[Country map of Iraq]



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

Map references: Middle East

total area: 437,072 sq km
land area: 432,162 sq km
comparative area: slightly more than twice the size of Idaho

Land boundaries: total 3,631 km, 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

International disputes: Iran and Iraq restored diplomatic relations in 1990 but are still trying to work out written agreements settling outstanding disputes from their eight-year war concerning border demarcation, prisoners-of-war, and freedom of navigation and sovereignty over the Shatt al Arab waterway; 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; potential dispute over water development plans by Turkey for the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers

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 which melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq

Terrain: mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 1%
meadows and pastures: 9%
forest and woodland: 3%
other: 75%

Irrigated land: 25,500 sq km (1989 est)

current issues: government water control projects have drained most of the inhabited marsh areas west of Al Qurnah 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
natural hazards: duststorms, sandstorms, floods
international agreements: party to - Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban; signed, but not ratified - Environmental Modification


Population: 20,643,769 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 48% (female 4,850,028; male 5,009,513)
15-64 years: 49% (female 5,021,710; male 5,125,191)
65 years and over: 3% (female 338,790; male 298,537) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.72% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 43.6 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 6.82 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 62.4 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.52 years
male: 65.54 years
female: 67.56 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.56 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Iraqi(s)
adjective: Iraqi

Ethnic divisions: 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

Literacy: age 15-45 can read and write (1985)
total population: 89%
male: 90%
female: 88%

Labor force: 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


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

Digraph: IZ

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: 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 NA May 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Mikhail AZIZ (since NA 1979)
Revolutionary Command Council: Chairman SADDAM Husayn, Vice Chairman Izzat IBRAHIM al-Duri
cabinet: Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral
National Assembly (Majlis al-Watani): elections last held on 1 April 1989 (next to be held NA); results - Sunni Arabs 53%, Shi'a Arabs 30%, Kurds 15%, Christians 2% (est.); seats - (250 total) number of seats by party NA
note: in northern Iraq, a "Kurdish Assembly" was elected in May 1992 and calls for Kurdish self-determination within a federated Iraq; the assembly is not recognized by the Baghdad government

Judicial branch: Court of Cassation

Political parties and leaders: Ba'th Party

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


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Iraq has an Interest Section in the Algerian Embassy in Washington, DC
chancery: Iraqi Interests Section, 1801 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 483-7500
FAX: [1] (202) 462-5066

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: (vacant); note - operations have been temporarily suspended; a US Interests Section is located in Poland's embassy in Baghdad
embassy: Masbah Quarter (opposite the Foreign Ministry Club), Baghdad
mailing address: P. O. Box 2447 Alwiyah, Baghdad
telephone: [964] (1) 719-6138, 719-6139, 718-1840, 719-3791
FAX: Telex 212287

Flag: 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


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. 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. Industrial and transportation facilities, which suffered severe damage, have been partially restored. Oil exports remain at less than 5% of the previous level. Shortages of spare parts continue. Living standards deteriorated even further in 1993 and 1994; consumer prices have more than doubled in both 1993 and 1994. 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 can 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. In brief, per capita output in 1993-94 is far below the 1989-90 level, but no precise estimate is available.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $NA

National product real growth rate: NA%

National product per capita: $NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Unemployment rate: NA%

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

Exports: $10.4 billion (f.o.b., 1990)
commodities: crude oil and refined products, fertilizer, sulfur
partners: US, Brazil, Turkey, Japan, Netherlands, Spain (1990)

Imports: $6.6 billion (c.i.f., 1990)
commodities: manufactures, food
partners: Germany, US, Turkey, France, UK (1990)

External debt: $50 billion (1989 est.), excluding debt of about $35 billion owed to Gulf Arab states

Industrial production: growth rate NA%; manufacturing accounts for 10% of GNP (1989)

capacity: 7,170,000 kW
production: 25.7 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 1,247 kWh (1993)

Industries: petroleum production and refining, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing

Agriculture: accounted for 11% of GNP and 30% of labor force before the Gulf war; principal products - wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, other fruit, cotton, wool; livestock - cattle, sheep; not self-sufficient in food output

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-80), $3 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $647 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $3.9 billion

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

Exchange rates: Iraqi dinars (ID) per US$1 - 3.2 (fixed official rate since 1982); black-market rate (March 1995) US$1 = 1200 Iraqi dinars; semi-official rate US$1 = 650 Iraqi dinars

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 2,457 km
standard gauge: 2,457 km 1.435-m gauge

total: 45,550 km
paved: 38,400 km
unpaved: 7,150 km (1989 est.)

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

Merchant marine:
total: 36 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 795,346 GRT/1,431,154 DWT
ships by type: cargo 14, oil tanker 16, passenger 1, passenger-cargo 1, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 3

total: 121
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 21
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 34
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 7
with paved runways under 914 m: 22
with unpaved runways over 3,047 m: 3
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 5
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 16


Telephone system: 632,000 telephones; reconstitution of damaged telecommunication facilities began after the Gulf war; most damaged facilities have been rebuilt
local: NA
intercity: the network consists of coaxial cables and microwave radio relay links
international: 2 INTELSAT (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 GORIZONT (Atlantic Ocean) in the Intersputnik system, and 1 ARABSAT earth station; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey; Kuwait line is probably non-operational

broadcast stations: AM 16, FM 1, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 13
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Force, Border Guard Force, Internal Security Forces

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 4,626,610; males fit for military service 2,597,687; males reach military age (18) annually 229,015 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GNP