Iraq Table of Contents
Government: In accordance with Provisional Constitution of July 16, 1970, executive and legislative powers exercised by Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), chairman of which is also president of country. First parliamentary elections held in June 1980, resulting in First National Assembly. Second National Assembly elected in October 1984; National Assembly has generally met twice annually as provided in Constitution and exercises legislative functions together with RCC, which has ultimate decision- making authority.
Politics: Political system was under firm control of Baath (Arab Socialist Resurrection) Party. Party's high command, called Regional Command, was headed in 1988 by President Saddam Husayn, who held title of secretary general of the Regional Command and was also chairman of the RCC; vice chairman of the RCC and presumably successor to Saddam was Izzat Ibrahim; vice president was Taha Muhy ad Din Maruf. Government and political leadership interchangeable because members of Regional Command also members of RCC. Political activities, where they existed, carried out within framework of Progressive National Front (PNF), of which Iraq Communist Party (ICP) was a participant. Some Kurdish and independent progressive groups also included in PNF. Politics of opposition outside PNF banned for all practical purposes.
Administrative Divisions: In 1988 eighteen governorates or provinces, each divided into districts and subdistricts. Limited self-rule was granted to Kurds in three northern governorates officially known as Autonomous Region (see Glossary) and popularly known as Kurdistan (land of the Kurds).
Judicial System: Administratively under jurisdiction of Ministry of Justice but theoretically independent under the Constitution. All judges appointed by president. Court of Cassation, highest court of land; personal status disputes handled by religious community courts (Islamic law--or sharia, or other). Country divided into five appellate districts.
International Affairs: Major issue was war with Iran since 1980 and attempts at a peace settlement, which resulted in cease-fire in August 1988. In 1980s Iraq moved from close friendship with Soviet Union to rapprochement with United States (diplomatic relations reestablished in 1984), cordial relations with Western Europe, especially France, and good relations with Persian Gulf states and Jordan. Iraqi relations with Syria, which supported Iran in the war, were cool.
Data as of May 1988