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Baghdad Monuments

During the 1970's and 1980's money from oil revenues was allocated to building of new monuments in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein laid out new ceremonial avenues and ordered large monuments raised at the city's major intersections. He has built two victory arches in the capital, an unknown soldier's tomb, a martyrs' memorial and dozens of small statues and fountains. An amusement park is located at the martyr's memorial, a playground is next to the triumphal arches, and a theater is located within the complex of the triumphal arches. According to Kanan Makiya [writing under the pen name Samir Al-Khalil], author of The Monument: Art, Vulgarity and Responsibility in Iraq (1991), many of Iraq's war memorials were commissioned before the supposed victories they celebrate were even declared.

Certain types of property are identified by the laws of war as exempt from attack (unless misused) or seizure. The exemptions are made on both an humanitarian (schools and hospitals), cultural (museums and monuments) and legal order (prevention of looting and pillaging) basis. The following sections deal with those exemptions based upon property types. Note, however, that the protection is not absolute. There must be some reasonably close connection between the destruction of property and the overcoming of the enemy's army. during the Gulf War the Allies avoided bombing numerous Iraqi cultural monuments, including the statute of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

According to General Schwarzkopf [It Doesn't Take A Hero, (Bantam, 1992) p. 455] "I had spoken to Powell regularly throughout the day. ...At ten p.m., I called to give him a final update. I was tired; at the end of the conversation I heard myself say how much I'd like to blow up the giant Saddam statue and the Victory Arch in downtown Baghdad. The Victory Arch, a monument to the war against Iran, was a huge sculpture of two hands, said to be Saddam's, holding two swords crossed. We'd spared both the statue and the Victory Arch during the air campaign because they weren't military targets. To my surprise, Powell was all for it-- although he suggested we check with the president first. Pentagon lawyers vetoed the idea a couple of days later..."

Monument to the Unknown Soldier

The Monument to the Unknown Soldier is said to be inspired by the glorification of a martyr from the Iran-Iraq war. What looks like to many as a flying saucer frozen in midflight, represents a traditional shield (diraša) dropping from the dying grasp of an Iraqi warrior. The monument also houses an underground museum. The artificial hill is shaped like a low, truncated cone of 250 m diameter. It is surrounded by slanting girders of triangular section that are covered with marble. Red granite, stepped platforms of elliptical form lead to the dome and cubic sculpture. The steel flagpole is entirely covered with Murano glass panels fixed on stainless steel arms and displaying the national flag colours. The cantilevered dome is 42m in diameter and follows an inclination of 12 degrees. It's external surface is cladded with copper, while its inner surface features a soffit finished with pyramidal modules alternating steel and copper. The promenade is covered by a semi-circular, flat roof supported on a triangular steel bracing. The roof is covered with a copper sheet and the soffit displays V-shapped panels of stainless steel and Murano glass.

Monument to the Unknown Soldier Monument to the Unknown Soldier

Monument to the Unknown Soldier Monument to the Unknown Soldier Monument to the Unknown Soldier Monument to the Unknown Soldier

Shaheed Monument

The Shaheed Monument, opened in 1983, commemorates Iraqi soldiers killed in the Iran-Iraq war. Muhammad at-Turki's elegant martyr's monument is a circular platform 190 meters in diameter, that sits in the middle of a huge artificial lake. It features an enormous turquoise tiled dome, resembling those topping Baghdad's mosques. The dome is split down the middle, with the two halves offset, and the walls of the dome sheltering an eternal flame. A national memorial in honour of Iraqi war heroes on a site comprising green areas, a children's playground, car parks, walkways and bridges, and a lake. Amid the lake is an island of two circular platforms - one above the other - on which the monument is set. The monument is a 40m shell split in two and slided to form an inverted and disjoined S in plan. Inside one of the dome shells is a circular water pool that cascades its contents to the courtyard below. The structure built on two levels under the platform comprises: a museum, a library, a cafeteria, lecture hall, exhibition gallery and support facilities. The shells are constructed of a galvanised steel frame with glazed ceramic tile cladding pre-cast in carbon fiber reinforced concrete.

The Martyr's Monument is just two miles east of the central Jumhuriya Bridge over the Tigris river. Baghdad has many parks, of which Zawra park is the most popular. There are also several great monuments, of which the Martyr's Monument of 1983 is the most impressive, with a 50 metre high split green dome at its centre. The areas beyond the Army Canal in the east have been allocated for low-income housing development, housing 20-30% of the city's population.

On page 23 of his book The Monument, Mr. Kanan Makiya wrote ( as Samir Al Khalil) of the reaction of Kenneth Armitrage after he visited the Martyr's Monument "Kenneth Armitrage, the internationally renowned sculptor, is said to have been so overwhelmed by it during a visit in 1986, that he hugged the artist in a fit of emotion quite uncharacteristic of an Englishman."

By late January 2004 engineers from the 1st Armored Division were midway through an $800 million project to build half a dozen camps for the incoming 1st Cavalry Division. Various ministry officials are working for the transfer of places such as the Martyr's Monument, Baghdad Island amusement park and government buildings back to Iraqi users.

Shaheed Martyr's Monument Shaheed Martyr's Monument Shaheed Martyr's Monument Shaheed Martyr's Monument Shaheed Martyr's Monument

Hands of Victory

Hands of Victory Monument

Hands of Victory

To celebrate his "victory" over Iran, Saddam decided to build a Triumphal Arch. The concept of a triumphal arch is a European import, without precedent in the Middle East since Roman times.

The colossal Hands of Victory monument has dominated Baghdad's skyline since the end of the Iran-Iraq war. Built in duplicate, it marks the entrances to a large new parade ground in central Baghdad, towering 140 feet above the highway. The triumphal arch is shaped as two pairs of crossed swords, made from the guns of dead Iraqi soldiers that were melted and recast as the 24-ton blades of the swords. Captured Iranian helmets are in a net held between the swords. And surrounding the base of the arms are another 5,000 Iranian helmets taken from the battle field. The fists that hold the swords aloft are replicas of Saddam Hussein's own hands. The German company that built the monument, H+H Metalform, said it was given a photograph of Saddam's own forearms to use as a model.

When Saddam inaugurated these triumphal arches, he rode under them on a white horse - an allusion to the steed of Hussein, the Shi'ite Muslim hero martyred at nearby Kerbala. The day before the first bombing run on Bhagdad during the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi TV showed a mass of Iraqi soldiers marching beneath the huge crossed swords of the Victory Arch, to the theme music from 'Star Wars'. In April 1998 Iraq's "volunteer army" paraded for six hours in Baghdad's "Grand Festivities Square," the large outdoor arena marked by the two sets of enormous crossed swords.

Camp War Eagle / Camp Eagle

Camp War Eagle, initially home to the 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, is located in Tisa Nissan [9th of April] District, Baghdad, Iraq. The neighborhood of Sabah Nissan (7th of April) was renamed to Tissa Nissan (9th of April), to commemorate the day coalition forces entered Baghdad.

In June 2003 the 1st Brigade of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division sectors in Baghdad covered an area beside the Tigris River that includes the neighborhoods of Adhamiya, Rusafa, Sabah Nissan and Karadah, where more than 1 million Iraqis -- Sunnis, Shiites and Christians -- live.

By August 2003 living conditions at Camp War Eagle were getting better everyday. The most recent, and most appreciated change to Camp War Eagle has been the installations of Air Conditioners and Generators through out the Camp. The other major additions are a new basketball court. No matter how hot it gets in Baghdad, the soldiers seem to find a way to play a little ball. Life is getting better and the soldiers are appreciating the comforts they rightfully deserve.

Solicitations for Iraqi police recruits began in mid-November 2003. One recruiting site was at Camp War Eagle in Baghdad's Ninth of April district.

The 1st Squadron [War Eagle squadron] of 2 ACR maintained one of the most stable and secure areas of responsibility in the theatre. The most notable mission the War Eagles conducted was the integration of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corp. These goals have been pushed down to 1st Squadron. The training of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) is a significant success. The Iraqi public is responding to the ICDC, with open arms. Seeing Iraqi men in uniform once again give these people a sense of pride the old regime could never have gained before.

The various advisory councils in the area enjoyed success that is indicative of the hard work and desire the population have to embrace a legitimate government. This shows that the self-governorship of Iraq can be a reality. The squadron secured the UN compound and served as a deterrent to future attacks to this facility. The defense of the UN has been a major mission since the attack on the UN on 19 August 2003. Since the Squadron took over operations at the UN, there was not be a successful attack on UN grounds.

In November 2003 the squadron completed a basketball tournament on its state of the art basketball court. The competition was fierce, but in the end there can only be one. Cobra turned out to be the kings of Camp War Eagle. Both teams in the finals were from the battery. Cobra 1 was the final victory of the tournament. With the success of the basketball tournament the squadron is now holding a horseshoe tournament. The competition is just as fierce, and we are all going to have to wait and see it the battery can make it two for two.

By early 2004 many US soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers were fully engaged with training and serving as advisors to the 9th Iraqi Civil Defense Battalion - the "Freedom Battalion." The 9th Battalion was about 610 men strong and is becoming fully integrated into Coalition operations aimed at providing a secure and safe environment for the Iraqi people.

Infrastructure projects continue to be one of the top priorities within the Tisa Nissan District. Reconstruction/construction of Sewers and water lines is underway in many parts of the District.

The base camp continued to expand. New barracks were being constructed for follow-on US forces and an area of the camp specifically designed for two ICDC battalions that was to be headquartered here was nearly complete. The MWR room opened, and featured a fruit smoothy bar, serve hot wings, pizza and other snack items. We are adding 8 more pay phones, and by mid-February the Camp had a KBR Dining Facility [ "a Ryan's on Steroids"..really great chow complete with a short order line for those that feel the need for Double Cheese Burgers, Philly Cheese Steaks, French fries, and onion rings]. Troops work around the clock, so the new dining facility will serve 4 meals per day..one of the meals from 2300-0100. The facility features ice cream and a complete soup, salad and dessert bar. Luckily, the gym facilities continue to improve with added weight equipment.

By late January 2004 engineers from the 1st Armored Division were midway through an $800 million project to build half a dozen camps for the incoming 1st Cavalry Division. Army planners expected to finish by 15 March 2004. The new outposts, dubbed Enduring Camps, will improve living quarters for soldiers and allow the military to return key infrastructure sites within the Iraqi capital to the emerging government, military leaders said. "The plan is for the camps to last five to 10 years," said Col. Lou Marich, commander of the 1st AD engineers. "They will last longer if we take care of them." Moving to the outskirts of town is meant to allow Iraqi police and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps to take a lead role in the city's security. Camps Dragoon and War Eagle combined are to have room for about 2,200.

The 1st Brigade 1st Cavalry operated from a very small but well secured base on the east side of the Tigris river. These were pretty good facilities and the soldiers continued to make improvements to the living conditions everyday. With the summer upon them, they started having days with high's in the 100's, so they were thankful to have plenty of power generation and air-conditioning in almost every building. They had PLENTY of bottled and bulk water and even have refrigerators and ice to keep it cold! It is pretty good living, for a combat zone.

Camp Hope / FOB Hope / Camp Al-Amal

In March of 2006 control of FOB Hope was transferred to Iraqi control. From FOB Hope Iraqi military and police will conduct operations in the area known as Sadr City .

In mid-September 2004, as part of an Army-wide effort to give its facilities around Baghdad friendlier connotations, Camp Eagle was renamed Camp Hope, with its Arabic translation "Camp Al-Amal".

Inter-service ribbing is a way of life in the military, and more specifically for a detachment of airmen who found themselves surrounded by the Army at Camp Hope (formerly known as Camp Eagle) in eastern Baghdad [in North Eastern Iraq]. Detachment 3, 732nd Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron, United States Air Force, is attached to the 1st Cavalry Division. Their task at Camp Hope is remodeling latrine and shower facilities in the barracks.

Two soldiers assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, serving as part of Task Force Lancer, received the Silver Star Medal during a Sept. 30 ceremony at Camp Hope. Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Swope, a platoon sergeant in the battalion's Company C, and Staff Sgt. Robert Miltenberger, a dismounted squad leader in Company A, were presented their medals by Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, commanding general of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, for "exceptional valor in combat during Operation Lancer Fury." Operation Lancer Fury took place in early April in Baghdad's Shi'ite neighborhood, known as "Sadr City." The operation was a response to the first violent insurgency by rebel Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia.

Camp Volunteer / Camp Provider

The military changes the names of the camps as new units move in, though no one seems know why or how this occurs. Prior to around May 2004 Camp Volunteer was previously known as Camp Provider. Camp Volunteer is in the Olympic Training Center on the East side of Baghdad. The complex contains a variety of buildings, including a soccer stadium, tennis arena, swimming, and gymnastics. Immediately adjacent to it is the Police College, which consists of about forty buildings.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:47:36 ZULU