ECONOMY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
The economy is based on oil exports and most of its sparse heavy industry is related to it. Agriculture provides livelihood to its population and date is the main export culture. Virtually all sectors of the economy suffered the consequences of the war with Iran, which left the country with an external debt of more than $ 75 billion. The embargo imposed by the United Nations (UN), after the Persian Gulf War, further sank its economy. The currency unit is the Iraqi dinar. A mainly agricultural economy, the most widespread crops are wheat, barley, rice and date palm. It also produces other fruits such as apples, figs, grapes. olives, oranges, pears and pomegranates. Livestock is important, especially among the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes. In addition to raising cattle, sheep and goats, the poultry and the creation of the famous Arabian horse stand out. The fishing industry is less significant. Oil is the relevant natural resource in Iraq. There are mainly three fundamental regions: the outskirts of Basra, next to the Persian Gulf: the northern part of the country, close to Mosul and Kirkuk; and the center-east of Irak, next to the city of Janaquim. Other important deposits are iron ore, gold, lead, copper, silver, platinum and zinc. Phosphates, sulfur, salt and plaster are abundant, as is lignite. The industry is not very developed. In addition to oil and natural gas derivatives, textiles, shoes, cigarettes and construction materials are produced. The main industrial center is Baghdad. In the late 1980s, annual electricity production was 22.9 billion kilowatt-hours. More than 95% of the electricity was produced in thermal power stations. There are some hydroelectric power plants on the Tigre River and tributaries.
TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS
According to paradisdachat.com, Iraq is connected by train to Turkey and Europe via Syria. The country’s rail network covers 2,440 kilometers. The road network has 33,240 km, with 72% of the total paved. There are international airports in Baghdad and Basra, which is the main port for transoceanic ships. Tigre is navigable between Basra and Baghdad for smaller draft vessels.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL PARTIES
Iraq is governed by the 1968 constitution, which was later reformed. The main institution of the executive branch is the Revolutionary Council Command. In practice, power is concentrated on a leader who exercises him as president of the republic, prime minister and secretary of the Command of the Revolutionary Council. The Council of Ministers is the country’s main administrative body. The 18 Iraqi governments are administered by governors appointed by the national government. The leading organization in Iraq is the Arab Socialist Party Baaz, which bases its policy on socialist and pan-Arab principles. Other political groups are the Iraqi Communist Party, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan and the Revolutionary Party of Kurdistan.
OFFICIAL NAME – Republic of Iraq (Al-Jumhuriya al-‘Iraqiya ad-Dimuqratiya ash-Sha’abiya).
CAPITAL – Baghdad
LOCATION – Southeast Asia
GEOGRAPHY – Area: 434,128 km². Local time: + 6am. Climate: arid tropical.
Main cities – Baghdad (4,478,000) (urban area) (1995); Mosul (664,200), Irbil (485,968), Kirkuk (418,624), Basra (406,296) (1987).
POPULATION – 23.6 million (2001); nationality: Iraqi; composition: Iraqi Arabs 80%, Kurds 15%, Turkmen, Wisdom, iezites and marches 5% (1996).
Language – Arabic (official), Kurdish.
Religion: Islam 96%, others 3.3%, without religion and atheism 0.7% (2000).
Density – 54.36 inhab./km² (2001).
Currency – Iraqi Dinar; quotation to US $ 1: 1,800 (Jul./2001).
GDP – US $ 11.5 billion (1996). Agricultural GDP: 47% (1995). Industry GDP: 1% (1995). GDP of services: 52% (1995). GDP growth: 6.2% per year (1999).
Labor force – 6 million (1999).