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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

Coastline: 58 km

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

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

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

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 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

Population: 21,722,287 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 44% (male 4,865,820; female 4,711,791)
15-64 years: 53% (male 5,794,336; female 5,662,163)
65 years and over: 3% (male 320,672; female 367,505) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.2% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 38.58 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.57 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 62.41 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 66.52 years
male: 65.54 years
female: 67.56 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.23 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Ethnic groups: 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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 58%
male: 70.7%
female: 45% (1995 est.)

National capital: Baghdad

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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Political parties and leaders: Ba'th Party, SADDAM Husayn, central party leader

Economy—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; Iraq suffered economic losses of at least $100 billion from the war. 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. 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 could 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. Industrial and transportation facilities, which suffered severe damage, have been partially restored. At current prices, oil exports are about one-third of their prewar level because of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 986—the UN's oil-for-goods program—in December 1996. Shortages of spare parts continue. In accord with the oil-for-goods deal, Iraq is allowed to export $2 billion worth of oil in exchange for badly needed food and medicine. The first oil was pumped in December 1996, and the first supplies of food and medicine arrived in April 1997. Per capita output for 1995-97 and living standards are well below the 1989-90 level, but any estimates have a wide range of error.

GDP—real growth rate: 0% (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, other fruit, cotton; cattle, sheep

Exports: $NA
commodities: crude oil
partners: Jordan, Turkey (1996)

Imports: $NA
commodities: manufactures, food
partners: France, Turkey, Jordan, Vietnam, Australia (1996)

Debt—external: very heavy relative to GDP but amount unknown (1996)

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 5,247,809 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 2,941,014 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

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