Country: IRAQiraq

Capital: Baghdad

Geographic Coordinates: 33 00 N, 44 00 E

Population: 29,671,605 (July 2010 est.)

Main Religion: Islam

Language: Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Turkoman (a Turkish dialect)

Government Type: Parliamentary democracy

Head of State: President Jalal TALABANI (since 6 April 2005); Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI

Main Industries: petroleum, chemicals, textiles, leather, construction materials, food processing, fertilizer, metal fabrication/processing

GDP in US Dollars (per capita):  $3,600 (2009 est.)

Currency Code: New Iraqi dinar (NID)

Life Expectancy: 58 years (men), 61 years (women) (UN)

Local Media: Press: Al-Sabah, Al-Zaman, Al-Mada - Baghdad, private daily; Radio and TV: Television Al-Iraqiya, Al-Sharqiya, KurdSat, Republic of Iraq Radio, Radio Basra

Environment - current issues: 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; 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; Desertification

Issues facing Women and Children:

  • Education rates are falling. The number of primary-age children not enrolled in school has climbed from under 800,000 to over 2 million since 2005 (Iraq Education Ministry). School closures have been reported in Baghdad, and many schools have been caught up in violent attacks.
  • Children are regularly orphaned by violence, and the number of female-headed households is rising as more families lose their primary wage-earner in the conflict.
  • Stresses on children witnessing violence or living in fear of violence are increasing their risk of psycho-social problems, abuse and exploitation. Street children and substance abuse are increasingly visible phenomena in Iraq’s central cities.
  • Health services such as routine immunization are in decline in many areas. Routine immunization rates in some districts in Iraq are under 50%.
  • Pregnant women are have limited access to ante-natal services and potentially life-saving emergency obstetric care.
  • 1.5 million Iraqis were displaced inside Iraqi between 2006 and early 2008.

Land Mine Ban Signatory: Y

Local Media: Press: Al-Sabah, Al-Zaman, Al-Mada (Baghdad private daily); Radio and TV: Television Al-Iraqiya, Al-Sharqiya, KurdSat, Republic of Iraq Radio, Radio Basra

Interesting Fact: Straddling the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and stretching from the Gulf to the Anti-Taurus Mountains, modern Iraq occupies roughly what was once ancient Mesopotamia, one of the cradles of human civilisation. In the Middle Ages Iraq was the centre of the Islamic Empire, with Baghdad the cultural and political capital of an area extending from Morocco to the Indian subcontinent.

Famous for: Hammurabi of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar II, Saddam Hussein, US-Iraq War, Babylon

Location