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Iraq Geography 1996

    • Location:
      Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

    • Map references:
      Middle East

    • Area:

        total area:
        437,072 sq km

        land area:
        432,162 sq km

        comparative area:
        slightly more than twice the size of Idaho

    • Land boundaries:
      total 3,631 km, Iran 1,458 km, Jordan 181 km, Kuwait 242 km, Saudi Arabia 814 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 331 km

    • Coastline:
      58 km

    • Maritime claims:

        continental shelf:
        not specified

        territorial sea:
        12 nm

    • International disputes:
      Iran and Iraq restored diplomatic relations in 1990 but are still trying to work out written agreements settling outstanding disputes from their eight-year war concerning border demarcation, prisoners-of-war, and freedom of navigation and sovereignty over the Shatt al Arab waterway; in November 1994, Iraq formally accepted the UN-demarcated border with Kuwait which had been spelled out in Security Council Resolutions 687 (1991), 773 (1993), and 883 (1993); this formally ends earlier claims to Kuwait and to Bubiyan and Warbah islands; potential dispute over water development plans by Turkey for the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers

    • 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 which melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq

    • Terrain:
      mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey

    • Natural resources:
      petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

    • Land use:

        arable land:

        permanent crops:

        meadows and pastures:

        forest and woodland:


    • Irrigated land:
      25,500 sq km (1989 est)

    • Environment:

        current issues:
        government water control projects have drained most of the inhabited marsh areas west of Al Qurnah by drying up or diverting the feeder streams and rivers; a once sizable population of Shi'a Muslims, who have inhabited these areas for thousands of years, has been displaced; furthermore, the destruction of the natural habitat poses serious threats to the area's wildlife populations; inadequate supplies of potable water; development of Tigris-Euphrates Rivers system contingent upon agreements with upstream riparian Turkey; air and water pollution; soil degradation (salinization) and erosion; desertification

        natural hazards:
        duststorms, sandstorms, floods

        international agreements:
        party to - Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban; signed, but not ratified - Environmental Modification

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