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Iraq Geography Profile 2017

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LocationMiddle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Geographic coordinates33 00 N, 44 00 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Areatotal: 438,317 sq km
land: 437,367 sq km
water: 950 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly more than three times the size of New York state
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
Coastline58 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: not specified
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
Terrainmostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 312 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Cheekha Dar (Kurdish for "Black Tent") 3,611 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
Land useagricultural land: 18.1%
arable land 8.4%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 9.2%
forest: 1.9%
other: 80% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land35,250 sq km (2012)
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
Natural hazardsdust storms; sandstorms; floods
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
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - notestrategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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