Fast Facts: Iraq

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Official Name:  
Republic of Iraq

Political System:


U.S. Diplomatic Representation:
None. The U.S. maintains an interest section in the Polish Embassy in Baghdad.

Iraqi dinar

Total — 437,072 sq. km. (Roughly twice the size of Idaho)
Water — 4,910 sq. km.
Land — 432,162 sq. km.

Arabic — 80%
Kurdish — 17%
Turkish, Farsi

Official —  Islam
Shi'a Muslims — 62.5%
Sunni Muslims — 34.5%
Several Christian minorities

24,001,816 (CIA profile estimate in 2002)

0-14 years — 41.1% [male — 5.03 million, female — 4.8 million
15-64 years — 55.9% [male — 6.7 million, female — 6.6 million]
65 plus years — 3% [male — 341,000, female — 388,000]

Ethnic Groups: 
Arabs — 77%
Kurds — 19%
Assyrians, Turkomans, others

Border Countries:
Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait


Major Cities [Est pop]:
Baghdad [5,000,000]
Basra [1,500,000]
Mosul [1,200,000]
Kirkuk [535,000]

Administrative Divisions:
Country separated into 18 provinces — Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyay, An Najaf, Arbil, AS Sulaymaniyah, At Ta'mim, Babil Baghdad, Dahuk, Bhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, Wasit

Key Sea Ports:
Umm Qasr (primary deep-sea crude oil port)

Coast along Persian Gulf is 58 km long — with much of this obscured by the Kuwaiti coast.

Primary Airport: 
Baghdad International Airport

Key Geographical Features  
• Dominated by Tigris-Euphrates river systems
• Desert to the west
• Zagros Mountain Range to the east and north
• To the south, its control of the Shatt al-Arab confluence of the two major rivers provides it with extremely restricted access to the Persian Gulf. Its location within the Mesopotamian plain means that it acts a geographic bridge between the Mediterranean and Asia and is thus a key player in the regional geo-strategic picture.

Mostly desert with 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

Elevation Extremes: 
• Persian Gulf — 0 meters
• Haji Ibrahim — 3,600 meters

Natural Hazards: 
• Dust Storms
• Sandstorms
• Floods

Former Government — Under Hussein Regime

Saddam Hussein

Taha Muhyi al-Din Maruf

Taha Yassin Ramadan

Prime Minister:
Saddam Hussein

Minister of Defense:
Lt.Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Jabburi Tai

Minister of Foreign Affairs:
Tariq Mikail Aziz

Minister of the Interior:
Mahmud Dhiyab al-Ahmad

Minister of Justice:
Munder Ibrahim al-Shawi

Minister of State:
Abd al-Wahab Umar Mirza al-Atrush
Arshad Muhammad Ahmad Muhammad al-Zibari

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs:
Naji Sabri Ahmed al-Hadihi

Minister of State for Military Affairs:
Staff General Abd al Jabbar Khalil Shanshal

Advisor to the President for Military Affairs: 
Sadi Tuma Abbas al Jabburi

Head of Interest Section in the U.S. - Permanent Rep. to the U.N. 
Interest Section in the Algerian Embassy headed by Akram al Douri
Address: Iraqi Interests Section,
Algerian Embassy
1801 P Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Telephone: (202) 483-7500;
Fax: (202) 462-5066

Defense — Under Hussein Regime

Defense Spending:
$1.3 billion U.S. (a 1998 Jane's estimate)
4.2% of GNP

Total Armed Forces: 

350,000, commanded by Abd al Wahhib Shannan al-Rabbat

Air Force:
30,000 (with 17,000 in air defense), commanded by Muzahim Sab Hasan


Civilians Reaching Military Age
274,035 annually (2001 est.)

Military-Age Males [15-49]: 
Available: 5,902,215 (2001 est.)
Fit for duty: 3,301,880 (2001 est.)


Iraqi Economy:
• Main source of revenue (estimated at 95%) was generated by oil.
• The eight-year war with Iran caused massive expenditures and forced heavy borrowing that led the government to implement austerity measures.
• Iran War left Iraq with at least $100 billion in war losses. In 1988, Iraq began to recover after re-opening some oil pipelines.
• The Gulf War halted all recovery efforts and international sanctions further deepened the financial crisis.

External Debt: 
$62.2 billion

Import Commodities: 
Food, medicine and manufactured goods

$11 billion

Economic Aid Received:
$327.5 million


Broadcast Stations:
Television — 13
AM Radio 19 (5 inactive)
FM Radio — 51
Short Wave — 4

675,000 (1997 estimate)

2,339 km of standard track

45,550 km
Paved — 38,400 km
Unpaved — 7,150 km

Navigable Waterways:
1,015 km

Natural Resources

• Believed to have the some of the largest reserves in the world
• Estimated 112 million to 186 million barrels

Estimated to have 2.4% of the world's reserves

Phosphates, Sulphur, salt and gypsum