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Iraq

 
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Iraq

Stratification and Social Classes

The pre-revolutionary political system, with its parliament of landlords and hand-picked government supporters, was increasingly incompatible with the changing social reality marked by the quickening pace of urban-based economic activity fueled by the oil revenues. The faction of the elite investing in manufacturing, the petty bourgeoisie, and the working classes pressured the state to represent their interests. As the armed forces came to reflect this shifting balance of social forces, a radical political change became inevitable. The social origins and political inclinations of the Free Officers (see Glossary) who carried out the 1958 overthrow of the monarchy and the various ideological parties that supported and succeeded them clearly reflect the middle-class character of the Iraqi Revolution. Both the agrarian reform program and the protracted campaign against the foreign oil monopoly were aimed at restructuring political and eonomic power in favor of the urbanbased middle and lower classes. The political struggle between the self-styled radicals and moderates in the 1960s mainly concerned the role of the state and the public sector in the economy: the radicals promoted a larger role for the state, and the moderates wanted to restrict it to the provision of basic services and physical infrastructure.

There was a shift in the distribution of income after 1958 at the expense of the large landowners and businessmen and in favor of the salaried middle class and, to a lesser degree, the wage earners and small farmers. The Baath Party, in power since July 1968, represented the lower stratum of the middle class: sons of small shopkeepers, petty officials, and graduates of training schools, law schools, and military academies. In the 1980s, the ruling class tended to be composed of high and middle echelon bureaucrats who either had risen through the ranks of the party or had been coopted into the party because of their technical competence, i.e., technocrats. The elite also consisted of army officers, whose wartime loyalty the government has striven to retain by dispensing material rewards and gifts.

The government's practice of lavishing rewards on the military has also affected the lower classes. Martyrs' benefits under the Baath have been extremely generous. Thus, the families of youths killed in battle could expect to receive at least an automobile and more likely a generous pension for life.

Data as of May 1988

 

Iraq - TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Society and Its Environment

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GENERAL FACTS & LINKS

Country name
Iraq
conventional long form
Republic of Iraq
conventional short form
Iraq
local long form
Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
local short form
Al Iraq

Area -
total: 437,072 sq km
land: 432,162 sq km
water: 4,910 sq km

Geographic Location - Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

Map references - Middle East

Capital - Baghdad

Border Countries - Iran 1,458 km, Jordan 181 km, Kuwait 242 km, Saudi Arabia 814 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 331 km

Major Cities - Baghdad

Independence -
3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

National holiday - Revolution Day, 17 July (1968)

ISD CODE
Iraq 964

Languages Spoken - Arabic (official) and Kurdish

Weather Forecast -  Baghdad  Mosul  Saddam Irq-Afb / Civ  Shaibah / Basrah

Major Airports - Baghdad

Ports - Umm Qasr, Khawr az Zubayr, and Al Basrah have limited functionality

Population -24,001,816 (July 2002 est.)

Religion - Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%

Nationality - Iraqi(s)

Currency - Iraqi dinar

Currency Code - IQD

National Bird - "Kew" (Chukar)

Lakes - Hammer

Rivers - Euphrates, Tigris

Terrain - Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey

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

Geography - Strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

Waterways - 1,015 km
note: Shatt al Arab is usually navigable by maritime traffic for about 130 km; channel has been dredged to 3 m and is in use; Tigris and Euphrates Rivers have navigable sections for shallow-draft boats; Shatt al Basrah canal was navigable by shallow-draft craft before closing in 1991 because of the Gulf war

Natural hazards - Dust storms, sandstorms, floods

Natural Resources - petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulphur


More Iraq related links from
1Up Info

 Iraq Country Facts

 Middle Eastern Political Geography

 Iraq Political Geography

 Middle Eastern Physical Geography

 Iraq Towns & Cities

 Iraq History


Iraq related links from
1Up Travel

 Iraq Country Guide

 Iraq Detailed Maps

 Iraq Flag

 More Iraqi Flags

 Iraq Geography

 Iraq Travel Warnings

 Iraq Cities Weather

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Information Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies


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