Iraq

 

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.

 

Geography:
Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Geographic coordinates: 33 00 N, 44 00 E
People:
Population: 31,129,225 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38% (male 5,882,682/female 5,678,741)

15-64 years: 58.9% (male 9,076,558/female 8,826,545)

65 years and over: 3.1% (male 435,908/female 499,138) (2011 est.)

Government:
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: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Baghdad

geographic coordinates: 33 20 N, 44 23 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins 1 April; ends 1 October

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 1.6 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 24 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 104 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 75

over 3,047 m: 20

2,438 to 3,047 m: 36

1,524 to 2,437 m: 5

914 to 1,523 m: 6

under 914 m: 8 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Iraqi Armed Forces: Iraqi Army (includes Iraqi Special Operations Force, Iraqi Intervention Force), Iraqi Navy (former Iraqi Coastal Defence Force), Iraqi Air Force (former Iraqi Army Air Corps) (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 18-40 years of age for voluntary military service (2010)

Economy:

Iraq’s economy is dominated by the oil sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign exchange earnings. Although looting, insurgent attacks, and sabotage have undermined economy rebuilding efforts, economic activity is beginning to pick up in areas recently secured by the US military surge. Oil exports are around levels seen before Operation Iraqi Freedom, and total government revenues have benefited from 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 new Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF. Iraq has received pledges for $13.5 billion in foreign aid for 2004-07 from outside of the US, more than $33 billion in total pledges. The International Compact with Iraq was established in May 2007 to integrate Iraq into the regional and global economy, and the Iraqi government is seeking to pass laws to strengthen its economy.

Transnational Issues:

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