Iraq Essay, Research Paper
History, Period 4
January 7, 1996
Iraq: A Country on the Rise
Iraq is a country that is on the rise. After being crushed by allied troops for their
invasion of Kuwait, they have begun the slow rebuilding process. In this report, I will
discuss the basic geographic features of Iraq, and other various important features such as
mineral wealth, vegetation, ect.
Iraq’s total area is 271,128 square miles (just slightly more than twice the size of
Idaho). It’s capital, Baghdad, is located at 33.20 north longitude, 44.24 east latitude. It’s
boundaries are 2,222 miles long. With 906 miles bordering Iran, 83 miles bordering
Jordan, 149 miles bordering Kuwait, 502 miles bordering Saudi Arabia, 376 miles
bordering Turkey, and a coastline 36 miles long. The terrain in Iraq is mostly broad
plains, with reedy marshes in the southeast, mountains along toe borders with Iran and
The Climate in Iraq is most desert, with mild to cool winters and dry, hot
cloudless summers. The northernmost regions along Iranian and Turkish borders
experience cold winters and occasional heavy snows. Iraq has few natural resources,
consisting of Crude oil, natural gas, various phosphates, and sulfur. Their maritime
(ocean) clams are just the continental shelf on their coastline, and twelve nautical miles
Iraq and Iran have just recently restored diplomatic relations in the year 1990, but
are still trying to work out written agreements settling their disputes from their eight-year
war concerning definite borders, prisoners-of-war, and freedom of navigation and
sovereignty over the Shatt-al-Arab waterway. In April of 1991, Iraq officially accepted
the UN Security Council’s Resolution 687, which states that Iraq accepts the boundaries
that were set in it’s 1963 agreement with Kuwait, and ending all claims to the Bubiyan
and Warbah Islands, and all claims to Kuwait. On June 17, 1992, the UN Security
council reaffirmed the finality of the Boundary Demarcation Commission’s decisions.
Disputes also occur with Syria about water rights on the Euphrates, and a potential
dispute with Turkey for the Tigris and Euphrates river.
Iraq has some environmental problems, consisting of air and water pollution, soil
degradation (caused by salinization), land erosion, and deserification. Iraq has 12% of
it’s land still arable, with 1% permanent crops, 9% meadows and pastures, 3% forest and
wood land, 4% irrigated farm land, and 75% is used for other various things (housing,
Iraq does not produce very many industrial products. On the average year, Iraq
produces 13,000 metric tons of paper and paperboard, 3,000 metric tons of particle
board, 8,000 sawnwood, 207,000 metric tons of phosphate fertilizer, and 409,000 metric
tons of nitrogen fertilizer.
Iraq currently has 1,300,000 televisions in use (about 69 per 1,000 people). It
also has 3,880,000 radios in use (about 205 per 1,000 people). Iraq has 6 newspaper
publications, with a circulation of 650,000 a day (about 34 per 1,000 people). This
causes a 1,797 kilograms of newsprint to be consumed per 1,000 people. Iraq has one
FM station and 16 AM broadcast stations, and 13 TV stations. Reconstruction of Iraq’s
telecommunication system began after Desert Storm was over. It includes of many
coaxial cables and microwave links, 632,000 telephones (with an operational network),
satellite earth stations, 1 INTELSAT satellite and 1 GORIZONT satellite over the
Atlantic Ocean, 1 INTELSAT satellite over the Indian Ocean, and 1 ARABSAT in the
Intersputnik system. Their country telephone code is 964.
In Iraq, travel can be very shaky. International flight schedules can change
without prior notice. The Al-Basrah and Umm Qasar Seaports are closed because of
their proximity to the war zone. A railroad connects At-Basrah to Baghdad, but the
Syrian segment of the railroad linking Iraq to Turkey and Europe has been closed since
1982. Border crossing points between and Iraq and Syria and Iraq and Iran have been
closed. Iraq has paved highways connecting major cites and neighboring countries.
Some highways have been severely deteriorated due to increased use by heavy military
and commercial vehicles.
Iraq has 21,566 total miles of highways, with 10,876 miles of it being paved, and
the other 11,000 miles being improved earth. It has 2,704 miles of crude oil pipelines,
451 miles of petroleum pipelines, and 845 miles of natural gas pipelines. It has 1,527
miles of railroad. Iraq has 42 ships registered to it. Including of 1 passenger, 1
passenger/cargo, 16 cargo, 1 refrigerated cargo, 3 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 19 petroleum
tankers, and 1 chemical tanker. But since January 1, 1992, none of them have been
trading internationally. Iraq has about 631 miles of inland waterways to trade amongst it
self. After the Persian Gulf war, Shatt-al-Arab was closed down for trading. Iraq only
has one currently open port at Khawr az Zubayr. Iraq has 98 usable (but 113 total)
airports, 73 of them with permanent-surface runways.
Iraq’s agricultural products include the following:
Asses: 355,000 headBuffaloes: 130,000 headCamels: 10,000 head
Cattle: 1,400,000 headGoats: 1,500,000 headHorses: 40,000 head
Mules: 2,000 headSheep: 9,000,000 headChickens: 35,000,000 head
Poultry: 65,000 THen Eggs: 45,000 TFish: 14,000 T
Almonds: 700 TDates: 580,000 TFruits: 1,169,000 T
Lemons: 13,000 TOranges: 185,000 TSugar Beets: 5,000 T
Barley: 100,000 TCorn: 100,000 TDry Beans: 8,000 T
Oats: 1,000 TOlives: 3,000 TPotatoes: 195,000 T
Rice: 150,000 TSoybeans: 2,000 TSunflower Seeds: 25,000 T
Vegetables: 2,306,000 TWalnuts: 2,400 TWheat: 260,000 T
Beef and Veal: 38,000 TSugar Cane: 13,000 TButter and Cheese: 7,393 T
Cotton: 5,000 THoney: 2,200 TTobacco: 3,000 T
21.3% of the land in Iraq is reserved for agriculture. Iraq has 1,053,000 people working
for agriculture (about 19.8% of the economically active part of the population). There
about 2,300 threshers in use.
In Iraq, the Ba’thist regime is in charge of the 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, with the damage to oil export facilities caused by Iran, led
the government to implement austerity measures and to borrow heavier and reschedule
foreign debt payments. After 1988, oil exports gradually increased and many new
pipelines were made. But Agricultural development remained hampered by labor
shortages, the salinization of the land, and dislocations caused by previous land reform
programs. Also, the industrial part of the economy was also under financial constraints.
But after Iraq’s seizure of Kuwait in August 1990, with it’s subsequent international
economic embargoes, it’s economic picture changed drastically. Industrial and
transportation facilities suffered severe damage, Oil exports remain at less than 10% of
it’s previous level. Living standards deteriorated even further in 1992, and 1993.
Consumer prices tripled in 1992. The UN-sponsored economic embargo reduced exports
and imports to Iraq. Also, the government’s policies of supporting a large military and
internal security force have drained the country’s treasury.
Iraq’s GDP (gross domestic product) is about $35 billion dollars, with the average
person making $1,940 a year. It’s labor force is 4,400,000, causing a severe labor
shortage. Iraq’s industrial production accounts for about 10% of its GDP. Iraq spends
about $6.6 billion a year importing commodities such as manufactures and food. They
have trade relations with the US, France, Turkey, and UK. But Iraq’s makes about $10.4
billion a year exporting such commodities such as crude oil and other refined products,
fertilizer, and sulfur. They export to the US, Brazil, Turkey, Japan, the Netherlands, and
Spain. Iraq’s unemployment rate is about 5%.
Iraq’s nation debt is $45 billion (excluding a debt of about $35 owed to Arab Gulf
states). Iraq invests %8.1 of it’s GDP. Iraq produces 3,800,000 kW of electricity a year.
Iraq has received about $650 million in economic aid, most of coming from Western,
non-US countries, from 1970-1989. But after the Gulf War, they have received none.
Iraq’s official currency is Iraqi dinars (ID). It is 3.1 dinars to the dollar, but the black
market rate is 12 to the dollar.
Iraq’s government is technically considered a republic, with it’s capital located in
Baghdad. Iraq’s formal name is the Republic of Iraq. Iraq received it’s independence
from the League of Nations (under British administration) on October 3, 1932. Iraq
contains of 18 provinces or muhafazah: Al Anabar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al
Quadisiyah, An Najaf, Arbil, As Sulaymaniyah, At Ta’im, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi
Quar, Diyala, Karbala, Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad din, Wasist. Iraq’s constitution was
drafted on September 22, 1968, and was ratified on July 16, 1970 (incidentally, a new
constitution was drafted in 1990, but was not adopted). Iraq’s government is very similar
to the US’, consisting of a executive, legislative, and judicial branch, with universal
suffrage at the adult age of 18. It’s leaders include the Chief of State, Saddam Husayn,
Vice Presidents Taha Muhyi al-Din Ma’ruf, and then Taha Yasin. The Head of
Government is Ahmad Husayn Khudayir al-Sammarrai. Iraq has five branches of
military: Army and Republican Guard, Navy, Air Force, Border Guard Force, and Internal
Health conditions in Iraq are very poor. There are only 9,442 (about 6 per every
10,000 people) with about the same number of nurses, and only 1,465 dentists (about 1
per every 10,000 people). In a survey only 10% of married women reported to use any
form of birth control. Infant death is extremely high at 79 deaths per 1,000 with a total of
68,121 per year. 83% of the country is immunized for measles and DPT.
Education is also very poor. The literacy rate is only about 60% (49% in females,
and 70% in males). A child is only educated from ages 6-12. Also, there are only 31
museums in Iraq.
The population in Iraq in 1993 was 19,162,000 people. It is estimated that in
2025, there will be 52,615,000 people living there. The population density is about 110
people per square mile. Only 70% of the total population of Iraq live in urban areas. The
population of Iraq is growing 3.7% per year, with the population doubling every 18.94
years. The average woman will have 7 children. The life expectancy in Iraq is 64.4 years
for females, and 63.2 years for Males. 145,855 people were married last year (about 8.5
people per thousand). 97% of Iraq is Muslim, the other 3% being other various religions.
Iraq’s official language is Arabic, but Kurdish, Assyrian, and Armenian are also spoke
If you are planning to travel to Iraq in the future, you had better not. The
Department of State warns all US citizens against traveling to Iraq. Conditions within
the country remain unsettled and dangerous. The US does not maintain diplomatic
relations with Iraq, and cannot provide normal consular protective services to US
A passport and visa are required to travel to Iraq (along with an AIDS test if you
are planning to stay longer than 5 days). Since 1991, US passports are not valid for travel
in, to, or through Iraq without authorization from the Department of state. An adapter is
necessary to use Iraqi electrical outlets. Although Iraq does not have an embassy in the
US, it does have an interest section in the Algerian Embassy in Washington, DC. Iraqi
nation holidays are the following: New Years Day-Jan. 1, Iraqi Army Day-Jan. 6, Id al-
Fitr-Apr. 16, Id al-Adha-Jun. 21, 1958 Revolution-Jul. 14, 1968 Revolution-Jul. 17,
Although Iraq may have it’s problems now, it is a country on the rise. It’s
economy is stabilizing. and it’s government is in the process of working it bugs out.
Some day, Iraq may be one of the world’s superpowers, just like the US.