IRAQ

Conventional Name: Republic of Iraq (Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah)

Capital: Baghdad

Surface area: 438,317 km²

Comparison with a European country: about the size of Sweden

Administrative Divisions: 18 provinces (muhafazah – muhafazat).

Population (2007): 28 807 000

Population Density (2007): 65,7 inhabitants/km2

Young people under 15 Years Old (est. 2004): 40,3%.

Population growth (2000-2005): 2,74%

Fecundity rate (2000-2005): 70,2

Life expectancy (2000-2005): 70,2

Infant mortality (2000-2005): 94,3%o

Urban population (2007): 67,1%

Illiteracy rate (2007):  men: 15,9 %; women: 35,8 %

Ethnic background: Arabs 72%, Kurds 22%, Turks, Turkmenian or other 6%

Religions: Muslims 97% of which Shia Muslims 51%, Sunni Muslims 46%, Christians (all rites) 3%.

Language: Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian.

HDI (Human Development Indicator, UNDP 2002): if data would have been sufficient to include the ocuntry in the repport it would have ranked between the 116 and 117 (within the 174 countries) -with a rate of 0.567, middle developmment-

Currency: On the 6th of July 2003, Paul Bremer, head of the provisional authority in Iraq, announced that a new Iraqi dinar would be printed by October 2003. The new unit will be exchanged one-for-one with the Saddam dinar and at a rate of 150 new dinars to one Swiss dinar (currency used in the northern Kurdish areas since 1991).

* 1 (Saddam) Iraqi Dinar (1 IQD = 3,43 €uro, on 31.5.2002). The official rate is still that imposed for transactions allowed by the UN.

Total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (2007) : 94 100 millions US $.

Gross Domestic Product Per Capita (2007): 3400 $

Economic growth (est. 2003): -21.8%

Industry: petroleum, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing

Agricultural products: wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep

Main trading partners: Exports: US, Italy, France, Spain; Imports: France, Australia, Chine, Russia

Total external debt (2003): 93.950 million US$

Member i.a. of: League of Arab States, Organisation of the Islamic Conference

Party to i.a.: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Year of independence : 3rd October 1932 from The League of Nations mandate under British administration.

* Before the fall of Baghdad on April 12, 2003, and the occupation of Iraq by the US forces and their allies, the iraqi political system was as follows:

Nature of state: Republic

Political System : until 2003 : autoritarian republic dominated by the Baath party and the clan of Takriti.

Iraqi political system since June 8 2006 :

President : M. Jalal TALABANI

Prime Minister : M. Nouri AL MALIKI

Vice-Prime Minister :  M. Barham Saleh, M Selam AL ZOUBAI

Minister for Foreign Affairs : M.Hoshyar ZEBARI

Minister of Defense: M.Abdelkader Mlhammed Jassem OUBEIDI

Some features :

  • After three months of research on the spot by 1,500 experts deployed by the US troughout Iraq, there is still no trace whatsoever of any kind of the WMD (weapons of mass destruction), be it nuclear, chemical or biological, which were suppose to justify the invasion of the country.
  • The American deployment in Iraq is shaping up to be larger, longer and costier than anticipated. The US department of Defense estimates (July 2003)that military costs for Iraq will average $3.9 billion monthly.
  • The United States have replaced the former Iraqi government by an administration – the Coalition Provisional Authority or CPA – headed by L. Paul Bremer 3rd, former head of the anti-terrorism unit in the US State Department, and have deployed 150,000 soldiers in the country. Iraq has been divided in three areas to be controlled respectively by US, British and Polish forces.
  • On July 3, 2003, confronted with daily attacks of an organized resistance in Baghdad and in various of the country, the US forces (which counted already some 44 soldiers death in guerilla attacks since the US President, on May 1, announced the end of the combats) have put a reward of 25 million US dollars for informations leading to the capture of Saddam Hussein or the confirmation of his death.
  • On July 13, the CPA put in place an « Iraqi Governing Council » of 25 members (13 Arab Shia Muslims, 5 Arab Sunni Muslims, 5 Kurds, 1 Turkmen and 1 Christian). The members of this council have been selected mostly from groups which were previously based outside Iraq. It has the power to nominate and dismiss ministers, and to direct policy, while the US-led coalition will still have the final word.
  • 2004 – 2008 : Saddam Hussain is caught in december 2003, hidden and in posession of weapons and money. His trial began in October 2005 – he was judged for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crime. Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death on November 5, 2006. He is executed in Baghdad on December 30, 2006.
  • 2005 marks a turning point in Iraqi politics. Elections for a National Constituent Assembly are held in January of that same year. The main goal of the Assembly was to appoint a new President and a new government. On 30 January, the day of the vote there were a large vote turnout despite the attacks against voters.
  • The new Constitution was adopted on August 15, 2005, and is accepted by 78% of the Iraqi people.
  • The governement of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki took office on april 20, 2006. On June 8, 2006, Parliament approved the appointment of Ministers of Defense (General Abdul-Qadre Mohammed Jassim), the Minister of the Interior ( Jawad al-Bulani) and National Security (Shirawan al-Waili). These elections are the first free elections in 50 years.
  • The war has had dramatic consequences on the situation in Iraq, it has caused thousands of deaths and many people have fled the country. At the moment, the lack of stability is a freeway to terrorist attacks, destroying infrastructure, equipment, or schools. The attacks in the provinces of Diyala and Nineveh are daily; insecurity there is omnipresent.
  • Economically however, there has been a significant increase in GNP and the number of private companies as a result of the liberalization of the economy. Many foreign companies have invested in the Iraqi oil, preventing Iraq from enjoying all its resources, several factories have been sabotaged, the losses of oil are huge.
  • Today the situation in Iraq is far from being restored, U.S. forces, always present on the territory gradually entrust the provinces to the Iraqi army – on July 16, 2008, ten provinces on a total of 18 are placed in the hands of Iraqis. The objective of General David Petraeus, (head of Central Command, which supervises operations in Iraq and Afghanistan) are that the eight remaining pass under Iraqi control by the end of the year 2008.

Sources: L’Etat du Monde 2003 (La Découverte), CIA World Factbook 2004, Arab Human Development Report 2002, BBC World Service, International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, l’Etat du Monde 2007