Iraq At a glance
Iraq, the biblical Mesopotamia, or "the land between two rivers," covers 433,970 square kilometers (171,599 square miles) from mountainous north to marshy south.india Updated: Jan 22, 2003 13:45 IST
Facts and figures on Iraq:
Iraq, the biblical Mesopotamia, or "the land between two rivers," covers 433,970 square kilometers (171,599 square miles) from mountainous north to marshy south. Tigris and Euphrates Rivers converge in the southeast to form the 200-kilometer (120-mile) Shatt-al-Arab waterway, which flows into the Gulf and forms Iraq's southern boundary with Iran.
According to the US State Department, about two-thirds of the estimated 22 million Iraqis are Shiite; another third are Sunni. There also are small communities of Christians, members of small traditional sects and Jews. Ethnically, according to the CIA, Iraq is 75-80 per cent Arab, 15-20 per cent Kurd, who are concentrated in the northand 5 per cent other.
Iraq has proven crude reserves estimated at 112 billion barrels, second only to Saudi Arabia. Oil resources could be three times that because vast areas have yet to be explored. U.N. trade sanctions punish Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait and cannot be lifted until Iraq proves it no longer has banned weapons. They have plunged a once-thriving economy into chaos. Limited U.N.-supervised oil sales are meeting the people's basic needs.