"The neighborhood of Bab al Sheik
dates from a time, more than a thousand years ago, when Baghdad ruled the Islamic world... Ten centuries later, Bab al Sheik is less grand, but still extraordinary: it has been spared the sectarian killing that has gutted other neighborhoods, and Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians live together here with unusual ease." A NY Times
story (by Sabrina Tavernise and Karim Hilmi) about interesting people in an interesting place. (Print version
for them as wants one.)
posted by languagehat
on Nov 13, 2007 -
Iranian envoy wounds 'confirmed':
The head of the International Red Cross in Tehran, Peter Stoeker, says he saw wounds on an Iranian diplomat who has alleged that US forces in Iraq tortured him. There were marks on Jalal Sharafi's feet, legs, back and nose. [photos
On 4 February soldiers from the Iraqi army 36th Commando battalion in Baghdad, considered to be under American control, had seized Jalal Sharafi, while he was carrying a videogame
, a gift for his daughter. Read more about the US secret operations against Iranians in Iraq in an exclusive report
by The Independent.
posted by hoder
on Apr 11, 2007 -
Construction of the largest embassy on Earth
will shortly be completed in Iraq. Roughly the size of Vatican City, and previously estimated to cost nearly 1 billion, (later reduced to a mere 592 million
), this remarkable feat of engineering "...will have its own water wells, electricity plant and wastewater-treatment facility, 'systems to allow 100 percent independence from city utilities,' says the report..."
posted by Avenger
on Mar 24, 2007 -
The Bookseller's Story, Ending Much Too Soon.
Anthony Shadid of the Washington Post
writes about Mohammed Hayawi, "a bald bear of a man," who ran the Renaissance Bookstore on "Baghdad's storied Mutanabi Street." Back in 2005, Phillip Robertson wrote a Salon article
about Al Mutanabbi Street, "Baghdad's legendary literary cafe, the Shabandar, " and Hajji Qais Anni's stationery store: "Hajji Qais had been on Al Mutanabbi street for 10 years and the vendors all knew him... He wore a beard and was also known as a devout Sunni who had no problem hiring Shia workers or spending time with Christian colleagues." Both Hayawi and Hajji Qais were killed by bombs, the cafe has been gutted, and the street that "embodied a generation-old saying: Cairo writes, Beirut publishes, Baghdad reads" is no longer its old self. "When the Mongols sacked Baghdad in 1258, it was said that the Tigris River ran red one day, black another. The red came from the blood of nameless victims, massacred by ferocious horsemen. The black came from the ink of countless books from libraries and universities. Last Monday, the bomb on Mutanabi Street detonated at 11:40 a.m. The pavement was smeared with blood. Fires that ensued sent up columns of dark smoke, fed by the plethora of paper." Two views of a part of Baghdad that doesn't make the news much.
posted by languagehat
on Mar 13, 2007 -
A Dweller in Mesopotamia.
Donald Maxwell was Official Artist to the Admiralty during World War I, and the end of the war found him in what was then called Mesopotamia (now Iraq); he compiled the sketches and paintings he did there into a book which Project Gutenberg has put online. I'm posting it for the frequently beautiful images, but the text is interesting too. He says Baghdad and Basra don't live up to the Westerner's romantic preconceptions ("The first general impression of Basra is that of an unending series of quays along a river not unlike the Thames at Tilbury"), but he also describes age-old scenes that are now gone for good. (Via wood s lot
, one of the few sites I visit every day.)
posted by languagehat
on Mar 24, 2006 -
'...Today, such famous sites as the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, the ziggurat at Ur, the temple precinct at Babylon, and a ninth-century spiral minaret at Samarra have been scarred by violence, while equally important ancient sites, particularly in the southern provinces, are being ravaged by looters who work day and night to fuel an international art market hungry for antiquities. Historic districts in urban areas have also suffered from vandalism, looting, and artillery fire. In response to such widespread damage and continuing threats to our collective cultural heritage and the significance of the sites at risk, World Monument Fund
has taken the unprecedented step of including the entire country of Iraq
on its 2006 list of 100 Most Endangered Sites
.'The 2003- Iraq War & Archaeology
The Smash of Civilizations
posted by y2karl
on Jul 8, 2005 -
Logistical issues threaten to undermine Iraqi elections. "I just can't see how we can hold these elections," an American consultant working with Iraqi election planners said on the condition of anonymity."
I found out about this story, btw, from someone working on the elections in Baghdad. They write:
"We've got a leak. Someone, an American, is talking to the press. And ___ is *pissed*. It's a good article, though... er, even though I'm not commenting on it. Or expressing an opinion. But if you've got any interest in these elections, you should read it."
They also cited several of the problems they are having:
"Because our meal times are regulated by (KBR), it only allows us about five hours a day . . . with our Iraqi counterparts. Iraqis bolt for home at around 3 PM to avoid being shot in the head or blown up . . . After a mortar attack, car bomb, or any other security related exercise, the US military shuts down the Iraqna mobile phone network . . . We have become the focal point for . . . everything that the Iraqi staff cannot handle . . . which includes getting people (and) equipment into the building, getting water (and) lunch for day laborers, preventing mass resignations due to salary disputes, replacing windows broken by car bombs, removing trash, cleaning toilets, fixing locks, moving (and unpacking) boxes . . . It makes it difficult to get our actual jobs done, although I have forgotten what those are."
posted by insomnia_lj
on Dec 13, 2004 -
Yesterday, Mazen al-Tomasi, a reporter for Al-Arabiya, was broadcasting live from the scene
of a carbombed Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which had attracted a crowd of locals. While making his report, a sudden noise came from behind Mazen
Two Apache helicopters flew in overhead, and one of them started attacking the crowd
, with their guns. The crowd, which included several small children, tried to run away. A helicopter launched a missile...
Mazen al-Tomasi was struck by shrapnel
from the blast on live television. His cameraman, Seif Fouad, fell down from the force of the explosion. Mazen's blood spattered across the camera's lens
and the screams of the dying and injured were heard. Mazen screamed to Seif for help: "Seif, Seif! I'm going to die. I'm going to die."
Seif grabbed Mazen and started to pull him out of harm's way. Suddenly, another missile was launched, and Seif was hit by shrapnel in the leg and abdomen. Seif, seriously wounded, watched his friend Mazen die soon afterwards. Twelve were killed, 61 wounded in the attack.
A US military spokesman said the helicopters opened fire after coming under attack from the crowd, and that they fired to prevent looters from stripping the vehicle. That said, the vehicle was burning too badly to be stripped, and the television footage showed no evidence of any shooting from the ground, or indeed, any armed Iraqis whatsoever. The full video of this is was seen by millions of Arabs and is apparently something that Reuters has the rights to -- Saif works for Reuters -- but something tells me that it will never make the evening news.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Sep 13, 2004 -
How to Get Out of Iraq
by Peter GalbraithMuch of what went wrong was avoidable. Focused on winning the political battle to start a war, the Bush administration failed to anticipate the postwar chaos in Iraq. Administration strategy seems to have been based on a hope that Iraq's bureaucrats and police would simply transfer their loyalty to the new authorities, and the country's administration would continue to function. All experience in Iraq suggested that the collapse of civil authority was the most likely outcome, but there was no credible planning for this contingency. In fact, the US effort to remake Iraq never recovered from its confused start when it failed to prevent the looting of Baghdad in the early days of the occupation.
posted by y2karl
on Apr 26, 2004 -
Where is Raed?
Salam Pax's pal Raed Jarrar now has his own Blogspot site, Raed in the Middle
, after some guest posts on Salam's blog. Foreboding political commentary (scroll down to "Three Smart Political Steps") on how AlSadr is making shrewd moves to unite Sunnis and Shi'as against American forces. In addition, Raed translates diary entries from his mother Faiza
, who also Teaches you Arabic
posted by planetkyoto
on Apr 13, 2004 -
The battle the US wants to provoke
Make no mistake: this is not the "civil war" that Washington has been predicting will break out between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. Rather, it is a war provoked by the US occupation authority and waged by its forces against the growing number of Shia who support Moqtada al-Sadr (by Naomi Klein in Baghdad).
posted by acrobat
on Apr 6, 2004 -
Iraqi official shot dead over parking violation. U.S. military officials said Tuesday that U.S. soldiers shot to death the chairman of Sadr City's governing council during a heated argument this week.... Officials said the quarrel got under way Monday when the chairman, Mohannad Ghazi al Kaabi, tried to park his car near the District Advisory Council building in an area closed to traffic.
Do you suppose this might have a negative impact on public opinion in Iraq?
posted by ilsa
on Nov 11, 2003 -
“The Baghdad Bulletin is Iraq’s only English-language newsmagazine and one of the country’s only independent publications. The third issue (published Monday, July 7) is now being distributed across Iraq and in Jordan.” They have a short bit about how Chemical Ali may have escaped
posted by raaka
on Jul 11, 2003 -
Nuke components found in Baghdad back yard.
U.S. officials say it is no smoking gun but investigators point out that there is no way they would ever have found these components buried in a barrel in a back yard under a rose garden for 12 years unless someone such as this Iraqi scientist came forward.
posted by Ron
on Jun 25, 2003 -
new baghdad blogger
Salim Pax's friend G. now has his own blog. The writing isn't nearly as tight, but the one entry so far is intresting
posted by delmoi
on Jun 8, 2003 -
Oh never mind....
The vast majority of antiquities feared stolen or broken have been found inside the National Museum in Baghdad, according to American investigators who compiled an inventory over the weekend of the ransacked galleries. A total of 38 pieces, not tens of thousands, are now believed to be missing, according the Chicago Tribune. Can this be true? Registration required.
posted by Durwood
on May 5, 2003 -
Iraqi teen shares her diary of war
In an Iraqi teenager's youthful hand, Amal wrote her war diary, committing to the pages of her orange journal the emotions of a family at Baghdad's ground zero. Amal's diary - often written by lamplight using the floor as a table - charts how some Iraqis' thinking has been transformed in a month.
posted by turbanhead
on May 3, 2003 -
A dissappearing history.
The National Museum of Iraq
recorded a history of civilizations that began to flourish in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia more than 7,000 years ago. But once American troops entered Baghdad in sufficient force to topple Saddam Hussein's government this week, it took only 48 hours for the museum to be destroyed, with at least 170,000 artifacts carried away by looters.
posted by the fire you left me
on Apr 12, 2003 -
Policeman to the World? Andrew Buncombe
in Nasiriyah reports on this "liberated" city "where looters run wild and death stalks the streets."
"While much of the Iraqi army and Fedayeen militia may have been destroyed or forced underground, the city has been given over to lawlessness and looting. Yesterday, the Saddam Hospital itself was pillaged by a gang of 20 armed looters, who made off with a haul of drugs. They even looted several of the hospital's ambulances.
What is clear is that Nasiriyah is neither safe nor secure. If this is an example of how the war will unfold in other cities throughout Iraq, it does not bode well.
posted by Dunvegan
on Apr 4, 2003 -
Rumsfeld helped Saddam during war with Iran,
while they had precise information about daily use of chemical weapons such as mustard gas, nerve gas, anthrax, and sarin. He met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad and passed on the US willingness to help his regime and restore full diplomatic relations, in order to help Iraq win the war. [source: Guardian]
posted by hoder
on Dec 30, 2002 -
Deep, way deep inside Iraq
This aired very recently on PBS but I just caught it online -- the link is the second of four video clips following U.K. journalist Sam Kiley reporting on perception and reality in Jordan and Iraq and contains the most horrific footage of Saddam supporters you're likely to ever see. Be warned, it's not pretty.
posted by subpixel
on Nov 25, 2002 -