Geography of Iraq

An Geographic Overview of Iraq

map of Iraq

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Iraq is a country located in western Asia and shares borders with Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. It has a 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 40,194,216 (2018 estimate). Other large cities in Iraq include Mosul, Basra, Irbil, and Kirkuk.

Fast Facts: Iraq

  • Official Name: Republic of Iraq
  • Capital: Baghdad
  • Population: 40,194,216 (2018)
  • Official Languages: Arabic, Kurdish
  • Currency: Dinar (IQD) 
  • Form of Government: Federal parliamentary republic
  • Climate: Mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq
  • Total Area: 169,234 square miles (438,317 square kilometers)
  • Highest Point: Cheekha Dar at 11,847 feet (3,611 meters) 
  • Lowest Point: Persian Gulf at 0 feet (0 meters)

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. 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, 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. Instability remained in the country throughout the rest of the 1990s and into the 2000s.

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 four-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.

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).

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Briney, Amanda. "Geography of Iraq." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Briney, Amanda. (2023, April 5). Geography of Iraq. Retrieved from Briney, Amanda. "Geography of Iraq." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).