Iraq is a nation of 31 million people in the Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait. It has a strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf.
Its major environmental issues include:
- 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 Marsh Arabs, who 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 the Tigris and Euphrates rivers system contingent upon agreements with upstream riparian Turkey;
- air and water pollution;
- soil degradation (salination) and erosion; and,
Iraq is susceptible to dust storms; sandstorms; and floods.
Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by Britain during the course of World War I.
In 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932.
A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last was Saddam Husayn.
Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88).
In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by US-led, UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991.
Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years led to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the Saddam Husayn regime.
US forces remained in Iraq under a UNSC mandate through 2009 and under a bilateral security agreement thereafter, helping to provide security and to train and mentor Iraqi security forces.
In October 2005, Iraqis approved a constitution in a national referendum and, pursuant to this document, elected a 275-member Council of Representatives (COR) in December 2005. The COR approved most cabinet ministers in May 2006, marking the transition to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half century.
In January 2009, Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all governorates except for the three governorates comprising the Kurdistan Regional Government and Kirkuk Governorate. Iraq held a national legislative election in March 2010 - choosing 325 legislators in an expanded COR - and, after nine months of deadlock the COR approved the new government in December 2010.
Nearly nine years after the start of the Second Gulf War in Iraq, US military operations there ended in mid-December 2011.
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
Iraq is bordered by Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The country slopes from mountains over 3,000 meters (10,000 ft.) above sea level along the border with Iran and Turkey to the remnants of sea-level marshes in the southeast. Much of the land is desert or non-arable. The mountains in the northeast are an extension of the alpine system that runs eastward from the Balkans into southern Turkey, northern Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, terminating in the Himalayas.
Average temperatures range from higher than 48°C (120°F) in July and August to below freezing in January. Most of the rainfall occurs from December through April and averages between 10 and 18 centimeters (4-7 in.) annually. The mountainous region of northern Iraq receives appreciably more precipitation than the central or southern desert region.
Location: Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Geographic Coordinates: 33 00 N, 44 00 E
Area: 438,317 sq km(land: 437,367 sq km; water: 950 sq km)
Coastline: 58 km
Natural Hazards: dust storms; sandstorms; floods
Terrain: mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey. The highest point is an unnamed peak; (3,611 m). Note - this peak is neither Gundah Zhur (3,607 m) nor Kuh-e Hajji-Ebrahim (3,595 m).
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.
Ecology and Biodiversity
3. Mesopotamian shrub desert
6. Persian Gulf desert and semi-desert
7. South Iran Nubo-Sidanian desert and semi-desert
Source: World Wildlife Fund
People and Society
Population: 31,129,225 (July 2012 est.)
Almost 75% of Iraq's population lives in the flat, alluvial plain stretching southeast from Baghdad and Basrah to the Persian Gulf. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers carry about 70 million cubic meters of silt annually to the delta. Known in ancient times as Mesopotamia, the region is the legendary locale of the Garden of Eden. The ruins of Ur, Babylon, and other ancient cities are located in Iraq.
Iraq's two largest ethnic groups are Arabs and Kurds. Other distinct groups include Turkomen, Assyrians, and Armenians. Arabic is the most commonly spoken language. Kurdish is spoken in the north, and Armenian is also spoken by some in the remaining Christian community. English is the most commonly spoken Western language.
The majority of Iraqi Muslims are members of the Shi'a sect (60%-65%), but there is a large Sunni population as well (32%-37%), made up of both Arabs and Kurds. Most Kurds are Sunni Muslim but differ from their Arab neighbors in language and customs. There also are communities of Christians (mainly Assyrians adhering to three main denominations, Assyrian, Chaldean, and Syriac), Sabean-Mandaeans, Yezidis, Bahais, Kaka’is, and Shabaks. Iraq’s once-substantial Jewish community has almost completely disappeared from the country.
In recent years, a large number of Iraqis have been displaced, and there are currently a reported 177,376 Iraqi refugees registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and other neighboring countries. UNHCR estimates that approximately 1.2 million Iraqis were displaced by sectarian violence following the Samarra Mosque bombing of February 2006 and remain internally displaced inside Iraq.
|Much of the sediment clouding the water in this image of the Persian Gulf is from the Shatt al Arab River, which enters the Gulf in the north along the Iran-Iraq border. The river drains the combined waters of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers of Iraq, and the Karun River of Iran. Though other rivers empty into the Persian Gulf, most of its fresh water comes from the Shatt al Arab. On the right edge of the image is the narrow Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea, part of the northern Indian Ocean. The Persian Gulf is flanked to the west by wedge-shaped Kuwait and by Saudi Arabia with its vast tan-, pink-, and white-sand deserts; to the south by Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman; and to the east by the dry mountains of Iran. The wetlands and rivers of Mesopotamia border the Gulf on the north. The red dots mark gas flares in oil fields of Iran and Iraq. Image courtesy of NASA.|
|Map of the combined Tigris–Euphrates drainage basin. Karl Musser, based on USGS data/ Wikimedia Commons.|
|Source: Tigris River outside of Mosul, Iraq. Matthew Glennon|
|Marsh Arabs poling a traditional mashoof in the marshes of southern Iraq. April 2003. Source: Hassan Janali, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers|
|The ancient Citadel of Arbil, surrounded by the city of Arbil in northern Iraq. Source: Jan Sefti/Flikr|
|Shi'a and Sunni Muslims make their way to the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala, Iraq, Feb. 27, 2008, during their pilgrimage in observance of the Arba'een and Ashura holidays. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Denny C. Cantrell)|
Ethnic Groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian, or other 5%
0-14 years: 38% (male 5,882,682/female 5,678,741)
15-64 years: 58.9% (male 9,076,558/female 8,826,545)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 435,908/female 499,138) (2011 est.)
Population Growth Rate: 2.345% (2012 est.)
Birthrate: 28.19 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Death Rate: 4.73 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)
Net Migration Rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Life Expectancy at Birth: 70.85 years (2012 est.)
Total Fertility Rate: 3.58 children born/woman (2012 est.)
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Turkoman (a Turkish dialect), Assyrian (Neo-Aramaic), Armenian
Literacy (age 15 and over can read and write): 74.1% (2000 est.)
Urbanization: 66% of total population (2010) growing at an annual rate of change of 2.6% (2010-15 est.)
Once known as Mesopotamia, Iraq was the site of flourishing ancient civilizations, including the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Parthian cultures. Muslims conquered Iraq in the seventh century A.D. In the eighth century, the Abassid caliphate established its capital at Baghdad. The territory of modern Iraq came under the rule of the Ottoman Turks early in the 1500s.
At the end of World War I, Ottoman control ended and Iraq came under the authority of a British mandate. When it was declared independent in 1932, the Hashemite family, a branch of which also ruled Jordan, ruled as a constitutional monarchy. In 1945, Iraq joined the United Nations and became a founding member of the Arab League. In 1956, the Baghdad Pact allied Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom, and established its headquarters in Baghdad.
Gen. Abdul Karim Qasim took power in a July 1958 coup, during which King Faysal II and Prime Minister Nuri as-Said were killed. Qasim ended Iraq's membership in the Baghdad Pact in 1959. Qasim was assassinated in February 1963, when the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Ba'ath Party) took power under the leadership of Gen. Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr as prime minister and Col. Abdul Salam Arif as president.
Nine months later, Arif led a coup ousting the Ba'ath government. In April 1966, Arif was killed in a plane crash and was succeeded by his brother, Gen. Abdul Rahman Mohammad Arif. On July 17, 1968, a group of Ba'athists and military elements overthrew the Arif regime. Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr reemerged as the President of Iraq and Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC).
In July 1979, Bakr resigned, and his cousin Saddam Hussein, already a key figure in the Ba’ath party and the RCC, assumed the two offices of President and RCC Chairman. The Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) devastated the economy of Iraq.
Iraq declared victory over Iran in 1988 but actually achieved only a weary return to the pre-war status quo. The war left Iraq with the largest military establishment in the Gulf region and with huge debts.
Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, but a U.S.-led coalition acting under United Nations (UN) resolutions expelled Iraq in February 1991. After the war, Kurds in the north and Shi'a Muslims in the south rebelled against the government of Saddam Hussein. The government responded quickly and with crushing force, killing thousands, and pursued damaging environmental and agricultural policies meant to drain the marshes of the south. Coalition forces enforced no-fly zones in southern and northern Iraq to protect Iraqi citizens from attack by the regime and a no-drive zone in southern Iraq to prevent the regime from massing forces to threaten or again invade Kuwait. In addition, the UN Security Council required the regime to surrender its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and submit to UN inspections. When the regime refused to fully cooperate with the UN inspections, the Security Council passed a series of Chapter VII sanctions to prevent further WMD development and compel Iraqi adherence to international obligations.
Citing Iraq’s failure to comply with UN inspections, a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003 and removed the Ba'ath regime, leading to the overthrow of the dictator Saddam Hussein. Following his capture in December 2003 and subsequent trial, Saddam Hussein was executed on December 30, 2006, by the Government of Iraq. The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) assumed security and administrative responsibility for Iraq while Iraqi political leaders and the Iraqi people established a transitional administration. The CPA’s mission was to restore conditions of security and stability and to create conditions in which the Iraqi people could freely determine their own political future. The UN Security Council acknowledged the authority of the Coalition Provisional Authority and provided a role for the UN and other parties to assist in fulfilling these objectives.
The CPA disbanded on June 28, 2004, transferring sovereign authority for governing Iraq to the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG). Based on the timetable laid out in the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), the IIG governed Iraq until elections were held on January 30, 2005; thereafter, the Iraqi Transitional Government assumed authority.
In May 2005, the Iraqi Transitional Government appointed a multi-ethnic committee to draft a new Iraqi constitution. The new constitution was finalized in September 2005, and was ratified in a nationwide referendum on October 15, 2005. On December 15, 2005, Iraqis again went to the polls to participate in the first national legislative elections as established by the new constitution. The new 4-year, constitutionally-based government took office in March 2006, and the new cabinet was approved and installed in May 2006. By that time, following the February 2006 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, violence in the country was widespread.
The ongoing violence and instability prompted the United States to increase troop numbers in Iraq (the “surge” in U.S. forces) in an attempt to improve the security situation and give Iraqi political leaders an opportunity to address the many problems that plagued the Iraqi people. Following the troop increase and adjustments to military strategy, violence declined, thereby providing political space and an improved environment for leaders to make progress on difficult national issues.
In January 2009, two bilateral agreements between the United States and the Government of Iraq took effect: 1) the “Agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities During Their Temporary Presence in Iraq” (referred to as the “Security Agreement”), which governed the presence and status of U.S. forces in Iraq and addressed the withdrawal of these forces; and, 2) the “Strategic Framework Agreement for a Relationship of Friendship and Cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq” (referred to as the “Strategic Framework Agreement” or “SFA”), which set out a variety of areas and aims for bilateral cooperation and formed the basis for a long-term partnership with the people and Government of Iraq and which remains in effect.
On January 31, 2009, Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all provinces except the three provinces comprising the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, and Kirkuk province. On March 7, 2010, Iraq held national elections in which parties competed for positions in the Council of Representatives and the executive branch.
In June 2009, in accordance with the bilateral Security Agreement, U.S. forces withdrew from cities, villages, and localities in Iraq. On August 31, 2010, President Barack Obama announced the end of major combat operations, the completion of the withdrawal of all U.S. combat brigades, and the transition of the role of the remaining U.S. military force of 50,000 troops to advising and assisting Iraqi security forces. On October 21, 2011, President Obama announced the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by year’s end pursuant to the Security Agreement. U.S. Forces-Iraq completed the withdrawal by December 18, 2011. A traditional security cooperation relationship is maintained through the presence of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, which is comprised of a small group of U.S. military and civilian advisors and contractors who work with the Iraqi security forces, helping them to receive, maintain, and operate defense-related articles.
Iraq is a parliamentary democracy with a federal system of government. The 2005 Iraqi constitution guarantees basic rights. The executive branch consists of the Presidency Council (one president and up to three vice presidents) and a Council of Ministers (one prime minister, three deputy prime ministers, and 30 cabinet ministers). The president is the head of state, protecting the constitution and representing the sovereignty and unity of the state, while the prime minister is the direct executive authority and commander in chief. The president and vice presidents are elected by the Council of Representatives. The prime minister is nominated by the president and must be approved by a majority of members of the Council of Representatives. Upon nomination, the prime minister-designate names the members of his cabinet, the Council of Ministers, which is then approved by the Council of Representatives. Subsequently, the prime minister and the new ministers are sworn in. The executive branch serves a 4-year term concurrent with that of the Council of Representatives.
Iraq's legislative branch consists of an elected Council of Representatives (COR). After the 2005 elections, the Council of Representatives consisted of 275 members, each of whom was elected to a 4-year term of service. Pursuant to provisions for the March 7, 2010, elections, the COR expanded to 325 members to reflect an increase in the population of Iraq. At least one-quarter of the members of the Council of Representatives must be female. The responsibilities of the Council of Representatives include enacting federal laws, monitoring the executive branch, and electing the president of the republic.
Iraq's judicial branch is composed of the Higher Judicial Council, Federal Supreme Court, Court of Cassation, Public Prosecution Department, Judiciary Oversight Commission, and other federal courts. The Higher Judicial Council supervises the affairs of the federal judiciary. The Federal Supreme Court has limited jurisdiction related to intra-governmental disputes and constitutional issues. The appellate courts appeal up to the Court of Cassation, the highest court of appeal. The establishment of the federal courts, their types, and methods for judicial appointments are set forth by laws enacted by the Council of Representatives.
Government Type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Baghdad 5.751 million (2009)
Other Major Cities:
18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah) and 1 region*
Kurdistan Regional Government*
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Independence Date: 3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration). Note - on 28 June 2004 the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government
Legal System: mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law. Iraq has not submitted an International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction declaration; and is a non-party state to the International criminal court (ICCt) jurisdiction
Astronaut view of Bahgda. Source: NASA
International Environmental Agreements
Iraq is party to international agrements on: Biodiversity, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection. It has signed, but not ratified an nternational agrement on Environmental Modification.
Total Renewable Water Resources: 96.4 cu km (1997)
Freshwater Withdrawal: 42.7 cu km/yr (3% domestic, 5% industrial, 92% agricultural)
Per Capita Freshwater Withdrawal: 1,482 cu m/yr (2000)
Access to improved water sources: 79% of population
Access to improved sanitation facilities: 73% of population
For most of Iraq’s recorded history, agriculture has been a primary economic activity. The agricultural sector is the second-largest source of jobs in Iraq after the public sector and the second-largest contributor to gross domestic product (GDP) after the oil and gas sector. Despite Iraq's land and water resources, however, agricultural production is well below its potential. Obstacles to agricultural development, most of which existed prior to the removal of the Ba'ath regime in 2003, include government policies and subsidies that distort the market and undermine productivity and competition; outdated technology in plant and animal genetics, fertilizers, irrigation and drainage systems, and farm equipment; inadequate and unstable electricity; degradation of irrigation-management systems; insufficient credit and private capital; and inadequate market information and networks.
Agricultural products: wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep, poultry
Irrigated Land: 35,250 sq km (2008)
Natural Resources: petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
Historically, Iraq's economy was characterized by heavy dependence on oil exports and emphasis on development through central planning. Prior to the outbreak of the war with Iran in September 1980, Iraq's economic prospects were bright. Oil production had reached a level of 3.5 million barrels per day, and oil revenues were $21 billion in 1979 and $27 billion in 1980. At the outbreak of the war, Iraq had amassed an estimated $35 billion in foreign exchange reserves.
The Iran-Iraq war depleted Iraq's foreign exchange reserves, devastated its economy, and left the country saddled with foreign debt of more than $40 billion. However, after hostilities ceased in August 1988, oil exports gradually began to increase, with the construction of new pipelines and the restoration of damaged facilities. But Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, subsequent international sanctions, damage from military action by an international coalition in January and February of 1991, and neglect of infrastructure devastated Iraq’s economy again. Government policies that diverted government income to key supporters of the regime and sustained a large military and internal-security force further impaired the economy and left the typical Iraqi facing desperate hardships.
The UN created the Oil-for-Food (OFF) program in April 1995 (UN Security Council Resolution 986) as a temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people because of the effect of the continued sanctions regime. The military action of the U.S.-led coalition from March to April 2003 disrupted the central economic administrative structure. Since then, the rebuilding and enhancement of oil and utilities infrastructure and other production capacities has proceeded steadily, despite attacks on key economic facilities and internal security incidents. Iraq is now making progress toward establishing the laws and institutions needed to make and implement economic policy.
Iraq's economy remains dominated by the oil sector, which currently provides about 90% of foreign exchange earnings. Iraq's largely state-run economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides more than 90% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings. Since mid-2009, oil export earnings have returned to levels seen before Operation Iraqi Freedom. As global oil prices remained high for much of 2011, government revenues increased accordingly. For 2012, Iraq's draft budget forecasts oil exports of 2.6 million barrels per day (bbl/day), a significant increase from Iraq's average of 2.2 million bbl/day in 2011. Iraq's contracts with major oil companies have the potential to further expand oil revenues, but Iraq will need to make significant upgrades to its oil processing, pipeline, and export infrastructure to enable these deals to reach their economic potential. Following three successful oil bid rounds, the Iraqi Government aims to dramatically increase production and export capacity over the next decade. The government must overcome some significant financial, technical, and infrastructure constraints to achieve stated goals, however. See: Energy profile of Iraq
Iraq is seeking to pass and implement laws to strengthen the economy, including a hydrocarbon law that encourages development of the oil and gas sector and a revenue-sharing law that equitably divides oil and gas revenues among the central government, the provinces, and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Implementing structural reforms, such as bank restructuring and corporatization of state-owned enterprises, while simultaneously reducing corruption will be critical to encouraging sustainable economic growth based on the expansion of the private sector.
Foreign assistance has been an integral component of Iraq's reconstruction efforts since 2003. At a donors’ conference in Madrid in October 2003, more than $33 billion was pledged to assist in the reconstruction of Iraq. Following that conference, the UN and the World Bank launched the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) to administer and disburse about $1.7 billion of those funds. The rest of the assistance is being disbursed bilaterally. Since 2003, international donors have pledged about $18 billion in financial and technical assistance, soft loans or potential loan facilities, and trade finance. International donors have exceeded their combined pledges for grants and technical assistance, totaling about $6.5 billion, by more than $1.3 billion. Total soft-loan pledges amount to about $12.8 billion, of which $6.5 billion has been committed. Japan is the leading soft-loan contributor, having committed nearly $3.3 billion to projects around Iraq. New programs approved by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank will substantially close the gap between soft-loan pledges and commitments.
In February 2010, the IMF and World Bank approved $3.8 billion and $250 million of support to Iraq, respectively. The IMF's Executive Board completed the first program review on October 1, 2010, and the second review on March 18, 2011, bringing the total resources currently available to Iraq under the arrangement to SDR 1069.56 million (about $1.7 billion). At the time of the second review, the program duration was extended by 5 months to July 2012, along with a re-phasing of program disbursements based on a shift in financing needs from 2010 into 2011. Both the IMF and World Bank programs are focused on helping the Iraqi Government maintain macroeconomic stability and mitigate Iraq’s vulnerability to external shocks due to volatility in global oil markets. The Iraqi Government has worked closely with both institutions since 2003, including the December 2008 completion of an IMF Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), after which Iraq received the balance of the Paris Club’s 80% debt reduction.
U.S. foreign assistance to Iraq since 2003 has totaled $62 billion. The bulk of this assistance has gone toward reconstruction and security. The focus of U.S. foreign assistance in recent years has shifted from bricks-and-mortar reconstruction to technical assistance and capacity building. The U.S. Government is working with the Iraqi Government to build political, economic, rule of law, and civil society institutions throughout Iraq.
An improving security environment and foreign investment are helping to spur economic activity, particularly in the energy, construction, and retail sectors. Broader economic development, long-term fiscal health, and sustained improvements in the overall standard of living still depend on the central government passing major policy reforms.
Iraq is making slow progress enacting laws and developing the institutions needed to implement economic policy, and political reforms are still needed to assuage investors' concerns regarding the uncertain business climate.
The government of Iraq is eager to attract additional foreign direct investment, but it faces a number of obstacles including a tenuous political system and concerns about security and societal stability. Rampant corruption, outdated infrastructure, insufficient essential services, and antiquated commercial laws stifle investment and continue to constrain growth of private, nonoil sectors.
In 2010, Baghdad signed agreements with both the IMF and World Bank for conditional aid programs designed to help strengthen Iraq's economic institutions.
Iraq is considering a package of laws to establish a modern legal framework for the oil sector and a mechanism to equitably divide oil revenues within the nation, although these reforms are still under contentious and sporadic negotiation.
Political and economic tensions between Baghdad and local governments have led some provincial councils to use their budgets to independently promote and facilitate investment at the local level.
The Central Bank has successfully held the exchange rate at about 1,170 Iraqi dinar/US dollar since January 2009. Inflation has remained under control since 2006 as security improved. However, Iraqi leaders remain hard pressed to translate macroeconomic gains into an improved standard of living for the Iraqi populace. Unemployment remains a problem throughout the country. Encouraging private enterprise through deregulation would make it easier for both Iraqi citizens and foreign investors to start new businesses. Rooting out corruption and implementing reforms - such as bank restructuring and developing the private sector - would be important steps in this direction.
GDP: (Purchasing Power Parity): $127.2 billion (2011 est.)
GDP: (Official Exchange Rate): $108.6 billion (2011 est.)
GDP- per capita (PPP): $3,900 (2011 est.)
GDP- composition by sector:
services: 29.8% (2011 est.)
Industries: petroleum, chemicals, textiles, leather, construction materials, food processing, fertilizer, metal fabrication/processing
Currency: Iraqi dinars (IQD)