Form of Government: Federal parliamentary republic
Area: 434 128 sq km
Population: 37 202 572 inhab. (estimate 2016)
Density: 85.70 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 37° - 29° N; long. 39° - 49° E
Capital: Baghdād 6 516 400 inhab. (2015), urban agglomeration
Currency: Iraqi dinar (20 dirhams, 1000 fils)
Human development index: 0.649 (rank: 121)
President: Fūād Ma‘ṣūm (PUK), since 24 July 2014
Prime Minister: Ḥaidar al-’Ibādī (Victory Alliance), in office since 8 September 2014
Council of Representatives: seats based on the elections of 12 May 2018: Forward (coalition led by Shia linked to Muqtadā aṣ-Ṣadr and by the Communist Party), 54; Conquest Alliance (pro-Iranian Shia), 47; Victory Alliance (centrist), 42; PDK (Kurdistan Democratic Party), 25; State of Law Coalition (Shia), 25; National Coalition (secular nationalist), 21; National Wisdom Movement (Shia), 19; PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan), 18; others, 78
Internet: www.cosit.gov.iq/en (Central Statistical Organization)
Member of Arab League, OIC, OPEC, UN, WTO observer
International license plate code IRQ
International dialling code 00964
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission)
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .iq
DST not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Baghdād 22.7; Basra 24.5
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Baghdād 10/34; Basra 13/34.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Baghdād 12/6; Basra 11/7
Annual average precipitation (mm) Baghdād 151; Basra 165
Days of rainfall (annual average) Baghdād 24; Basra 19
Politics and current affairs
The military’s counteroffensive, launched in March 2015 and backed by the US-led coalition, resulted in the final territories controlled by extremist militants being conquered in December 2017. Territories under Kurdish control were also reoccupied, in response to a referendum about Kurdistan’s independence on 25 September 2017. In the elections on 12 May 2018, the alliance led by Shia leader Muqtadā aṣ-Ṣadr prevailed, whose supporters have organized since 2015 numerous protests against corruption and the division of roles according to party and religious quotas. The centrist coalition of Prime Minister al-’Ibādī was penalized for its immobilism in government action, owing to his resistance to change the delicate political balance and the rivalry with his predecessor Nūrī al-Mālikī.
Iraq is bordered to the north by Turkey, to the north-east and to the east by Iran, to the south-east by Kuwait, to the south-west by Saudi Arabia and to the west by Jordan and Syria. To the south-east it lies on the Arabian Gulf. The main part of the country corresponds to Mesopotamia, the region between the Tigris and the Euphrates, while the Zagros Mountains mark the border with Iran. The area on the Arabian Gulf is one of the hottest on earth.
Formerly a part of the Ottoman Empire, from 1920 Iraq was administered by the United Kingdom on a mandate from the League of Nations. It became an independent monarchy in 1932 and a Republic on 14 July 1958, following a coup d’état carried out by General Karim Kassem.
The Baath nationalist party (supported by the Sunnites) lost its power with a further coup d’état in 1968. Elected as President on 16 July 1979, General Saddam Hussein set up a dictatorship. In September 1980, Iraq declared war on Iran with the intention of conquering the western bank of the Shatt al-Arab; the war ended in 1988 without any territorial gains, but with an exceptionally high number of victims and material damage. On 2 August 1990, Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait, but were subsequently defeated (26 February 1991) by a large international coalition operating on a UN mandate, but led by the USA. After withdrawal from Kuwait, the country underwent a strong economic downturn on account of the embargo imposed by the UN.
The crisis worsened following the attack of 11 September 2001 which the US administration linked to Iraq.
On 20 March 2003, the USA and the United Kingdom, despite opinion to the contrary expressed by the other members of the UN Security Council (France, China and Russian Federation), embarked on the invasion of the country. War lasted less than a month since the advancement of troops met little resistance on the battlefield. However, almost immediately there was a multiplication of attacks and activity against the occupying troops with the situation turning into something of a civil war. Saddam Hussein, captured in 2003, was tried and then executed in 2006.
In 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) was put into force, appointed by the US government. In 2004, the CPA was replaced by the institutions as laid down by the provisional Constitution, and Iraq formally returned to being an independent and sovereign State.
The 2005 elections gave rise to the National Assembly, which drafted a new Federal Constitution, then approved in the 15 October 2005 referendum. The President of the Republic is elected with a majority of two-thirds by the Council of Representatives (formed by 329 members elected by direct suffrage); the Constitution also includes an upper house, but it has never been established. A significant amount of autonomy has been awarded to the governorates and, to an even greater extent, to the Kurdish regions in the northern part of the country.
The US mission in Iraq officially ended on 15 December 2011, and the last group of US soldiers left the country on 18 December. Just a small number of soldiers is still on the ground to finish training the Iraqi army. Approximately 4500 US soldiers have died since the beginning of the war and 35 000 have been injured. The number of deaths among the civilian population and the Iraqi security forces is much higher (more than 100 000 deaths according to some recent estimates; more than 600 000 according to other sources). Since the beginning of 2014, fundamentalist Sunni militias under the name of the “Islamic State” moved beyond Syria’s borders and conquered numerous cities in Sunni Iraq, including Al-Fallūjah and Ar-Ramādī in January and Kirkūk and Mosul in June, drawing on support from local tribal factions who were already in conflict with the Shiite government. The country is now split with Sunnis to the west, Shiites under the control of the government in the southeast, and Kurds to the northeast. Between 2015 and 2017, a counteroffensive backed by the US-led coalition gradually regained the occupied territories.
|Homicides||7.9||per 100 000 pop.||2012|
|Baghdād||6 516 400||inhab.||2015|
|Basra=Al-Baṣrah||1 330 400||inhab.||2015|
|Baghdād||6 516 400||inhab.||2015|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2017)|
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||74.91||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||4 303||M US$||2017|
|Active population||10 600 965||units||2017|
|Active population, Females||20.1||%||2017|
|Unemployment rate, Females||32.8||%||2017|
|Expenses||83 556 226||M LCU||2014|
|Revenues||105 386 623||M LCU||2014|
|Currency in circulation||44 236.6||BN LCU||2017|
|International reserves||48 875.7||M US$||2017|
Agriculture and forests.
The most important crops are maize and wheat in the northern regions (Mosul, Arbīl and Kirkūk) and rice in the area of Al-Qādisīyah, Bābil, Maysān and Dhī Qār. The production of dates is important in Lower Mesopotamia. There are forests in the northern regions of Arbīl, Nīnawá, At-Ta’mim and Diyālá.
Livestock and fishing.
Sheep farming is traditionally practiced in the semi-arid areas, though it contributes to the process of desertification.
|cereals, total||4 048.469||1000 t||2016|
|roots and tubers, total||190.702||1000 t||2016|
|carrots and turnips||2.864||1000 t||2016|
|beans, dry||4||1000 t||2016|
|beans, green||4.61||1000 t||2016|
|sesame seed||2.344||1000 t||2016|
|sugar beet||38.619||1000 t||2016|
|sugar cane||11.67||1000 t||2016|
|seed cotton||31.168||1000 t||2016|
|citrus fruits||80.941||1000 t||2016|
|carrots and turnips||0.459||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, dry||1||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, green||0.722||1000 ha||2016|
|sesame seed||2.678||1000 ha||2016|
|sugar beet||7.523||1000 ha||2016|
|sugar cane||0.584||1000 ha||2016|
|seed cotton||11.863||1000 ha||2016|
|citrus fruits||37.296||1000 ha||2016|
|cattle||3 120.667||1000 heads||2016|
|cattle and buffaloes||3 322.309||1000 heads||2016|
|sheep||6 604.185||1000 heads||2016|
|goats||1 260.481||1000 heads||2016|
|asses and mules||390.01||1000 heads||2016|
|birds||44 753||1000 heads||2016|
|crustaceans and molluscs||430||t||2016|
|freshwater fishes||50 135||t||2016|
Secondary and tertiary sector
The country is rich in oil (holding over a tenth of world reserves, according to estimates). The oil from the area of Kirkūk is transported by oil pipelines to the Mediterranean (to Bāniyās in Syria and to Ceyhan in Turkey).
Other reserves are situated in the area of Baghdād, on the lower section of the River Tigris (at ‘Ayn Zālah and Buṭmah) and in the southern regions (in Majnoon, Zubair and Rumaila). The increase in investments in the oil sector favoured the development of export infrastructure, in particular to connect the Basra offshore terminals (Mīnā’ al Bakr and Khawr al ‘Amīyah) to inland installations by way of the strategic port of Al Fāw. Further minerals are salt at Al Fāw, phosphates at Akashat and sulfur at Al Mishraq.
Most refineries are in Mosul-Al Qayyārah, Kirkūk, Alwand-Khānaqīn, Hadīthah, Baghdād-Daurah and Basra. There are fertilizer production plants at Basra, Al Qayyārah, Al Hindīyah and Al Qā’im.
There is a steel-making plant at Khor al-Zubair (Basra). Further industries include textiles, sugar, paper and cement. Craftwork is widespread (weaving, tanning, silver, copper and iron work).
Iraq exports oil, almost exclusively, and imports foods and food-stuffs. China, India, Turkey and the USA are its main trading partners.
|natural gas||7 814||M m³||2017|
|oil, crude||222 790.1||1000 t||2017|
|clay||34 000||1000 t||2015|
|limestone||7 760||1000 t||2015|
|- thermal||62 369||M kWh||2015|
|- hydro||2 546||M kWh||2015|
|- thermal||28 598||1000 kW||2015|
|- hydro||2 513||1000 kW||2015|
|total net generation||64 915||M kWh||2015|
|total installed capacity||31 368||1000 kW||2015|
|steel, crude||1 000||1000 t||2015|
|sulfur, rec.||10||1000 t||2015|
|air conditioners||2 660||no.||2009|
|petrol||3 045.5||1000 t||2014|
|caustic soda||0.021||1000 t||2004|
|cotton fabrics||9.89||M m²||2015|
|beer of barley||38||1000 t||2008|
|coconut oil||0.03||1000 t||2014|
|other paper||13||1000 t||2016|
|cement||13 000||1000 t||2015|
|chemicals production||202.4||M US$||2011|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||798.1||M US$||2011|
|fuels||99.986||% of goods exports||2016|
|agricultural raw materials||0.009||% of goods exports||2016|
|Expenditures||5 027||M US$||2016|
|Number of arrivals||892 000||units||2013|
Social and welfare
|Expected years of schooling||9.8||years||2004|
|Teachers, primary level||286 890||units||2007|
|Teachers, secondary level||148 363||units||2007|
|Hospital beds||1.1||per 1000 pop.||2014|
|Physicians||0.85||per 1000 pop.||2014|
|Tuberculosis||43||per 100 000 pop.||2016|
|Tuberculosis (prevalence)||67||per 100 000 pop.||2014|
|Research and development spending||0.04||% of GDP||2016|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||97.63||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2016|