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  Introduction Back To Top

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 strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last 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 led to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. US forces remain in Iraq under a UNSC mandate until 2009 and under a bilateral security agreement thereafter, helping to provide security and to support the freely elected government. The Coalition Provisional Authority, which temporarily administered Iraq after the invasion, transferred full governmental authority in June of 2004 to the Iraqi Interim Government, which governed under the Transitional Administrative Law for Iraq (TAL). Under the TAL, elections for a 275-member Transitional National Assembly (TNA) were held in Iraq in January 2005. Following these elections, the Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) assumed office. The TNA was charged with drafting Iraq's permanent constitution, which was approved in a October 2005 constitutional referendum. An election under the constitution for a 275-member Council of Representatives (CoR) was held in December 2005. The CoR approval in the selection of most of the cabinet ministers in May of 2006 marked the transition from the ITG to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half-century.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 42.7 cu km/yr (3%/5%/92%)
per capita: 1,482 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
96.4 cu km (1997)

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

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification

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

Map references:
Middle East

Geographic coordinates:
33 00 N, 44 00 E

Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: unnamed peak; 3,611 m; note - this peak is neither Gundah Zhur 3,607 m nor Kuh-e Hajji-Ebrahim 3,595 m

mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey

Geography - note:
strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

total: 437,072 sq km
land: 432,162 sq km
water: 4,910 sq km

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

58 km

Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Idaho

Irrigated land:
35,250 sq km (2003)

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

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

Natural hazards:
dust storms, sandstorms, floods

Land use:
arable land: 13.12%
permanent crops: 0.61%
other: 86.27% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
3.97 children born/woman (2008 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 (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
fewer than 500 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.62 years
male: 68.32 years
female: 70.99 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 74.1%
male: 84.1%
female: 64.2% (2000 est.)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian, or other 5%

Median age:
total: 20.2 years
male: 20.1 years
female: 20.2 years (2008 est.)

28,221,180 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:

Population growth rate:
2.562% (2008 est.)

Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Turkoman (a Turkish dialect), Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic), Armenian

Death rate:
5.14 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 45.43 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 51.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 39.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 10 years
male: 11 years
female: 8 years (2005)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 39.2% (male 5,613,420/female 5,438,770)
15-64 years: 57.9% (male 8,270,573/female 8,057,423)
65 years and over: 3% (male 396,751/female 444,244) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
30.77 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Muslim 97% (Shia 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%

noun: Iraqi(s)
adjective: Iraqi

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ryan C. CROCKER
embassy: Baghdad
mailing address: APO AE 09316
telephone: 1-240-553-0589 ext. 5340 or 5635; note - Consular Section

National holiday:
Revolution Day, 17 July (1968); note - this holiday was celebrated under the SADDAM Husayn regime; the Government of Iraq has yet to declare a new national holiday

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Sunni militias; Shia militias, some associated with political parties

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Samir Shakir al-SUMAYDI
chancery: 3421 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 742-1600
FAX: [1] (202) 333-1129

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
Council of Representatives (consisting of 275 members elected by a closed-list, proportional representation system)
elections: last held 15 December 2005 to elect a 275-member Council of Representatives (next to be held January 2009); the Council of Representatives elected the Presidency Council and approved the prime minister and two deputy prime ministers
election results: Council of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Unified Iraqi Alliance 41%, Kurdistan Alliance 22%, Tawafuq Coalition 15%, Iraqi National List 8%, Iraqi Front for National Dialogue 4%, other 10%; number of seats by party (as of November 2007) - Unified Iraqi Alliance (including the Sadrist bloc with 30 and Fadilah with 15) 130, Kurdistan Alliance 53, Tawafuq Front 44, Iraqi National List 25, Fadilah 15, Iraqi Front for National Dialogue 11, other 12

Legal system:
based on European civil and Islamic law under the framework outlined in the Iraqi Constitution; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great") in green Arabic script is centered in the white band; 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; Council of Representatives approved this flag as a compromise temporary replacement for Ba'athist Saddam-era flag

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-controlled Government

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Iraq
conventional short form: Iraq
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al-Iraqiyah
local short form: Al Iraq

Political parties and leaders:
Assyrian Democratic Movement [Yunadim KANNA]; Badr Organization [Hadi al-AMIRI]; Constitutional Monarchy Movement or CMM [Sharif Ali Bin al-HUSAYN]; Da'wa al-Islamiya Party [Nuri al-MALIKI]; General Conference of Iraqi People [Adnan al-DULAYMI]; Independent Iraqi Alliance or IIA [Falah al-NAQIB]; Iraqi Communist Party [Hamid MAJID]; Iraqi Front for National Dialogue [Salih al-MUTLAQ]; Iraqi Hizballah [Karim Mahmud al-MUHAMMADAWI]; Iraqi Independent Democrats or IID [Adnan PACHACHI, Mahdi al-HAFIZ]; Iraqi Islamic Party or IIP [Tariq al-HASHIMI]; Iraqi National Accord or INA [Ayad ALLAWI]; Iraqi National Congress or INC [Ahmad CHALABI]; Iraqi National Council for Dialogue or INCD [Khalaf Ulayan al-Khalifawi al-DULAYMI]; Iraqi National Unity Movement or INUM [Ahmad al-KUBAYSI]; Islamic Action Organization or IAO [Ayatollah Muhammad al-MUDARRISI]; Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq or ISCI [Abd al-Aziz al-HAKIM]; Jama'at al Fadilah or JAF [Muhammad Ali al-YAQUBI]; Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP [Masud BARZANI]; Kurdistan Islamic Union [Salah ad-Din Muhammad BAHA al-DIN]; Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK [Jalal TALABANI]; Sadrist Trend [Muqtada al-SADR] (not an organized political party, but it fields independent candidates affiliated with Muqtada al-SADR); Sahawa al-Iraq [Ahmad al-RISHAWI]
note: the Kurdistan Alliance, Iraqi National List, Tawafuq Front, Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, and Unified Iraqi Alliance were only electoral slates consisting of the representatives from the various Iraqi political parties

name: Baghdad
geographic coordinates: 33 20 N, 44 23 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins 1 April; ends 1 October

ratified on 15 October 2005 (subject to review by the Constitutional Review Committee and a possible public referendum )

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jalal TALABANI (since 6 April 2005); Vice Presidents Adil ABD AL-MAHDI and Tariq al-HASHIMI (since 22 April 2006); note - the president and vice presidents comprise the Presidency Council)
head of government: Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI (since 20 May 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers Barham SALIH (since 20 May 2006)and Rafi al-ISSAWI (since 19 July 2008)
cabinet: 36 ministers appointed by the Presidency Council, plus Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI and Deputy Prime Ministers Barham SALIH and Rafi al-ISSAWI
elections: held 15 December 2005 to elect a 275-member Council of Representatives

Administrative divisions:
18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah) and 1 region*; Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Arbil, As Sulaymaniyah, At Ta'mim, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Kurdistan Regional Government*, Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit

Judicial branch:
the Iraq Constitution calls for the federal judicial power to be comprised of the Higher Juridical Council, Federal Supreme Court, Federal Court of Cassation, Public Prosecution Department, Judiciary Oversight Commission and other federal courts that are regulated in accordance with the law

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 36.8%, Italy 12.6%, South Korea 9.5%, Taiwan 6.3%, Spain 5.2%, Canada 4.7%, France 4.4%, Netherlands 4.2% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
35.84 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
20% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
2.315 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$19.6 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$67.74 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
18% to 30% (2006 est.)

Oil - exports:
1.67 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,000 (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$113.9 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$84.09 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
New Iraqi dinars (NID) per US dollar - 1,202 (2008 est.), 1,255 (2007), 1,466 (2006), 1,475 (2005), 1,890 (second half, 2003)

GDP - real growth rate:
6.6% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$18.81 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
7.4 million (2004 est.)

Imports - partners:
Syria 30.5%, Turkey 19.8%, US 11.1%, Jordan 5%, China 4.8% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.1% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 68%
services: 27% (2006 est.)

Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day

$66.28 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
1.8 billion cu m
note: 1.48 billion cu m were flared (2006 est.)

Currency (code):
New Iraqi dinar (NID) as of 22 January 2004

Economy - overview:
Iraq's economy is dominated by the oil sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign exchange earnings. Although looting, insurgent attacks, and sabotage have undermined economy rebuilding efforts, economic activity is beginning to pick up in areas recently secured by the US military surge. Oil exports are around levels seen before Operation Iraqi Freedom, and total government revenues have benefited from high oil prices. Despite political uncertainty, Iraq is making some progress in building the institutions needed to implement economic policy and has negotiated a debt reduction agreement with the Paris Club and a new Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF. Iraq has received pledges for $13.5 billion in foreign aid for 2004-07 from outside of the US, more than $33 billion in total pledges. The International Compact with Iraq was established in May 2007 to integrate Iraq into the regional and global economy, and the Iraqi government is seeking to pass laws to strengthen its economy. This legislation includes a hydrocarbon law to establish a modern legal framework to allow Iraq to develop its resources and a revenue sharing law to equitably divide oil revenues within the nation, although both are still bogged down in discussions. The Central Bank has been successful in controlling inflation through appreciation of the dinar against the US dollar. Reducing corruption and implementing structural reforms, such as bank restructuring and developing the private sector, will be key to Iraq's economic success.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
food, medicine, manufactures

petroleum, chemicals, textiles, leather, construction materials, food processing, fertilizer, metal fabrication/processing

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
19.74% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$3.67 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
33.53 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$37.35 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
115 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Natural gas - proved reserves:
3.17 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$35.06 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
295,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:
NID, IQD prior to 22 January 2004

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
crude oil 84%, crude materials excluding fuels 8%, food and live animals 5%

Economic aid - recipient:
$21.65 billion (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 98.4%
hydro: 1.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
3.5 billion cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $42.3 billion
expenditures: $48.4 billion (FY08 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
2.094 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
54,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
1.547 million (2005)

1.75 million (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
after 17 months of unregulated media growth, there are approximately 80 radio stations (types NA) on the air inside Iraq (2004)

4.85 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
14.021 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
21 (2004)

Telephone system:
general assessment: the 2003 liberation of Iraq severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq including international connections; widespread government efforts to rebuild domestic and international communications through fiber optic links are in progress; the mobile cellular market has expanded rapidly with an estimated 14 million current users in 2007
domestic: repairs to switches and lines destroyed during 2003 continue; additional switching capacity is improving access; cellular service is available and centered on 3 GSM networks which are being expanded beyond their regional roots, improving country-wide connectivity; wireless local loop licenses have been issued with the hope of overcoming the lack of fixed-line infrastructure
international: country code - 964; satellite earth stations - 4 (2 Intelsat - 1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean, 1 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region, and 1 Arabsat (inoperative)); local microwave radio relay connects border regions to Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey; planned international fiber-optic connections to Iran (terrestrial) with a link to the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) submarine fiber-optic cable (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2000)

Internet hosts:
3 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

5,279 km
note: Euphrates River (2,815 km), Tigris River (1,899 km), and Third River (565 km) are principal waterways (2008)

gas 2,250 km; liquid petroleum gas 918 km; oil 5,509 km; refined products 1,637 km (2007)

total: 2,272 km
standard gauge: 2,272 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Al Basrah, Khawr az Zubayr, Umm Qasr

17 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 14
by type: cargo 10, petroleum tanker 4 (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 76
over 3,047 m: 19
2,438 to 3,047 m: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 9 (2007)

total: 44,900 km
paved: 37,851 km
unpaved: 7,049 km (2002)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 34
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 10 (2007)

110 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18-49 years of age for voluntary military service (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 7,086,200
females age 16-49: 6,808,954 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 6,019,795
females age 16-49: 5,878,905 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Iraqi Armed Forces: Iraqi 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)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 302,926
female: 294,747 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
8.6% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
coalition forces assist Iraqis in monitoring internal and cross-border security; approximately two million Iraqis have fled the conflict in Iraq, with the majority taking refuge in Syria and Jordan, and lesser numbers to Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, and Turkey; 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 autonomous status of Kurds in Iraq

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 10,000-15,000 (Palestinian Territories); 11,773 (Iran); 16,832 (Turkey)
IDPs: 2.4 million (ongoing US-led war and ethno-sectarian violence) (2007)

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