A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of military strongmen ruled the country until 2003.
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.
Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey.
Iraq's Natural Hazards include dust storms, sandstorms, and floods.
Population: 27,499,638 (July 2007 est.)
Ethnic Groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian, or other 5%
Religions: Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
Languages: Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
Type of Government: parliamentary democracy