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, the latest 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, helping to restore degraded infrastructure and facilitating the establishment of a freely elected government, while simultaneously dealing with a robust insurgency. The Coalition Provisional Authority, which temporarily administered Iraq after the invasion, transferred full governmental authority on 28 June 2004, to the Iraqi Interim Government (IG), 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. After an official certified ballot count is released, an Iraqi Government is expected to be formed by late spring or early summer 2006.
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Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

Geographic Coordinates
33 00 N, 44 00 E

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

58 km

Maritime Claims
territorial sea: 12 nm; continental shelf: not specified

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

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: 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
petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

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

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 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
party to: Law of the Sea; signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification

strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

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26,783,383 (July 2006 est.)

Age Structure
0-14 years: 39.7% (male 5,398,645/female 5,231,760); 15-64 years: 57.3% (male 7,776,257/female 7,576,726); 65 years and over: 3% (male 376,700/female 423,295) (2006 est.)

Median Age
total: 19.7 years; male: 19.6 years; female: 19.8 years (2006 est.)

Population Growth Rate
2.66% (2006 est.)

Birth Rate
31.98 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death Rate
5.37 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net Migration Rate
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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 (2006 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate
total: 48.64 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 54.39 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 42.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth
total population: 69.01 years; male: 67.76 years; female: 70.31 years (2006 est.)

Total Fertility Rate
4.18 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Adult Prevalence Rate
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS – People Living with HIV/AIDS
less than 500 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS – Deaths

noun: Iraqi(s); adjective: Iraqi

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

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

Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian

definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 40.4%; male: 55.9%; female: 24.4% (2003 est.)

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

Government Type
transitional democracy


Administrative Divisions
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

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
Revolution Day, 17 July (1968); note – this holiday was celebrated under the SADDAM Husayn regime but the Iraqi Interim Government has yet to declare a new national holiday

ratified on 15 October 2005

Legal System
based on European civil and Islamic law under the framework outlined in the Iraqi Constitution

formerly 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch
chief of state: Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) President Jalal TALABANI (since 6 April 2005); Deputy Presidents Adil Abd AL-MAHDI and Ghazi al-Ujayl al-YAWR (since 6 April 2005); note – the President and Deputy Presidents comprise the Presidency Council); head of government: Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) Prime Minister Ibrahim al-JAFARI (since April 2005); Deputy Prime Ministers Rowsch SHAWAYS, Ahmad CHALABI, and Abid al-Mutlaq al-JABBURI (since May 2005); cabinet: 32 ministers appointed by the Presidency Council, plus Prime Minister Ibrahim al-JAFARI, Deputy Prime Ministers Rowsch SHAWAYS, Ahmad CHALABI, and Abid al-Mutlaq al-JABBURI; elections: held 15 December 2005 to elect a 275-member Council of Representatives

Legislative Branch
unicameral Council of Representatives or Mejlis Watani (consisting of 275 members elected by a closed-list, proportional-representation system); elections: held 15 December 2005 to elect a 275-member Council of Representatives that will finalize a permanent constitution; election results: Council of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; number of seats by party – NA

Judicial Branch
Supreme Court appointed by the Prime Minister, confirmed by the Presidency Council

Political Parties and Leaders
Al-Sadr Movement [Muqtada Al-SADR]; Assyrian Democratic Movement [Yunadim KANNA]; Conference of Iraqi People [Adnan al-DULAYMI]; Constitutional Monarchy Movement or CMM [Sharif Ali Bin al-HUSAYN]; Da’wa Party [Ibrahim al-JA’FARI]; Independent Iraqi Alliance or IIA [Falah al-NAQIB]; Iraqi Communist Party [Hamid al-MUSA]; Iraqi Hizballah [Karim Mahud al-MUHAMMADAWI]; Iraqi Independent Democrats or IID [Adnan PACHACHI, Mahdi al-HAFIZ]; Iraqi Islamic Party or IIP [Muhsin Abd al-HAMID, Hajim al-HASSANI]; 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, chairman]; Islamic Action Organization or IAO [Ayatollah Muhammad al-MUDARRISI]; Jama’at al Fadilah or JAF [Ayatollah Muhammad Ali al-YAQUBI]; Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP [Masud BARZANI]; Muslim Ulama Council or MUC [Harith Sulayman al-DARI, secretary general]; National Iraqi Front [Salih al-MUTLAQ]; National Reconciliation and Liberation Party [Mishan al-JABBURI]; Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK [Jalal TALABANI]; Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq or SCIRI [Abd al-Aziz al-HAKIM]; note: the Kurdistan Alliance, Iraqi National List, Iraqi Consensus Front, Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, and United Iraqi Alliance were only electoral slates consisting of the representatives from the various Iraqi political parties

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders
an insurgency against the Iraqi Transitional Government and Coalition forces is primarily concentrated in Baghdad and in areas west and north of the capital; the diverse, multigroup insurgency is led principally by Sunni Arabs whose only common denominator is a shared desire to oust the Coalition and end US influence in Iraq

International Organization Participation

Diplomatic Representation in the US
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Said Shehab AHMED; chancery: 1801 P Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; telephone: [1] (202) 483-7500; FAX: [1] (202) 462-5066

Diplomatic Representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Zalmay KHALILZAD; Deputy Chief of Mission David M. SATTERFIELD; embassy: Baghdad; mailing address: APO AE 09316; telephone: 00-1-240-553-0584 ext. 5340 OR 5635; note – Consular Section; FAX: NA

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, 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

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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. Per capita food imports increased significantly, while medical supplies and health care services steadily improved. Per capita output and living standards were still well below the pre-1991 level, but any estimates have a wide range of error. 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 has established the institutions needed to implement economic policy, has successfully concluded a three-stage debt reduction agreement with the Paris Club, and is working toward a Standby Arrangement with the IMF. The Standby Arrangement would clear the way for continued debt relief from the Paris Club.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$94.1 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)
$46.5 billion (2005 est.)

GDP – real growth rate
-3% (2005 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)
$3,400 (2005 est.)

GDP – composition by sector
agriculture: 7.3%; industry: 66.6%; services: 26.1% (2004 est.)

Labor Force
7.4 million (2004 est.)

Labor Force – By Occupation
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment Rate
25% to 30% (2005 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line

Household Income or Consumption by Percentage Share
lowest 10%: NA%; highest 10%: NA%

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices)
40% (2005 est.)

revenues: $19.3 billion; expenditures: $24 billion; including capital expenditures of $5 billion (2005 budget)

Agriculture – Products
wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep, poultry

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

Industrial Production Growth Rate

Electricity – Production
31.7 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity – Consumption
33.3 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity – Exports
0 kWh (2005)

Electricity – Imports
2.02 billion kWh (2005)

Oil – Production
2.093 million bbl/day; note – prewar production (in 2002) was 2.03 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil – Consumption
351,500 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil – Exports
1.42 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil – Imports
NA bbl/day

Oil – Proved Reserves
112.5 billion bbl (2005 est.)

Natural Gas – Production
1.5 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural Gas – Consumption
1.5 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural Gas – Exports
0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural Gas – Imports
0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural Gas – Proved Reserves
3.115 trillion cu m (2005)

Current Account Balance
$-9.447 billion (2004 est.)

$17.78 billion f.o.b. (2004)

Exports – Commodities
crude oil (83.9%), crude materials excluding fuels (8.0%), food and live animals (5.0%)

Exports – Partners
US 51.9%, Spain 7.3%, Japan 6.6%, Italy 5.7%, Canada 5.2% (2004)

$19.57 billion f.o.b. (2004)

Imports – Commodities
food, medicine, manufactures

Imports – Partners
Syria 22.9%, Turkey 19.5%, US 9.2%, Jordan 6.7%, Germany 4.9% (2004)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold
$8.4 billion (2005 est.)

Debt – External
$82.1 billion (2005 est.)

Economic Aid – Recipient
more than $33 billion in foreign aid pledged for 2004-07 (2004)

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

Exchange Rates
New Iraqi dinars per US dollar – 1,475 (2005), 1,890 (second half, 2003), 0.3109 (2001)

Fiscal Year
calendar year

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Telephones – Main Lines in Use
1,034,200 (2004)

Telephones – Mobile Cellular
574,000 (2004)

Telephone System
general assessment: the 2003 war severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq including international connections; USAID is overseeing the repair of switching capability and the construction of mobile and satellite communication facilities; domestic: repairs to switches and lines destroyed during the 2003 war continue, but sabotage remains a problem; additional switching capacity is improving access; cellular service is available and centered on three regional GSM networks, improving country-wide connectivity; 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; desite a new satellite gateway, international calls outside of Baghdad remain problematic

Radio Broadcast Stations
after 17 months of unregulated media growth, there are approximately 80 radio stations on the air inside Iraq (2004)

Television Broadcast Stations
21 (2004)

Internet Country Code

Internet Hosts
4 (2005)

Internet Users
36,000 (2005)

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111 (2005)

Airports – With Paved Runways
total: 78; over 3,047 m: 20; 2,438 to 3,047 m: 37; 1,524 to 2,437 m: 5; 914 to 1,523 m: 7; under 914 m: 9 (2005)

Airports – With Unpaved Runways
total: 33; over 3,047 m: 2; 2,438 to 3,047 m: 4; 1,524 to 2,437 m: 5; 914 to 1,523 m: 12; under 914 m: 10 (2005)

8 (2005)

gas 1,739 km; oil 5,418 km; refined products 1,343 km (2004)

total: 2,200 km; standard gauge: 2,200 km 1.435-m gauge (2004)

total: 45,550 km; paved: 38,399 km; unpaved: 7,151 km (1999)

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
total: 13 ships (1000 GRT or over) 67,796 GRT/101,317 DWT; by type: cargo 11, petroleum tanker 2 (2005)

Ports and Terminals
Al Basrah, Khawr az Zubayr, Umm Qasr

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Military Branches
Iraqi Armed Forces: Iraqi Regular 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
18 years of age; the Iraqi Interim 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 (2004)

Manpower Available for Military Service
males age 18-49: 5,870,640 (2005 est.)

Manpower Fit for Military Service
males age 18-49: 4,930,074 (2005 est.)

Manpower Reaching Military Service Age Annually
males: 298,518 (2005 est.)

Military Expenditures – Dollar Figure
$1.34 billion (2005 est.)

Military Expenditures – Percent of GDP

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Transnational Issues

Disputes – International
coalition forces assist Iraqis in monitoring boundary security; 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 status of Kurds in Iraq

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
refugees (country of origin): 22,711 (Palestinian Territories); IDPs: 1 million (ongoing US-led war and Kurds’ subsequent return) (2005)

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