Iraq is a country situated in the Middle East and has been part of Ottoman Empire and was colonized by British. She has been home to major civilization like Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumer. The modern day Iraq was created in 1932 after attaining independence from Britain. However, the country became a republic in 1958 with Baghdad as the capital city of the country (CIA Fact book, 2009). Iraq has a long history of participation in major wars. Three major wars that it has participated include Iran-Iraq border dispute war, Gulf War, and U.S led war on terror. Iraq has had territorial dispute with Iran which led to an 8 year war that eventually culminated in its invasion of Kuwait. She invaded Kuwait in 1990 but was removed from during the Gulf War which was led by United Nations forces. Iraq was invaded by U.S led forces in 2003 in War on Terror which eventually led to toppling of Dictator Saddam Hussein. Iraq is one of the major producers of oil in the Middle East (CIA Fact book, 2009).
Geographically, Iraq is located in Middle East at the tip of Persian Gulf between Iran and Kuwait. She has a long coast line along the Persian Gulf stretching for more than 30 kilometers though the maritime boundaries have been a contentious issue with Iran. Iraq has a total land area which measures up to 438,317 square kilometers. The country has variable climatic regions but it is mainly a desert country with plains, reedy marshes, and mountainous regions along the borders (Simons, 2004). The country is rich in natural resources which include petroleum, natural gas, sulfur, and phosphate. Only a small percentage of the total land is arable and agricultural sector is not well developed.
Iraq is a republic known as Republic of Iraq as declared in 1958 (CIA Fact book, 2009). The country has a government which is made up of three branches which include executive, legislative, and judicial. However, this republican status has been undermined by years of rule under strongmen like Saddam Hussein but currently she is finding her democratic space through with much bloodshed. The country has a parliamentary democracy since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and consequently changes in of constitution in 2005 which allowed for election of leaders representing governing divisions. The country has eighteen administrative divisions called governorates which have representatives in the country parliament and government officials (Axeland, 1996). The country has legal system is based on European civil and Islamic laws. European civil laws were inherited from years of British rule while Islamic laws emanate from major religious group in the country. The country is a multiparty democracy with many political parties. Iraq can be considered a young democracy since most of the political parties were formed only after the U.S led invasion and overthrow of strongman Saddam Hussein.
Iraq has a total population of 28,945,657. Age distribution is varied by majority of the people, 58.2% of the population between 15 and 64 years. The country has a medium population growth rate currently estimated to be at 2.507% (CIA Fact book, 2009). Iraq also has a medium population density which currently stands at 6 persons per square kilometers although population density varies with regions.
Iraq is one of the countries in the Middle East hat have experienced a high rate of urbanization. Due to industrialization in the country driven by oil wealth, only few people have been left in the rural areas practicing agriculture. The country has a high rate of urbanization with 67% of the population living in urban areas while 33% live in rural areas. Most of those living in the rural areas mainly practice agriculture (CIA Fact book, 2009).
The country has two large ethnic groups including Arab making 75-80% of the population and Kurds making 15-20% of the population. Other groups like Turkmen, Assyrian, Jews, and others make 5% of the population (CIA Fact book, 2009). The official language recognized throughout the country is Arabic. Other commonly spoken languages include Kurdish, Assyrian, and Armenian.
Iraq is a religious nation and religion plays an important a role in administrative functions. Majority of the people in Iraq are Muslims who make up 96% of the population. Christian makes up 3% of the population and the rest constitute only 1% (CIA Fact book, 2009).
Education and health
Although the country has been ravaged by war, life expectancy stands at 69.9 years on average. This includes 71.3 years for females and 68.6 years for males. Infant mortality is still high currently standing at 44 deaths per every 1,000 lives (CIA Fact book, 2009). However, Iraq has performed poorly in education. The country has a low literacy rate which stands at 41.1%. This includes 25.2% for females and 56.6% for males. The school life expectancy in the country stands at 10 years. School life expectancy is 11 years for male and 8 years for female (CIA Fact book, 2009).
The country Gross Domestic Product in terms of U.S$ currently stands at 12,602 million. GDP per capita in terms of US$ was at $ 736.55 (CIA Fact book, 2009). The country GDP purchasing power parity stands at $ 103.9 billions according to 2008 estimates which is an increase from $ 96.39 recorded in 2007. On the other hand the real GDP growth stood at 7.8% in 2008 (CIA Fact book, 2009).
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