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Country in Focus



  • Capital:Baghdad
  • Population:33.42 million (World Bank, 2013)
  • Languages:Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkmen (a Turkish dialect), and Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic)
  • Head of State:Fuad Masum


Iraq became a British League of Nation protectorate in 1920. In 1921, Hashemite dynasty was established with Faisal I installed as King by Britain. Over the next few years, Iraq achieved its independence from British protectorate status in 1932. In 1958, monarchy was overthrown and it was proclaimed republic. From that day on, Iraq was ruled by various strong leaders. Due to territorial dispute, Iran-Iraq war broke out that lasted for 8 years (1980-88) under the rule of Saddam Hussein. Fighting intensified and in 1990 a peace treaty was signed favouring Iran. Iraq invaded Kuwait in the same year but was expelled by US-led Allied forces in 1991. Saddam held the post as Chief of State until 2003, where he was ousted ending his regime. An interim government was formed after the ousting of Saddam to facilitate the establishment of the Iraq government. However, insurgents and terrorism deter the regulation of the new government. In 2006, a permanent government under Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki was formed marking Iraq’s first constitutional government. On 14 August 2014 Al Maliki agreed to step down as prime minister of Iraq to allow Haider al-Abadi to take his place....


Middle East, bordering the Arabian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

33 00 N, 44 00 E

438,317 sq km

Most of Iraq has a desert climate with mild winters and dry, hot
summers. The northeastern uplands have cold winters with occasionally heavy snowfalls.

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


32.58 million (World Bank, 2012)

Parliamentary democracy


GDP (current US$)
 $210.3 billion (World Bank, 2012)

GDP growth (annual)
8 per cent


Proven crude oil reserves
140.30 billion barrels

Proven natural gas reserves
3,158 billion cu. m.

Crude oil
Production (1,000 b/d): 2,942
Exports (1,000 b/d): 2,423

Marketed production of natural gas
0.65 billion cu. m.

Refinery capacity
(1,000 b/d): 806

Oil demand
(1,000 b/d): 803

Exports of petroleum products
(1,000 b/d): 471.9

*Source: OPEC Annual statistical bulletin 2013


Main lines in use: 1.87 million (2012)
Mobile cellular: 26.76 million (2012)


Airports (with paved runway): 72

Total: 2,370 km
Standard gauge: 2,370 km 1.435-m gauge (2012)

Total: 59,623 km
Paved: 59,623 km (includes Kurdistan Region) (2012)

Ports and terminals:    
River port(s): Al Basrah (Shatt al-'Arab); Khawr az Zubayr, Umm Qasr (Khawr az Zubayr waterway)   


Military branches:     
Counterterrorism Service Forces: Counterterrorism Command; Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF); Ministry of Defense Forces: Iraqi Army (includes Army Aviation Directorate, former National Guard Iraqi Intervention Forces, and Strategic Infrastructure Battalions), Iraqi Navy (former Iraqi Coastal Defense Force, includes Iraq Marine Force), Iraqi Air Force (Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Iraqiya) (2011)
Military service age and obligation:    
18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2013)
Manpower available for military service:    

Males age 16-49: 7,767,329
Females age 16-49: 7,461,766 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:    
Males age 16-49: 6,591,185
Females age 16-49: 6,421,717 (2010 est.)


International Disputes
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

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Refugee population by  country of origin: 15,496 (Turkey); 11,467 (West Bank and Gaza Strip); 8,259 (Iran) (2012); 217,144 (Syria) (2014)

Compiled by Gulf News Archives