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Published: September 1st 2008
The second day of the conference was well attended and quite informative. I was able to learn a great deal of the way in which we operate in Iraq. As I cannot discuss it further I thought I might share a little more about the sites in Baghdad. Inside the Aw Faw palace there is a chair/throne that belonged to Saddam Hussein. The chair was given to Saddam by Yasser Arafat. If you look closely at the top of the chair you see the Quran. Inscribed on the page is a verse from the holy book, the verse reads: In the name of God the merciful and gracious, Glorifies who traveled his servant by night from Mecca to Jeuseralem.
Written on the arch: Victory from God and conquest is soon. You can also see a patterned “head dress” like symbol in the background. The pattern of the scarf is “Al Ghetra” which was worn by Arafat.
The building is the Dome of the Rock in Jeuseralem. The Arabic written on the side of the dome says, “Jeuseralem is ours.” This is quite creepy. But we all know that Saddam and Arafat were crazy.
In addition to the Saddam Throne I visited an area called Flintstone village. Flintstone Village supposedly was a play area/mini palace for Saddam’s grandchildren. It is called Flintstone Village because it is a small palace with irregularly shaped rooms which are smooth and rounded like the houses on the Flintstones. I found this description of Flintstone Village on the Internet: In the initial days of the U.S. attack on Iraq, one of Saddam Hussein's Baghdad palaces was targeted as a strategic target. However, the palace, built by Saddam for his grandchildren as a "theme palace," was anything but a repository for weapons of mass destruction.
In fact, Saddam, who used to watch Flintstone cartoons with his grand kids, decided to build a palace in Baghdad that was a replica of Bedrock, the fictional town where Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, and Dino lived. The palace was a huge playground for Saddam's grandchildren. However, Pentagon planners decided that Bedrock Palace was a threat to the West and it was demolished within the first few hours of the war.
It is trashed now - after 6 years of war it is really worn down. Full of graffiti and picked clean of anything not bolted down. It was interesting to see all of the rooms and caverns. There were about 10 little bedrooms each with a bathroom and common areas with fireplaces. At one time it must have been outfitted with furniture and ornate decorations. The views out of each balcony are really pretty (as pretty as Iraq gets), you can see the other palaces and water all around.
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