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Iraq Geography
Location:
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait
Geographic coordinates:
33 00 N, 44 00 E
Map references:
middle east
Area:
total: 437,072 sq km
water: 4,910 sq km
land: 432,162 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Idaho
Land boundaries:
total: 3,650 km
border countries: Iran 1,458 km, Jordan 181 km, Kuwait 240 km, Saudi Arabia 814 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 352 km
Coastline:
58 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate:
mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq
Terrain:
mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: unamed peak 3,611 m; note - this peak is not Gundah Zhur 3,607 m or Kuh-e Hajji-Ebrahim 3,595 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur
Land use:
arable land: 13.15%
permanent crops: 0.78%
other: 86.07% (2001)
Irrigated land:
35,250 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
dust storms, sandstorms, floods
Environment - current issues:
government water control projects have 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 agreements:
party to: Law of the Sea
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - note:
strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
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