Looting fears grow as Iraqi national library seized by troopsBreaking News
Saad Eskander, a respected Kurdish historian who has run the library since 2003, told the Guardian that up to 20 Iraqi troops had seized the building at gunpoint yesterday, threatening staff and guards.
"They have turned our national archive into a military target," he said. "Tomorrow or the day after, the extremists will attack the Iraqi forces there."
He said the soldiers, who said they had occupied the building to defend Shia worshippers heading to the shrine of Khadimiya, about 15 miles away, had positioned themselves on the roof of the library. They had already started to dismantle the main gate, and had smashed doors and windows inside the main building, he said.
He fears soldiers may start looting the building "or even set fire to it".
Like Iraq's national museum, the library and archive was badly damaged in the chaos that gripped Baghdad following the collapse of Saddam's regime. Large parts were gutted by arsonists, and pillaged by looters. More seriously, the library estimated it lost 25% of its collections, including many rare books, while the archive lost 60% of its collections, including irreplaceable records from the Ottoman era. Since then, Mr Eskander and his team have rebuilt the library and archive, winning respect around the world. He has also kept a blog detailing his daily travails and the plight of his city. It can be read on the British Library website.
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Soviet Politburo Discussed CIA Billion Dollar Spy Adolf Tolkachev
- Pentagon withholds Iraq War photos showing detainee abuse
- These Rebels Have Amassed A Library From Syria’s Ruins
- Was 1916 fire at Canadian Parliament set by German saboteur?
- United Nations Calls On U.S. To Pay African Americans Reparations For Slavery
- Juan Cole says America’s inclination to turn to the military started with Manifest Destiny
- History Jobs Drop
- Paul Krugman gives credence to Robert J. Gordon's pessimism about American economic growth
- Harvard President Drew Faust Condemns Free Tuition Proposal from Outsider Overseers Ticket
- Andrew Roberts says Trump is the Mussolini of America with double the vulgarity