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Flag of Iraq

Country Profile

Capital City: Baghdad (pop. est. 5 million)

Other Cities: Basrah, Mosul, Kirkuk, As Sulaymaniyah, Irbil

Local Time: UTC+3h

Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait.
Area: 437 072 sq. km.; about the size of California. Terrain: Alluvial plains, mountains, and desert, with many holes caused by various organizations in search for weapons of mass destruction.

Border countries
: Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey

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.

The Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) assumed sovereign authority for governing Iraq on
28 June 2004.
Independence: 1932 (from British mandate)
Constitution: Interim constitution, 8 March 2004:
"The National Assembly shall write the draft of the permanent constitution by no later than
15 August 2005."

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Iraqi(s)
Population (2002 est.): 24,011,816
Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurd 15%-20%, Turkman, Chaldean, Assyrian, or others less than 5%
Religions: Shia Muslim 60%, Sunni Muslim 32%-37%, Christian 3%, Jewish and Yezidi less than 1%
Languages: Arabic (official); more than 70% are Arabic speakers, Kurdish (official since 28 June 2004), Assyrian, Armenian
Literacy: 58%.


Currency: New Iraqi Dinar (NID) as of 22 January 2004.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur.

Agriculture products:
Wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep.

Industries: Petroleum, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing.

Exports partners:
USA 48.8%, Jordan 8.4%, Canada 8%, Italy 7.9%, Morocco 5.3% (2003)

Imports partners: Turkey 18.1%, Jordan 13.4%, Vietnam 10.7%, USA 6.9%, Germany 5%, UK 4.7% (2003)

Internet Links

Iraq in Transition

Iraqi Interim Government

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)

Coalition Provisional Authority

Key figures in Iraq's interim government

Who's who in post-Saddam Iraq

Map of Iraq

Map of the Middle East region



Background:  Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq became an
independent kingdom in 1932. A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but
in actuality a series of military strongmen have ruled the country since
then, the latest being 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
January-February 1991. The victors did not occupy Iraq, however, thus
allowing the regime to stay in control. 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. UN trade sanctions remain in effect due to incomplete Iraqi
compliance with relevant UNSC resolutions.

Geography Iraq

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

Geographic coordinates:  33 00 N, 44 00 E

Map references:  Middle East

Area:  total: 437,072 sq km water: 4,910 sq km land: 432,162 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:  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:
Haji Ibrahim 3,600 m

Natural resources:  petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

Land use:  arable land: 12% permanent crops: 1% other: 87% (1998 est.)

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 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 (salination) and erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements:   Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test
Ban signed, but not ratified: Geography - note:  strategic location on
Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

People Iraq

Population:  24,001,816 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 41.1% (male 5,003,755; female 4,849,238)
15-64 years: 55.9% (male 6,794,265; female 6,624,662) 65 years and over:
3% (male 341,520; female 388,376) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.82% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  34.2 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  6.02 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 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:
0.88 male(s)/female total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  57.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   68.5 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  4.63 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  less than 0.01% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

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,

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

Government Iraq

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

Government type:  republic

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:  Revolution Day, 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 Presidents Taha Muhyi al-Din MARUF (since 21 April 1974)
and Taha Yasin RAMADAN (since 23 March 1991) 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% cabinet: Council of Ministers;
note - there is also a Revolutionary Command Council or RCC with eight
members as of 2001 (Chairman SADDAM Husayn, Vice Chairman Izzat IBRAHIM
al-Duri) which controls the ruling Ba'th Party; the RCC is the highest
executive and legislative body and the most powerful political entity
in the country; new RCC members must come from the Regional Command
Leadership of the Ba'th Party head of government: Prime Minister SADDAM
Husayn (since 29 May 1994); Deputy Prime Ministers Tariq Mikhail AZIZ
(since NA 1979), Hikmat Mizban Ibrahim al-AZZAWI (since 30 July 1999),
Ahmad Husayn al-KHUDAYIR (since NA July 2001), and Abd al-Tawab Mullah
al-HUWAYSH (since NA July 2001)

Legislative branch:  unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Watani
(250 seats; 30 appointed by the president 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 27 March 2000
(next to be held NA March 2004) 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:  any formal political activity
must be sanctioned by the government; opposition to regime from Kurdish
groups and southern Shi'a dissidents

International organization participation:  ABEDA, ACC, AFESD, AL, AMF,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  none; note - Iraq has an Interest
Section in the Algerian Embassy headed by Akram AL DOURI; 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; address: P. O. Box
2051 Hay Babel, Baghdad; telephone: [964] (1) 718-9267; 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 which has two stars but no script
and the flag of Yemen which has a plain white band; also similar to the
flag of Egypt which has a symbolic eagle centered in the white band

Economy Iraq

Economy - overview:  Iraq's economy is 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, borrow heavily, and
later reschedule foreign debt payments; Iraq suffered economic losses
from the war of at least $100 billion. After hostilities ended in 1988,
oil exports gradually increased with the construction of new pipelines
and restoration of damaged facilities. 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 have hurt the economy,
implementation of the UN's oil-for-food program in December 1996 has
helped improve conditions for the average Iraqi citizen. For the first
six, six-month phases of the program, 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. Oil exports are now more than three-quarters prewar level.
However, 28% of Iraq's export revenues under the program are deducted to
meet UN Compensation Fund and UN administrative expenses. The drop in GDP
in 2001 was largely the result of the global economic slowdown and lower
oil prices. Per capita food imports have increased significantly, while
medical supplies and health care services are steadily improving. Per
capita output and living standards are still well below the prewar level,
but any estimates have a wide range of error.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $59 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  -5.7% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $2,500 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 6% industry: 13% services: 81%
(1993 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  60% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  4.4 million (1989)

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

Unemployment rate:  NA%

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

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

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  27.3 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 98.17% hydro: 1.83%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  25.389 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton;
cattle, sheep

Exports:  $15.8 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  crude oil

Exports - partners:  US 46.2%, Italy 12.2%, France 9.6%, Spain 8.6% (2000)

Imports:  $11 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  food, medicine, manufactures

Imports - partners:  France 22.5%, Australia 22%, China 5.8%, Russia 5.8%

Debt - external:  $62.2 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $327.5 million (1995)

Currency:  Iraqi dinar (IQD)

Currency code:  IQD

Exchange rates:  Iraqi dinars per US dollar - 0.3109 (fixed official
rate since 1982); black market rate - Iraqi dinars per US dollar - 2,000
(December 2001), 1,910 (December 1999), 1,815 (December 1998), 1,530
(December 1997), 910 (December 1996); note - subject to wide fluctuations

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Iraq

Telephones - main lines in use:  675,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA; service available in northern Iraq

Telephone system:  general assessment: 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 19 (5 are inactive), FM 51, shortwave 4

Radios:  4.85 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  13 (1997)

Televisions:  1.75 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .iq

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  1 (2000)

Internet users:  12,500 (2001)

Transportation Iraq

Railways:  total: 2,339 km standard gauge: 2,339 km 1.435-m gauge (2001)

Highways:  total: 45,550 km paved: 38,400 km unpaved: 7,150 km (1996 est.)

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

Merchant marine:  total: 25 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 186,709
GRT/278,575 DWT ships by type: cargo 14, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1,
petroleum tanker 8, roll on/roll off 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  108 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 73 over 3,047 m: 20 2,438 to
3,047 m: 34 914 to 1,523 m: 6 under 914 m: 7 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

Airports - with unpaved runways:   3 2,438 to 3,047 m: Heliports:  4

Military Iraq

Military branches:  Army, Republican Guard, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense
Force, Border Guard Force, Fedayeen Saddam

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 6,135,847 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 3,430,819
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 274,035
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $1.3 billion (FY00)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

Transnational Issues Iraq

Disputes - international:  despite restored diplomatic relations in
1990, lacks maritime boundary with Iran and disputes land boundary,
navigation channels, and other issues from eight-year war; in November
1994, Iraq formally accepted the UN-demarcated border with Kuwait which
had been spelled out in Security Council Resolutions 687 (1991), 773
(1993), and 883 (1993); this formally ends earlier claims to Kuwait and
to Bubiyan and Warbah islands although the government continues periodic
rhetorical challenges; dispute over water development plans by Turkey
for the Tigris and Euphrates rivers

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Al Bawaba

Aljazeera.Net - Iraq under occupation

Middle East Times

Iraq Today


Radio Free Iraq

UN News Center

Occupation Watch

Iraq Daily

Yahoo! News Full Coverage - Iraq Conflict

Arts & Culture

iNCiA - Strokes of Genius - Contemporary Iraqi Art

Iraqi Art Page

Business & Economy
Central Bank Of Iraq

Iraqi Ministry of Trade

Country Guides

Baghdad Burning


Historical Iraq

Iraq Resource Information Site IRIS

Newsgroup of Iraq





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