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The Economy Of Iraq Politics Essay

Iraq is a country in the Middle East so you would say it has a desert climate. This is not completely true because it has not only a desert climate. Iraq is a country with quick climate transitions. The Iraqi climate is dividable into 3 zones. This they are:

At first there is of course the desert climate. It covers 40 percent of Iraq and it is found in the South-West of Iraq. Hot, dry summers with very little clouds and precipitation occur in summer periods. The average temperature in these periods is 39 degrees Celsius. In these summer periods there almost is not any precipitation. The humidity rate is very low and can sometimes be 0 percent. Also because of these factors there are often sand and dust storms in summer. The precipitation over the whole year is approximately 100 mm, where most of it falls in winter. In opposition to the hot summers, it knows pretty cold winters. The temperatures in winter periods differ from approximately 10 up till 15 degrees Celsius. At night it is even possible that it freezes. The precipitation amount is approximately 100 mm. because actually all the rain falls in winter.

Second there is a mountain climate. This climate occurs in the North of Iraq. This is an area with mountains. It is the Kurdish area of Iraq, the area where Diako comes from. Its summers are relatively cold with precipitation but not that much. The temperatures are around 20 degrees Celsius in these periods. The winters are wet, very cold with snow and sometimes very heavy snowfall occurs. The average temperature goes far below the freezing point. The annually precipitation in the mountains is between 400 and 700 mm. Lots of this falls in winter and in summer times it stays relatively dry, however rain is possible.

Third Iraq has a step or semi-arid climate. This climate is found in the South-Eastern and central parts. Like mentioned earlier the climate transitions are very quick. The climate starts actually immediately under the mountains. This means places a few kilometres apart from each other have a different climate. The semi-arid climate is actually the hottest climate of Iraq. It has extremely hot, dry summers and quite soft winters. In the middle of the country around Baghdad the average temperatures in summer are around 43 degrees Celsius and the maximum can reach sometimes 50 degrees Celsius. In winter the temperatures are around 15-20 degrees Celsius. The precipitation in summer is very low, 2 mm. on average per month. In winter periods the precipitation is approximately 140 mm. If you look at the annually amount it is 150 mm. so actually all the rain falls in winter. In the South-East near the Persian Gulf the temperatures in summer are even higher. The humidity rate is higher at these places which makes it feel even hotter. The precipitation amounts and temperature in winter are the same as in central Iraq.

Iraq has a very dry and hot climate. This means that drought in Iraq has a very dry and hot climate. This means that drought in summer times can occur and if the summer conditions are extreme, this can cause a lack of water. This can be a reason for Iraq’s underdevelopment. People do not have clean water to drink and to wash and so they will use, like in Africa, rivers and lakes to do this. This will cause water pollution and that leads to diseases like typhoid.

Map of Iraq showing its Climate regions.

Map showing the annual precipitation in the different areas of Iraq.

Chapter 2; Economy:

A year chart of Iraq’s GDP per capita in dollarsIraq’s economy has a good future ahead. Around 10 per cent of all the oil reserves are in Iraq. Its economy also has a good chance in tourism and agriculture. Areas around the Tigris and the Euphrates are very fertile, while Iraq is investing a lot in renovating their historical sites.

Iraq’s economy was mainly based on the oil exporting sector. Traditionally, this provided about 95% of Iraq’s earnings. In the late seventies oil production had reached a level of 3.5 million barrels a day, while the Iraqi dinar rose to a value of $3.3778. Unfortunately, Iraq in war had gathered an estimated $35 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

The Iraq-Iran war ruined Iraq’s economy and the value of the Iraqi Dinar. The Iraqi dinar reduced from $3.2169 to $0,3. Iraq started to borrow money from other countries; it borrowed $35 billion in loans from the West and between $30 and $40 billion from the Persian Gulf states during the 1980s. Iraq suffered economic losses from the war of at least $100 billion. After the war ended in 1988, oil exports slowly increased with the construction of new pipelines and restoration of damaged facilities.

As it is mentioned, Iraq was heavily indebted. It also had borrowed lots of money from Kuwait. Iraq blamed Kuwait of stealing its oil and producing too much oil; it was producing 40% more oil than it was allowed from the OPEC. This led to a drop in price of oil, which meant that Iraq couldn’t sell enough petroleum. As a response to this, Iraq invaded Kuwait, which led to international economic sanctions. Basically, this meant that the economic activity drastically reduced. The largest drop in GDP was in the nineties due to oil embargo. Iraq wasn’t allowed to export oil for money, instead of that it got food. This program was called the Oil-for-Food program.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein, gradually almost all the debts were lifted. This resulted in an economic growth of 53% hitting the top of the list of the world's fastest growing economy. However Kuwait still hasn’t removed their debts

Since mid-2009, oil export earnings have returned to levels seen before Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today Iraq exports 1.9 million barrels per day.

Aside from petroleum production and refining, Iraq has a small agricultural sector. It produces barley, rice, vegetables and dates. However, this is not enough to meet the country’s food requirements.

Iraq is also investing a lot in tourism. The Kurdish autonomous region is trying to improve the tourism sector. Tourism is possible in Iraqi Kurdistan because it is relatively safe.  According to its government, not a single foreigner has been kidnapped or died since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Iraqi Kurdistan can be reached by land and air. It recently built the biggest airport in the region and the fifth biggest in the world.

According to the Kurdish government, Iraqi Kurdistan currently has the lowest poverty rates in Iraq, while its GDP is higher than the rest of Iraq. Due to its stronger economy, Iraqi Kurdistan has witnessed massive immigration from Arab parts of Iraq as

Different regions in Iraqwell as from South Asia.

Today, you can buy one euro for 1656 Iraqi dinars. In 2012 three zeros are going to be removed from the Iraqi dinar. This could lead to good future of Iraq’s economy.

A 50 Iraqi dinar banknote with an oil refinery on it

Chapter 3; Hunger:

Hunger is a term used to describe the feeling of wanting to eat. In this case it means something different. It means the suffering from a lack of food. Many people all over the world suffer from hunger, especially in the poor third world countries. 925 million people from the world suffer from a lack of food, which is approximately 1 in 7 people.

There are 2 types of hunger:

First there is the quantitative hunger. This is hunger where there is a lack of calories, vitamin, proteins and other foods, so the amount of food available is too little. Especially in the extremely poor countries this is the most common type of hunger because they haven’t anything to feed on.

Qualitative hunger in Africa: this is the result of a qualitative hunger. The people get round bellies due to malnutrition.Second there is qualitative hunger. Here there is a lack of proteins and vitamins due to a limited diet. The name does it already explain a bit; the quality of the diet isn’t good. A good example of people who had this type of hunger were the nomads. They travelled from one place to another with their livestock. From the animals they have milk and meat, but they haven’t much fruit and vegetables (vitamins). Another good example were the slaves on the V.O.C. ships. They had just rotten food like biscuits and water with many bacteria in it. They hadn’t any fruit and vegetables and this led to diseases like scurvy.

The consequences of these types of hungers are:

High infant mortality

Many diseases

When you look at Iraq you will find that Iraq isn’t a perfect example of a country with very much hunger. It hasn’t very much hunger, though tap water isn’t clean in some regions in Iraq. Qualitative hunger occurs but it’s different from the counties in Africa for example. In Africa it occurs because they haven’t got the food. In Iraq there is food, but the people don’t want to eat it. Most of the people eat meat and other fat things and little fruit and vegetables. They don’t have much knowledge about what to eat, which food is healthy. However when you look during the wars, especially during the gulf war, you will find that there was quantitative hunger. The people couldn’t buy food due to the damaged infrastructure; food couldn’t be imported anymore.

So Iraq would not be a third world country, looking at the hunger, if the people would eat fruit and vegetables but they don’t eat it, so you can compare it with qualitative hunger. Eating only unhealthy things means that there are many diseases. In the next chapter there will be more about diseases.

Chapter 4; Diseases:

Like said in the previous chapter; Iraqis don’t eat very healthy and varied, and the water quality isn’t always that good. This causes lots of diseases. From the many diseases there are a few very common and important:

Typhoid fever: It’s an intestinal infection. It is caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated by the bacteria called Salmonella typhi. From the intestines the bacteria can spread out over the whole body. It’s a dangerous disease; untreated the mortality rate is 10 per cent or higher. In Iraq especially the water isn’t always clean, and the food is sometimes not hygienic, which leads to this disease.

Cholera: It’s a disease, transferred by polluted water. The only risk of getting this disease isn’t only drinking the water. You can get it also from food and vegetables that have lain in the water, for instance when you eat raw fish that has lain in the water or vegetables that’s washed in the polluted. So you need to have a very good hygiene to prevent getting this disease. Characteristics of cholera are diarrhoea and dehydration. In Iraq this is also a big problem because they haven’t got clean drinking water, however in the past the government tried to prevent it by putting water reservoirs into cities. This meant that the amount of people infected with cholera disease wasn’t that extreme. Unluckily, building sewage systems takes a very long time. This means the amount of infected people raised over the past years.

Most of the diseases in Iraq are caused by drinking polluted drinking water.

Bacterial Diarrhoea: It’s a disease caused by a lack of clean drinking water. All people but especially little children can get it. The results can be that they get dehydrated, undernourished or even can die. In Iraq the people don’t have good sewage systems because pipes are often broken. This means water gets polluted through the holes and bacteria get in. So the sewage systems are a big problem in Iraq because the government isn’t able to fix this in short term, so probably this problem won’t be solved in the coming years.

So Iraq is by looking at the diseases, absolutely a third world country. It knows lots of diseases caused most by the polluted water.

Chapter 5; Urbanisation:

The term urbanisation means the movement of people from rural to urban areas. The push factors are different; the most common is because the people think they will earn more money in the cities and lead a better life. Urbanisation causes population growth in the cities and because there become fewer farmers, the transportation of crops to the city becomes less. In much third world countries a lack of work can be an effect of urbanisation. This isn’t the case in Iraq.

Urbanisation in Iraq:

Urbanisation occurs a lot in Iraq, especially in the Southern and Western regions. That’s because there aren’t any rivers and the ground is very dry and unfertile. This makes it very difficult to grow something or actually almost impossible. It can lead to a lack of food. The people move to cities near the rivers.

Many people in Iraq move from the desert to the city because of various reasons.

Another reason why people move from the country side to the city is because there aren’t any services in the deserts, so hospitals, schools, shops and other things. This makes it very difficult for people to get help with an illness, get varied food because you can’t live only with grown food and the children can’t go to school which means they won’t have a good feature (vicious circle).

Like it is said above in many third world countries urbanisation is a problem because it can lead to a lack of work available. In Iraq is this not the case, but there are still people without work who go into the tertiary section.

Further the annual rate of change in urbanisation is 2.6 per cent which is normal. From the 33 million people 66 per cent lives in the urban areas and because of this rate it will go up.

So urbanisation in Iraq occurs a lot. It is not maybe that bad because the economy, prosperity and industry increases in the cities and it will develop maybe cities like New York in the feature. On the other hand the country side gets abandoned and this will cause a bit a “Brazil” effect where all the people live in the cities. But the urbanisation can be also dangerous. A big, good running city would be a perfect place for terrorists to throw their bomb on. So it has its pros and cons.

Chapter 6; Infrastructure:

Prior to the 1990s, Iraq’s infrastructure was among the best in the Middle East. However, since the mid-1980s, years of conflicts, corruption, and the effects of Iraq’s bad economy has led to Iraq’s inability to invest in new infrastructure and maintain existing facilities. Conflicts, looting, and sabotage have also resulted in direct damage to buildings, pipelines, communication equipment, and transportation links.  

Today most Iraqis have limited access to essential basic services, including electricity, water supply, sanitation, and transportation.

Roads and motorways:

Iraq has a network of highways connecting it from the inside among the Iraq provinces and to the outside neighboring countries. Iraq traditionally had one of the best road systems in the middle-east. However, now Iraq's inner city roads are a disaster. Iraq has about 2500 km asphalted highways and 38000 km of asphalted roads. Iraq hasn’t got a lot of borders. Before the war, the roads were built by English and German companies, but these projects were stopped after the conflicts in Iraq. During the wars, Iraqi roads were bombarded to prevent Iraqi troops from using them. After the war gulf war, Iraq’s road system was neglected. Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, its government has done a lot to bring the infrastructure to the post-war state. The amount of cars is increasing in Iraq comparing it to a few years ago.

Taxis:

There are a lot of taxis in Iraq. People that can’t afford a car hire a taxi. In the past, taxis were white with red stripes. Nowadays, taxis are beige.

Public services; Rail service in Iraq:

Iraq has one of the oldest railway networks in the Middle East. It is linked to Syria and Turkey (and onto Europe). Iraq got its first railway in 1914. In 2000 they got 2000 km of railway. Most of Iraq’s trains are neglected and old. Iraq hasn’t got an electrified railway system; it still has old diesel locomotives. Today, most of the trains are out of order. However, there are projects going on to replace them with metros.

Airports:

Iraq has 104 airports of which 75 of them are with paved runways. The biggest airport is in the city of Erbil. The second biggest airport in Iraq is in the capital city of Baghdad. However, the runways of this airport were bombarded during the wars. Iraqi Airways is headquartered on the grounds of Baghdad International Airport. Iraqi airways was founded in 1945 and stopped in 1991. In March 2009, Iraqi Airways began its first flights to Sweden in almost nineteen years. Later that year, it ordered almost 50 new airplanes which are going to be delivered in the next years.

Schools:

Most children in Iraq go to school. But schools in Iraq differ a lot with schools in Europe. In Iraq, schools are dirty, they do not have enough materials, so children have to share books and teaching is relative poor.

Sewage system:

The sewage system in Iraq is quite good (compared with other 3rd world countries). There have been lain lots of new pipes since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But, repairing sewage systems take a long time. As long as the sewage system isn’t fully repaired, people can get diseases. These new pipes also gave 2310 people a job.

Electricity:

In Iraq there is a lack of electricity. As of 2010, despite improved security and billions of dollars in oil revenue, Iraq still generates about half the electricity that customers demand, leading to protests during the hot summer months. The lack of electricity is caused by the gulf war. The western countries destroyed the Iraqi power stations in order to block Saddam Hussein. Because of this lack of electricity, most of the traffic lights and street lights don’t work. In order to solve the electricity problem in short term, people use their own electricity generators.

An old diesel locomotive

An Iraqi Airways plane at Baghdad airport

Chapter 7; Employment sectors:

GDP in Iraq

The GDP in Iraq is much less than in Holland. In Iraq the GDP is 88 billion dollars. (Holland has a GPD of 504 billion dollars) Also the GPD per capita it’s less; 3500 dollars while in Holland it is 40.000 dollars. The GDP by sector consists 7 percent of agriculture, 67 percent of industry and 26 percent of services. The unemployment rate in Iraq is quite low looking at the amount of inhabitants, which is 30 million, because the unemployment rate is approximately 35 percent which means that approximately 20 million work. Now about the different kinds of sectors:

Primary sector; Agriculture:

In Iraq, a low amount of people work in the primary sector. This is because the bad land isn’t useful to grow any crops. It’s caused mostly by the climate. Also because of people think they will earn more in the cities so they go to the cities (Urbanisation), but in fact the farmers that stay are getting wealthier because of trade with neighbor countries and because of the urbanisation, think about things like wool and dairy products. As written in the chapter about urbanisation, this amount of people getting into the city is growing so even less people will work in the primary sector in the feature. People that want to farm further usually go to the north because there are better circumstance because it’s moisty and the crops will better grow.

Secondary sector; Industry:

The secondary sector is the largest in Iraq. Many people work in the industry and it’s only growing (urbanisation). The people who come from e.g. the desert go work into the industry, you can understand why. Iraq has a huge oil industry, it’s the largest industry of the country and they make per day 105.000.000 dollars with it, however most of it goes to the sheiks. Another very big industry the people from the secondary sector work in is the construction industry. This industry is growing very fast. This is of course because of the wars in which very much was destroyed.

Tertiary sector; Services:

The tertiary sector isn’t growing very fast; it stays actually almost the same. But still very much people work in the tertiary sector, especially in large cities as Basra and Baghdad. Looking at the amounts they earn, you will find that it’s very poor. Luckily the government is trying to help these people to get a better job and to come into the secondary sector.

Chapter 8; Soil information:

As explained in the chapter about the climate; Iraq mostly consists of desert. You can also see it on the soils.

The soil in the desert areas isn’t good to grow plants on. The soil here is sandy, rocky and very dry, without any moisture. This means it isn’t possible to grow any plants on it and one of the reasons why the country is poor.

Desert like areas; vegetation isn’t possible.

River areas; ground is quite fertile so lots of vegetation.

Small hills; growing crops is possible on the sides.

But luckily Iraq isn’t only desert. In the north are also wet mountains, which have limestone as a main material (Iraqi’s soils contain lots of limestone), and little hills where it’s possible to grow any plants on the hill sides.

Also the areas around the rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are quite fertile and there it’s possible to grow plants and crops. However, even over here harvest can fail if it’s an extremely hot summer.

Chapter 9; Population growth:

Iraq has 30.400.000 people. When you compare it to the world, it’s on the 39th place. This amount is still growing; around the year 2005 there were approximately 25.000.000 people. This means the population growth rate is going up. The population growth rate at the moment is 2.39 percent. This means the amount of inhabitants is increasing each year by 2.39 percent. They are on the 31st position on the list of population growth rate. When you calculate it in 5 years the amount of inhabitants will be approximately 36.000.000!

There are people born in Iraq. To calculate how many babies are born in 1 year you use the birth rate. The birth rate in Iraq is 28.81 in 1000. This means that in 1 year there are born 28.81 babies in a group of 1000 people. This is quite high when you compare it with other countries because on the ranking they’re on the 45th place. But in Iraq live 30.400.000 people. This means the birth rate is 875.824 in 30.400.000 which means that there are born approximately 875.824 babies in one year.

But there are also people who die…

There are also people who die. In Iraq the death ratio compared to other third world countries isn’t that high. The annual death rate is 4.82 in 1000. This means annually in a living group of 1000 people die 4.82 people. When you calculate this amount of the whole country you will come out at 146.528 deaths a year (4.82x30.400). This means the death ratio is 146.528 in 30.400.000 and so per year there die approximately 146.528 people in Iraq.

So when you look at the birth rate and at the death rate and you compare them you will see that there are much more babies born than people who die. This is also a reason of the population growth. Another reason can be foreigners who come to live into the country, so immigrants.

So Iraq has quite a big population growth. Could this have any impact on the fact that it’s a third world country; yes. An easy reason is that there are coming more people, which means that more people won’t have work. Another reason can be if a mother gets lots of children, they probably won’t have enough food to live on and stay very poor.

So population growth can be also a reason of Iraq’s underdevelopment.

Chapter 10; Food:

Typical Iraqi FoodIraqi food is rich and diverse, incorporating spices typical of Arabic cooking, such as saffron and mint. Extra food is usually cooked in case of surprise visitors (this is common in Iraq), while expected guests are treated to many elaborate dishes. It is a tradition to tell the guest to eat more.

People eat their evening meal around 8:00 p.m. Most cooking is done on gas or paraffin-oil stoves, though in the cities, people often own microwave ovens to help shorten cooking time.

Normally, people in Iraq eat three times a day. People eat breakfast at 7:30. Because a work day ends at 12:30, people eat lunch at 13:00. Almost all people eat something small at 17:00. This is most of the time tea with cheese and dates. Dinner is eaten at 20:00.

Breakfast consists of eggs, cheese, yoghurt and warm bread. Sometimes people eat kebab as breakfast. The common drink for breakfast is tea. Breakfast is eaten together with the family; this is because school and work begin at the same time.

Unlike in western countries, lunch in Iraq is served warm. Lunch always consists of rice and meat. In addition to that people eat a salad and a coup of soup with it. Sometimes people like to dip bread into the soup and eat it. Iraqi’s never drink tea with lunch. The Iraqi people always drink some sort of yoghurt drink with lunch.

For dinner, all Iraqi people eat warm food. Lunch and dinner are very much alike. As like lunch, dinner also consists of rice and meat. However, there is one difference. After dinner people eat a bit of fruit as dessert.

The preferred meats in Iraq are lamb, beef, goat, mutton and poultry. Muslims do not eat pork or pork products. As in other Middle Eastern countries, Iraqi meat dishes often combine vegetables and rice. Iraqi cooking uses two varieties of rice: amber rice in the north, and neggaza rice in the south. Popular main courses include kebabs, which are skewered chunks of grilled meat, quzi, which is roasted and stuffed lamb, and kubba, which is minced meat with nuts, raisins and spices. Masgouf is a special dish made from the fish the Tigris river. Another popular dish is tripe, a dish made of cow's stomach; there are a number of tripe restaurants in the cities. Most meals are accompanied by flat rounds of bread (samoons).

For dessert, people enjoy some of Iraq's local fruits, rice pudding, Turkish delight, sesame cookies, or baklava - a pastry made with honey and pistachios layered between filo sheets.

The most widely consumed drinks in Iraq are coffee and tea. Arabic coffee is famous for its strong flavor. In Iraq, people brew their coffee thick and bitter, and serve it black. Tea is usually served in small glasses and drunk sweetened, without milk. Fruit juices and soft drinks are also popular. Muslims are officially forbidden to consume alcohol.

Baklava; one of the most famous sweets.

Samovar; sometimes used by the Kurds for tea

Chapter 11; Ethnic groups:

Flag of Iraqi Turkmen

Flag of the Kurds and the autonomous region in IraqIraq is home to several ethnic groups. There are 3 ethnic groups: Kurds, Iraqi Turkmen and Assyrians. Most of Iraq’s population consists of Arabs.

Around 75%–80% of Iraq's population is Arab; the other major ethnic groups are the Kurds at 15%–20%, the Assyrians, the Iraqi Turkmen and others (5%), who mostly live in the north and northeast of the country.

Iraqi Kurds:

Kurds are Indo-Europeans people of the Iranic branch. Ethnically they are most closely related to Iranians and have existed in Iraq since before the Arab-Islamic conquest. They are possibly descended from the ancient Corduene. Only the Assyrians, Mandeans and Jews have a longer history in Iraq, and possibly Armenians.

The Kurds are striving for an independent state. This hasn’t been very successful in other countries, but it has been successful in Iraq. The president of Iraq is a Kurd and Kurds have an autonomous state in Iraq.

Iraqi Turkmen:

The first Iraqi Turkmen came to Iraq in the seventh century, as soldiers recruited in the Muslim army. Approximately 1,000 Turkic soldiers were brought to Iraq by a governor of Iraq. Most of the Iraqi Turkmen live in the North Iraq. The Iraqi Turkmen are considered to be the third largest ethnic group in Iraq.

Assyrians:

Assyrians are Semitic people who are ethnically distinct from Arabs and Jews. Assyrians have used two languages throughout their history: ancient Assyrian (Akkadian), and Modern Assyrian (neo-syriac). Akkadian was written with the cuneiform writing system, on clay tablets, and was in use from the beginning to about 750 B.C.

Chapter 12; Culture and religion:

The Zoroastrian symbol.

The Imam Ali mosque in Najaf, Iraq.Religion:

As it is mentioned, Iraq has a lot of minority groups. Almost all Arabs are Muslims. However, there is one big difference between them; there are Sunni and Shia Arab Muslims in Iraq. Most of the Shia’s live in the south of Iraq; however some of them live in the middle of Iraq.

The Shia’s follow the religion of Ali. He was the cousin of Prophet Mohammed. The problems started 1300 years ago when Mohammed died and one group wanted a new prophet. This group were called Shia’s. But on the other hand there were the Sunni’s they didn’t want another prophet. This led to heavy fights and nowadays this is the main reason why Iraq is unsafe.

The Shia’s have the cities Najaf and Karbala in Iraq as their holy cities. This is because the Muslims think that Imam Ali was buried in the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf.

Most of the Sunni’s live in the middle of Iraq. The Sunni’s have Prophet Mohammed as their prophet. The Sunni’s have Makah as their holy city, because they think that Prophet Mohammed was buried there.

Apart from Muslims, there is also another religion that is followed by a lot of people. This religion is called Zoroastrianism. Most of the followers are Kurds and Iranians. Zoroastrianism hasn’t got a lot of rules. The main rules are very much alike the Ten Commandments. Their God is Ahura Mazda. He is known as the beginning and the end, besides of that, he cannot be seen.

Their main symbol is fire. That is why they set fires at every festival they have.

The most important festival is called Newroz. “New” means just like in English “new” and “roz” means “day”. This festival is celebrated on the 21st of March.

In the past there were lots of Jews in Iraq. In the 20th century, Iraqi Jews played an important role in the early days of the Iraq's independence, but the Iraqi Jewish community, numbered at around 120,000 in 1948, almost entirely left the country due to persecution following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Most of them fled to the newly founded state of Israel, and today, fewer than 100 Jews remain. Nevertheless, Iraqi Jews in Israel still have kept their traditions.

The Christians of Iraq are one of the oldest Christian communities of the Middle East. There are about 650,000 to 800,000 Christians in Iraq. Sadly tough, they are being threatened by terrorists. Lots of Christians are fleeing the country or go to the safe Kurdish part in Iraq.

Culture:

Iraqi’s have a very positive culture. For Iraqi people food is very important. Iraqi people always cook more, because in Iraq guests often come surprisingly for dinner. Dinner always has to contain meat or Iraqi’s will think that is an appetizer. Music and dancing also play an important role in Iraq’s culture. Iraqi’s show their happiness by dancing or making music.

An Oud; mostly played by Iraqi’s

Chapter 13; Wars:

Iraq knew a lot of wars in history. Actually in foreign countries it’s famous because of their wars. When you say Iraq they think as first about war. But this is a crucial point why Iraq is a third world country. There are actually three main wars; they are:

The Iran-Iraq War

The Iraq-Iran war was a war between the armed forces of Iran and Iraq. The war lasted from September 1980 until August 1988. It all started when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 after a long history of border disputes and demands for the remove of the leadership of Saddam Hussein. The Iraqis did well in the beginning but the Iranian drove them away. There didn’t happen very much, both countries didn’t get any more land and it lasted very long, however the U.N. sent messages to stop it. Eventually it ended in August 1988. It’s also well known that the Iraqis used chemical weapons to fight the Iranians. Most of them were supplied by the United States. The war had big consequences, especially in the economy because both countries made a big loss.

The Gulf War

Saddam Hussein, the leader under which Iraq experienced awful periods.The gulf war was a big conflict between Iraq and the state of Kuwait. It all started on the 2nd of August when the Iraqis invaded Kuwait. This was caused by Saddam Hussein, because he accused Kuwait of stealing oil from their side of the border. The Iraqis thought that they stole oil by using drills that drilled slant through the ground. Two days after the invasion Kuwait was fully surrendered. The war continued badly for Kuwait. The oil fields were taken over by the Iraqis and they transported the oil to Iraq. Also factories were taken over. Kuwait was very angry because the Iraqis had lent very much money from Kuwait during the Iran-Iraq war, hadn’t paid it back yet and now attacked Kuwait. 7 months had passed and then the United Nations began to liberate the Kuwaitis.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq

The attack by Al-Qaeda on the 11th of September 2001 on the twin towers. 2998 people lost their life.It was the war with the United States, Great Britain and some other countries against Iraq. Actually there were 2 phases: first to stop the regime of Saddam Hussein. The second to build up a new, better Iraq. The main purpose, to end the regime and leadership of Saddam Hussein, succeeded After 21 days. The second phase isn’t finished yet, that’s why Iraq is still a third world country. Actually the main reason why the war started was that the U.S. and the other countries thought that Iraq was hiding dangerous weapons of mass destruction. Although Hussein hadn’t planned the attacks in 2001, many people accused him of defending the Al-Qaeda people, for example Abu al-Zarqawi, one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda, by giving them a safe place to hide. In this war 4734 NATO soldiers were killed (soldiers from America, England, etc.). Over 34,000 were injured.

So the wars were very bad for Iraq’s environment and many people died. Also the economy is totally destroyed by it because all the weapons, the destroyed buildings and cities cost loads of money. People don’t have good houses to live in and are poor. This makes Iraq a third world country. If there wouldn’t be wars, Iraq wouldn’t be a third world country. This is maybe the main reason which explains Iraq’s underdevelopment.

Chapter 14; History of Diako’s family:

1st row: oil fields that were set on fire by the Iraqis.

2nd row: coalition soldiers invading Iraq

3rd row: The Highway of Death. Iraqi troops being attacked by coalition soldiers.Diako’s father and mother were both born in 1966. At that time Saddam Hussein wasn’t the leader of Iraq.

During their youth, Iraq had a good economy and was becoming wealthy.

Until Saddam Hussein became the President and leader of the army on July 16th 1979.

In 1980 Saddam started the war with Iran. At that time Iraq wasn’t very dangerous because the war didn’t reach the cities. In 1988 the Iran-Iraq war stopped and everybody thought that they were safe. But Iraq wasn’t safe for long. In 1990 the gulf war started and Saddam Hussein started to kill the people. Diako’s parents had to leave their homes in Iraq and go to another city.

In 1991 they left Iraq and escaped to Iran. It was a tough journey but they made it.

A lot of people fled to Iran during the Gulf war and also a lot of people didn’t make it. Many died on the journey because of hunger, the cold and the bombs which Saddam threw on them.

In Iran Diako’s parents got married and after the Gulf war they returned to Iraq and they escaped to the Netherlands.

Chapter 15; Conclusion and answer to the research questions:

We have learnt a lot from this project. It was interesting to know how its underdevelopment can be explained.

What were the research questions again?

Research questions:

To what extent is Iraq a third world country?

How can its underdevelopment be explained?

Hunger:

When you look at the amount of food, you will find that it isn’t a third world country on that part. There isn’t a lack of food. However, when you look at the amount of vegetables and fruit they it, it isn’t that much. The problem is that the people don’t want to eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. So you could see it a bit as qualitative hunger, although it isn’t actually hunger. So when you look at hunger, Iraq isn’t a third world country.

Diseases:

When you take a look at the diseases, you will find that Iraq is by looking at the diseases, absolutely a third world country. It knows lots of diseases mostly caused by polluted water. So when you look at diseases in Iraq, it is definitely a third world country.

Infrastructure:

Iraq’s infrastructure was traditionally one of the best in the middle east. However, after years of war and bombardments, Iraq has a bad infrastructure. The government is trying to solve this problem, but this will take years. So by looking at Iraq’s infrastructure, you will see that it is a third world country characteristic and will cause underdevelopment.

Climate:

Iraq’s climate is divided in a few parts. It is noticeable that the northern part of the country is very cold, while the rest of the country is warm and dry. Dry climates are often characteristics of a third world country, because vegetation doesn’t grow easily.

So by looking at Iraq’s climate, you will find that it is a third world country characteristic and which can cause underdevelopment.

Soil:

Iraq’s soil mostly consists out of desert. This type of soil isn’t good for vegetation. That’s why you will find that Iraq’s has led to Iraq’s underdevelopment.

Wars:

Wars often lead to poverty. This is also the case in Iraq. Decades of war have led to Iraq’s underdevelopment and poverty. This explains a lot to Iraq’s underdevelopment.

Urbanisation:

Urbanisation is absolutely a third world country characteristic. Urbanisation in Iraq can be explained very easily. Iraq’s infrastructure is neglected; this means that the infrastructure in small villages is very bad. So people from the country side move to the big cities because of better infrastructure. This is a characteristic of a third world country.

Economy:

Iraq’s economy has a good and strong future. In a few years, three zeros will be removed from the Iraqi Dinar. Although right now Iraq has a 3rd world country economy, this will improve in the oncoming years.

Sectors of employment:

The secondary sector is the largest in Iraq. Iraq has a huge oil industry, it’s the largest industry of the country and they make a lot of money with it. However, most of the money goes to the corrupt government. So Iraq is for that matter a third world country.

Religion:

It is hard to say if religion has very much to do with Iraq’s underdevelopment, but it has in some ways. People from different religions attack each other, which causes the country to be unsafe. This can lead to an even worse infrastructure. So in this case, religion has to do a bit in Iraq’s underdevelopment.

Ethnic groups:

There are lots of ethnic groups in Iraq. Normally, this shouldn’t cause problems. But because Iraq is dangerous, some ethnic groups want to call for independence. In Iraq, this problem has been solved. So ethnic groups do not cause underdevelopment in Iraq.

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