The World Factbook (1990)/Iraq



World Factbook (1990) Iraq.jpg

 See regional map VI


Total area: 434,920 km²; land area: 433,970 km²

Comparative area: slightly more than twice the size of Idaho

Land boundaries: 3,454 km total; Iran 1,458 km, Iraq Saudi Arabia Neutral Zone 191 km, Jordan 134 km, Kuwait 240 km, Saudi Arabia 495 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 331 km

Coastline: 58 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: not specific
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: Iraq began formal UN peace negotiations with Iran in August 1988 to end the war that began on 22 September 1980—sovereignty over the Shatt al Arab waterway, troop withdrawal, freedom of navigation, and prisoner of war exchange are the major issues for negotiation; Kurdish question among Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and the USSR; shares Neutral Zone with Saudi Arabia in July 1975, Iraq and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to divide the zone between them, but the agreement must be ratified before it becomes effective; disputes Kuwaiti ownership of Warbah and Bubiyan islands; periodic disputes with upstream riparian Syria over Euphrates water rights; potential dispute over water development plans by Turkey for the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers

Climate: desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers

Terrain: mostly broad plains; reedy marshes in southeast; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey

Natural resources: crude oil, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

Land use: 12% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 9% meadows and pastures; 3% forest and woodland; 75% other; includes 4% irrigated

Environment: development of Tigris-Euphrates river systems contingent upon agreements with upstream riparians (Syria, Turkey); air and water pollution; soil degradation (salinization) and erosion; desertification


Population: 18,781,770 (July 1990), growth rate 3.9% (1990)

Birth rate: 46 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 67 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 66 years male, 68 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 7.3 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Iraqi(s); adjective—Iraqi

Ethnic divisions: 75-80% Arab, 15-20% Kurdish, 5% Turkoman, Assyrian or other

Religion: 97% Muslim (60-65% Shi'a, 32-37% Sunni), 3% Christian or other

Language: Arabic (official), Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian

Literacy: 55-65% (1989 est.)

Labor force: 3,400,000 (1984); 39% services, 33% agriculture, 28% industry, severe labor shortage (1987); expatriate labor force about 1,000,000 (1989)

Organized labor: less than 10% of the labor force


Long-form name: Republic of Iraq

Type: republic

Capital: Baghdād

Administrative divisions: 18 provinces (muḥāfaz̧at, singular—muḥāfaz̧ah); Al Anbār, Al Başrah, Al Muthanná, Al Qādisīyah, An Najaf, Arbīl, As Sulaymānīyah, At Ta'mīm, Bābil, Baghdād, Dahūk, Dhī Qār, Diyālá, Karbalā', Maysān, Nínawá, Şalāḥ ad Dīn, Wāsiţ

Independence: 3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

Constitution: 22 September 1968, effective 16 July 1970 (interim Constitution); new constitution now in final stages of drafting

Legal system: based on Islamic law in special religious courts, civil law system elsewhere; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: Anniversary of the Revolution, 17 July (1968)

Executive branch: president, vice president, chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, vice chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, prime minister, first deputy prime minister, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (Majlis al 'Umma)

Judicial branch: Court of Cassation

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President Saddam HUSAYN (since 16 July 1979); Vice President Taha Muhyi al-Din MA'RUF (since 21 April 1974)

Political parties: National Progressive Front is a coalition of the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party, Kurdistan Democratic Party, and Kurdistan Revolutionary Party

Suffrage: universal adult at age 18

Elections: National Assembly—last held on 1 April 1989 (next to be held NA); results—Shi'a Arabs 30%, Kurds 15%, Sunni Arabs 53%, Christians 2% est.; seats—(250 total) number of seats by party NA

Communists: about 1,500 hardcore members

Other political or pressure groups: political parties and activity severely restricted; possibly some opposition to regime from disaffected members of the regime, Army officers, and religious and ethnic dissidents


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Dr. Mohamed Sadiq AL-MASHAT; Chancery at 1801 P Street NW, Washington DC 20036; telephone (202) 483-7500; US—Ambassador April C. GLASPIE; Embassy in Masbah Quarter (opposite the Foreign Ministry Club), Baghdad (mailing address is P. O. Box 2447 Alwiyah, Baghdad); telephone [964](1) 719-6138 or 719-6139, 718-1840, 719-3791

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with three green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; similar to the flags of the YAR which has one star and Syria which has two stars (in a horizontal line centered in the white band)—all green and five-pointed; also similar to the flag of Egypt which has a symbolic eagle centered in the white band


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 is dominated by the oil sector, which provides about 95% of foreign exchange earnings. Since the early 1980s financial problems, caused by war expenditures and damage to oil export facilities by Iran, have led the government to implement austerity measures and to reschedule foreign debt payments. Oil exports have gradually increased with the construction of new pipelines. Agricultural development remains 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, is under financial constraints. New investment funds are generally allocated only to projects that result in import substitution or foreign exchange earnings.

GNP: $35 billion, per capita $1,940; real growth rate 5% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 30-40% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: less than 5% (1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $NA billion; expenditures $35 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (1989)

Exports: $12.5 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—crude oil and refined products, machinery, chemicals, dates; partners—US, Brazil, USSR, Italy, Turkey, France, Japan, Yugoslavia (1988)

Imports: $10.2 billion (c.i.f., 1988); commodities—manufactures, food; partners—Turkey, US, FRG, UK, France, Japan, Romania, Yugoslavia, Brazil (1988)

External debt: $40 billion (1988 est.), excluding debt to Persian Gulf Arab states

Industrial production: NA%

Electricity: 9,902,000 kW capacity; 20,000 million kWh produced, 1,110 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: petroleum, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing

Agriculture: accounts for less than 10% of GNP but 33% of labor force; principal products—wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, other fruit, cotton, wool; livestock—cattle, sheep; not self-sufficient in food output

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-80), $3 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $607 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1980-89), $37.2 billion; Communist countries (1970-88), $3.9 billion

Currency: Iraqi dinar (plural dinars); 1 Iraqi dinar (ID) = 1,000 fils

Exchange rates: Iraqi dinars (ID) per US$1—0.3109 (fixed rate since 1982)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 2,962 km total; 2,457 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, 505 km 1.000-meter gauge

Highways: 25,479 km total; 8,290 km paved, 5,534 km improved earth, 11,655 km unimproved earth

Inland waterways: 1,015 km; Shatt al Arab usually navigable by maritime traffic for about 130 km, but closed since September 1980 because of Iran-Iraq war; Tigris and Euphrates navigable by shallow-draft steamers (of little importance); Shatt al Başrah canal navigable in sections by shallow-draft vessels

Ports: Umm Qasr, Khawr az Zubayr

Merchant marine: 44 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 947,721 GRT/1,703,988 DWT; includes 1 passenger, 1 passenger-cargo, 18 cargo, 1 refrigerated cargo, 3 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 19 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 chemical tanker

Pipelines: crude oil, 4,350 km; 725 km refined products; 1,360 km natural gas

Civil air: 64 major transport aircraft (including 30 IL-76s used by the Iraq Air Force)

Airports: 111 total, 101 usable; 72 with permanent-surface runways; 8 with runways over 3,659 m; 53 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 14 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: good network consists of coaxial cables, radio relay links, and radiocommunication stations; 632,000 telephones; stations—9 AM, 1 FM, 81 TV; satellite earth stations—1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT, 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT, 1 GORIZONT Atlantic Ocean in the Intersputnik system; coaxial cable and radio relay to Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Border Guard Force, mobile police force, Republican Guard

Military manpower: males 15-49, 4,097,190; 2,284,417 fit for military service; 219,701 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: NA