Iraq: A Leap in Oil Exports, Accelerated Economic Growth and Implications

Yitzhak Gal discusses Iraq's rapid economic growth, stemming from a leap in oil exports, and its implications for the region.

This year marks a decade since Saddam Hussein's downfall, which ended thirty years of economic destruction. The long war with Iran (1980-1988), the two Gulf Wars with the United States (1991 and 2003) and the near decade of harsh international sanctions between these two wars – all had an enormous economic toll. At the end of Saddam Hussein's rule, Iraq's GDP per capita, was a third lower than it was in the early 1980's, while most Arab states' GDP doubled or tripled in size during the same timespan. As a result, Iraq went from being one of the wealthiest, most developed Arab states into one of the poorest...In the first years after Saddam Hussein’s downfall, the Iraqi economy stabilized, despite political and security difficulties. Moreover, since the beginning of the current decade, Iraq has enjoyed an accelerated economic growth, caused by a leap in oil exports. These processes have important implications – both in the regional context and in the context of the global oil market.