Saddam's palace still tells a story

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It sits atop a man-made hill overlooking the ancient city of Babylon. In its prime – with its swimming pool, Roman-inspired columns, chandeliers and bathrooms complete with jacuzzis – it was a testament to the gluttony of the Baathist regime.

Today, gutted and looted, Saddam Hussein’s three-storey palace that overlooks the Euphrates River only hints at its former glory. The windows are smashed, the chandeliers broken and the swimming pool empty. The furniture is gone and the walls are covered in graffiti. Even the toilets have been removed. It serves as a graphic reminder of the pillaging and looting that went unpunished and unchecked after the US-led invasion of 2003.

Whereas once Saddam would have entertained guests and heads of state with sumptuous feasts and lavish parties at the estate, today schoolchildren visit.

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