Geography of Iraq

An Geographic Overview of Iraq

Iraq Flag
The Iraq flag has three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; the Takbir (Arabic expression meaning "God is great") in green Arabic script is centered in the white band. Source: CIA World Factbook, 2012

Capital: Baghdad

Iraq is a country that is located in western Asia and shares borders with Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Syria (map). It has a very small coastline of just 36 miles (58 km) along the Persian Gulf. Iraq's capital and largest city is Baghdad and it has a population of 30,399,572 (July 2011 estimate). Other large cities in Iraq include Mosul, Basra, Irbil and Kirkuk and the country's population density is 179.6 people per square mile or 69.3 people per square kilometer.

History of Iraq

From 1980 to 1988 Iraq was involved in the Iran-Iraq war which devastated its economy. The war also left Iraq as one of the largest military establishments in the Persian Gulf region (U.S. Department of State). In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait but it was forced out in early 1991 by a United States-led U.N. coalition. Following these events social instability continued as the country's northern Kurdish people and its southern Shi'a Muslims rebelled against Saddam Hussein's government. As a result, the Iraq's government used force to suppress the rebellion, killed thousands of citizens and severely damaged the environment of the regions involved.

Because of the instability in Iraq at the time, the U.S. and several other countries established no-fly zones over the country and the U.N. Security Council enacted several sanctions against Iraq after its government refused to surrender weapons and submit to U.N. inspections (U.S. Department of State). Instability remained in the country throughout the rest of the 1990s and into the 2000's.

In March-April 2003 a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq after it was claimed the country failed to comply with further U.N. inspections. This act began the Iraq War between Iraq and the U.S. Shortly the U.S.'s invasion, Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) was established to handle Iraq's governmental functions as the country worked to establish a new government. In June 2004 the CPA disbanded and the Iraqi Interim Government took over. In January 2005 the country held elections and the Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) took power. In May 2005 the ITG appointed a committee to draft a constitution and in September 2005 that constitution was completed. In December 2005 another election was held which established a new 4 year constitutional government that took power in March 2006.

Despite its new government however, Iraq was still highly unstable during this time and violence was widespread throughout the country. As a result, the U.S. increased its presence in Iraq which caused a decrease in violence. In January 2009 Iraq and the U.S. came up with plans to remove U.S. troops from the country and in June 2009 they began leaving Iraq's urban areas. Further removal of U.S. troops continued into 2010 and 2011. On December 15, 2011 the Iraq War officially ended.

Government of Iraq

Economics and Land Use in Iraq

Geography and Climate of Iraq

The climate of Iraq is mostly desert and as such it has mild winters and hot summers. The country's mountainous regions however have very cold winters and mild summers. Baghdad, the capital and largest city in Iraq has a January average low temperature of 39ºF (4ºC) and a July average high temperature of 111ºF (44ºC).