The geography of Iraq is diverse and falls into four main regions: the desert (west of the Euphrates), Upper Mesopotamia (between the upper Tigris and Euphrates rivers), the northern highlands of Iraqi Kurdistan, and Lower Mesopotamia, the alluvial plain extending from around Tikrit to the Persian Gulf. The mountains in the northeast are an extension of the alpine system that runs eastward from the Balkans. The desert is in the southwest and central provinces along the borders with Saudi Arabia and Jordan and geographically belongs with the Arabian Peninsula.
Spanning 437,072 km2 (168,754 sq mi), it is the 58th-largest country in the world. It is comparable in size to the US state of California and somewhat larger than Paraguay. Iraq mainly consists of desert, but near the two major rivers (Euphrates and Tigris) are fertile alluvial plains, as the rivers carry about 60,000,000 m3 of silt annually to the delta. The north of the country is mostly composed of mountains; the highest point being at 3,611 m (11,847 ft) point. Iraq has a small coastline measuring 58 km (36 mi) along the Persian Gulf. Close to the coast and along the Shatt al-Arab, there used to be marshlands, but many were drained in the 1990s.