Mosul Presidential Palace

Overview

The Mosul VIP Residence site, built over 2.2 square kilometers and completed in 1994, contained Saddam Hussein's northernmost presidential site and includes several palaces and VIP residences, three lakes, and man-made waterfalls.

The special group of UN Special Commission for Iraq (UNSOM) weapons inspectors, diplomats, and representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) completed its initial inspections of Iraqi presidential sites on 02 April 1998. It took eight days to complete the so-called baseline inspections. Access to these sites, which Iraq had declared off limits to the United Nations, was granted only after Secretary General Kofi Annan signed an agreement with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during his visit to Baghdad, allowing UN weapons experts, accompanied by a special group of "diplomatic observers," to inspect the compounds. Unfettered access to these and other sites was one of the conditions that had to be met to complete the weapons inspections and ultimately lift UN sanctions.

All eight "presidential sites" visited appeared to be well defined by high walls or fences. They all had a rather similar landscape pattern: main guesthouses, with an integrated system of ancillary buildings and villas for accompanying dignitaries. Often an artificial lake with small artificial decorative islands located in a way to give access to the lake from each guesthouse. The mission was not intended to be a search for prohibited material and none was found. In fact, there was very little equipment, documentation or other material in the sites at all. It was clearly apparent that all sites had undergone extensive evacuation. In all the sites outside of Baghdad, for example, there were no documents and no computers. The buildings were largely empty. A key accomplishment of the mission was to plot more precisely the boundaries of the presidential sites.

After staying the night of 28 March 1998 in a hotel in Mosul, the Special Group visited the Mosul Presidential Site on 29 March 1998. This visit was conducted in rainy weather, which hampered the arrangements. The weather conditions resulted in poor aerial imagery and the Iraqi authorities agreed to a subsequent flight of an UNSCOM helicopter over the site on Friday, 3 April 1998 with a senior diplomat on board. A request by UNSCOM to meet the site manager could not be met on the day in question. A subsequent visit on 31 March 1998 was arranged so that competent officials were able to discuss the layout of the site with UNSCOM experts. No other significant problems were encountered during the visit.

Camp Courage

Saddam Hussein's former palace in Mosul has been home to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Division Main Command Post, with Division Headquarters, located in Northwest Mosul directly off the Dohuk highway, situated in one of the former regime's palace buildings overlooking the Tigris.

Pizza, hamburgers, French fries, grilled or barbequed chicken, steak, they're all available along with more exotic Iraqi fare like beef escalopes, lamb kabobs, and chicken and rice pastries at the Eagles Inn, the new restaurant for soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) who live and work at Post Freedom, located at the so-called "Palace of Swords" in Mosul (Division Main). The Eagles Inn features a menu with local cuisine as well as American. The Eagles Inn will be open 24 hours a day, with three set meal times. 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. for breakfast, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. for dinner. Snacks are available after hours. Local chefs and cooks from Mosul restaurants prepare and serve the food. The restaurant doesn't just boost the morale of the soldiers tired of eating MREs and T-Rations, it also gives the military cooks a break.

The 101 st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the Coalition's most northern force, has celebrated American Independence Day in grand style at the Division Headquarters in Mosul. Soldiers of the 101st and Coalition partners, as well as prominent citizens of Mosul, were treated to a barbecue feast followed by a significant moral-boosting event: Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, 101 st Airborne Division (Air Assault), administered the oath of reenlistment to more than 160 Screaming Eagle soldiers at 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the Screaming Eagle Band performed a concert.

By January 2004, at the Palace of Swords, troops from the 101st Airborne Division's headquarters had regular swimming hours in a kidney-shaped swimming pool, complete with a marble bathhouse with hot and cold showers. "Everyone has to go swimming here at least once, just to say, 'I swam in Saddam's pool,'" a female specialist remarked as she did a leisurely backstroke one broiling evening.

Students and faculty at Mosul University can feel safer after campus security officials participated in a training session July 17 2004 at Camp Freedom with the assistance of Soldiers from the 416th Civil Affairs Battalion’s Public Safety Team. Soldiers of the Norristown, Pa., based Army Reserve unit, taught the security officials techniques on how to search a person for weapons, search a car for explosives, how to professionally and courteously interrogate individuals entering the university and how to recognize suspicious body language and demeanor of deceptive individuals.

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