The Geography of Iraq

The Geography of Iraq

Iraqi 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 land: 432,162 sq km water: 4,910 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: unnamed peak; 3,611 m; note - this peak is neither Gundah Zhur 3,607 m nor Kuh-e Hajji-Ebrahim 3,595 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulfur

Land use: arable land: 13.12% permanent crops: 0.61% other: 86.27% (2005)

Irrigated land: 35,250 sq km (2003)

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: Biodiversity, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection 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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