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US & Iraqi Troops Occupy Iraq National Library & Archives

category international | history and heritage | other press author Friday August 17, 2007 16:29author by pat c Report this post to the editors

Dr Saad Eskander, Director of the Iraq National Library & Archives (INLA) is appealing for help. His institution has been occupied by the US Military and by the Iraqi National Guard. This is putting the lives of staff at risk, it is also treating Iraqs heritage with contempt. Please note that INLA refers to Director of the Iraq National Library & Archives. Please publicise this news as widely as possible.

Can you spread the following news about the national guards' occupation of Iraq National Library & Archive. I need all the support I can get from around the world. Perhaps you can contact some newspapers. The message below explains everything (please note it will be difficult for me to have an easy access to the internet because of the 4-day curfew).

All the Best

Saad Eskander
Saad Eskander

I hope this message finds well. I would like to inform you that the unruly national guards arecontinuing their aggression against the INLA and its staff.

This morning, (8 August), a group of Iraqi national guards has broken into the National Library and Archive's main building. By this action, the national guards have violated the instructions of the
Council of Ministers, which clearly assert that Iraqi security and armed forces cannot enter any state-run institution without a prior approval of the government and the concerned authorities.

The national guards took their action without consulting or asking me; they simply entered the building by force. As the government declared 4-day curfew period, I was not able to go the INLA to be with the INLA's guards, who did not know what to do. Therefore, I talked to the commander of the national guards by phone, asking him politely to leave the building immediately. He refused to consider the idea of evacuating the building, claiming that he had orders from his superiors and the Americans to occupy the INLA. He justified his action by claiming that the national guards wanted to protect Shi'i visitors of the holy shrines of al-Kadhimiyah, which is 30 km away from the INLA!!

I would also like to draw your attention to the fact on Monday (6 August), a US military patrol entered the INLA's main building without my permission. The commander of the patrol interrogated the INLA's guards and ordered them to show their IDs. Please note, this was not the first time in which US patrols entered the INLA without my permission. In July, US soldiers entered the INLA three times. It seems clear to me that the actions of US soldiers' have encouraged Iraqi national guards to do the same, i.e. entering and then occupying the building by force.

By the way, US army units and the national guards have their own bases in the same old building of the Ministry of Defense, where they coordinate their security efforts. The old building of the Ministry of Defense is just opposite the INLA.

I contacted US authorities In Baghdad indirectly, hoping to stop the
violations and the unlawful actions of both US soldiers and Iraqi national guards against the INLA and its staff. They showed no interest whatsoever.

As you and others are fully aware, my staff and I have spent a lot of time and efforts on the reconstruction of the INLA, after it was destroyed in mid-April 2003. The reckless actions of US Army and the Iraqi National Guards will put the INLA's staff and library and archival collections in real danger. I hold both US Army and the Iraqi National Guards responsible for all future material damages, cultural losses and human casualties.

I need your support and that of your colleagues. I will not cease my efforts to expose the wrong doings of the national guards and those who are behind them

As Ever
Saad Eskander

Saads online diary is hosted at:

Freedom & Democracy Arrive At The INLA
Freedom & Democracy Arrive At The INLA

author by pat cpublication date Tue Aug 21, 2007 15:50Report this post to the editors

Contact the US Embassy to complain about the occupation of the Iraq National Library & Archives. Point out that this is putting the lives of the staff at risk and is also endangering Iraqs heritage.

Ambassador Thomas C. Foley
United States of America
Embassy of the United States of America
42 Elgin Road
Dublin 4
Tel: 01 668 8777
Fax: 01 668 9946

author by pat cpublication date Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:43Report this post to the editors

In this article, Robert Fisk details more assaults on Iraqs Heritage.

2,000-year-old Sumerian cities torn apart and plundered by robbers. The very walls of the mighty Ur of the Chaldees cracking under the strain of massive troop movements, the privatisation of looting as landlords buy up the remaining sites of ancient Mesopotamia to strip them of their artefacts and wealth. The near total destruction of Iraq's historic past – the very cradle of human civilisation – has emerged as one of the most shameful symbols of our disastrous occupation.

Evidence amassed by archaeologists shows that even those Iraqis who trained as archaeological workers in Saddam Hussein's regime are now using their knowledge to join the looters in digging through the ancient cities, destroying thousands of priceless jars, bottles and other artefacts in their search for gold and other treasures.

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