THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ
A PMESII-PT ANALYSIS
CH (CPT) JUSTIN DUBOSE
DL C4 (H-RC) FY16 CLASS 412
August 22, 2017
The following analysis is an examination of the Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information, Infrastructure, Physical Environment, and Time (PMESII-PT) of the Operational Area of The Republic of Iraq. PMESII-PT is critical to understanding Operational Variables and Sub-variables which are laid out and established in ADRP 5-0.
The primary source of this information was the CIA World Factbook on Iraq (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/iz.html). Other sources included “SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence” (https://maps.southfront.org/military-situation-in-syria-and-iraq-on-july-4-2017-map-update/) and TIME Magazine (http://time.com/4298318/iraq-us-troops-barack-obama-mosul-isis/).
The Republic of Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic which consists of 18 administrative divisions known as “governorates”. Their current constitution was adopted by referendum on 15 October 2005 and their legal system is a mix of civil law and Islamic law. The current President is Fuad Masum, who was elected on 24 July 2014 and there are three Vice Presidents who serve under him. The Prime Minister of Iraq is Haydar Al-Abadi who serves as the head of the Iraqi government.
There are several political pressure groups who exert strong political influence in the political area. These are primarily Sunni and Shia militias. Since September 2014, much of the political focus of the new constitutional government has been on the military campaigns to recapture territory lost to ISIS.
The current government in Iraq faces instability in every arena. The country is still recovering from a complete overhaul in government and a civil war which raged from 2006-2008. Furthermore, sectarian violence continues to threaten any progress the government would make. While there are signs of political progress – such as a cabinet with both Sunni and Kurdish support.
Much of the current military activity in Iraq revolves around the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) warring against ISIS forces. In addition to ISF, there are the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Together, the ISF and SDF have been pushing back against ISIS and have almost completely liberated the city of Mosul from ISIS control.
Since the US military pulled out all remaining forces in 2011, the government of Iraq has been embattled against various terror cells and organizations, namely ISIS, for political and economic control of the country. Last year, TIME magazine reported that the numbers of US troops still in Iraq was approaching 5,000 to aid in the fight against ISIS.
The US military left Iraq in December 2011 after spending almost 9 years in the country. In the vacuum left after the 2011 withdrawal, various terror cells and organizations began to infiltrate the country. The ISF and their allies have pushed back ISIS back into the northern areas of the country, but this struggle has left the country in a constant state of instability. This struggle will, for the foreseeable future, continue to exist and continue to be a large factor in Iraqi military affairs.
The GDP estimate from 2016 was $173 billion, which was more than a 10% increase from 2015. Much of this production is due to their exporting of oil. Oil accounted for 90% of government revenue in 2016. There are, however, ongoing oil disputes between the Kurdistan region of the country and the capital city of Baghdad which, if solved, would add to the GDP.
The per capita income estimate for the country in 2016 was $16,500 per person. The most recent unemployment rate is from 2012, at which time it was 16% of a labor force of 8.9 million. 23% of the Iraqi population lives below the poverty line and their annual budget deficit is -14.7% of GDP.
On the positive side, the economy of Iraq is rebounding from historic lows due to war and related factors. A 10% increase in GDP in a single year is significantly noteworthy. This trend should continue as the prices and demand for Iraqi oil increase.
However, a 16% unemployment rate is alarmingly high, as is an annual budget deficit of -14.7% of GDP. If the Iraqi government could decrease the rate of unemployment, then they would also decrease their annual deficit.
The religious makeup of Iraq is overwhelmingly Muslim with 99% of the population identifying as Islamic. Of these 99%, 55-60% identify as Shia and 40% identify as Sunni. Much of the Christian population of Iraq fled to neighboring countries after the fall of Saddam Hussein, leaving less than 0.1% of the population as Christian.
Arabic is the official language of the country, as well as Kurdish as 15-20% of the population are of Kurdish descent.
The median population age is 19.9 years in a total population of just over 38 million. The Iraqi culture places great value on relationships – namely family, clan, and tribe.
While the dominant religion in Iraq has been Islam for a long time, the percentage of the population as identifying as Muslim has only increased since the end of the Saddam Hussein regime. To understand the people and culture, one must understand the Islamic faith.
It is also imperative to grasp the depth of importance familial relationships have to the Iraqi people. If any progress is to be made in penetrating the culture, it must be cultivated through relationship.
A vast majority of Iraqis own and regularly use cell phones. However, since the arrival of US forces in 2003, domestic and international communications have experienced notable damage. This continues to persist with the ongoing presence of and conflict with ISIS.
Satellite television is available to an estimated 70% of the Iraqi population, with much of the programming content being international. Only 17% of the population has access to the internet, and the perpetual conflict has destroyed much of the information infrastructure throughout the country.
Since 2003, much of the information and communication infrastructure has been destroyed. While the government is making efforts to rebuild and recover, the progress is slow due to conflict. However, since the arrival and legalization of cell phones in 2003, the cell phone market continues to grow and much information is disseminated through cellular technology.
Iraq presently has 72 airports with paved runways with 39 registered aircraft operated by air carriers. Additionally, there are 2,272 kilometers of railway and 59,623 kilometers of roadways. Much of the transportation in accomplished by roadway.
Waterways also provide a significant source of transportation infrastructure. Including the famous Euphrates and Tigris rivers, there are 5,279 kilometers of waterway in the country.
98% of the population has access to electricity and, as expected with Iraqi oil reserves, the infrastructure for oil and gas refinery is substantial.
Transportation is Iraq is going to be most effectively accomplished by roadway, although infrastructure for air transport is wide-spread and stable.
The energy infrastructure is very stable, with access to electricity existing throughout the country.
The Republic of Iraq is geographically about three times the size of New York state. As with most Middle Eastern nations, the climate is mostly a desert climate with mid-to-cool winters and hot, dry summers. While much of Iraq’s terrain are broad plains, areas along the borders of Iran and Turkey are quite mountainous.
The mean elevation for the country is 312 meters above sea level. Iraq is known for its frequent sand and dust storms, and flooding in central and southern Iraq is not uncommon.
The terrain in Iraq varies widely depending on geographic location. Mountain ranges are common in certain areas, and deserts are common in others. Summer temperatures can be extremely hot and dry, and cloud cover in the summer is virtually non-existent. Provisions and considerations should be carefully thought through depending on mission location and demand so that climate and terrain may be accounted for in the planning process.
Unlike the United States, one will not find Iraqis rushing around from place to place. Their perception and understanding of time is centered around themselves and their families. Like most Middle Eastern cultures, Iraq is a “people-oriented” culture and not a “task-oriented” culture. Time is most valuable when it is spent on oneself and those closest to you.
Understanding Iraqis perception of time is critical to conducting operations there. Time must be allocated to spend with and on people in order for the people to be favorable to the mission. Making the shift to operating in a “people-oriented” culture is imperative if the mission is to be successful.
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