Transportation was one of the Iraqi economy's most active sectors in the late 1980s; it was allocated a large share of the domestic development budget because it was important to the government for several reasons. Logistics became a crucial factor in Iraq's conduct of the Iran-Iraq War. The government also recognized that transportation bottlenecks limited industrial development more than any other factor. Finally, the government believed that an expanded transportation system played an important political role by promoting regional integration and by heightening the central government's presence in the more remote provinces. For these reasons, the government embarked on an ambitious plan to upgrade and to extend road, rail, air, and river transport simultaneously. Iraq's main transportation axis ran roughly northwest to southeast from Mosul via Kirkuk to Baghdad, and then south to Basra and the Gulf. In the 1980s, efforts were underway to link Baghdad more closely with the Euphrates River basin to the west.
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