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Iraq vs. Syria

Introduction

IraqSyria
Background"Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by the United Kingdom during the course of World War I; in 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. A ""republic"" was proclaimed in 1958, 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. Following Kuwait's liberation, 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 over a period of 12 years led to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. US forces remained in Iraq under a UNSC mandate through 2009 and under a bilateral security agreement thereafter, helping to provide security and to train and mentor Iraqi security 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. Nearly nine years after the start of the Second Gulf War in Iraq, US military operations there ended in mid-December 2011. In January 2009 and April 2013, Iraq held elections for provincial councils in all governorates except for the three comprising the Kurdistan Regional Government and Kirkuk Governorate. Iraq held a national legislative election in March 2010 - choosing 325 legislators in an expanded COR - and, after nine months of deadlock, the COR approved the new government in December 2010. In April 2014, Iraq held a national legislative election and expanded the COR to 328 legislators. Prime Minister Nuri al-MALIKI dropped his bid for a third term in office, enabling new Prime Minister Haydar al-ABADI, a Shia Muslim from Baghdad, to win legislative approval of his new cabinet in September 2014. Since 2014, Iraq has been engaged in a military campaign against ISIS to recapture territory lost in the western and northern portion of the country.
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Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French administered the area as Syria until granting it independence in 1946. The new country lacked political stability and experienced a series of military coups. Syria united with Egypt in February 1958 to form the United Arab Republic. In September 1961, the two entities separated, and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights region to Israel. During the 1990s, Syria and Israel held occasional, albeit unsuccessful, peace talks over its return. In November 1970, Hafiz al-ASAD, a member of the socialist Ba'th Party and the minority Alawi sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. Following the death of President Hafiz al-ASAD, his son, Bashar al-ASAD, was approved as president by popular referendum in July 2000. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005. During the July-August 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizballah, Syria placed its military forces on alert but did not intervene directly on behalf of its ally Hizballah. In May 2007, Bashar al-ASAD's second term as president was approved by popular referendum.
Influenced by major uprisings that began elsewhere in the region, and compounded by additional social and economic factors, antigovernment protests broke out first in the southern province of Dar'a in March 2011 with protesters calling for the repeal of the restrictive Emergency Law allowing arrests without charge, the legalization of political parties, and the removal of corrupt local officials. Demonstrations and violent unrest spread across Syria with the size and intensity of protests fluctuating. The government responded to unrest with a mix of concessions - including the repeal of the Emergency Law, new laws permitting new political parties, and liberalizing local and national elections - and with military force and detentions. The government's ongoing violence to quell unrest and widespread armed opposition activity has led to extended clashes between government forces, their allies, and oppositionists. International pressure on the ASAD regime has intensified since late 2011, as the Arab League, the EU, Turkey, and the US expanded economic sanctions against the regime and those entities that support it. In December 2012, the Syrian National Coalition, was recognized by more than 130 countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Political negotiations between the government and opposition delegations at the UN-sponsored Geneva II conference in 2014 and the UN-sponsored Geneva III talks in 2016 failed to produce a resolution of the conflict. Unrest continues in Syria, and according to an April 2016 UN estimate, the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians was over 400,000. As of December 2016, approximately 13.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, with 6.3 million people displaced internally, and an additional 4.8 million Syrian refugees, making the Syrian situation the largest humanitarian crisis worldwide.

Geography

IraqSyria
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Geographic coordinates33 00 N, 44 00 E
35 00 N, 38 00 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Middle East
Areatotal: 438,317 sq km
land: 437,367 sq km
water: 950 sq km
total: 185,180 sq km
land: 183,630 sq km
water: 1,550 sq km
note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory
Area - comparativeslightly more than three times the size of New York state
slightly more than 1.5 times the size of Pennsylvania
Land boundariestotal: 3,809 km
border countries (6): Iran 1,599 km, Jordan 179 km, Kuwait 254 km, Saudi Arabia 811 km, Syria 599 km, Turkey 367 km
total: 2,363 km
border countries (5): Iraq 599 km, Israel 83 km, Jordan 379 km, Lebanon 403 km, Turkey 899 km
Coastline58 km
193 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: not specified
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
Climatemostly 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 desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along coast; cold weather with snow or sleet periodically in Damascus
Terrainmostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Elevation extremes"mean elevation: 312 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Cheekha Dar (Kurdish for ""Black Tent"") 3,611 m
"
mean elevation: 514 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias -200 m
highest point: Mount Hermon 2,814 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
Land useagricultural land: 18.1%
arable land 8.4%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 9.2%
forest: 1.9%
other: 80% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 75.8%
arable land 25.4%; permanent crops 5.8%; permanent pasture 44.6%
forest: 2.7%
other: 21.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land35,250 sq km (2012)
14,280 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsdust storms; sandstorms; floods
dust storms, sandstorms
volcanism: Syria's two historically active volcanoes, Es Safa and an unnamed volcano near the Turkish border have not erupted in centuries
Environment - current issuesgovernment water control projects 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; furthermore, the 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
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - notestrategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
the capital of Damascus - located at an oasis fed by the Barada River - is thought to be one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities; there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (2014 est.)
Population distributionpopulation is concentrated in the north, center, and eastern parts of the country, with many of the larger agglomerations found along extensive parts of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; much of the western and southern areas are either lightly populated or uninhabited
significant population density along the Mediterranean coast; larger concentrations found in the major cities of Damascus, Aleppo (the country's largest city), and Hims (Homs); more than half of the population lives in the coastal plain, the province of Aleppo, and the Euphrates River valley
note: the ongoing civil war has altered the population distribution

Demographics

IraqSyria
Population38,146,025 (July 2016 est.)
17,185,170 (July 2016 est.)
note: approximately 20,500 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2014)
Age structure0-14 years: 39.88% (male 7,766,832/female 7,445,633)
15-24 years: 19.07% (male 3,703,302/female 3,572,702)
25-54 years: 33.7% (male 6,499,345/female 6,354,506)
55-64 years: 3.96% (male 720,976/female 790,301)
65 years and over: 3.39% (male 574,521/female 717,907) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 31.95% (male 2,815,140/female 2,675,166)
15-24 years: 19.65% (male 1,711,847/female 1,664,814)
25-54 years: 39.03% (male 3,342,264/female 3,364,406)
55-64 years: 5.26% (male 447,205/female 457,525)
65 years and over: 4.11% (male 318,691/female 388,112) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 19.9 years
male: 19.6 years
female: 20.2 years (2016 est.)
total: 24.1 years
male: 23.7 years
female: 24.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.87% (2016 est.)
1.56% (2016 est.)
Birth rate30.9 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
21.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate3.8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 37.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 40.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 34.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 15.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 74.9 years
male: 72.6 years
female: 77.2 years (2016 est.)
total population: 74.9 years
male: 72.5 years
female: 77.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.06 children born/woman (2016 est.)
2.55 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA
0.01% (2014 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Iraqi(s)
adjective: Iraqi
noun: Syrian(s)
adjective: Syrian
Ethnic groupsArab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkmen, Assyrian, Shabak, Yazidi, other 5%
Arab 90.3%, Kurdish, Armenian, and other 9.7%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
900 (2014 est.)
ReligionsMuslim (official) 99% (Shia 55-60%, Sunni 40%), Christian <.1%, Yazidi <.1%, Sabean Mandaean <.1%, Baha'i <.1%, Zoroastrian <.1%, Hindu <0.1%, Buddhist <0.1%, Jewish <0.1%, folk religion <0.1, unafilliated 0.1%, other <0.1%
note: while there has been voluntary relocation of many Christian families to northern Iraq, recent reporting indicates that the overall Christian population may have dropped by as much as 50 percent since the fall of the SADDAM Husayn regime in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon (2010 est.)
Muslim 87% (official; includes Sunni 74% and Alawi, Ismaili, and Shia 13%), Christian 10% (includes Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian), Druze 3%, Jewish (few remaining in Damascus and Aleppo)
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
less than 100 (2014 est.)
LanguagesArabic (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)
Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, French, English
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.7%
male: 85.7%
female: 73.7% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 91.7%
female: 81% (2015 est.)
Education expendituresNA
5.1% of GDP (2009)
Urbanizationurban population: 69.5% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.01% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 57.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.37% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 93.8% of population
rural: 70.1% of population
total: 86.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 6.1% of population
rural: 31.5% of population
total: 14.6% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 92.3% of population
rural: 87.2% of population
total: 90.1% of population
unimproved:
urban: 7.7% of population
rural: 12.8% of population
total: 9.9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 86.4% of population
rural: 83.8% of population
total: 85.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 13.6% of population
rural: 16.2% of population
total: 14.4% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 96.2% of population
rural: 95.1% of population
total: 95.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 3.8% of population
rural: 4.9% of population
total: 4.3% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationBAGHDAD (capital) 6.643 million; Mosul 1.694 million; Erbil 1.166 million; Basra 1.019 million; As Sulaymaniyah 1.004 million; Najaf 889,000 (2015)
Aleppo 3.562 million; DAMASCUS (capital) 2.566 million; Hims (Homs) 1.641 million; Hamah 1.237 million; Lattakia 781,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate50 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
68 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight8.5% (2011)
10.1% (2009)
Health expenditures5.5% of GDP (2014)
3.3% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.85 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
1.55 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density1.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)
1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate21.2% (2014)
21.6% (2014)
Child labor - children ages 5-14total number: 715,737
percentage: 11% (2006 est.)
total number: 192,915
percentage: 4% (2006 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate52.5% (2011)
53.9% (2009/10)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 78.7
youth dependency ratio: 73.2
elderly dependency ratio: 5.5
potential support ratio: 18.3 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 70
youth dependency ratio: 63.1
elderly dependency ratio: 6.9
potential support ratio: 14.5 (2015 est.)

Government

IraqSyria
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
etymology: the name probably derives from ""Uruk"" (Biblical ""Erech""), the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian city on the Euphrates River
"
conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
conventional short form: Syria
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
local short form: Suriyah
former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)
etymology: name ultimately derived from the ancient Assyrians who dominated northern Mesopotamia, but whose reach also extended westward to the Levant; over time, the name came to be associated more with the western area
Government typefederal parliamentary republic
presidential republic; highly authoritarian regime
Capitalname: Baghdad
geographic coordinates: 33 20 N, 44 24 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Damascus
geographic coordinates: 33 30 N, 36 18 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins midnight on the last Friday in March; ends at midnight on the first Friday in November
Administrative divisions18 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
14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah (Latakia), Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq (Damascus), Halab, Hamah, Hims (Homs), Idlib, Rif Dimashq (Damascus Countryside), Tartus
Independence3 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
17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holidayIndependence Day, 3 October (1932); Republic Day, 14 July (1958)
Independence Day (Evacuation Day), 17 April (1946); note - celebrates the leaving of the last French troops and the proclamation of full independence
Constitutionhistory: 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 a 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 a two-thirds majority vote of Council of Representatives members after two successive electoral terms, approval in a referendum, and ratification by the president (2016)
history: several previous; latest issued 15 February 2012, passed by referendum and effective 27 February 2012
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by one-third of the People’s Assembly members; following review by a special Assembly committee, passage requires at least three-quarters majority vote by the Assembly and approval by the president (2016)
Legal systemmixed legal system of civil and Islamic law
mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law (for family courts)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Fuad MASUM (since 24 July 2014); Vice Presidents Ayad ALLAWI (since 9 September 2014), Nuri al-MALIKI (since 8 September 2014), Usama al-NUJAYFI (since 9 September 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Haydar al-ABADI (since 8 September 2014)
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); election last held on 30 April 2014 (next to be held in April 2018); prime minister nominated by the majority COR bloc and submission of COR minister nominees for full COR approval; disapproval requires designation of a new prime minister candidate
election results: Fuad MASUM elected president; Council of Representatives vote - Fuad MASUM (PUK) 211, Barham SALIH (PUK) 17; Haydar al-ABADI (Da'wa Party) approved as prime minister
chief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice President Najah al-ATTAR (since 23 March 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Imad Muhammad Dib KHAMIS (since 22 June 2016); Walid al-MUALEM (since 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Fahd Jasim al-FURAYJ, Lt. Gen. (since 2012)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 June 2014 (next to be held in June 2021); the president appoints the vice presidents, prime minister, and deputy prime ministers
election results: Bashar al-ASAD approved as president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD (Ba'th Party) 88.7%, Hassan al-NOURI (independent) 4.3%, Maher HAJJER (independent) 3.2%, other/invalid 3.8%
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Council of Representatives or Majlis an-Nuwwab al-Iraqiyy (328 seats; 320 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 8 seats reserved for minorities; members serve 4-year terms); note - Iraq's constitution calls for the establishment of an upper house, the Federation Council, but it has not been instituted
elections: last held on 30 April 2014 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: Council of Representatives - percent of vote by party/coalition - NA; seats by coalition/party – State of Law Coalition 95, Ahrar Bloc/Sadrist Trend 34, ISCI/Muwatin 30, KDP 25, United for Reform Coalition/Muttahidun 23, PUK 21, Nationalism Coalition/Wataniyah 19, other Sunni coalitions/parties 15, Al-Arabiyah Coalition 10, Goran 9, other Shia parties/coalitions 9, Fadilah 6, National Reform Trend 6, Iraq Coalition 5, KIU 4, other 17
description: unicameral People's Assembly or Majlis al-Shaab (250 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 13 April 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 80%, other 20%; seats by party - NPF 200, other 50
Judicial branchhighest court(s): 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 Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), a 25-member committee of judicial officials that manage the judiciary and prosecutors; FSC members appointed for life; Court of Cassation judges appointed by the SJC 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; religious courts
highest court(s): Court of Cassation (organized into civil, criminal, religious, and military divisions, each with 3 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 7 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council or SJC, a judicial management body headed by the minister of justice with 7 members including the national president; judge tenure NA; Supreme Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the SJC; judges appointed for 4-year renewable terms
subordinate courts: courts of first instance; magistrates' courts; religious and military courts; Economic Security Court; Counterterrorism Court (established June 2012)
Political parties and leadersAl-Arabiyah Coalition [Salih al-MUTLAQ]
Badr Organization [Hadi al-AMIRI]
Da`wa Party [Vice President Nuri al-MALIKI]
Da`wa Tanzim [Hashim al-MUSAWI]
Fadilah Party [Muhammad al-YAQUBI]
Goran Party [Nawshirwan MUSTAFA]
Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq or ISCI/Muwatin Coalition [Ammar al-HAKIM]
Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP [Masud BARZANI]
Nationalism Coalition/Wataniyah [Vice President Ayad ALLAWI]
National Reform Trend [Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-JAFARI]
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan or PUK [former President Jalal TALABANI]
Sadrist Trend or Ahrar Bloc [Muqtada al-SADR]
State of Law Coalition [Vice President Nuri al MALIKI]
United for Reform Coalition/Muttahidun Lil Islah [Vice President Usama al-NUJAYFI]
note: numerous smaller local, tribal, and minority parties
legal parties/alliances: Arab Socialist Union of Syria or ASU [Safwan al-QUDSI]
National Progressive Front or NPF [Bashar al-ASAD, Suleiman QADDAH] (alliance includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [President Bashar al-ASAD], Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallah Nasr al-DIN]
Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yusuf Rashid FAYSAL]
Syrian Social Nationalist Party or SSNP [As'ad HARDAN]
Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL])
Kurdish parties (considered illegal): Kurdish Azadi Party
Kurdish Democratic Accord Party (al Wifaq) [Fowzi SHINKALI]
Kurdish Democratic Left Party [Saleh KIDDO]
Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Ibrahim wing) [Nasr al-Din IBRAHIM]
Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Mustafa wing)
Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria or KDP-S [Saud AL-MALA]
Kurdish Democratic Patriotic/National Party
Kurdish Democratic Peace Party [Talal MOHAMMED]
Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Darwish
Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Muhammad
Kurdish Democratic Union Party or PYD [Salih Muslim MOHAMMAD]
Kurdish Democratic Unity Party [Kamiron Haj ABDU]
Kurdish Democratic Yekiti Party [Mahi al-Din Sheikh ALI]
Kurdish Equality Party [Namet DAOUD]
Kurdish Future Party [Rezan HASSAN]
Kurdish Green Party [ Laqman AHMI]
Kurdish Left Party [Shallal KIDDO]
Kurdish National Democratic Rally in Syria
Kurdish Reform Movement in Syria [Amjad OTHMAN]
Kurdish Reform Movement Party [ Feisal AL-YUSSEF]
Kurdish Yekiti (Union) Party
Kurdistan Communist Party [ Nejm al-Sin MALA’AMIR]
Kurdistan Democratic Party in Syria [Abdul Karim SAKKO]
Kurdistan Liberal Union [Farhad TILO]
Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party
Tiyar al-Mustaqbal [Narin MATINI]
other: Syrian Democratic Party [Mustafa QALAAJI]
Political pressure groups and leadersSunni militias; Shia militias, some associated with political parties
Free Syrian Army
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood or SMB [Muhammad Riyad al-SHAQFAH] (operates in exile in London)
Syrian Opposition Coalition or National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces [Anas al-ABDAH]
note: there are also hundreds of local and provincial political and armed opposition groups that organize protests, provide civilian services, and stage armed attacks
International organization participationABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, CICA, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the USchief 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
note: Embassy ceased operation and closed on 18 March 2014
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Mounir KOUDMANI (since 1 June 2012)
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Douglas A. SILLIMAN (since 1 September 2016)
embassy: Al-Kindi Street, International Zone, Baghdad
mailing address: APO AE 09316
telephone: 0760-030-3000
FAX: NA
chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); US Special Envoy for Syria Michael RATNEY (since 27 July 2015); note - on 6 February 2012, the US closed its embassy in Damascus; Czechia serves as protecting power for US interests in Syria
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, 2 Al Mansour Street, Damascus
mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
telephone: [963] (11) 3391-4444
FAX: [963] (11) 3391-3999
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 temporary 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
"
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; two small, green, five-pointed stars in a horizontal line 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); identical to the former flag of the United Arab Republic (1958-1961) where the two stars represented the constituent states of Syria and Egypt; the current design dates to 1980
note: similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band, Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band, and that of Egypt, which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band
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
"
"name: ""Humat ad-Diyar"" (Guardians of the Homeland)
lyrics/music: Khalil Mardam BEY/Mohammad Salim FLAYFEL and Ahmad Salim FLAYFEL
note: adopted 1936, restored 1961; between 1958 and 1961, while Syria was a member of the United Arab Republic with Egypt, the country had a different anthem
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)golden eagle; national colors: red, white, black
hawk; national colors: red, white, black, green
Citizenshipcitizenship 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
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Syria; if the father is unknown or stateless, the mother must be a citizen of Syria
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Economy

IraqSyria
Economy - overviewIraq's GDP grew by more than 10% in 2016, the best performance in the past decade, because of rising oil prices, which are a significant driver of Iraqi GDP. During 2016, security and financial stability throughout Iraq began to improve as Iraqi Security Forces made gains against the ongoing insurgency and oil prices slowly rose. The Iraqi Government entered into a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF in July 2016, which helped stabilize its finances by encouraging improved fiscal management, needed economic reform, and expenditure reduction. Iraq passed its first SBA review in December 2016, and additional progress on the program is critical to its long-term fiscal health. Diversification efforts – a key component to Iraq’s long-term economic development – require a strengthened investment climate to bolster private-sector engagement. Sustained improvements in the overall standard of living depend heavily on global oil prices, the central government passing major policy reforms, and progress in the conflict with ISIL.

Iraq's largely state-run economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides more than 90% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings. Oil exports in 2016 averaged 3.3 million barrels per day from southern Iraq, up from 2015. Moreover, the slow recovery of global oil prices improved export revenues throughout 2016, although monthly revenue remained below 2015 levels. 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.

Iraqi oil exports from northern fields are hampered by fundamental disagreements between the Iraqi Government and autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq’s Kurdistan region (IKR) on the roles 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 whose status is in dispute between Baghdad and Erbil. Some of the companies have left or returned blocks, citing lack of commercial prospects. In 2014, the KRG began exporting its oil unilaterally 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 four provisional oil- and revenue-sharing deals since 2009, all of which collapsed. In September 2016, the two sides began implementing a fifth ad hoc agreement to split oil exports from Baghdad-controlled fields in Kirkuk.

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. Encouraging private enterprise through deregulation would make it easier for Iraqi citizens and foreign investors to start new businesses. Rooting out corruption and implementing reforms - such as restructuring banks and developing the private sector - would be important steps in this direction.
Syria's economy continues to deteriorate amid the ongoing conflict that began in 2011, declining by more than 70% from 2010 to 2016. The government has struggled to address the effects of international sanctions, widespread infrastructure damage, diminished domestic consumption and production, reduced subsidies, and high inflation, which have caused dwindling foreign exchange reserves, rising budget and trade deficits, a decreasing value of the Syrian pound, and falling household purchasing power.

During 2014, the ongoing conflict and continued unrest and economic decline worsened the humanitarian crisis and elicited a greater need for international assistance, as the number of people in need inside Syria increased from 9.3 million to 12.2 million, and the number of Syrian refugees increased from 2.2 million to more than 3.3 million.

Prior to the turmoil, Damascus had begun liberalizing economic policies, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating multiple exchange rates, raising prices on some subsidized items, and establishing the Damascus Stock Exchange, but the economy remains highly regulated. Long-run economic constraints include foreign trade barriers, declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, water pollution, and widespread infrastructure damage.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$596.7 billion (2016 est.)
$541 billion (2015 est.)
$554.1 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$50.28 billion (2015 est.)
$55.8 billion (2014 est.)
$61.9 billion (2013 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars
the war-driven deterioration of the economy resulted in a disappearance of quality national level statistics in the 2012-13 period
GDP - real growth rate10.3% (2016 est.)
-2.4% (2015 est.)
-0.4% (2014 est.)
-9.9% (2015 est.)
-36.5% (2014 est.)
-30.9% (2013 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$16,500 (2016 est.)
$15,400 (2015 est.)
$16,200 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$2,900 (2015 est.)
NA (2013 est.)
NA (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 5.7%
industry: 45.1%
services: 49.3% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 19.5%
industry: 19%
services: 61.5% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line23% (2014 est.)
82.5% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 25.7% (2007 est.)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.4% (2016 est.)
1.4% (2015 est.)
47.7% (2016 est.)
38.1% (2015 est.)
Labor force8.9 million (2010 est.)
3.37 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 21.6%
industry: 18.7%
services: 59.8% (2008 est.)
agriculture: 17%
industry: 16%
services: 67% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate16% (2012 est.)
15% (2010 est.)
50% (2016 est.)
50% (2015 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $52.43 billion
expenditures: $77.87 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $494.5 million
expenditures: $2.665 billion
note: government projections for FY2016 (2016 est.)
Industriespetroleum, chemicals, textiles, leather, construction materials, food processing, fertilizer, metal fabrication/processing
petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, automobile assembly
Industrial production growth rate7% (2016 est.)
-2.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep, poultry
wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Exports$44.67 billion (2016 est.)
$54.67 billion (2015 est.)
$2.304 billion (2016 est.)
$2.14 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiescrude oil 99%, crude materials excluding fuels, food, live animals
crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
Exports - partnersChina 22.8%, India 20.4%, South Korea 11.3%, US 7.8%, Italy 6.7%, Greece 6.1% (2015)
Iraq 64.7%, Saudi Arabia 11.3%, Kuwait 7.1%, UAE 6.1%, Libya 4.6% (2015)
Imports$43.27 billion (2016 est.)
$43.84 billion (2015 est.)
$5.965 billion (2016 est.)
$6.663 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfood, medicine, manufactures
machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
Imports - partnersTurkey 20.3%, Syria 19.2%, China 18.8%, US 4.7%, Russia 4.3% (2015)
Saudi Arabia 28.4%, UAE 13.9%, Iran 10.3%, Turkey 9.2%, Iraq 8.4%, China 6.2% (2015)
Debt - external$68.01 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$60.28 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$5.918 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesIraqi dinars (IQD) per US dollar -
1,179.3 (2016 est.)
1,167.63 (2015 est.)
1,167.63 (2014 est.)
1,213.72 (2013 est.)
1,166.17 (2012 est.)
Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar -
497.8 (2016 est.)
236.41 (2015 est.)
236.41 (2014 est.)
153.695 (2013 est.)
64.39 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt79% of GDP (2016 est.)
63.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
57.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
52% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$44.15 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$54.06 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$504.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$772.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$12.2 billion (2016 est.)
-$11.63 billion (2015 est.)
-$3.148 billion (2015 est.)
-$3.667 billion (2014 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$173 billion (2016 est.)
$24.6 billion (2014 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$4 billion (9 December 2011)
$2.6 billion (31 July 2010)
$2 billion (31 July 2009 est.)
$NA
Central bank discount rate6% (2016)
6% (2015)
0.75% (31 December 2016)
5% (31 December 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate4.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
6% (31 December 2015 est.)
32% (31 December 2016 est.)
27% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$3.191 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.773 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.336 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.285 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$54.53 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$55.36 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.017 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.254 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$74.61 billion (30 August 2016 est.)
$80.83 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.712 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.98 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues30.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-14.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
-8.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 50.4%
government consumption: 18.8%
investment in fixed capital: 23.5%
investment in inventories: -4.5%
exports of goods and services: 39.7%
imports of goods and services: -27.9% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 63%
government consumption: 22.6%
investment in fixed capital: 21.2%
investment in inventories: 11.1%
exports of goods and services: 13.9%
imports of goods and services: -31.8% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving10.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
18.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
28.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
20% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
14.9% of GDP (2013 est.)

Energy

IraqSyria
Electricity - production84 billion kWh (2016 est.)
21 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption66 billion kWh (2016 est.)
17 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2016 est.)
100 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports12 billion kWh (2016 est.)
1.2 billion kWh (2012 est.)
Oil - production4.59 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
30,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
58,260 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports3.301 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves143 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves3.158 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production905 million cu m (2014 est.)
5.205 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption905 million cu m (2014 est.)
5.205 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
249.2 million cu m (2011 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity28 million kW (2017 est.)
8.2 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels87.3% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
82.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants6.2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
16.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production599,200 bbl/day (2013 est.)
111,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption807,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
165,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports10,240 bbl/day (2013 est.)
12,150 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports256,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)
76,050 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy137 million Mt (2013 est.)
49 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 600,000
electrification - total population: 98%
electrification - urban areas: 99.6%
electrification - rural areas: 95.4% (2013)
population without electricity: 1,600,000
electrification - total population: 96%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 81% (2013)

Telecommunications

IraqSyria
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 1.997 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 4.082 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 33.559 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 91 (July 2015 est.)
total: 13.904 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 81 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: the 2003 liberation of Iraq severely disrupted telecommunications throughout Iraq; widespread government efforts to rebuild domestic and international communications have slowed due to the ongoing conflict with ISIS/ISIL
domestic: the mobile cellular market continues to expand (cell phones were banned prior to 2003 under the SADDAM regime); 3G services offered by three major mobile operators in 2015; ongoing conflict has destroyed infrastructure in areas
international: country code - 964; 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; international terrestrial fiber-optic connections have been established with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan, and Iran; links to the Fiber-Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) and the Gulf Bridge International (GBI) submarine fiber-optic cables have been established (2017)
general assessment: the armed insurgency that began in 2011 has led to major disruptions to the network and has caused telephone and Internet outages throughout the country
domestic: the number of fixed-line connections increased markedly prior to the civil war in 2011; mobile-cellular service stands at about 80 per 100 persons
international: country code - 963; submarine cable connection to Egypt, Lebanon, and Cyprus; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; participant in Medarabtel (2015)
Internet country code.iq
.sy
Internet userstotal: 6.381 million
percent of population: 17.2% (July 2015 est.)
total: 5.116 million
percent of population: 30% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediathe 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 (2015)
state-run TV and radio broadcast networks; state operates 2 TV networks and a satellite channel; roughly two-thirds of Syrian homes have a satellite dish providing access to foreign TV broadcasts; 3 state-run radio channels; first private radio station launched in 2005; private radio broadcasters prohibited from transmitting news or political content (2007)

Transportation

IraqSyria
Railwaystotal: 2,272 km
standard gauge: 2,272 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
total: 2,052 km
standard gauge: 1,801 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 59,623 km
paved: 59,623 km (includes Kurdistan Region) (2012)
total: 69,873 km
paved: 63,060 km
unpaved: 6,813 km (2010)
Waterways5,279 km (the Euphrates River (2,815 km), Tigris River (1,899 km), and Third River (565 km) are the principal waterways) (2012)
900 km (navigable but not economically significant) (2011)
Pipelinesgas 2,455 km; liquid petroleum gas 913 km; oil 5,432 km; refined products 1,637 km (2013)
gas 3,170 km; oil 2,029 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsriver port(s): Al Basrah (Shatt al-'Arab); Khawr az Zubayr, Umm Qasr (Khawr az Zubayr waterway)
major seaport(s): Baniyas, Latakia, Tartus
Merchant marinetotal: 2
by type: petroleum tanker 2
registered in other countries: 2 (Marshall Islands 2) (2010)
total: 19
by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 14, carrier 1
registered in other countries: 166 (Barbados 1, Belize 4, Bolivia 4, Cambodia 22, Comoros 5, Dominica 4, Georgia 24, Lebanon 2, Liberia 1, Malta 4, Moldova 5, North Korea 4, Panama 34, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9, Sierra Leone 13, Tanzania 23, Togo 6, unknown 1) (2010)
Airports102 (2013)
90 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 72
over 3,047 m: 20
2,438 to 3,047 m: 34
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 7 (2013)
total: 29
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 30
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 6 (2013)
total: 61
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 48 (2013)
Heliports16 (2013)
6 (2013)

Military

IraqSyria
Military branchesMinistry of Defense: Iraqi Army (includes Army Aviation Directorate), Iraqi Navy, Iraqi Air Force; Counterterrorism Service (2015)
Syrian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces (includes Air Defense Forces), Intelligence Services (Air Force Intelligence, Military Intelligence)
Ministry of Interior: Political Security Directorate, General Intelligence Directorate, National Police Force (2017)
Military service age and obligation18-40 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2013)
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months; women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2017)

Transnational Issues

IraqSyria
Disputes - internationalIraq'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
Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied with the almost 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force patrolling a buffer zone since 1964; lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms in the Golan Heights; 2004 Agreement and pending demarcation would settle border dispute with Jordan
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 15,692 (Turkey); 7,703 (West Bank and Gaza Strip); 7,545 (Iran) (2016); 242,558 (Syria) (2017)
IDPs: 3,974,162 (since 2006 due to ethno-sectarian violence; includes 3,020,034 displaced in central and northern Iraq since January 2014) (2017)
stateless persons: 48,200 (2016); 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 2006 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)
refugees (country of origin): 560,000 (Palestinian Refugees) (2016); 16,879 (Iraq)
note: the ongoing civil war has more than 5.1 million Syrian refugees - dispersed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey - as of July 2017
IDPs: 6.3 million (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2017)
stateless persons: 160,000 (2016); note - Syria's stateless population consists of Kurds and Palestinians; stateless persons are prevented from voting, owning land, holding certain jobs, receiving food subsidies or public healthcare, enrolling in public schools, or being legally married to Syrian citizens; in 1962, some 120,000 Syrian Kurds were stripped of their Syrian citizenship, rendering them and their descendants stateless; in 2011, the Syrian Government granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds as a means of appeasement; however, resolving the question of statelessness is not a priority given Syria's ongoing civil war

Source: CIA Factbook