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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 31 May, 2007

Map of Iraq

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Iraq Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
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 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. Coalition forces remain in Iraq under a UNSC mandate, 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 on 28 June 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 on 30 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 15 October 2005 constitutional referendum. An election under the constitution for a 275-member Council of Representatives (CoR) was held on 15 December 2005. The CoR approval in the selection of most of the cabinet ministers on 20 May 2006 marked the transition from the ITG to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half-century.
   Geography    Iraq Top of Page
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 Rank Order
total: 437,072 sq km
land: 432,162 sq km
water: 4,910 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
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: not specified
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: 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:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 13.12%
permanent crops: 0.61%
other: 86.27% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
35,250 sq km (2003)
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 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:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea
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 Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
27,499,638 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 39.4% (male 5,509,736/female 5,338,722)
15-64 years: 57.6% (male 8,018,841/female 7,812,611)
65 years and over: 3% (male 386,321/female 433,407) (2007 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 20 years
male: 19.9 years
female: 20 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.618% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
31.44 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.26 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.032 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.026 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.891 male(s)/female
total population: 1.024 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 47.04 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52.73 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 41.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 69.31 years
male: 68.04 years
female: 70.65 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.07 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 500 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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: 74.1%
male: 84.1%
female: 64.2% (2000 est.)
   Government    Iraq Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Iraq
conventional short form: Iraq
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
local short form: Al Iraq
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary democracy
Definition Field Listing
name: Baghdad
geographic coordinates: 33 21 N, 44 25 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins 1 April; ends 1 October
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); note - on 28 June 2004 the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
ratified on 15 October 2005 (subject to review by the Constitutional Review Committee and a possible public referendum in 2007)
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on European civil and Islamic law under the framework outlined in the Iraqi Constitution
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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 and Salam al-ZUBAI (since 20 May 2006)
cabinet: 37 ministers appointed by the Presidency Council, plus Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI, and Deputy Prime Ministers Barham SALIH and Salam al-ZUBAI
elections: held 15 December 2005 to elect a 275-member Council of Representatives
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral Council of Representatives (consisting of 275 members elected by a closed-list, proportional representation system) and a Federation Council (membership not established and authorities undefined)
elections: held 15 December 2005 to elect a 275-member Council of Representatives; the Council of Representatives elected the Presidency Council and approved the Prime Minister
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 - Unified Iraqi Alliance 128, Kurdistan Alliance 53, Tawafuq Coalition 44, Iraqi National List 25, Iraqi Front for National Dialogue 11, other 14
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
the Iraq Constitution calls for the Federal Judicial Authority, comprised of the Higher Juridical Council, Supreme Federal Court, Federal Court of Cassation, Public Prosecution Department, Judiciary Oversight Commission and other federal courts that are regulated in accordance with the law
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Assyrian Democratic Movement [Yunadim KANNA]; Badr Organization [Hadi al-AMIRI]; Constitutional Monarchy Movement or CMM [Sharif Ali Bin al-HUSAYN]; Da'wa al-Islamiyya Party [Ibrahim al-JA'FARI]; General Conference of Iraqi People [Adnan al-DULAYMI]; Independent Iraqi Alliance or IIA [Falah al-NAQIB]; Iraqi Communist Party [Hamid al-MUSA]; 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]; 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]; National Reconciliation and Liberation Party [Mishan al-JABBURI]; 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); Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq or SCIRI [Abd al-Aziz al-HAKIM]
note: the Kurdistan Alliance, Iraqi National List, Tawafuq Coalition, Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, and Unified Iraqi Alliance were only electoral slates consisting of the representatives from the various Iraqi political parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
an insurgency against the Government of Iraq and Coalition forces is primarily concentrated in Baghdad and in areas north, northeast, and west of the capital; the diverse, multigroup insurgency consists principally of Sunni Arabs whose only common denominator is a shared desire to oust the Coalition and end US influence in Iraq; a number of predominantly Shia militias, some associated with political parties, challenge governmental authority in Baghdad and southern Iraq
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Samir Shakir al-SUMAYDI
chancery: 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
chief of mission: Ambassador Ryan C. CROCKER
embassy: Baghdad
mailing address: APO AE 09316
telephone: 00-1-240-553-0584 ext. 5340 or 5635; note - Consular Section
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, 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 Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
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, which began 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 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. Attacks on key economic facilities - especially oil pipelines and infrastructure - have prevented Iraq from reaching projected export volumes, but total government revenues have been higher than anticipated due to 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 Standby Arrangement with the IMF. An International Compact with Iraq is being established to integrate Iraq into the regional and global economy, while recognizing the need to resolve destabilizing security and political conflicts. Additionally, the Iraqi government is seeking to pass laws to strengthen the economy; this legislation includes a hydrocarbon law to encourage contracting with foreign investors and a revenue sharing law to equitably divide oil revenues within the nation. Controlling inflation, reducing corruption, and implementing structural reforms such as bank restructuring and developing the private sector, will be key to Iraq's economic prospects.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$87.9 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$40.66 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2,900 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 7.3%
industry: 66.6%
services: 26.1% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7.4 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
25% to 30% (2005 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 Rank Order
64.8% (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $33.4 billion
expenditures: $41 billion (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep, poultry
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, chemicals, textiles, leather, construction materials, food processing, fertilizer, metal fabrication/processing
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
34.6 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33.3 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
2.02 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.13 million bbl/day; note - prewar production in 2002 was 2.2 million bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
377,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.5 million bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2006)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
112.5 billion bbl (2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.75 billion cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.75 billion cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.115 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$8.134 billion (2006 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$32.19 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 84%, crude materials excluding fuels 8%, food and live animals 5%
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 49.7%, Italy 10.4%, Spain 6.3%, Canada 5.6% (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$20.76 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
food, medicine, manufactures
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Turkey 23.4%, Syria 23.1%, US 11.7%, Jordan 6.3% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$15.65 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$81.48 billion (2006 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$13.5 billion pledged in foreign aid for 2004-07 from outside of the US, over $33 billion pledged total (2004)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
New Iraqi dinar (NID) as of 22 January 2004
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
New Iraqi dinars per US dollar - 1,466 (2006), 1,475 (2005), 1,890 (second half, 2003), 0.3109 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Iraq Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.547 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.7 million (2006)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: the aftermath of the liberation of Iraq in 2003 severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq including international connections; USAID repaired switching capabilities and constructed a mobile and satellite communication facility; landlines now exceed pre-war levels
domestic: repairs to switches and lines destroyed during 2003 have been completed, but sabotage remains a problem; additional switching capacity is improving access; cellular service is widely available in major cities and centered on 3 regional GSM networks, improving country-wide connectivity; there are currently 8.7 million users of cellular services
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; despite a new satellite gateway, international calls outside of Baghdad are sometimes problematic
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
after 17 months of unregulated media growth, there are approximately 80 radio stations (types NA) on the air inside Iraq (2004)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
21 (2004)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5 (2006)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
36,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Iraq Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
110 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 77
over 3,047 m: 20
2,438 to 3,047 m: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 9 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 33
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 10 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
8 (2006)
Definition Field Listing
gas 2,228 km; liquid petroleum gas 918 km; oil 5,506 km; refined products 1,637 km (2006)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2,200 km
standard gauge: 2,200 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 45,550 km
paved: 38,399 km
unpaved: 7,151 km (1999)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5,279 km
note: Euphrates River (2,815 km), Tigris River (1,899 km), and Third River (565 km) are principal waterways (2004)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 13 ships (1000 GRT or over) 67,796 GRT/101,317 DWT
by type: cargo 11, petroleum tanker 2 (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Al Basrah, Khawr az Zubayr, Umm Qasr
   Military    Iraq Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
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)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
all volunteer force; the Iraqi 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 (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 5,870,640
females age 18-49: 5,642,073 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 4,930,074
females age 18-49: 4,771,105 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 198,518
females age 18-49: 289,879 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.6% (2006)
   Transnational Issues    Iraq Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 15,000 (Palestinian Territories), 11,960 (Iran), 16,110 (Turkey)
IDPs: 1.9 million (ongoing US-led war and Kurds' subsequent return) (2007)

This page was last updated on 31 May, 2007

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