Folks think I am a warmonger, a killer, and that I hate Iraqis. It could not be further from the truth. They are very nice people and are very family oriented. I like them.
There are some bad men out there doing great harm in the name of the Iraqi people but they sure as hell don't represent this man and his little boy. They just want a safe place to live.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Work Abroad
- Adventure Travel
Shock and Awe!
The USAF kicked butt early on. They took out a lot of strategic spots in a lightning, surgical campaign that was designed to destroy the will to resist.
There has been a lot of second guessing about the strategy since May of '04 but there is still no doubt that the bombing campaign did exactly what it was designed to do.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Go To A Foreign Weapons Range
I helped train some US SF guy's on M915 driving, so they helped me out by letting me have some fun out at the range. I took a squad of my Soldier's out, and we shot 12 gauge shotguns, automatic 9mm MP5's, captured Iraqi AK-47's, captured Iraqi 9mm's, and then we played with some C4. All in all, a pretty entertaining day.
Destroyed Iraqi Armor
The USAF and the Army whalloped Saddam's vaunted Republican Guard. There is detoryed armor still littering the countryside. This photo was taken at 75 MPH on Highway 1 North of Baghdad back in May 2004.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
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Throw A Barbecue
One of my Soldiers and I both had a birthday within a few days of one another, so we threw a BBQ to celebrate. We bought a dozen steaks and some burgers from the PX, lit up the grill and started cooking. Since, by military law we aren't allowed alcohol in Iraq (per General Order No. 1) we purchased some near-beer instead (and not the first time;). After hooking up my IPOD to some speakers and blasting out Buckcherry, the medics started showing up to join in the festivities (medics=female). All in all, it was a good way to spend an evening, and celebrate my 25th birthday (I'm getting old :( .
Spiral Tower of Samarra
Samarra is believed to be a short for(surra man raa)an Arabic phrase which means (pleasent to look at).The tower is called (Al Manarah Al Malwiyah).from the 9th century.
The spiral ramp seems to be inspired from the Tower of Babylon .
The 17th-century mosque with its golden dome is sacred to Shia Muslims.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Going to Iraq....You are...
Going to Iraq....
You are discovering 7000 years of history, the magic of the east, the glories of the ancient history…
Babylon, Akad, Ashoor, Baghdad, Najaf, Mousel, Basrah and a lot of great places you have to visit…
Babylon city, it is the earliest civilization in the world, it is the mystery of 7000 years.
Baghdad, the nice warm city, the hot city with it’s people and it’s weather…
Ninva , the Assyrians great city…
Najaf, Karbal and Basrah…
Irbil and Sulaimanyah…
Sometimes spelt Zakho, this is the first town across the border from Turkey. First impressions aren't great...a queue of lorries heading to Turkey stretches for miles, and it is hard to tell where the lorries end and Zaxo begins, as the outer suburbs look like lorries that have given up waiting, taken off their wheels and laid down to rest. The centre is much more appealing though, with green mountains rising in the background. There's not much in the way of sights, but if you're crossing in the late afternoon, it makes sense to spend your first night in Zaxo to get to grips with the Kurdistani way. One main street packed with moneychangers, kebab stalls, photoshops and chaixanes (teahouses) leads you to a gigantic Kurdish flag on a roundabout. Zaxo's main attraction is a ten minute walk from the centre, Pira Delal, a beautiful old stone bridge over a particularly fast-flowing stretch of the Habur River. You can cross it, then enjoy a cup of tea and perhaps a nargileh at one of the outdoor cafes alongside it.
Dohuk in springtime is colourful. Multicoloured houses are strewn about on the green slopes of mountains, the green, white and red Kurdish flag fluttering almost everywhere you look. A thriving bazaar lies at the heart of the city, while a long "Corniche" curves its way from downtown up to the impressive Dohul dam, now a favourite picnic spot. There's not an awful lot to see or do here, but Dohuk has a nice atmosphere, and is a pleasant introduction to all things Kurdish, as well as being a good base from which to visit Amadiya, Sulav, Akre and Lalish.
Amadiyya in Arabic, this fortress-like village is a pleasant and easy day trip from Dohuk. A couple of hours along mountain roads through some stunning scenery brings you to the mountain resort of Sulav, not especially exciting in itself but boasting fantastic views of Amedi towering above it on a hilltop. Amedi looks better from afar, as once inside the village, you soon realise there isn't much of old Amedi left, apart from a few old gates, an old mosque, and a couple of pieces of fortress wall. I'm sure the views from above would have been spectacular, but unfortunately it was very hazy the day I visited. Still, it was worth the trip...especially as my taxi driver stopped to buy some bitter almonds on the way, which we dipped into a packet of salt he kept hidden in his glove compartment. It was also the only place in Iraqi Kurdistan where I met more than one tourist...in fact I met a full half a dozen! You heard it here first: Amedi is on the tourist map, albeit in very tiny letters...
The highlight of my trip was the town of Akre. Arrival wasn't great...the hotel was miles from anywhere and very weird, and on my first outing into town, I was spotted by security police and taken in for questioning. It was all very civil and involved drinking tea mainly, but proves that not too many camera-toting foreigners set foot in this area. Once set free to roam about, I discovered old Akre...a bustling bazaar at the bottom of a mountain, with houses piled on top of each other reached by narrow stairwells. Twenty minutes of climbing later, I was at the summit, with fantastic views of the rooftops below, and entertainment in the way of Kurdish dancing among the ruins of a Jewish holy site. Back down in town, the tea flowed fast and I wasn't allowed to pay for any of it...Akre...I'd go back there...
Hewler / Erbil
If you're Kurdish, you call it Hewler, if you're not, you'll know it as Erbil...either way, it is one of the oldest cities on earth. Erbil's citadel has been inhabited for millennia, and up until 2006 it was crammed full of refugees from more volatile regions...now it is like a mini ghost city as UNESCO set about restoring it to its former glory. All around it spreads the Qaysari Bazaar, a mix of covered markets and shopping malls, with an impressive set of fountains in a busy square in the middle. Further afield, signs of old Erbil still exist, a row of mansions here, a minaret there, but Erbil has aspirations to become the Kurdish Dubai, five star hotels and shopping malls stretching off into the distance. Parks are a big feature too, huge ones with fountains and lawns and crowds on Fridays. But the best thing about Erbil? The tamarind ice-cream!
Slemani (Suleymaniyah in Arabic) is the third of the three big cities in Iraqi Kurdistan. The bazaar here is huge, but although a fascinating area to explore, it isn't the main attraction...Amna Suraka in the newer part of the town holds that title. Meaning "red security", Amna Suraka is the former security prison under Saddam's rule, now just a bullet-holed shell of a building standing as a reminder of the region's past. It has opened as a museum, and contains photos of the victims of Saddam's chemical attacks against the Kurds in the 1980s in a darkened basement. More upbeat are the tahouses, with one in particular standing out...the Sha'ab Chaikhana, where Slemani's intellectuals, poets, novelists and artists gather to slurp tea and slam down dominoes. Also a great base from which to visit the mountains, and if you're up to it, Halabja.
Halabja would be an insignificant little place if Saddam had left it alone...but no, in March 1988, he dropped bombs on the town. Not just any bombs, these didn't explode causing mass destruction, but instead let off an odour of apples. Minutes later, up to 5000 people lay dead or dying in one of the worst chemical attacks on mankind.
Today, Halabja is a forlorn place where rows of white tombstones and mass graves commemorate the dead. On the outskirts of town, the Halabja Monument explains the tragedy in more detail, with guides showing you horrific photos and video footage taken shortly afterwards. This could be a very moving experience, but unfortunately it is all a bit farcical and tacky, with shop mannequins twisted into odd positions in a ghastly recreation of the day's events, guides who laugh and giggle in front of photos of the dead, and a cafe plusher than anything else I've seen in Iraq. A few years ago, the people of Halabja rioted and set the monument on fire...and I can sort of understand why.
Still, if you've come to Iraqi Kurdistan and want to try and understand the country a bit better, Halabja and its survivors deserve a visit.
The Red Security Muesuem
The Amna Suraka or the Red Security Museum is located in Sulaymaniyah. It's original use was the northern headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service from 1979-1991. Here they imprisoned, tortured and killed thousands of Kurds. It was said you could here the screams of the tortured for kilometres away. They would keep 60 people in tiny little cells and allow out for only a couple of minutes a day to use the washroom. They had a separate area for kids and another area for pregnant women and those who had recently gave birth. After the Kurdish Uprising, this place was taken over and basically became a home for a whole lot of squatters. After it became a museum, they had to clean it up. So the displays are not original but done to make it look as it did back in they day. You can wonder around various places. They have statues representing the torture that happened here. Documents are on display and some military equipment left over from the Kurdish Uprising is outside. Today they hold concerts and charity fundraisers here.Related to:
- Museum Visits
I have not accommodated personally in this hotel,but the entrance of it was truely a state of...more
48 Hashemi Street, Downtown, Amman 11844, Jordan (Formerly Jordan Tower Amman)
Good for: Business
Al Musbah Square, Baghdad, 0101, IQ
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