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.
Terrain: mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey.
Environment Issues: government water control projects drained most of the inhabited marsh areas east of An Nasiriyah by drying up or diverting the feeder streams and rivers; a once sizable population of Marsh Arabs, who inhabited these areas for thousands of years, has been displaced; furthermore, the destruction of the natural habitat poses serious threats to the area’s wildlife populations; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation (salination) and erosion; desertification; military and industrial infrastructure has released heavy metals and other hazardous substances into the air, soil, and groundwater; major sources of environmental damage are effluents from oil refineries, factory and sewage discharges into rivers, fertilizer and chemical contamination of the soil, and industrial air pollution in urban areas.
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkmen (a Turkish dialect), Syriac (Neo-Aramaic), and Armenian are official in areas where native speakers of these languages constitute a majority of the population.
Government Type: federal parliamentary republic
URGENT is engaged in the following activities within Iraq:
The Church is characterized by fragmentation – denominationally, ethnically and politically, despite the great opposition all Christians face. The majority are in the Catholic-linked Chaldean Church, but others are part of the Assyrian Church of the East, Syriac Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Protestant denominations or even a Muslim-background believers’ network. Some in the historic denominations are being impacted by revival; others resent and oppose what they perceive to be aggressive proselytism and a money-spinning focus of the newer Protestant groups. Outreach to the Muslim majority remains a terrifying prospect to most, although compassionate ministry by some Christians to all in need sees many Muslims profoundly touched. Pray for unity among believers, with a Christ-centred front that responds to hatred and persecution with boldness, forgiveness and love.
Pray for evil and terror to be overcome by the power and love of Christ and His people.
Pray for the Gospel message to break through hearts hardened by long standing divisions and intense rivalries.
Pray for believers to courageously stand firm in their faith despite persecution and terror.