Tikrit is 100 miles northwest of Baghdad on the Tigris.
Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti was born on April 28, 1937 to a landless peasant family in the village of al-Awja, on the outskirts of Tikrit. Saddam has gradually installed the 'mob from Tikrit', his small home town. Trying to surround himself with people he can trust, a large part of Saddam's ruling elite hails from Tikrit. Since the early 1970s, Saddam fortified his position by recruiting young men from his hometown. The innermost circle was recruited from the Al Bu Nasir the tribe to which both Saddam belonged.
Salah al Din al Ayubi [Saladin] was born in 1138 in Tikrit. Saladin, a Kurdish warrior, became the Sultan of Egypt and champion of Islam. Salah al Din became a legend in the East and West for his role in clearing the Crusaders from Jerusalem. His capture of Jerusalem, and the Muslim triumph which followed, gave him a remarkable place in the pages of history. The rise of a new, unified Islamic state centered in Egypt was galvanized by the skilled leadership of Saladin.
The First Crusade captured Jerusalem June 1099, amid a horrible massacre of the inhabitants. In 1174 Saladin began his expansion of territories. In just twelve years he had Damascus, Syria, Alleppo, Mawsil and Iraq. Saladin united the efforts of Egypt and Baghdad, and preached to the Moslem world to rise in a Jihad, a Holy War, a counter crusade, of all the Moslems against the Christians. Gathering a large force of Muslims of various groups -- all called Saracens by the Christians -- Saladin set out to attack the Christians. Saladin attacked the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187, and after 3 months of fighting he got control over the city.
When Jerusalem fell to Saladin, all of Christendom called for a new crusade. In 1189 the nations of western Europe launched the Third Crusade to win back the holy city. During the Third Crusade led by King Richard the Lionhearted, the King arranged for supplies to be accumulated and ships used to deliver them to his troops as they marched along the coast. Thus he managed to defeat Saladin, the great Moslem general. Unfortunately, Saladin also understood logistics. When Richard finally had to march inland to besiege Jerusalem, he found that Saladin had stripped the countryside bare of food and fodder. The wells had been poisoned and Richard realized that his army would fall apart from starvation if he tried to besiege Jerusalem. The crusaders had to settle for a treaty with Saladin that guaranteed Christian pilgrims access to the Holy Places.
The death of Saladin in 1193 led Pope Innocent III to inaugurate the Fourth Crusade, but the Christians were never to recover from their defeat. The Ayyubid dynasty, founded by Salah al-Din ibn Ayyub [Saladin] ruled Egypt and Syria from 1169 (564 H) to 1250 (648 H) the Ayyubids . In some regions of upper Mesopotamia and the Yemen their rule continued to the end of the 15th century.
The Capture of Tikrit was one of the final significant engagements fought on the Mesopotamian Front. It was fought in the wake of the decisive combined Anglo-Indian success at the Battle of Ramadi in September 1917.
Tikrit Military Base
The new Iraqi Army of 40,000 persons require basing facilities at 18 locations. Prospective Military Bases to re-construct include Tikrit.
Camp Packhorse is on the other side of Tikrit from Camp Speicher. There are about 500 soldiers here. As of September 2003 things were pretty basic at the camp here. This camp is relatively new and a lot of the soldiers are in un-airconditioned tents. The MWR (Morale, Recreation and Welfare) tent is air-conditioned, and still about 95 degrees inside the mid-September. The tent sits next to what apparently was a horse stable that Saddam used, it is peppered with bullet holes and bomblet craters. The shower is a wooden enclosure and the water is warm.
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