The level of border control differs between countries and changes from one time to another.
On the 1,458-kilometer (906-mile) Iraq-Iran border, the smuggling of weapons, drugs and people has always been a major and unsolvable problem. Most smuggling takes place in the south: in Basra, Amarah — where there are large stretches of marshes and swamps on the border — and Wasit, and through some smuggling routes in the north.
Until recently, the smuggling across the 242-kilometer (150-mile) Iraq-Kuwait border was about wines and people. But after the second Gulf War, when international observers deployed there, conditions on the short border became more complicated.
The 814-kilometer (506-mile) Iraqi-Saudi border, which extends across the vast Western Desert, was open for decades for nomads but also for smugglers and drug traffickers coming from Iran and Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia — a practice that is still going on.
The sheep trade was a major smuggling route along the 181-kilometer (112-mile) Iraq-Jordan border — which is short compared to that of other countries — making smugglers less active there.
After 2003, the 605-kilometer (376-mile) Iraq-Syria border has been the most eventful and was considered the most dangerous because it was being used by al-Qaeda fighters and for weapons smuggling. Before 2003, things were not much better on that border.
The 331-kilometer (205-mile) Iraq-Turkey border has been the source of a permanent crisis between the two countries, because it was being used by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters to conduct operations inside Turkey. That border has for decades been a battleground with the Turkish government, which has repeatedly complained about it.
The Iraqi borders are complicated. They have always facilitated the spread of the smuggling profession — especially in the border towns — which often share social and historic ties with the towns on the other side of the border.