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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Iraq

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Iraq
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
33 00 N, 44 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Middle East
Definition Field Listing
total: 437,072 sq km
water: 4,910 sq km
land: 432,162 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly more than twice the size of Idaho
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
58 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
continental shelf: not specified
territorial sea: 12 NM
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Haji Ibrahim 3,600 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 11.89%
permanent crops: 0.78%
other: 87.33% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
35,250 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
dust storms, sandstorms, floods
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
   People    Iraq
Definition Field Listing
24,001,816 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
2.82% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
34.2 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
6.02 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
57.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 67.38 years
female: 68.5 years (2002 est.)
male: 66.31 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
4.63 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
less than 0.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
noun: Iraqi(s)
adjective: Iraqi
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian or other 5%
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
Definition Field Listing
Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58%
male: 70.7%
female: 45% (1995 est.)
   Government    Iraq
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Iraq
conventional short form: Iraq
local short form: Al Iraq
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Revolution Day, 17 July (1968)
Definition Field Listing
22 September 1968, effective 16 July 1970 (provisional constitution); new constitution drafted in 1990 but not adopted
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Islamic law in special religious courts, civil law system elsewhere; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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; regular election last held 17 October 1995 (next scheduled for 2002); note - in place of the 2002 election, a presidential referendum was held on 15 October 2002 in which the presidency of SADDAM Husayn was extended for a fifth consecutive seven-year term
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%; note - in a presidential referendum held 15 October 2002, SADDAM Husayn's term was extended for another seven years
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Court of Cassation
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Ba'th Party [SADDAM Husayn, central party leader]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
any formal political activity must be sanctioned by the government; opposition to regime from Kurdish groups and southern Shi'a dissidents
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $59 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-5.7% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $2,500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 6%
industry: 13%
services: 81% (1993 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
60% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
4.4 million (1989) (1989)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
27.3 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 98%
hydro: 2%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
25.389 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep
Definition Field Listing
$15.8 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 46.2%, Italy 12.2%, France 9.6%, Spain 8.6% (2000)
Definition Field Listing
$11 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
food, medicine, manufactures
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
France 22.5%, Australia 22%, China 5.8%, Russia 5.8% (2000)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$62.2 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$327.5 million (1995) (1995)
Definition Field Listing
Iraqi dinar (IQD)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Iraq
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
675,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
NA; service available in northern Iraq (2001)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
AM 19 (5 are inactive), FM 51, shortwave 4 (1998)
Definition Field Listing
4.85 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
13 (1997)
Definition Field Listing
1.75 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
1 (2000)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
12,500 (2001)
   Transportation    Iraq
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,339 km
standard gauge: 2,339 km 1.435-m gauge (2001)
Definition Field Listing
total: 45,550 km
paved: 38,400 km
unpaved: 7,150 km (1996 est.)
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 4,350 km; petroleum products 725 km; natural gas 1,360 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Umm Qasr, Khawr az Zubayr, and Al Basrah have limited functionality
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
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.)
Definition Field Listing
108 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 77
over 3,047 m: 21
2,438 to 3,047 m: 36
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 9 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 73
under 914 m: 11 (2002)
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 28
1,524 to 2,437 m: 24
Definition Field Listing
5 (2002)
   Military    Iraq
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Republican Guard, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Force, Border Guard Force, Fedayeen Saddam
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 6,135,847 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 3,430,819 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 274,035 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$1.3 billion (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
   Transnational Issues    Iraq
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
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 19 March 2003

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