March 25, 2023

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Saddam Hussein’s boat wreck that attracts tourists in Iraq | the world

An aerial photo shows Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s personal boat, al-Mansour, on the Shatt al-Arab waterway, formed at the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on October 9, 2022 – Photo: Hussein Faleh/AFP

At the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq, an image seems frozen in time: A rusty wreck of a boat that sunk 20 years ago, the US-led invasion of the country ended the decades-long repressive regime of Saddam Hussein. This is about Al-Mansur (Victory), which belonged to a former dictator and today has become a tourist spot and a picnic spot among local fishermen.

measure 120 meters long And heavy 7 thousand tonsThe old presidential yacht was assembled in Finland and delivered to Iraq in 1983, according to the website of Danish designer Knud E. Hansen, who was responsible for the work. Today, what was once a symbol of the former Iraqi leader’s wealth and megalomania lies half submerged on its side, nothing more than a faint echo of the false glories of the past.

“When it belonged to the former president, nobody would go near him,” fisherman Hussein Sabahi, who likes to end a long day with a cup of tea on the Shatt al-Arab river, told Reuters. “It’s hard for me to believe that it belongs to Saddam now that I’m walking around here,” he added.

The ship was bombed during the US-led invasion of Iraq

Al-Mansour was bombed in March 2003

In the period leading up to the March 20, 2003 invasion, al-Mansour was stationed in the Gulf. However, a few weeks later, Saddam ordered the unembarked boat to anchor at Umm Qazr.

According to marine engineer Ali Mohammad, the ship was moved to present-day Basra “to protect it from bombardment by American planes”. “That’s failure.” was added.

According to Qahdan al-Obeid, the former head of Heritage in Basra in March 2003 “Several attacks” were launched on the boat over several days. “It was bombed at least three times, but it never sank,” he says.

In photographs taken by an AFP photographer in 2003, al-Mansour can be seen floating in water, the upper decks engulfed in flames from the blast. But by June of that year, the boat had already capsized. The deciding factor would have been when the engines were stolen. “It created openings and water got in, causing him to lose his balance,” Obeid said.

This April 10, 2003 file photo shows Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s luxury yacht Al-Mansour docked in Basra after being bombed during the US-led invasion of Iraq.

In the turmoil that followed the fall of Saddam, The The boat was robbed. Almost everything has been removed, from chandeliers and furniture to parts of its metal structure. Since then, it has declined. Although some Iraqis have advocated preserving the ruins, successive governments have failed to fund its restoration.

“This boat is like a precious jewel, like a rare masterpiece that you have at home. It saddens us that it is like this,” said Navy Captain Zahi Moussa, who works for the Iraqi Ministry of Transport.

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