You are here -allRefer - Reference - Country Study & Country Guide - Iraq >

allRefer Reference and Encyclopedia Resource

allRefer    
allRefer
   


-- Country Study & Guide --     

 

Iraq

 
Country Guide
Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Angola
Armenia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belarus
Belize
Bhutan
Bolivia
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Chad
Chile
China
Colombia
Caribbean Islands
Comoros
Cyprus
Czechoslovakia
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Estonia
Ethiopia
Finland
Georgia
Germany
Germany (East)
Ghana
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Cote d'Ivoire
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Laos
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macau
Madagascar
Maldives
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Moldova
Mongolia
Nepal
Nicaragua
Nigeria
North Korea
Oman
Pakistan
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Romania
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Seychelles
Singapore
Somalia
South Africa
South Korea
Soviet Union [USSR]
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Syria
Tajikistan
Thailand
Turkmenistan
Turkey
Uganda
United Arab Emirates
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yugoslavia
Zaire

Iraq

Government and Politics

THE POLITICAL SYSTEM in 1988 was in what was officially characterized as a "transitional" phase. This description meant that the current method of rule by decree, which had been in effect since 1968, would continue until the goal of a socialist, democratic republic with Islam as the state religion was attained. The end of the transition period was to be marked by the formal enactment of a permanent constitution. The timing and the specific circumstances that would terminate the transitional stage had not been specified as of early 1988.

The country remained under the regime of the Baath (Arab Socialist Resurrection) Party, which had seized power through a coup d'etat in July 1968. The legality of government institutions and actions was based on the Provisional Constitution of July 16, 1970, which embodied the basic principles of the Baath Party-- Arab unity, freedom, and socialism. These principles were in turn rooted in the pan-Arab aspirations of the party, aspirations sanctified through identification with the historic right and destiny of all Arabs to unite under the single leadership of "the Arab Nation."

The most powerful decision-making body in Iraq, the tenmember Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), which functioned as the top executive and legislative organ of the state, was for all practical purposes an arm of the Baath Party. All members of the RCC were also members of the party's Regional Command, or state apparatus. President Saddam Husayn was both the chairman of the RCC and the secretary general of the Baath's Regional Command. He was generally recognized as the most powerful political figure in the country.

From its earliest days, the Baath Party was beset by personality clashes and by factional infighting. These problems were a primary cause of the failure of the first Baath attempt to govern Iraq in 1963. After the Baath returned to power in 1968, intraparty fissures were generally held in check, albeit not eliminated, by President Ahmad Hasan al Bakr. When Saddam Husayn succeeded to the presidency in 1979, he also commanded the loyalty of the major elements of the Baath.

Saddam Husayn and other Baath leaders have always regarded the ability to balance endemic intraparty tensions--such as those between military and civilian elements and among personalities across boundaries of specialization--as the key to success in Baghdad. Above all, they perceived harmony in the militarycivilian coalition as pivotal. Although the Baath had begun recruiting within the Iraqi military as early as 1958, and within ten years military members constituted the backbone of the party's power, civilian Baath leaders maintained overall control of the party.

Iraqi politics under the Baath regime were generally geared toward mobilizing support for the regime. Loyal opposition had no place, and it was not recognized as legitimate. The party leaders believed competitive politics ill-suited to Iraq, at least during the indefinite transitional period. They condemned partisan political activity, which they insisted had had damaging consequences on national unity and integration. The Baath also invoked Iraq's unhappy legacy of ethnic and regional cleavages as justification for harsh curbs on political rights.

In 1988, twenty years after the Baath had come to power, it still was not possible to assess popular attitudes toward Saddam Husayn, toward the Baath Party, toward political institutions, or toward political issues because there had been insufficient field research in the country. Even though elections for a National Assembly had been held in 1980 and again in 1984, these had been carefully controlled by the government, and genuinely free elections had not been held for more than thirty years. Politicians or groups opposed to the principles of the 1968 Baath Revolution of July 17 to 30 were not permitted to operate openly. Those who aspired to be politically active had few choices: they could join the highly selective Baath Party, remain dormant, go underground or into exile, or join the Baath-sponsored Progressive National Front (PNF).

The PNF, which came into existence in 1974, was based on a national action charter that called for collaboration between the Baath and each of the other parties considered to be both progressive and nationalist. The PNF served as the only riskfree , non-Baath forum for political participation, although even this channel was denied to those whose loyalties to the regime were suspect. The Baath Party's objectives in establishing the front were to provide the semblance of broad popular support for the government as well as to provide the facade of alliance among the Baath and other parties. The Baath, however, held a dominant position within the front and therefore assumed sole responsibility for carrying out the decisions of the front's executive commission, which was composed of the Baath's most important members and sympathizers.

In early 1988, the war with Iran continued to preoccupy Saddam Husayn and his associates. Approximately 75,000 Iraqis had been killed in the war, and about 250,000 had been wounded; more than 50,000 Iraqis were being held as prisoners of war in Iran. Property damage was estimated in the tens of billions of dollars; destruction was especially severe in the southern part of the country (see Introduction).

Data as of May 1988

 

Iraq - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Iraq - Government and Politics
  • Iraq - National Security

  • Iraq -

    Go Up - Top of Page

    Iraq -






    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

    Make allRefer Reference your HomepageAdd allRefer Reference to your FavoritesGo to Top of PagePrint this PageSend this Page to a Friend


    Information Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies


    Content on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. We accept no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any person resulting from information published on this site. We encourage you to verify any critical information with the relevant authorities.

     

     

     
     


    About Us | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy | Links Directory
    Link to allRefer | Add allRefer Search to your site

    allRefer
    All Rights reserved. Site best viewed in 800 x 600 resolution.