is allowed to export $2 billion worth of oil in exchange for badly needed food and medicine. The first oil was pumped in December 1996, and the first supplies of food and medicine arrived in April 1997. Per capita output for 1995-97 and living standards are well below the 1989-90 level, but any estimates have a wide range of error.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$42.8 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 0% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,000 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Inflation rate—consumer price index: NA%

Labor force:
total: 4.4 million (1989)
by occupation: services 48%, agriculture 30%, industry 22%
note: severe labor shortage; expatriate labor force was about 1,600,000 (July 1990); since then, it has declined substantially

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: petroleum, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 6.83 million kW (1996)

Electricity—production: 31.8 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 1,362 kWh (1996 est.)

Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, other fruit, cotton; cattle, sheep

Exports: $NA
commodities: crude oil
partners: Jordan, Turkey (1996)

Imports: $NA
commodities: manufactures, food
partners: France, Turkey, Jordan, Vietnam, Australia (1996)

Debt—external: very heavy relative to GDP but amount unknown (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 Iraqi dinar (ID) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: Iraqi dinars (ID) per US$1—0.3109 (fixed official rate since 1982); black market rate—Iraqi dinars (ID) per US$1—1,530 (December 1997), 3,000 (December 1995); subject to wide fluctuations

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 632,000 (1987 est.)

Telephone system: reconstitution of damaged telecommunication facilities began after the Gulf war; most damaged facilities have been rebuilt
domestic: the network consists of coaxial cables and microwave radio relay links
international: 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: AM 16, FM 1, shortwave 0

Radios: 4.02 million (1991 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 13

Televisions: 1 million (1992 est.)


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total: 2,032 km
standard gauge: 2,032 km 1.435-m gauge

total: 47,400 km
paved: 40,764 km
unpaved: 6,636 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 1,015 km; Shatt al Arab is usually navigable by maritime traffic for about 130 km; channel has been dredged to 3 meters and is in use; Tigris and Euphrates Rivers have navigable sections for shallow-draft watercraft; Shatt al Basrah canal was navigable by shallow-draft craft before closing in 1991 because of the Persian Gulf war

Pipelines: crude oil 4,350 km; petroleum products 725 km; natural gas 1,360 km

Ports and harbors: Umm Qasr, Khawr az Zubayr, and Al Basrah have limited functionality

Merchant marine:
total: 35 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 791,485 GRT/1,428,307 DWT
ships by type: cargo 14, oil tanker 16, passenger 1, passenger-cargo 1, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 2 (1997 est.)

Airports: 111 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 76
over 3,047 m: 22
2,438 to 3,047 m: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 7 (1997 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 35
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 10 (1997 est.)

Heliports: 4 (1997 est.)




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