title
macrohistory & world report

Republic of Iraq

Map of Iraq

Iraq (capital Baghdad) and neighboring states

Wealth and National Well-Being

Country Comparisons: chart

World Factbook: " 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."

Economic growth rate
2011: 9.6%
2010: 0.8%
2009: 4.2%

Labor force in agriculture
2008: 21.6%

Unemployment rate
2010: 15%

Oil exports
2011: 2.17 million bbl per day, ranks 7th

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $78.36, imports $53.92

Health expenditures
2009: 9.7% of GDP

People

Living in an urban area
2010: 66%

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

Religions
Muslim (official) 97% (Shia 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
note: while there has been voluntary relocation of many Christian families to northern Iraq, recent reporting indicates that the overall Christian population may have dropped by as much as 50 percent since the fall of the Saddam HUSSEIN regime in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon

Geography

Between Iran and Saudi Arabia. 58 kilometers of coastline on the northwestern end of the Persian Gulf. Mostly desert, and extremely hot in the summer. Capital: Baghdad.

Pronunciation

ear-rack, not eye-rack.

Recent History

An interim government was appointed on June 1, 2004.

October 27, 2010: Seven months have passed since parliamentary elections and Iraq still does not have a government. Nuri Kamal al-Maliki continues to act as prime minister and has been on the road soliciting international support – recently to Iran.

A power dispute remains, including disputes over oil revenues. Maliki represents the Shia (60-65 percent of the population), and Sunnis (32-37 percent) fear that they will be shut out of political power. Former Sunni fighters who joined forces with the government against al-Qaeda are reported to be without support from local populations, their leadership decimated but returning to anti-government, or anti-Shia, violence.

The Iraqi Security Forces are described by the American writer-activist-scholar Nir Rosen as pervasive and no longer perceived as sectarian death squads.

In a market place in the city of Kirkuk today three teams of gunmen with grenade launchers and machine-guns robbed jewelry shops and killed ten people.

Iraqis complain of slow progress in returning amenities such as electricity service, but there continues to be a growth in population, with births almost six times the number of deaths. Infant mortality is declining slightly and life expectancy rising. And the number of internet users is described as up since 2002.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.