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Country Guides for The Middle East

Iraq

Iraq Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by Britain during the course of World War I; in 1920, it was declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration. In stages over the next dozen years, Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom in 1932. A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality a series of military strongmen have ruled the country since then, the latest being SADDAM Husayn. Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight-year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait, but was expelled by US-led, UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections. Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years resulted in the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. Coalition forces remain in Iraq, helping to restore degraded infrastructure and facilitating the establishment of a freely elected government.

Source: CIA World Factbook

The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in the Middle East depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. You should observe the precautions listed in this document in most areas of this region. However, in highly developed areas of Israel, you should observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States.

Travelers’ diarrhea, the number one illness in travelers, can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.

Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including some cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites.

Travelers to malaria-risk areas, including infants, children, and former residents of the Middle East, should take an antimalarial drug. Travelers to some areas of Iran, Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, and Yemen may be at risk for malaria. There is no risk of malaria in Bahrain, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Chloroquine is the recommended antimalarial drug for Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

Travelers to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen should take one of the following antimalarial drugs: (listed alphabetically): atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine (in special circumstances).

In Oman, the risk of malaria is in the Musandam Province only; because the risk is very limited, no antimalarial drug is needed in this area.

Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, and plague are diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Protecting yourself against insect bites will help to prevent these diseases.

There is no risk for yellow fever in the Middle East. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. For detailed information, see Comprehensive Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements. Also, find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.

CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
  • Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months, or be exposed through medical treatment.
  • Meningococcal vaccine is required for pilgrims to Mecca for the annual Hajj. However, CDC currently recommends the vaccine for all travelers to Mecca, including those traveling for the Umra.
  • Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
  • Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles, and a one-time dose of polio for adults. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11–12 years who have not completed the series.

All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water.
  • Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.
  • Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Don’t eat or drink dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
  • Don’t share needles with anyone.
  • Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
  • Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is particularly dangerous to persons who have liver disease or compromised immune systems.

To stay healthy, do...

  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an “absolute 1-micron or less” filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. “Absolute 1-micron filters” are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • If you visit an area where there is risk for malaria, take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your doctor for a prescription.)
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
    • Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn. This is when the type of mosquito whose bite transmits malaria is active.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
    • Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
    • Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
    • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
    • Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
    • Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
    • DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
    • Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
  • To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Download Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by CountryDownload Magellan's Chart of Insect Protection and Water Purification Needs by Country

AREAS OF INSTABILITY/SAFETY AND SECURITY: Remnants of the former Baath regime, transnational terrorists, and criminal elements remain active throughout Iraq. Coalition-led military operations continue, and there continue to be attacks against Coalition forces throughout the country. While a number of attacks have been concentrated in Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, Tikrit, Bayji, Baqubah, Mosul and Kirkuk, the security environment across Iraq remains volatile and unpredictable. Attacks on Coalition forces as well as civilian targets can occur at any time, especially during nighttime hours. There has been an increase in the use of Improvised Explosive Devices and/or mines on roads, particularly in plastic bags, soda cans, and animal carcasses. Grenades and explosives have been thrown into vehicles from overpasses, particularly in crowded areas.

Large demonstrations have occurred in Baghdad and other areas of the country, some of which have turned violent. Security conditions are improving, but demonstrations and civil strife are likely to continue into the near future. Detailed security information is available at http://www.security.advisor@us.army.mil.

U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Iraq, and Public Announcements can be found.

CRIME INFORMATION: The CPA is working with Iraqi police to establish law enforcement and civil structures throughout the country. U.S. and British military personnel are providing police protection as well as the security situation permits. Petty theft is common in Iraq, including thefts of money, jewelry, or valuable items left in hotel rooms and pickpocketing in busy places such as markets. Carjackings by armed thieves are increasing, even during daylight hours.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police or coalition military personnel and to the U.S. consular officer in Baghdad. Where needed, the U.S. consular officer may be able to assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends, and explain how funds could be transferred.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlets are available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, or via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.



Source: U.S. Department of State

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 c

Source: CIA World Factbook

Iraq's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.

To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.

For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.

Download Magellan's Guide to World Electrical ConnectionsDownload Magellan's Guide to World Electrical Connections

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A person seeking entry to Iraq must appear before an authorized officer of the CPA at a port of entry, border control station, or at any place designated by the Senior Advisor of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, in coordination with the Interim Minister of the Interior, for examination to determine whether the person may be granted entry to Iraq. Officers issue permits valid for up to 90 days, which may be renewed at CPA offices in Iraq. Permits will eventually be issued by Iraqi missions abroad.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.



Source: U.S. Department of State

The time zone for Iraq is 3 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Iraq would be 8:00 pm

The unit of currency in Iraq is the Iraqi dinar (IQD).

Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter

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