Blogs from Baghdad, East, Iraq, Middle East


Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad November 2nd 2016

The Swahili City states went through their collective apex from 600-1450 AD because of the Indian Ocean Trade Networks. The majority of these city states went under the control of the Sultan empire. After this all were later conquered by the Portuguese empire where their trade economies all remained relevant but their roles were diminished in some capacities. While the Portuguese never gained full control of the cities, their dominion was enough to weaken the independent cities' trading power, and after the Portuguese threat had been removed, the city-states never fully regained their dominance or significance in trade. Today the cities mentioned in this blog have vastly different economies from one another, however, areas along the East African coast are still very involved in international trade, some of which occurs on the same trade routes used ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad March 31st 2014

Letter No. 5: A look of hope, but no smiles or waves, from a teenage girl By David J. Jenkins, USU class of '98 December 20, 2004 · Hello everyone. Greetings from Baghdad . . . This morning we were out on a routine R&S (Recon and Surveillance) Patrol. This is when we drive around in circles for half the day until EVERYONE in Baghdad is aware of our existence. And, while we are out and about, we keep our eyes open for basic police-action type activity. We had just finished patrolling a neighborhood when we emerged onto a main thoroughfare. Traffic was piling up in both directions and there was a very large median divider to prevent cars from making a left turn; however, we needed to go left. So, we inched our way out ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad June 1st 2013

Shorty and stocky, with a faultless white shirt and always with a smile ready, Faris drove his black sedan, a private taxi, through the streets of Baghdad along with his two companions, a perfect replica of the Tintin twin policemen, Thompson and Thomson. Sometimes stopped the car to allow us to take some pictures. Then Faris looked toward the horizon, above the river. Where one thousand years before the city was founded. With the right hand, between the index and middle fingers, he kept moving their misbaha beads.... five .... three ... seven ... I fixed my eyes on. A misbaha is nothing else than a rosary, usually made with wooden beads, ivory or amber, but the most common are die cast in plastic. In the early days of Islam loose stones ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad March 25th 2013

Originally posted December 2, 2004 An Aggie's letter from Iraq: Homemade bombs at 0-dark-30 Editor's Note: David J. Jenkins is a 1998 graduate of Utah State University's English department. His current home of record is Moses Lake, Wash., but he is serving in Baghdad, Iraq, with the Oregon Army National Guard. Today he presents the first of an occasional series of letters from Iraq to his fellow Aggies. By David J. Jenkins, USU class of '98 December 2, 2004 � Hello everyone. Greetings from Baghdad . . . The advent... read more

Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad March 25th 2013

Letter No. 4: The driver rushed the cordon and . . . 'Blat! Blat!' I fired twice By David J. Jenkins, USU class of '98 December 20, 2004 � Hello everyone. Greetings from Baghdad . . . Well, as I was just telling someone in a personal e-mail, it is always calm before the storm. I have been hesitant to send this message out, as it has been a tumultuous week. Our platoon was assigned to a cordon and search. Our two Scout platoons were "asked" to go downtown and apprehend some known bad guys. The Recon element did the search and siezure, and our Shooter element set up the cordon, blockading the street in front of the hit site and searching suspicious vehicles and pedestrians. Our vehicle was parked in the middle of the street, ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad March 25th 2013

By David J. Jenkins, USU class of '98 December 20, 2004 � Hello everyone. Greetings from Baghdad . . . Ramadan was coming to a close, and we were entering the last three days. These are known as the days of power. Command issued a warning and recommended that all soldiers wear all their protective gear, even while conducting routine business around the patrol base. These commands to gear up aren't always received with exhuberance, but are always followed to the letter. We received the order sometime in the afternoon. Our squad was scheduled for a "re-fit" day, and weren't required to go out on mission that day. One of our soldiers was here at the internet lab and I was off trying to locate a phone (since the phone building burned down), when the first ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad March 25th 2013

Letter No. 2: Your call cannot be completed . . . because the telephone building burned down By David J. Jenkins, USU class of '98 December 8, 2004 � Hello everyone. Greetings from Baghdad . . . I emerged from "the house" early one morning, about 0400. I was going to the phone center to make a call, and as I exited the building, I looked up to see a huge plume of white smoke rising into the air, into a cloudless blue sky, with the full moon behind it, giving this rising mass an iridescent glow. I continued on across the complex and as I rounded 1st Cavs building, I could see the yellow and white lights bouncing off the buildings like a pinball machine. I contined on and rounded the last building to see ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad February 13th 2013

January 31, 2005 � Hello everyone, Greetings from Baghdad . . . It was a dark and eerie night. . . . We staged this morning, the day of the first Iraqi elections, at 0545. We readied our gear, double checked our equipment, and rolled out into the streets of Baghdad at 0600. The streets that are normally jammed, bumper-to-bumper, are on this day vacant and the air still. Aside from us, the only other sign of life was the Iraqi Army positioned near the 3rd ID bridge, directly across the river from yesterday's attack on the International Zone. We continued to move through the streets; blank windows stared back at us, and ownerless slips of paper blew haphazardly along; We were on patrol yesterday ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad November 29th 2011

I'm still somewhat chastened by the HUGE response to my posts about Manila- 80,000-plus hits and more than a thousand comments, 99% agreeing with me, the rest mildly offensive (I publish those with real names attached - most don't have them) and a tiny minority of four girls, Filipina rich kids, resident abroad who were so egregiously abusive I was lost in despair at what they represent. What also amazed me is the number of folk who had the time to comment on what was essentially a trivial moan after a bad trip... but then again, you could ask the same question of me. Why bother to write this stuff? Actually I only do it for fun when hanging around in a Costa Coffee shop at some airport like I did the other day in Dubai ... read more
Erbil City Centre
The Citadel - Erbil

Middle East » Iraq » East » Baghdad July 30th 2008

Today was the first day of the conference. We got up early to get breakfast before the conference started. Breakfast was the usual fare - eggs and bacon. The conference was held in the Aw Faw palace on Camp Victory. I cannot talk about the conference but I can tell you about the palace. The city of Faw lies on the Aw Faw peninsula in the far southeast of the Basra Provence. Water canals from the Shat Al-Arab River turned the land into an agriculturally rich region. Its oil facilities made it one of Iraq’s major oil exporting ports prior to the 1984 Iran-Traq war. Because of its strategic and geographic importance, it became a target for Iranian control. In February 1986 Iranian units captured the port of Aw Faw. Saddam Hussein vowed to eliminate and ... read more
Inside the Palace

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