Population. – According to the 1987 census, the Iraqi population, excluding nomads, amounted to 16,335,199 residents (75% Arabs, 20% Kurds, 3% Persians, 2% Turks), mostly Muslims (mainly Sunni) with various communities Christians (200,000 Catholics), as well as 55,000 Yazidis, 12,000 Mandaeans and 2,500 Jews. In the second half of the 1980s, the annual growth coefficient was 3.1%. The consequences of the conflict unleashed against Iran, which according to reliable estimates cost ῾I, were also felt on the demographic level. 250,000 dead and half a million injured, as well as causing the deportation (1989) of about 300,000 Kurds. In 1991 the war operations undertaken by the international coalition led by the United States under the aegis of the UN, following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi forces caused the Iraq about 150,000 dead, one third of them civilians.
Following the demarcation of the border, in 1984 an area of about fifty km 2 passed to Jordan. For Iraq 2017, please check mathgeneral.com.
Economic activities. – The end of the war with Iran (August 1988) made it possible to resume the ambitious projects that aimed to reduce the Iraqi economy’s dependence on oil. There was a tendency to contract state intervention, to the advantage of private initiative, especially in agriculture, which employed less than 30% of the active population. In 1987 the state farms which in 1984 occupied 188,000 ha were sold or leased to private individuals. The total cultivated area was 5.4 million ha in 1990, with non-irrigated crop production subject to strong fluctuations: wheat 14 million q in 1985, but only 8 in 1990; barley 13.3 million q in 1985, and 1 in 1990. Rice production is booming (about 1.5 million q in 1985, as much as 7.3 in 1988, but again 2 million q in 1990), that of maize is stable (1 million q in 1990). The production of dates (3.5 million q on average in the Eighties, 4.9 million q in 1990) fueled, in addition to exports (1.6 million q in 1988-89), also a thriving processing industry (sugar, alcohol, vinegar and protein concentrates).
Faced with a cost of food imports (meat, cereals, poultry, sugar) estimated at 2.5 billion dollars per year, the objective of self-sufficiency, which required an increase of 25% in the cultivated area, continued to be considered a priority; hence the need for a more effective exploitation of water resources. The waters of the Euphrates made it possible to irrigate approximately 750,000 ha, and 400,000 ha those of the Tigris. The latter, with its northern tributaries, was destined to supply a complex irrigation system centered on the Bakhma and Mandawa (on the Grande Zab), Mōṣul and Kirkūk barrages, where in 1983 the first part of a reclamation of 300,000 ha. Other projects (also intended to reduce the negative consequences of the dams built or planned on the Tigris and Euphrates in Syria and Turkey) were being implemented on the Euphrates (Qādisiyya dam in al-Ḥadīṯa), while it was already in an advanced stage construction of the ” third river ” of the Iraq, a collector destined to drain the superfluous water coming from 1,500,000 ha of irrigated land in the central and southern regions into the Gulf. There were also plans to strengthen cattle breeding (about 1.68 million head in 1990, against 148,000 buffaloes, 9.6 million sheep, 1.65 goats, 60,000 camels and as many horses, 25,000 mules and 415,000 donkeys) and poultry (77 million head). In 1989, inland fisheries supplied 18,200 tonnes.
All economic development projects were canceled due to the invasion of Kuwait, to which the United Nations reacted by decreeing the blocking of economic and financial relations with the Iraq. Subsequent military operations conducted by the anti-Iraqi coalition, and the Shiite uprising that followed the cessation of hostilities, almost completely destroyed power plants, aqueducts and other civilian infrastructure, especially in the southern regions. The Kurdish insurrection has, in turn, paralyzed economic activity in the North.
Oil continues to form the foundation of the Iraqi economy. Before the war with Iran began in 1980, the ῾I. it exported crude oil at the rate of 160 million tons per year, placing itself in second place in the world ranking of exporters after Saudi Arabia. The hostilities immediately reduced the export capacity of the oil terminals in the Gulf (Minā ‘al-Bakr and Ḥōr al-῾Amaya) to zero, while in early 1982 Syria blocked the al-Ḥadīṯa-Bāniyās pipeline, leaving as the only outlets are the Kirkūk-Dörtyol oil pipeline (connected to the southern fields via the Rumayla-al-ḤadīṯaKirkūk ” strategic pipeline ” with reversible flow) and road transport. Crude oil production therefore fell to 59 million tonnes in 1984, to rise to 82, Petroline (1985), and a second transanatolic oil pipeline from Kirkūk to Yumurtalik (1987). In 1984, the exploitation of the East Baghdād field began, with an estimated capacity of 680 million tonnes. After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, oil exports fell to practically zero as a result of the embargo decreed by the international community; only at the end of 1991 did the United Nations Security Council authorize ῾I. to export limited quantities of crude oil to cope with famine.
The total reserves of crude oil in 1988 amounted to about 13 billion tons, enough to provide 131 years of production at 1987 levels Natural gas, produced at a rate of 5.3 billion m 3 per year (1984), relies on reserves of a thousand billion m 3. Other underground resources include phosphates (used since 1984 in the production of fertilizers in Bayǧī and al-Qā᾽im) and sulfur, which feeds plants in Mišraq (Mōṣul) and Kirkūk for the production of sulfuric acid and other derivatives. The industrial sector also included, before the 1991 war, textile (Mōṣul) and steel (Hōr al-Zubayr) plants, sugar refineries, vehicle and tractor assembly workshops, electrical and pharmaceutical factories. Since 1986, about one-tenth of cement production (11 million tonnes) was exported to Egypt; following the commissioning of six new hydroelectric plants in 1987, part of the energy produced by Iraq (23.4 billion kWh) was supplied to Turkey.
Routes of communication and trade. – Before the war with Iran, two new ports had been inaugurated, in Umm Qaṣr and Hōr al-Zubayr. Before the invasion of Kuwait, river navigation was developing and construction of new railway lines for 2400 km was underway (Baghdād-Umm Qaṣr; Baghdād-Kirkūk-Arbīl-Mōṣul-Turkey), while a highway connected the capital to the Kuwait.
The export of hydrocarbons (mainly directed to Europe, USA, Japan, Brazil, Yugoslavia and Turkey) provided before 1991 more than 95% of the income; imports (war material, raw materials and semi-finished products, foodstuffs) came mainly from Japan, Germany (formerly Federal), France, Italy, Brazil and Great Britain. Just the military expenses, which had forced the Iraq to contract foreign debts for 65 billion dollars (1988), mostly towards the Arab countries of the Gulf and the main suppliers of war material (France and the USSR), are one of the factors that led the Baghdād regime to invade Kuwait.