The city of Mosul was predominantly Kurdish but had a substantial non-Kurdish minority. This minority consists of Iraqis sympathetic to the Saddam Hussein regime. The Iraqis as well as both Kurdish factions are Sunni Muslims. Although the Kurds and Iraqis share a common religion they have little else in common and are frequent adversaries. After the deployment of US forces in 2003, militant members of both the the PKU (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) and the KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party) were suspected of reprisals against Iraqis in Mosul.
With a rich ancient Assyrian history, Mosul was a historically important trade center linking Persia and the Mediterranean. In the 8th century, Mosul became the principal city of northern Mesopotamia under the early Muslim Abbasid dynasty. In the Ottoman period it was one of the provincial seats of administration. The largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, Mosul was predominantly Kurdish with a sizeable Turkomen minority. The Yazidi sect was most numerous in the surrounding mountainous area. Mosul also has the largest number of Iraqi Christians of any Iraqi city, including Nestorians, Jacobites, Catholics and Chaldeans. There are churches in Mosul that are historically and culturally important for several of these Christian sects.
Mosul [Arabic: 'al-mawsil] was the location of the headquarters of the Iraqi Army 5th Corps and the 16th Infantry Division of the Iraqi Army 5th Corps.
The territory of modern Iraq is roughly equivalent to that of ancient Mesopotamia, which fostered a succession of early civilizations. The history of Mesopotamia began with the civilization of the Sumerians around 5000 BC in the southern region of Iraq. In 2371 BC, King Sargon Of Akkad asserted control of the region and established the first Assyrian dynasty. The Assyrians ruled the region and expanded its territories to include modern Turkey, Iran, Syria and Israel. The Assyrian empire reigned until the fall of its capital Nineveh (modern day Mosul) in 612 BC.
Mosul was Iraq's third largest city, with approximately 665,000 inhabitants as of 1987. It was situated some 400km north of Baghdad situated on the west bank of Tigris, and close to the ruined Assyrian city of Nineveh. Many of the people of Mosul and its environs are Assyrians, though they are not the Assyrians of old. The city is sometimes described as the Pearl of the North. It differs considerably from the other cites of Iraq in its architecture: marble is ubiquitous, especially in frames of windows or doors. The city has kept an oriental character that Baghdad has lost: its older part was preserved, with its tortuous streets. There was an old center to Mosul with narrow, shady alleys of mud-plastered houses but much of the city consists of prosperous looking suburbs with large, square concrete houses surrounded by walled gardens. Some of them are extravagant mansions with dramatic balconies and pilastered entrances.
In approximately 850 BC, King Assurnasirpal II of Assyria chose the city of Nimrud to build his capital city where present day Mosul was located. In approximately 700 BC, King Sennacherib made Nineveh the new capital of Assyria. The mound of Kuyunjik in Mosul was the site of the palaces of King Sennacherib and his grandson Ashurbanipal. Probably built on the site of an earlier Assyrian fortress, Mosul later succeeded Nineveh as the Tigris bridgehead of the road that linked Syria and Anatolia with Persia.
Assyria took its name from its chief city, Assur, on the upper Tigris. Lying north of Babylonia, on the great trade route of the Fertile Crescent, the country was frequently invaded from the north as well as from the south. Constant warfare made the Assyrians fierce fighters, and traders who passed their way were forced to pay them tribute for protection. The Assyrians had long been under the control of Babylon and had absorbed Babylonian culture. Like the Babylonians they were Semites, and their language was almost identical with the Babylonian. From the Hittites of Anatolia they learned the use of iron and developed powerful weapons to build up a military state. From them they also acquired horses and were the first to use them in war as cavalry instead of for drawing chariots.
Assyria's greatest period of expansion took place as the power of the Hittites and Egyptians over Syria and Palestine gradually weakened. The Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BC) took Damascus, in Syria. Sargon II (722-705 BC), most famous of Assyrian kings, made Palestine an Assyrian province. His son Sennacherib (705-681 BC) conquered Sidon, in Phoenicia, but Tyre resisted his assault. Esarhaddon (681-668 BC) conquered Egypt. Ashurbanipal (668-626 BC), the last of the great Assyrian kings, subdued Elam, east of Mesopotamia, and extended the empire to its greatest size. Roads were built to enable the Assyrian armies to subdue rebels quickly. A highly organized mail service carried messages from the court to faraway governors.
North of Nineveh, Sargon II built a palace far surpassing anything seen before his day. It covered 25 acres (10 hectares) and had nearly 1,000 rooms. Near it stood a seven-story ziggurat temple. Sennacherib put up three magnificent palaces in his capital at Nineveh. The Babylonians had covered their brick walls with glazed brickwork of many colors, but the Assyrians faced theirs with delicately carved slabs of limestone or glowing alabaster. Colossal human-headed winged bulls or lions, carved in alabaster, stood guard outside the main gates of palaces and temples. The Assyrians produced little literature, but in great libraries they preserved copies of Babylonian and Sumerian works. They worshiped the old Babylonian gods but gave their own god, Assur, first place. After the death of Ashurbanipal in 626 BC, Assyria's enemies joined forces. In 612 BC the Babylonians and Medes completely destroyed Nineveh. Six years later the Assyrian Empire collapsed.
By the 8th century AD Mosul had become the principal city of northern Mesopotamia. The city was an important trade center in the Abbasid era, because of its strategic position on the caravan route between India, Persia and the Mediterranean. Mosul's chief export was cotton, and today's word muslin was derived from the name of the city. In the 13th century, Mosul was almost completely destroyed by the Mongol invasion, but rebuilding and revival began under Ottoman rule. Mosul was once a walled city, and the remains of part of the city wall are still in existence at Bash Tapia castle, on the western bank of the Tigris. Mosul has an oil refinery; its productivity in the 1980s was hindered by the Iran-Iraq War.
The population of Mosul was principally Kurdish, but with a large minority of Aramaic-speaking Christian Assyrians, and a smaller minority of Turkomans. An ethnically diverse city, Mosul has the highest proportion of Christians of all the Iraqi cities, and contains several interesting old churches, including the Clock and Latin Church, which contains some fine marble and stained glass. The Chaldean Catholic Church of Al-Tahira was built as a monastery in AD300 and became a church in 1600, when various additions were built.
The Prophet Younis Mosque was one of most famous mosques in Mosul, northern Iraq. It was situated at the left bank of Tigris River on a hill called " Prophet Younis Hill" and the other name was "al- Tawba Hill." It was named in this way due to "younan Bin Matty " and the story of the whale that was mentioned in AL-Quran and the Bible. Younis, the prophet who in disobeying God's command, was punished by being thrown into the sea and swallowed by a whale. After spending many nights inside the whale in earnest prayers, God forgave him. His shrine was situated on a high hill in Mosul (Nehneva Province), 450 km northern Iraq. Pilgrimages and visitors flock to it from every where. The shrine and the mosque have undergone certain changes. New houses, watering places, blue glazed-brick buildings and a limestone minaret have been built.
An intensive campaign to develop and upkeep the shrine started in 1989. It intended to modernize the shrine service facilities in a way that would suit its religious and historic status, such as electric, health and mechanical systems, decorating walls with inscription, gypsum and Quran chapters, covering arches and support them with iron frames. The mosque walls have been covered with marble and the ceiling with brick and supply it with modern light and air conditioning systems.
The mosque was one of the sacred places in Ninevah where people and monks visit in certain occasions. It was first an Asserian temple, afterwards the place changed to became a place for fire worshipers, then a monastery, and a church, finally it became an Islamic mosque. In one of the rooms inside the mosque, there was the prophet Younis' shrine. On the walls of the room one can see the whale bones. The conic brass domes of the mosque can be seen from the outside. A winged statue was situated near the mosque, which was the sign of the Asserian civilization that was found through excavations during restoring the mosque. Besides, there was a well known as " Prophet Younis Well " where he bathed after the whale released him.
Camp Leader was located in the 3rd Brigade area of responibility. Camp Leader features a weight room set up out-side their tactical operations center, including a nacscent leg press machine. Well-wishes from a Clarksville elementary school hang inside the 1-187 Infantry Regiment tactical operations center.
A lot of work was going into making the Camp Performance facilities look and feel like a home, including artwork capturing the spirit of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Camp Performance offers soldiers a cafe with a variety of both American and Iraqi cuisine,including the Sunday special of a double cheeseburger with fries. Soldiers can also catch up on popular music videos while they dine. Soldiers can catch up with their friends and family over e-mail that was provided in the camp's computer room.
What was once nothing more than a boxed collection of books became Iraq's first 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) library. Chaplain (Capt.) Fran Stuart of Derry, N.H., 526th Forward Support Battalion chaplain, opened the Camp Performance Library Oct. 9, 2003 with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, followed by cake and coffee. The library started with about 200 paperback books in boxes, in sand on the side of the chaplain's tent. Stuart and her sister, Robin, a writer in New York, have worked on the library for several months. They contacted publishers and the New York Public Library, and lobbied them successfully to donate books to the cause. The library's shelves are now loaded with fiction and nonfiction readings, from spiritual selections to a book covering the 75-year history of the New York Giants football team. The chaplain also got help from the R.F. Sink Library at Fort Campbell, Ky. The library includes a reading room with new magazines, CDs and a DVD selection. Steve Wariner, a country music artist, donated several hundred copies of his album "Steal Another Day" for soldiers to grab for free.
Camp Strike, located along the west side of the Tigris River in downtown Mosul, includes a volleyball court, an outdoor exercise facility and ample internet and phone access to contact home. The compound was home to the headquarters company of the 502nd Infantry Regiment. 101st soldiers sit and watch Fox News as they await their food at the Strike Cafe at Camp Strike.
Camp Top Gun
Camp Top Gun was the stomping grounds of 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment. A monument in the Top Gun dining facility was built by 1-320th soldiers in Camp New York, Kuwait. The signs point to the soldiers' hometowns. Soldiers enjoy a Shakira music video at the Redleg Cafe. The "cantina" offers food, convenience store type goods, pool tables and a foosball table. The Top Gun Internet Cafe center houses 14 computers from a local connection. The current rate was $3 an hour. In addition to these amenities, every soldier goes to bed at the end of their workday in air conditioned sleep areas.
101st Airborne Division Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC)
The 101st Airborne Division's Civil Military Operations Center was located in downtown Mosul. The 101st Airborne Division established a new Civil-Military Operations Center in Mosul on 21 May 2003 to help coordinate the humanitarian efforts of governmental, non-governmental and private volunteer organizations. A civil-military operations center (CMOC) was an ad hoc organization, normally established by the geographic combatant commander or subordinate joint force commander, to assist in the coordination of activities of engaged military forces, and other United States Government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and regional and international organizations. There was no established structure, and its size and composition are situation dependent.
Sumer Group Holdings was the successful bidder for the operation of the Niniwah Hotel in Mosul. An agreement to terms was signed 01 August 2003 and will put $14 million into the renovation of the hotel if it was approved. Sumer representatives worked details of the renovation with the Iraqi Board of Tourism. The eight-story hotel, located on the north side of Mosul, was formerly controlled by the Ba'ath party. It features a pool, cabanas, bowling alley, restaurant, conference room and an overlook of the Tigris River. It was used as the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Civil Military Operations Center.
In September 2003 soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the 431st Civil Affairs Battalion gave a group of Iraqi orphans a day filled with fun and games at the Civil Military Operations Center in Mosul. The purpose of the event was for the kids to be able to have fun in a safe environment and spend quality time with the soldiers. Soldiers volunteered time and services to help set-up and run different events of the day. Some soldiers also served as lifeguards at the pool. Children from three separate orphanages arrived to participate in the events. Each group was greeted upon arrival and given a gift of a towel with the Screaming Eagle insignia on it. The children then went swimming in the pool, participated in relay races and played games such as pin the tail on the donkey. Winners of the games got candy and snacks.
The US military confirmed rockets hit the Civil Military Operations Centre (CMOC) office in Mosul late on 18 September 2003, damaging some vehicles and leaving two people slightly wounded.
Firebase Aggie was located in the town of Hammam al-Allil, a half-hour drive south of Mosul. The firebase was located on the campus of an old agricultural college. Hammam al-Allil was situated between two small villages, Salayia and Gab Adr. Many of Saddam Hussein's former bodyguards were from Salayia, until they attempted a coup in 1993. Gab Adr, on the other hand, was reffered to as "Little Fallujah" by Coalition Forces.
FOB Patriot was located in downtown Mosul. It was within at least 10 km of FOB Marez, FOB Freedom, and MAF (Mosul Airfield). Although phone service was said to be erratic, internet was readily available. There was a large DFAC (Dining Facility) that serves 4 meals a day.
2004 Combat Operations
When the Soldiers of 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division took over operations in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from their Stryker brothers of 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, many did not expect to see the increased level of combat that has occurred in their area of operation.
Nevertheless, these Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) have proven their mettle to the insurgents operating in Mosul and demonstrated that they are a fierce and unyielding force.
During the second week in November, 1-24 or "Deuce Four" Soldiers executed sustained combat operations on the western side of Mosul. Multinational Forces had seen a recent increase in violent activity during the religious holiday of Ramadan from mid-October through mid-November. Western Mosul was also an area that the MNF had long suspected anti-Iraqi forces were using to launch attacks on U.S. and Iraqi patrols and bases.
On Nov. 10, insurgent activity spiked throughout Mosul. Insurgents were targeting Iraqi Police Stations and other Iraqi Security forces. Immediately responding to the insurgent attacks, Deuce Four and the rest of the Lancer Brigade maneuvered to take the fight to enemy, launching several coordinated offensive attacks in the most dangerous parts of the city.
The fight lasted throughout most of the afternoon of the tenth, and at the end of the day, no police stations were in the hands of insurgents and a restless calm had been returned to the city.
The fight continued on Nov. 11, Veteran's Day, 2004. But this time, the Soldiers of Deuce Four had the initiative. They were going into a neighborhood known for harboring insurgents and their mission was to kill or capture the enemy in a movement to contact operation.
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