Photos of Iraq



Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by the United Kingdom during World War I and was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration in 1920. Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. It was proclaimed a "republic" in 1958 after a coup overthrew the monarchy, but in actuality, a series of strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last was SADDAM Husayn from 1979 to 2003. Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by US-led UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. After Iraq's expulsion, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions led to the Second Gulf War in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime by US-led forces.

In October 2005, Iraqis approved a constitution in a national referendum and, pursuant to this document, elected a 275-member Council of Representatives (COR) in December 2005. The COR approved most cabinet ministers in May 2006, marking the transition to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half century. Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all governorates in January 2009 and April 2013 and postponed the next provincial elections, originally planned for April 2017, until 2019. Iraq has held three national legislative elections since 2005, most recently in May 2018 when 329 legislators were elected to the COR. Adil ABD AL-MAHDI assumed the premiership in October 2018 as a consensus and independent candidate - the first prime minister who is not an active member of a major political bloc. However, widespread protests that began in October 2019 demanding more employment opportunities and an end to corruption prompted ABD AL-MAHDI to announce his resignation on 20 November 2019.

Between 2014 and 2017, Iraq was engaged in a military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) to recapture territory lost in the western and northern portion of the country. Iraqi and allied forces recaptured Mosul, the country's second-largest city, in 2017 and drove ISIS out of its other urban strongholds. In December 2017, then-Prime Minister Haydar al-ABADI publicly declared victory against ISIS while continuing operations against the group's residual presence in rural areas. Also in late 2017, ABADI responded to an independence referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government by ordering Iraqi forces to take control of disputed territories across central and northern Iraq that were previously occupied and governed by Kurdish forces.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

Geographic coordinates

33 00 N, 44 00 E

Map references

Middle East


total: 438,317 sq km

land: 437,367 sq km

water: 950 sq km

country comparison to the world: 60

Area - comparative

slightly more than three times the size of New York state

Land boundaries

total: 3,809 km

border countries (6): Iran 1599 km, Jordan 179 km, Kuwait 254 km, Saudi Arabia 811 km, Syria 599 km, Turkey 367 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

continental shelf: not specified


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


mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey


mean elevation: 312 m

lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m

highest point: Cheekha Dar (Kurdish for "Black Tent") 3,611 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

Land use

agricultural land: 18.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 8.4% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.5% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 9.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 1.9% (2018 est.)

other: 80% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

35,250 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population is concentrated in the north, center, and eastern parts of the country, with many of the larger urban agglomerations found along extensive parts of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; much of the western and southern areas are either lightly populated or uninhabited

Natural hazards

dust storms; sandstorms; floods

Geography - note

strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

People and Society


noun: Iraqi(s)

adjective: Iraqi

Ethnic groups

Arab 75-80%, Kurdish 15-20%, other 5% (includes Turkmen, Yezidi, Shabak, Kaka'i, Bedouin, Romani, Assyrian, Circassian, Sabaean-Mandaean, Persian)

note: data is a 1987 government estimate; no more recent reliable numbers are available


Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkmen (a Turkish dialect), Syriac (Neo-Aramaic), and Armenian are official in areas where native speakers of these languages constitute a majority of the population


Muslim (official) 95-98% (Shia 64-69%, Sunni 29-34%), Christian 1% (includes Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Assyrian Church of the East), other 1-4% (2015 est.)

note: while there has been voluntary relocation of many Christian families to northern Iraq, the overall Christian population has decreased at least 50% and perhaps as high as 90% since the fall of the SADDAM Husayn regime in 2003, according to US Embassy estimates, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon

Age structure

0-14 years: 37.02% (male 7,349,868/female 7,041,405)

15-24 years: 19.83% (male 3,918,433/female 3,788,157)

25-54 years: 35.59% (male 6,919,569/female 6,914,856)

55-64 years: 4.23% (male 805,397/female 839,137)

65 years and over: 3.33% (male 576,593/female 719,240) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 69.9

youth dependency ratio: 64.1

elderly dependency ratio: 5.9

potential support ratio: 17.1 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 21.2 years

male: 20.8 years

female: 21.6 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 185

Birth rate

25.21 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 46

Death rate

3.92 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 217

Net migration rate

-0.68 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 132

Population distribution

population is concentrated in the north, center, and eastern parts of the country, with many of the larger urban agglomerations found along extensive parts of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; much of the western and southern areas are either lightly populated or uninhabited


urban population: 70.9% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 3.06% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

7.323 million BAGHDAD (capital), 1.683 million Mosul, 1.382 million Basra, 1.031 million Kirkuk, 901,000 Najaf, 861,000 Erbil (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

79 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 80

Infant mortality rate

total: 20.08 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 21.84 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 18.24 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.9 years

male: 71.01 years

female: 74.89 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 151

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 98.8% of population

rural: 95% of population

total: 97.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.2% of population

rural: 5% of population

total: 2.1% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.71 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

1.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 96.7% of population

rural: 89.7% of population

total: 95.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 3.3% of population

rural: 10.3% of population

total: 4.8% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout Iraq; as of 6 April 2021, Iraq has reported a total of 879,991 cases of COVID-19 or 2,187.81 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 36.05 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 50.1%

male: 56.2%

female: 44% (2018)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Iraq

conventional short form: Iraq

local long form: Jumhuriyat al-Iraq/Komar-i Eraq

local short form: Al Iraq/Eraq

former: Mesopotamia, Mandatory Iraq, Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq

etymology: the name probably derives from "Uruk" (Biblical "Erech"), the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian city on the Euphrates River

Government type

federal parliamentary republic


name: Baghdad

geographic coordinates: 33 20 N, 44 24 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

although the origin of the name is disputed, it likely has compound Persian roots with "bagh" and "dad" meaning "god" and "given" respectively to create the meaning of "bestowed by God"

Administrative divisions

18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah (Arabic); parezgakan, singular - parezga (Kurdish)) and 1 region*; Al Anbar; Al Basrah; Al Muthanna; Al Qadisiyah (Ad Diwaniyah); An Najaf; Arbil (Erbil) (Arabic), Hewler (Kurdish); As Sulaymaniyah (Arabic), Slemani (Kurdish); Babil; Baghdad; Dahuk (Arabic), Dihok (Kurdish); Dhi Qar; Diyala; Karbala'; Kirkuk; Kurdistan Regional Government*; Maysan; Ninawa; Salah ad Din; Wasit


3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration); note - on 28 June 2004 the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi Interim Government

National holiday

Independence Day, 3 October (1932); Republic Day, 14 July (1958)


history: several previous; latest adopted by referendum 15 October 2005

amendments: proposed by the president of the republic and the Council of Minsters collectively, or by one fifth of the Council of Representatives members; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote by the Council of Representatives, approval by referendum, and ratification by the president; passage of amendments to articles on citizen rights and liberties requires two-thirds majority vote of Council of Representatives members after two successive electoral terms, approval in a referendum, and ratification by the president

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Iraq

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Barham SALIH (since 2 October 2018); vice presidents (vacant)

head of government: Prime Minister Mustafa al-KADHIMI (since 7 May 2020)

cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, approved by Council of Representatives

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Council of Representatives (COR) to serve a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); COR election last held on 12 May 2018 (next NA)

election results:

COR vote in first round - Barham SALIH (PUK) 165, Fuad HUSAYN (KDP) 90; Barham SALIH elected president in second round - Barham SALIH 219, Fuad HUSAYN 22; note - the COR vote on 1 October 2018 failed due to a lack of quorum, and a new session was held on 2 October

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Council of Representatives or Majlis an-Nuwwab al-Iraqiyy (329 seats; 320 members directly elected in 83 multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 9 seats at the national level reserved for minorities - 5 for Christians, 1 each for Sabaean-Mandaeans, Yazidis, Shabaks, Fayli Kurds; 25% of seats allocated to women; members serve 4-year terms); note - in early November 2020, the president ratified a new electoral law - approved by the Council of Representatives in late October - that eliminates the proportional representation electoral system

elections: last held on 12 May 2018 (next originally scheduled for May 2022, but rescheduled earlier to 6 June 2021)

election results: percent of vote by party/coalition - NA; seats by party/coalition - Sa'irun Alliance 54, Al Fatah Alliance 48, Al Nasr Alliance 42, KDP 25, State of Law Coalition 25, Wataniyah 21, National Wisdom Trend 19, PUK 18, Iraqi Decision Alliance 14, Anbar Our Identity 6, Goran Movement 5, New Generation 4, other 48; composition - men 245, women 84, percent of women 25.5%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Federal Supreme Court or FSC (consists of 9 judges); note - court jurisdiction limited to constitutional issues and disputes between regions or governorates and the central government; Court of Cassation (consists of a court president, 5 vice presidents, and at least 24 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Federal Supreme Court and Court of Cassation judges selected by the president of the republic from nominees selected by the Higher Judicial Council (HJC), a 25-member committee of judicial officials that manages the judiciary and prosecutors; FSC members appointed for life; Court of Cassation judges appointed by the HJC and confirmed by the Council of Representatives to serve until retirement nominally at age 63

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (governorate level); civil courts, including first instance, personal status, labor, and customs; criminal courts including felony, misdemeanor, investigative, major crimes, juvenile, and traffic courts

Political parties and leaders

Al Fatah Alliance [Hadi al-AMIRI]
Al Nasr Alliance [Haydar al-ABADI]
Al Sadiqun Bloc [Adnan al-DULAYMI]
Al Sa'irun Alliance [Muqtda al-SADR]
Badr Organization [Hadi al-AMIRI]
Da`wa Party [Nuri al-MALIKI]
Fadilah Party [Muhammad al-YAQUBI]
Goran Movement [Omar SAYYID ALI]
Iraqi Communist Party [Hamid Majid MUSA]
Iraq Decision Alliance [Khamis al-KHANJAR, Usama al-NUJAYFI]
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq or ISCI [Humam HAMMUDI]
Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP [Masoud BARZANI]
National Wisdom Trend [Ammar al-HAKIM]
New Generation Movement [SHASWAR Abd al-Wahid Qadir]
Our Identity [Muhammad al-HALBUSI]
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK [KOSRAT Rasul Ali, acting]
State of Law Coalition [Nuri al MALIKI
Wataniyah coalition [Ayad ALLAWI]
numerous smaller religious, local, tribal, and minority parties

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Farid YASIN (since 18 January 2017)

chancery: 3421 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone: [1] (202) 742-1600

FAX: [1] (202) 333-1129

consulate(s) general: Detroit, Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Matthew TUELLER (since 9 June 2019)

telephone: 0760-030-3000

embassy: Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad; note - consulate in Al Basrah closed as of 28 September 2018

mailing address: APO AE 09316


Flag description

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; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white); the Council of Representatives approved this flag in 2008 as a compromise replacement for the Ba'thist SADDAM-era flag

note: similar to the flag of Syria, which has two stars but no script; Yemen, which has a plain white band; and that of Egypt, which has a golden Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band

National symbol(s)

golden eagle; national colors: red, white, black

National anthem

name: "Mawtini" (My Homeland)

lyrics/music: Ibrahim TOUQAN/Mohammad FLAYFEL

note: adopted 2004; following the ouster of SADDAM Husayn, Iraq adopted "Mawtini," a popular folk song throughout the Arab world; also serves as an unofficial anthem of the Palestinian people


Economic overview

Iraq's GDP growth slowed to 1.1% in 2017, a marked decline compared to the previous two years as domestic consumption and investment fell because of civil violence and a sluggish oil market. The Iraqi Government received its third tranche of funding from its 2016 Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF in August 2017, which is intended to stabilize its finances by encouraging improved fiscal management, needed economic reform, and expenditure reduction. Additionally, in late 2017 Iraq received more than $1.4 billion in financing from international lenders, part of which was generated by issuing a $1 billion bond for reconstruction and rehabilitation in areas liberated from ISIL. Investment and key sector diversification are crucial components to Iraq’s long-term economic development and require a strengthened business climate with enhanced legal and regulatory oversight to bolster private-sector engagement. The overall standard of living depends on global oil prices, the central government passage of major policy reforms, a stable security environment post-ISIS, and the resolution of civil discord with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Iraq's largely state-run economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides roughly 85% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings, and is a major determinant of the economy's fortunes. Iraq's contracts with major oil companies have the potential to further expand oil exports and revenues, but Iraq will need to make significant upgrades to its oil processing, pipeline, and export infrastructure to enable these deals to reach their economic potential.

In 2017, Iraqi oil exports from northern fields were disrupted following a KRG referendum that resulted in the Iraqi Government reasserting federal control over disputed oil fields and energy infrastructure in Kirkuk. The Iraqi government and the KRG dispute the role of federal and regional authorities in the development and export of natural resources. In 2007, the KRG passed an oil law to develop IKR oil and gas reserves independent of the federal government. The KRG has signed about 50 contracts with foreign energy companies to develop its reserves, some of which lie in territories taken by Baghdad in October 2017. The KRG is able to unilaterally export oil from the fields it retains control of through its own pipeline to Turkey, which Baghdad claims is illegal. In the absence of a national hydrocarbons law, the two sides have entered into five provisional oil- and revenue-sharing deals since 2009, all of which collapsed.

Iraq is making slow progress enacting laws and developing the institutions needed to implement economic policy, and political reforms are still needed to assuage investors' concerns regarding the uncertain business climate. The Government of Iraq is eager to attract additional foreign direct investment, but it faces a number of obstacles, including a tenuous political system and concerns about security and societal stability. Rampant corruption, outdated infrastructure, insufficient essential services, skilled labor shortages, and antiquated commercial laws stifle investment and continue to constrain growth of private, nonoil sectors. Under the Iraqi constitution, some competencies relevant to the overall investment climate are either shared by the federal government and the regions or are devolved entirely to local governments. Investment in the IKR operates within the framework of the Kurdistan Region Investment Law (Law 4 of 2006) and the Kurdistan Board of Investment, which is designed to provide incentives to help economic development in areas under the authority of the KRG.

Inflation has remained under control since 2006. However, Iraqi leaders remain hard-pressed to translate macroeconomic gains into an improved standard of living for the Iraqi populace. Unemployment remains a problem throughout the country despite a bloated public sector. Overregulation has made it difficult for Iraqi citizens and foreign investors to start new businesses. Corruption and lack of economic reforms - such as restructuring banks and developing the private sector – have inhibited the growth of the private sector.

Real GDP growth rate

-2.1% (2017 est.)

13.1% (2016 est.)

2.5% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 206

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-0.1% (2019 est.)

0.3% (2018 est.)

0.2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B- (2015)

Moody's rating: Caa1 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: B- (2015)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$427.736 billion (2019 est.)

$409.705 billion (2018 est.)

$412.027 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 48

GDP (official exchange rate)

$231.994 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$10,881 (2019 est.)

$10,660 (2018 est.)

$10,972 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 142

Gross national saving

13.3% of GDP (2019 est.)

20.6% of GDP (2018 est.)

18.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 3.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 51% (2017 est.)

services: 45.8% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 50.4% (2013 est.)

government consumption: 22.9% (2016 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20.6% (2016 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2016 est.)

exports of goods and services: 32.5% (2016 est.)

imports of goods and services: -40.9% (2016 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 44.7 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 77.3 (2020)

Trading score: 25.3 (2020)

Enforcement score: 48 (2020)

Agricultural products

wheat, barley, dates, tomatoes, rice, maize, grapes, potatoes, rice, watermelons


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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 21.6%

industry: 18.7%

services: 59.8% (2008 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.6%

highest 10%: 25.7% (2007 est.)


revenues: 68.71 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 76.82 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

59.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

66% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$4.344 billion (2017 est.)

-$13.38 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31


$61.4 billion (2017 est.)

$41.72 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 58

Exports - partners

China 26%, India 24%, South Korea 9%, United States 8%, Italy 6%, Greece 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, refined petroleum, gold, dates, petroleum coke (2019)


$39.47 billion (2017 est.)

$19.57 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 67

Imports - partners

United Arab Emirates 28%, Turkey 21%, China 19% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment, cars, jewelry, cigarettes (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$48.88 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$45.36 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Debt - external

$73.02 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$64.16 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 61

Exchange rates

Iraqi dinars (IQD) per US dollar -

1,184 (2017 est.)

1,182 (2016 est.)

1,182 (2015 est.)

1,167.63 (2014 est.)

1,213.72 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2,678,046

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7.04 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 46

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 36,092,758

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 94.88 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 42

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the 2003 liberation of Iraq severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq; widespread government efforts to rebuild domestic and international communications have slowed due to political unrest; 2018 showed signs of stability and installations of new fiber-optic cables and growth in mobile broadband subscribers; the most popular plans are pre-paid; 3 major operators in mobile sector preparing 4G and even 5G technologies; operators focused on fixing and replacing networks damaged during civil war (2020)

domestic: the mobile cellular market continues to expand; 3G services offered by three major mobile operators; 4G offered by one operator in Iraqi; conflict has destroyed infrastructure in areas; 7 per 100 for fixed-line and 95 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)

international: country code - 964; landing points for FALCON, and GBICS/MENA submarine cables providing connections to the Middle East, Africa and India; satellite earth stations - 4 (2 Intelsat - 1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean, 1 Intersputnik - Atlantic Ocean region, and 1 Arabsat (inoperative)); local microwave radio relay connects border regions to Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

the number of private radio and TV stations has increased rapidly since 2003; government-owned TV and radio stations are operated by the publicly funded Iraqi Media Network; private broadcast media are mostly linked to political, ethnic, or religious groups; satellite TV is available to an estimated 70% of viewers and many of the broadcasters are based abroad; transmissions of multiple international radio broadcasters are accessible (2019)

Internet users

total: 18,364,390

percent of population: 49.36% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 4,492,328

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 32


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 4 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 34

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,075,065 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 16.2 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 72 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 20 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 34 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2017)

under 914 m: 7 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 30 (2013)

over 3,047 m: 3 (2013)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 13 (2013)

under 914 m: 6 (2013)


16 (2013)


2455 km gas, 913 km liquid petroleum gas, 5432 km oil, 1637 km refined products (2013)


total: 2,272 km (2014)

standard gauge: 2,272 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)

country comparison to the world: 69


total: 59,623 km (2012)

paved: 59,623 km (includes Kurdistan region) (2012)

country comparison to the world: 77


5,279 km (the Euphrates River (2,815 km), Tigris River (1,899 km), and Third River (565 km) are the principal waterways) (2012)

country comparison to the world: 22

Merchant marine

total: 68

by type: general cargo 1, oil tanker 6, other 61 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 103

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Al Basrah (Shatt al Arab); Khawr az Zubayr, Umm Qasr (Khawr az Zubayr waterway)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Ministry of Defense: Iraqi Army, Army Aviation Command, Iraqi Navy, Iraqi Air Force, Iraqi Air Defense Command, Special Forces Command; National-Level Security Forces: Iraqi Counterterrorism Service (CTS; a Special Forces Division aka the "Golden Division"), Prime Minister's Special Forces Division, Presidential Brigades; Ministry of Interior: Federal Police Forces Command, Border Guard Forces Command, Federal Intelligence and Investigations Agency, Emergency Response Division, Facilities Protection Directorate, and Energy Police Directorate; Popular Mobilization Commission and Affiliated Forces (PMF); Ministry of Pershmerga (Kurdistan Regional Government) (2020)

note: the PMF is a collection of approximately 50 paramilitary militias of different sizes and with varying political interests

Military expenditures

3.9% of GDP (2019)

2.9% of GDP (2018)

3.9% of GDP (2017)

3.5% of GDP (2016)

5.4% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 17

Military and security service personnel strengths

assessments of the size of the Iraqi military and militia forces vary; approximately 225,000 active military personnel (190,000 Army; 5,000 Navy; 5,000 Air Force; est. 10,000 Iraqi Counterterrorism Service; est. 10,000 Presidential Brigades; est. 5,000 Prime Minister’s Special Forces Division); 100-160,000 Popular Mobilization Forces; 150,000-200,000 Peshmerga Forces (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Iraqi military inventory is comprised of Russian and Soviet-era equipment combined with newer European- and US-sourced platforms; since 2010, Russia and the US are the leading suppliers of military hardware to Iraq (2020)

Military service age and obligation

18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2019)

Military - note

as of early 2021, Iraqi military and security forces continued to conduct counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group, particularly in northern and western Iraq

Shia militia and paramilitary units from the Popular Mobilization Committee and Affiliated Forces (PMF) have fought alongside the Iraqi military against ISIS since 2014, but the majority of these forces continue to largely ignore the 2016 Law of the Popular Mobilization Authority, which mandated that armed militias must be regulated in a fashion similar to Iraq’s other security forces and act under the Iraqi government’s direct control; the Iraqi prime minister legally commands the PMF, but most of the militia brigades take orders from associated political parties and/or other government officials, including some with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps

the Kurdish Peshmerga are formally recognized as a legitimate Iraqi military force under the country’s constitution and have operated jointly with the Iraqi military against ISIS militants, but they also operate outside of Iraqi military command structure; the Peshmerga report to the Kurdistan Regional Government or Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan parties instead of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense

at the request of the Iraqi government, NATO agreed to establish an advisory, training and capacity-building mission in Iraq in October 2018 to help Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS; NATO Mission Iraq (NMI) currently has about 500 troops, but in February 2021 NATO announced it would increase the presence to about 4,000, although no timeframe was given


Terrorist group(s)

Ansar al-Islam; Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps/Qods Force; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham; Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi; Kata'ib Hizballah; Kurdistan Workers' Party (2019)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Iraq's lack of a maritime boundary with Iran prompts jurisdiction disputes beyond the mouth of the Shatt al Arab in the Persian Gulf; Turkey has expressed concern over the autonomous status of Kurds in Iraq

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 15,167 (Turkey), 7,858 (West Bank and Gaza Strip), 5,041 (Iran) (2018); 243,890 (Syria) (2021)

IDPs: 1,389,540 (displacement in central and northern Iraq since January 2014) (2020)

stateless persons: 47,253 (2019); note - in the 1970s and 1980s under SADDAM Husayn's regime, thousands of Iraq's Faili Kurds, followers of Shia Islam, were stripped of their Iraqi citizenship, had their property seized by the government, and many were deported; some Faili Kurds had their citizenship reinstated under the 2,006 Iraqi Nationality Law, but others lack the documentation to prove their Iraqi origins; some Palestinian refugees persecuted by the SADDAM regime remain stateless

note: estimate revised to reflect the reduction of statelessness in line with Law 26 of 2006, which allows stateless persons to apply for nationality in certain circumstances; more accurate studies of statelessness in Iraq are pending (2015)