Iraq Geography, Economy and Politics

Iraq, formerly known as Mesopotamia, officially the Republic of Iraq. It is a southwestern Asian country that encompasses most of the northwestern Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert, and the northern part of the Arabian Desert. Iraq covers an area of 437,072 km 2 ranking 58 among the largest countries in the world.

According to many specialists Iraq has the second highest oil reserves in the world with 112 billion barrels after Saudi Arabia. The country was militarily occupied by the United States and its allies after being invaded in 2003.

Geographic characteristics

As a country located in Middle East according to, Iraq is a desert country for the most part, although it also houses, to a lesser extent, other biomes: Mediterranean forest in the eastern Mediterranean forest, in the extreme northwest; temperate hardwood forest in the steppe forest of the Zagros Mountains, in the extreme northeast; prairie in the steppe of the Near East, in the north; and flooded prairie in the Tigris-Euphrates alluvial marsh in the southeast.

The rest of the territory is divided into the following ecoregions:

  • Shrubby desert of Mesopotamia, in the center of the country.
  • Desert and xerophilous mountain of Arabia and Sinai, in the south.
  • Desert and semi-desert of the Persian Gulf, in a small enclave on the border with Kuwait.
  • Tropical desert and semi-desert of the Red Sea in two enclaves in the south-west, on the border with Saudi Arabia.
  • Desert and semi-desert of southern Iran in the extreme southeast, on the border with Iran.


The northern portion of Iraq, known as Al Jazeera, is mountainous and borders with Iran and Turkey. It then slopes down to sea level to the southeast. 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, ending in the Himalayas. In the Far South, the country slopes downward to form a broad, central alluvial plain, encompassing the Tigris valley and the Euphrates rivers, Iraq’s two main rivers, which provide land for agriculture, in contrast to the desert landscape that encompasses most ofWestern Asia.


Most of Iraq has a continental climate with extremes of heat and cold. The mountainous northern portion has cool summers and cold winters, often accompanied by snow. In the lowlands, summers are long and hot, and winters cool.

In the northeastern mountains, precipitation is considerable from October to May, ranging from 305 to 559 mm. However, in the Far South, in the central alluvial plain and near the Persian Gulf, precipitation is less. The Syrian desert gets little or no precipitation.

Flora and fauna

Vegetation is sparse in Iraq as the southern, southwestern, and western parts of the country are shrouded in deserts. The country has few trees, with the exception of the cultivated date, palm and poplar. Wildlife in Iraq includes the cheetah, gazelle, antelope, wild ass, hyena, wolf, jackal, wild pig, hare, jerboa, and bat.

Numerous raptors are found in Iraq, including the vulture, hawk, raven, owl, and various species of hawk; other birds include the duck, goose, partridge, and sand grouse. Lizards are quite common.


Iraq’s economy is dominated by the petroleum sector, which has traditionally provided about 95% of foreign currency earnings. In the 1980s, financial problems caused by massive spending in the eight-year war with Iran and damage to oil export facilities by Iran led the government to implement austerity measures, borrow heavily, and they change the time later of payments of the foreign debt; suffered economic losses of at least $ 100 billion from the war.

After the end of hostilities in 1988, oil exports gradually increased with the construction of new pipelines and the restoration of damaged facilities. Current GDP per capita grew 56% in the 1960s reaching a peak growth of 57% in the 1970s. But this proven unsustainable and current GDP per capita therefore contracted by 23% in the 1980s.


Traditionally, manufacturing activity has been closely connected with the petroleum industry. The main industries in that category have been petroleum refining and the manufacturing of chemicals and fertilizers.

Before 2003, diversification was hampered by limitations on privatization and the effects of the international sanctions of the 1990s. Since 2003, security problems have blocked efforts to establish new businesses.

The construction industry is an exception; in 2000 cements were the only main industrial product not based on Hydrocarbons. The construction industry has benefited from the need to rebuild after several wars. In the 1990s, the industry benefited from government funding of extensive infrastructure and housing complexes and elaborate palace complexes.

In addition, we have as primary sectors agriculture the production of: Wheat, Barley, Rice, vehicles, as well as Cotton ; Cattle, Sheep and Poultry ; the forestry, fishing, mining and energy.


The Iraqi tourism industry, which in peaceful times has benefited from many Iraqi places of cultural interest (earning US $ 14 million in 2001), has been completely dormant since 2003. Despite conditions, in 2005 the Iraqi Tourism Board maintained a staff of 2,500 and 14 regional offices.


A report by the International Monetary Fund estimated that there were 32,046,000 [8] people living in Iraq at the beginning of 2010.

The 4 of November of 2006 a report by the UNHCR estimated that had been displaced 1.8 million Iraqis to neighboring countries because of the war, while 1.6 million were displaced internally, also reflected that nearly 100,000 Iraqis fleeing to Syria and Jordan each month.

Government and politics


The federal government Iraq is defined in the country’s Constitution as Islamic, democratic, and a federal parliamentary republic. The federal government is made up of three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial, as well as numerous independent commissions. Apart from the federal government, there are regions (made up of one or more governorates), governorates, and districts within Iraq.

Regions and governorates

Currently, Kurdistan is the only legally defined region within Iraq, with its own government and an official militia known as the Peshmerga. Iraq is divided into eighteen governorates (or provinces) and these are subdivided into districts.

  1. Baghdad
  2. Salah ad Din
  3. Diyala
  4. Wasit
  5. Maysan
  6. Al Basrah
  7. Dhi qar
  8. Al Muthanna
  9. Al-Qādisiyyah
  10. Babil
  11. Karbala
  12. A najaf
  13. Al Anbar
  14. Ninawa
  15. Dahuk
  16. Arbil
  17. Kirkuk
  18. Al Sulaymaniyah

The following governorates are within the Iraqi Kurdistan region:

  • Dahuk
  • Arbil
  • Al Sulaymaniyah

Iraq Politics

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