ملجأ العامرية Amriya Shelter

ملجأ العامرية أو الفردوس أو رقم خمسة وعشرين هو ملجأ من القصف جوي بحي العامرية، بغداد، العراق، قصف أثناء حرب الخليج الثانية. فقد ادت احدى الغارات الاميركية يوم 13 فبراير 1991 على بغداد بواسطة طائرتان من نوع أف-117 تحمل قنابل ذكية إلى تدمير ملجأ مما ادى لمقتل أكثر من 400 مدني عراقي من نساء واطفال. وقد بررت قوات التحالف هذا القصف بانه كان يستهدف مراكز قيادية عراقية لكن اثبتت الاحداث ان تدمير الملجا كان متعمدا خاصة وان الطائرات الاميركية ظلت تحوم فوقه لمدة يومين
The Amiriyah shelter or Al-Firdos bunker was an air-raid shelter ("Public Shelter No. 25") in the Amiriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq. The shelter was used in the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War by hundreds of civilians. It was destroyed by the USAF with two laser-guided "smart bombs" on 13 February 1991 during the Gulf War, killing more than 408 civilians.

الأحد، 20 ديسمبر، 2009

Horror Chamber

Horror Chamber
Inside the Al-Amiriya Shelter
By RAMZY BAROUD
March 29, 2003
A few years ago, I stepped into the horror of the Gulf War. It was April 1999, and the place was Baghdad's al-Amiriya bomb shelter.
Living most of my life in a refugee camp in Gaza, where the murder of innocent people at the hands of Israeli troops is routine, I was little hesitant to walk into al-Amiriya. I was not braced for what I would witness. I already knew that hundreds of people had wasted there, during the Gulf War, in 1991, when an American 'smart' bomb shattered the giant compound. But that's all I knew.
It was cold, damp and dark. A few lonely florescent lamps were not working since the regular bombing of Baghdad's electric generators by US-British warplanes left the city without any power for most of the day, everyday. Ironically, the only light shed on the shelter came from the monstrous hole in the roof, made eight years ago by the American bomb.
The shelter was designed to withstand a nuclear attack on Baghdad; it was solid and giant, and had the capacity to host hundreds of people. Among the scores of colorful pictures of the victims, there were a few photos of three Palestinians families. They were refugees, working and living in Iraq, and there, in this place, they died.
When the American bomb fell, the shelter's doors shut down, automatically. The doors were designed to do so, since the attack was never expected to target the shelter itself, but nearby areas. Those who didn't immediately die as a result of the massive explosion pounded at the door and screamed for help.
American officials at the time assured us that that the place was used for military purposes; as they always do, when innocent people are "mistakenly" killed.
The powerful explosion penetrated to the bottom floor where giant water tanks were stored. On that floor, families cooked and washed. Some of these tanks boiled with water. Seconds later, the tanks exploded and the boiling water rose to over three feet. You could still see the mark of where the water rose, as well as the impression of the human flesh that melted to the wall due to the intense heat of the water.
"These are the marks of a woman's skin still holding her child," an Iraqi woman, who lost her entire family in al-Amiriya said. She left her husband and nine children and ran home to bring some food. She came back to find them all dead. Since then, she has lived in a tiny trailer in the shelter's backyard, escorting visitors with her black cloths and a candle. "These are my children", she points to a framed picture of happy looking children, neatly dressed and smiling politely.
As I stepped out of al-Amiriya's "tour", I could never escape the echoing voices of the Iraqi children, pounding at the door, pleading to God and to humanity to get them out of the inferno.
But al-Amiriya was neither the beginning, nor is it the end.During the 1991 Gulf War to "liberate Kuwait", uncounted innocent lives were taken. Some estimates put the number of Iraq casualties during the war at over a million. Even the most moderate estimates are catastrophic.
The US has successfully liberated the oil fields in Kuwait, but the Iraq tragedy continues to unfold. Anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 Iraqi children have die every month, as a direct result of the US-led UN economic sanctions on Iraq that followed the war. Even United Nations' own reports testified to that.
The Oil-for-Food program, which came into effect nearly five years after the end of the Gulf War, was of little significance to assist an ailing economy and a ruined infrastructure. Iraq was still banned from importing many products using the little funds that the program provided.
Over a week ago, the United States and its British allies began yet another war against Iraq, killing and maiming hundreds thus far, with the aim of "liberating Iraq", and "freeing the Iraqi people." It's appalling how such twisted logic can hold for such a long time.
An MSNBC commentator explained the reason why the first day of bombings in Iraq, was so concentrated and not widespread. "We have to keep in mind that in a few days, we will own this country," he said.
We need not examine such statements however, nor the provocative comments made by top US army officials, nor the desecration of an Iraqi flag and the offensive replacement of an American one, after the Umm al-Qasr battle. If this eagerness to invade Iraq was for the sake of the Iraqi people, why have we tortured and starved an entire generation of them for so long?
We can disagree on the reasons behind the war; whether it was for strategic control, the oil or Israel. But rational people should have no illusions, that saving the Iraqi people is not one of the reasons we are investing over $100 billion to finance this indefensible war. If you wish to have further proof, pay a visit to al-Amiriya shelter. Despite everything, it is still standing.

Ramzy Baroud is the editor-in-Chief of
PalestineChronicle.com and the author of "Searching Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion."
Yesterday's Features
Daniel WolffA Road Trip in Wartime
Chris ClarkeWe Never Spit on Any Baby Killers
David LindorffSaddam, a Hero Made in Washington
Pierre TristamIcarus on Crack: American Hubris and Iraq
Jason LeopoldRichard Perle: the Enterprising Hawk
Saul LandauTechnological Massacre
Carol NorrisThe Mother of All Bombs
Riad Abdelkarim, MDIraq War Lingo 101
Adam EngelSchlock and Awe
Website of the WarIraq Body Count

الاثنين، 27 يوليو، 2009

(Umm Ghada at the Amiriya Bunker)

Art and Power
The reasons for the familiar view that art is largely irrelevant to everyday life and politics deserve scrutiny–Murray Edelman
by Robert Minhinnick
(Umm Ghada at the Amiriya Bunker)
It is years later now
but time can also run backwards.
Still she squats in candlelight,
Umm Ghada in the caravan,
or in 125 degrees Fahrenheit,
a cockroach ticking on her divan.
At night
they come out of the bunker,
the children, the old people,
but all a fog of flesh.
one body with four hundred souls
is exposed in a photographic flash.
They pick the wedding rings and wisdom teeth
from crematorium ash.
Who was it dreamed a stealth bomber?
Stealth steals.
Think of a smart bomb.
Not so smart.
Where the missiles entered Amiriya
daylight was star-shaped in the sarcophagus,
the concrete blasted back,
all the bodies foaming like phosphorus
in a bunker in Iraq.
The old women
took off their shoes
to welcome the fire that jumped into their mouths.
How quickly the children
found themselves unborn.
Yes, stealth steals.
But still Umm Ghadaguards.
Umm Ghada
who goads God
with her grief
and the ghosts she carries,
Umm Ghada my guide
in the charnel house corridors.
What is she but a woman
in desert black.
Yet no desert was ever so black
as the sackcloth that Umm Ghada owns.
Not the Syrian desert’s
Bedouin black, its cairns
of cold stones.
• The Amiriya bunker in Baghdad was destroyed by the USAF on 13 February 1991. More than 400 civilians wer killed. Umm Ghada, lost manymembers of her family in the destruction, became a guide at Amiriya, living on the site. I met her there in September 1998. Her whereabouts today are unknown.

الأربعاء، 17 يونيو، 2009

General Buster Glosson


Allen supported the selection of bomb targets during the first Gulf War. He coordinated intelligence with Colonel John Warden, who headed the Air Force's planning cell known as "Checkmate." On February 10, 1991 Allen presented his estimate to Col. Warden that Public Shelter Number 25 in the Southwestern Baghdad suburb of Amiriyah had become an alternative command post and showed no sign of being used as a civilian bomb shelter.
Satellite photos and electronic intercepts indicating this alternative use were regarded as circumstantial and unconvincing to Brigadier General
Buster Glosson, who had primary responsibility for targeting. Glosson's comment was that the assessment wasn't "worth a shit." A human source in Iraq, who had previously proven accurate warned the CIA that Iraqi intelligence had begun operating from the shelter. On February 11, the Amiriyah shelter was added to the Air Force's attack plan. At 4:30 am the morning of February 13, two F-117 stealth bombers each dropped a 2,000 pound, laser-guided, GBU-27 munition on the shelter. The first cut through ten feet of reinforced concrete before a time-delayed fuze exploded. Minutes later the second bomb followed the path cut by the first bomb.[14]
In the shelter at the time of the bombing were hundreds of Iraqi civilians. More than 400 people, mostly women and children were killed. Men and boys over the age of 15 had left the shelter to give the women and children some privacy.
Jeremy Bowen, a BBC correspondent, was one of the first television reporters on the scene. Bowen was given access to the site and did not find evidence of military use


الثلاثاء، 2 يونيو، 2009

The Amiriyah shelter massacre

June 2nd, 2009
The Amiriyah shelter massacre was the killing of more than 408 civilians on February 13, 1991 during the Gulf War, when an air-raid shelter (”Public Shelter No. 25″) in the Amiriyah neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq was destroyed by the USAF with two laser-guided “smart bombs”.
According to U.S. government sources, the attack was based on signals and human intelligence reports suggesting the bunker was a military command site. The shelter was used in the Iran–Iraq War and the Persian Gulf War by hundreds of civilians.
Contents
1 Decisions leading to the bombing
2 Bombing
3 Debate after the fact
4 References
5 External links
Decisions leading to the bombing
The United States was responsible for the decision to target the Amiriyah shelter. By its own admission, the Department of Defense “knew the Ameriyya facility had been used as a civil-defense shelter during the Iran–Iraq War.” Changes in the protected status of such a facility require warning, and Human Rights Watch argues that, “The United States’ failure to give such a warning before proceeding with the disastrous attack on the Ameriyya shelter was a serious violation of the laws of war.”
Charles E. Allen, the CIA’s National Intelligence Officer for Warning supported the selection of bomb targets during the first Gulf War. He coordinated intelligence with
Colonel John Warden, who headed the Air Force’s planning cell known as “Checkmate.” On 10 February 1991 Allen presented his estimate to Col. Warden that Public Shelter Number 25 in the southwestern Baghdad suburb of Amiriyah had become an alternative command post and showed no sign of being used as a civilian bomb shelter. However, Human Rights Watch noted in 1991, “It is now well established, through interviews with neighborhood residents, that the Ameriyya structure was plainly marked as a public shelter and was used throughout the air war by large numbers of civilians.”
Satellite photos and electronic intercepts indicating this alternative use were regarded as circumstantial and unconvincing to Brigadier General Buster Glosson, who had primary responsibility for targeting. Glosson’s comment was that the assessment wasn’t “worth a shit.” A human source in Iraq, who had previously proven accurate warned the CIA that Iraqi intelligence had begun operating from the shelter. On 11 February, Shelter Number 25 was added to the Air Force’s attack plan.
Bombing
At 4:30 am the morning of 13 February, two F-117 stealth bombers each dropped a 2,000 pound GBU-27 laser-guided bomb on the shelter. The first cut through ten feet of reinforced concrete before a time-delayed fuse exploded. Minutes later the second bomb followed the path cut by the first bomb. People staying in the upper level were incinerated by heat, while boiling water from the shelter’s water tank killed those below.
In the shelter at
the time of the bombing were hundreds of Iraqi civilians. The previous evening had been the celebration of Eid Al-Fitr. More than 400 people were killed; reports vary and the registration book was incinerated in the blast. The dead were overwhelmingly women and children because men and boys over the age of 15 had left the shelter to give the women and children some privacy. The blast sent shrapnel into surrounding buildings, shattering glass windows and splintering their foundations.
The shelter is maintained as a memorial to those who died within it,
featuring photos of those killed. According to visitors’ reports, Umm Greyda, a woman who lost eight children in the bombing, moved into the shelter to help create the memorial, and serves as its primary guide.
Debate after the fact
Jeremy Bowen, a BBC correspondent, was one of the first television reporters on the scene. Bowen was given access to the site and did not find evidence of military use.
The White House, in a report titled Apparatus of Lies: Crafting Tragedy, states that US intelligence sources reported the blockhouse was being used for military command purposes. The report goes on to accuse the Iraqi government of deliberately keeping “select civilians” in a military facility at Amiriyah.
According to Charles Heyman of Jane’s World Armies, the signals intelligence observed at the shelter was from an aerial antenna that was connected to a communications center some 300 yards (270 m) away.
References
^ The name Amiriyah can also be spelt Amiriya, Al’amrih, Amariya and Amariyah. There is no agreed spelling for the name in English. For example, The BBC uses all four spelling on its web site. CNN uses Amariya, Amariyah and Amiriya, while the Washington Post uses Amiriyah, Amiriya and Amariyah (once).
^ “A July 4 Challenge”. RCP Publications. 2006-06-25. http://rwor.org/a/052/july4-en.html. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
^ Jeenah, Na’eem (July 2001). “Al-Amariyah - A Graveyard of unwilling martyrs”. http://naeemjeenah.shams.za.org/amariyah.htm. Retrieved on 2009-05-06.
^ a b Human Rights Watch, Needless Deaths In The Gulf War: Civilian Casualties During the Air Campaign and Violations of the Laws of War, 1991.
^ a b c Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War, Rick Atkinson, 1993, p. 284-285
^ a b Felicity Arbuthnot, The Ameriya Shelter - St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, February 13, 2007.
^ a b Scott Peterson, “‘Smarter’ bombs still hit civilians, Christian Science Monitor, 22 October 2002.
^ John Dear, S.J., Iraq Journal: Notes from a peace delegation to a ravaged land, Soujourners Magazine, 1999.
^ Riverbend, Dedicated to the Memory of L.A.S., 15 February 2004.
^ Report aired on BBC 1, 14 February 1991
^ White House, Crafting Tragedy.

الأربعاء، 27 مايو، 2009

على صراخ وآهات جثث الأطفال المحترقة ... نصير شمه يعزف مقطوعة ملجأ العامرية !

نعم فهناك من يتاجر
شمّة يعزف لاطفال العراق مقطوعته الشهيرة "ملجأ العامرية "

The Moon Fades رحـيــل الـقـمـر ♪ Naseer Shamma نـصـيـر شـمـه
[.07.] Happened At Al-Amiriyya


في الساعة الرابعة والنصف فجراً في الثالث عشر من شباط / فبراير من عام 1991، قصفت طائرة أميركية الملجأ رقم خمسة وعشرين في حي العامرية غرب مدينة بغداد، نفذت القنبلة الثانية للطابق الأرضي حيث ينام الملتجئون إلى الأمان، وكان الانفجار وكان الحريق، غلقت الأبواب، فلا يدخل منجد ولا يخرج طالب نجاة، ومع الصباح استيقظ الكثيرون في عالمنا بهدوء، لأن جدران العامرية التي صممت لتعزل دوي الموت وصوت الدمار عن سمع الأطفال وبصرهم عزلت هذه المرة صوت استغاثاتهم عن سمع العالم، القنبلة أدت إلى استشهاد 407 مواطنا، منهم 138 رجلا، 269 امرأة، من بينهم 54 طفلا رضيعا، 26 مواطنا عربيا



مقتطف لحوار مع نصير شمه :

ما أسباب نجاح معزوفة "ملجأ العامرية" برأيك؟

هذه المعزوفة ولدت بعد دقائق من جريمة ملجأ العامرية التي حدثت بعد ان قصفت الطائرات الامريكية خلال حرب الخليج الثانية ملجأ للمدنيين في مدينة العامرية ببغداد في 13/2/1991 ومات فيه العشرات من النساء والاطفال وكنت حينها في بغداد فهرعت الى الملجأ وسمعت صرخات الضحايا وشاهدت جثثهم وشممت دخان الحريق الذي اصاب المكان والتهم الجثث وبقيت اياما اشتغل على المعزوفة بمعدل ثماني ساعات في اليوم حتى اكتمل العمل الذي اختزل كل الوجع

البعض ربط المعزوفة بنظام صدام ؟

هذا ( البعض) هو شخص واحد يكتب باسماء عديدة !!! المعزوفة لا علاقة لها بنظام صدام الذي لحقني منه اذى كثير فقد قبض علي اذنابه في الاردن وحكم عليّ بالاعدام بسبب تقرير كتبه احد الفنانيين اتهمني به بشتم صدام وبقيت انتظر تنفيذ حكم الاعدام لمدة اسبوع حتى كتبت لي النجاة بعد ان عرف احد المسؤولين بالمصير الذي كان ينتظرني فتدخل لتخفيف الحكم ومن ثم اطلاق سراحي بعد 170 يوما امضيتها في اقبية امن محافظة واسط فيما سيق رفاقي الى المقابر الجماعية باستثناء واحد فقط كتبت له النجاة معي ايضا لذا سأضع في احد الايام معزوفة حول شهداء هذه المقابر ولدي رغبة في وضع عمل كبير عن الاهوال التي تعرض لها العراق خلال الخمس والثلاثين سنة الماضية من حكم صدام الذي كان عادلا في الظلم!! فالكل أخذ نصيبه من ظلمه بالتساوي


المدى
ابو ظبي / نضال ابراهيم


أحيا الفنان العراقي نصير شمة أمسية موسيقية بعنوان أمنا الأرض . وذلك في افتتاح الدورة الرابعة لمهرجان ابو ظبي للموسيقى الكلاسيكية على قاعة مسرح قصر الامارات التي تتسع لـ1500 شخص إمتلأت بالحضور ووقف العشرات من المدعوين عند باب القاعة ولم يسمح لهم المنظمون بالدخول وعاد قسم منهم أدراجه مستاء" والقسم الآخر فضل سماع الفنان من خلال شاشة عملاقة في قاعة مجاورة . عزف الفنان نصير شمة مقطوعات فردية منها مقطوعته الشهيرة "ملجأ العامرية ". وعلق شمة قبل عزفه للمقطوعة : لقد عشت حربين :الحرب العراقية الايرانية وحرب الخليج الثانية عشتها كجندي ،ورغم الأهوال التي حصلت عندي حلم ان يأتي...وسيأتي يوم نشعر بالسلام والأمان ونحقق لأولادنا ولذواتنا مانتمنى وما نريد ...نريد أن نرى أطفالنا يذهبون إلى المدارس ويعودون بسلام ..نريد الكثير، من الأشياء البسيطة التي يحتاجها كل إنسان. وعزف شمة مقطوعات مع فرقته التي تتألف من 13 فنانا من مختلف دول العالم .

الاثنين، 30 مارس، 2009

The destruction of Al-Ameriya Civilian Shelter by the U.S. 17 years ago


Al-Ameriya Shelter
Abri d'Al Ameriya
Photos taken during our first visit to the shelter on 1st March 1992
Photos prises lors de notre première visite de l'abri le 1er mars 1992


BOMBING A CIVILIAN SHELTER IS
A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY
BOMBARDER UN ABRI CIVIL
EST UN CRIME CONTRE L'HUMANITE
Seventeen years ago, during the night of 13-14 February 1991 the U.S. sent 2 laser guided missiles to destroy the Ameriya Shelter in Baghdad, killing over 1.200 civilians, the majority of whom were women and children who had sought refuge there.
When we visited Al-Ameriya one year after the U.S. attack, all the houses around the shelter still had black banners with the names of their relatives who had died inside the shelter during that terrible night.
Il y a 17 ans, pendant la nuit du 13-14 février 1991, les Etats Unis ont envoyé 2 missiles sur l'abri civil d'Al Ameriya à Bagdad, tuant plus de 1.200 civils, la majorité d'entre eux étaient des femmes et des enfants qui s'y étaient réfugiés lors des bombardements américains sur les quartiers résidentiels de Bagdad
.



Imprint of incinerated mother holding child (Baghdad)

The Al-Ameryia Shelter: Attacked during the Gulf War by two-laser guided bombs five minutes apart. Over 1200 women and children died; there were 14 survivors. Reconnaissance aircraft observed the shelter for three days prior to the attack, and the fresh air vent was targeted. The first bomb created an opening for the second, more powerful bomb. The blast temperature was 4000 degrees F; some children were incinerated and others were boiled alive when internal water pipes burst open. The US government claimed that the building housed military personnel and equipment, but no direct evidence was presented.



Imprint of incinerated mother holding child

Human skin on shelter wall


Um Reyda, with a memorial to her nine children (Baghdad)





Incinerated child's handprints



Lenses of incinerated children's eyes

السبت، 7 مارس، 2009

البغداديـة تحيـي ذكـرى مأسـاة ملجـأ العـامريـة ... Justice Will Prevail



أحيا عدد من عوائل شهداء ملجأ العامرية الذين راحوا ضحية القصف الامريكي لملجأ المدنيين اثناء حرب الخليج الثانية قبل 18 عام أحيوا ذكرى ابنائهم الذين فارقوا الحياة يوم 13\2\1991 .و قد أحيت البغدادية ذكرى المجزرة التي ارتكبتها القوات الامريكية في ذلك اليوم و قد ناشد عوائل الشهداء قناة البغداديةلتبني حملة اعلامية لانصاف و تعويض عوائل الشهداء و اقامة دعوى دولية ضد الولايات المتحدة الامريكية .فريق البغدادية زار ملجأ العامرية الذي شهد تجمعا ً لعوائل الشهداء و استضافهم في برنامج ( ساعة ونص ) ليوم الخميس 5\3\2009 , حيث شرح أغلبهم المأساة و ما خلفته من آثار نفسية و إجتماعية و إقتصادية .و نقلوا الى مراسل البغدادية ميناس السهيل طلبهم من البغدادية بإنشاء صندوق لتمويل إجراءات دعوى قضائية ضد الولايات المتحدة الامريكية لتعويض عوائل الضحايا إسوة ً بما حصل في دول العالم الاخرى لا سيما و ان عناصر في الجيش الامريكي إعترفت في حينها بإرتكاب المجزرة عن طريق الخطأ على حد قولهم .
كما عرضت قبل مدة قليلة تقريراً عن فيلم سينمائي عن جريمة قصف ملجأ العامرية والفيلم هو " فجر يوم حزين " تأليف ( صباح عطوان ) واخراج ( صلاح كرم ) .
Justice Will Prevail
This is the slogan the families of the victims of Al Amiriya shelter in Baghdad during a live coverage from the bunker itself by Al Baghdadia satellite channel a couple of days ago to commemorate the victims of that criminal act during the 1991.
There were interviews with families of the victims and other people living in the surrounding area of the shelter – one of them told the story how he heard the first blast and after the second he ran towards the shelter, went to the second floor and saw people in flames screaming for help. Another told of his son who was in the shelter when it happened, the father went inside and saw his son, he was 12 years old then rapped in a blanket, his body was burned from toe to head, the whole flesh was eaten by the fire.
The families of the victims, old and young men and women appealed to the Iraqi government to re-open the shelter to public, which was closed in 2003 after the US occupation of Iraq. They called for effort and work on rebuilding the site and to make it a museum for others to see and remember those men, women, children and elderly people their lives were taken without purpose, and reason.
Some families were puzzled with the fact that human life is precious in many countries, taking an example of the terrorist attack on PAN AM flight in 1988, and they asked for justice, a similar fairness in assessing the altitude of this tragedy .
I was surprised to know from that live coverage that the US forces entered the shelter in 2003, torn up the pictures of victims hanging on walls, stepped on some of them with their boots and even sprayed their machine guns on the walls.
While I was watching, it crossed my mind many places I visited in the past in Europe to commemorate the victims of World War I and II, not to forget Hitler’s victims e.g. Auschwitz.
Would be wrong if Al Amiriya shelter be included as part of UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites? Maybe not! It is not the Pyramids.
It all goes back to one concept: how valuable those who died to their own people in order to make others from other countries acknowledge their rights, for justice
.
by MixMax
Iraq The Lasting Love ~~ العراق... اسميك المحبة

الأربعاء، 28 يناير، 2009

inside Amiriyah shelter



Blackened columns and debris of the destroyed Amiriyah shelter – the worst single case of Iraqi civilian deaths and collateral damage in Desert Storm.




Gutted sub-basement bathrooms in the destroyed Amiriyah shelter in Baghdad. Planners and intelligence analysts speculated after the attack that the sub-basement was hiding an Iraqi command center.







One of two holes made by the bombs on the roof of the Amiriyah shelter.









On the roof of the Amiriyah shelter, showing the two holes made by 2,000 pound bombs.

Twin to the shelter

Twin to the shelter

A war shelter in the Yarmuk neighborhood of Baghdad, similar to the one destroyed at Amiriyah. The shelter was not bombed; Washington restricted attacks after the February 13 disaster at the Amiriyah shelter that killed more than 400 civilians.









Interior
The interior of the Yarmuk neighborhood shelter, showing bunk beds, pool table, and ping-pong table. Similar to the shelter at Amiriyah, some 400-500 civilians crowded into the refuge nightly.







The entrance to the communications center of the Yarmuk neighborhood shelter. Built by a Swedish company, the operations hub even boasts protection against the effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which would be caused by a nuclear attack on Baghdad.






Communications cables and air-filtration systems of the Yarmuk neighborhood shelter.

السبت، 24 يناير، 2009

The Battle for Hearts and Minds


The Amiriyah shelter in a middle class Baghdad neighborhood
After several weeks of air war, the emphasis declined on attacking Baghdad and leadership sites. Saddam Hussein was still very much alive and the unanticipated mission of preventing Scud missile attacks on Israel forced a rewriting of the script. Other priorities also intruded on the leadership focus, such as new intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction .
The Amiriyah shelter, known as the Al Firdos C3 bunker to U.S. war planners, was added to the target list in early February as a newly activated Iraqi command shelter. Signals traffic and daytime satellite photography of limousines and trucks parked outside suggested "leadership" activity.

Looking out the roof of the darkened Amiriyah shelter.

The shelter was bombed in the early morning hours of Feb. 13. A pair of stealth fighters expertly dropped two 2,000-lb. laser-guided bombs on the hardened shelter, piercing the concrete steel reinforced roof.
Unexpectedly hundreds of Iraqi civilians, possibly the families of elite government and intelligence personnel, were using the shelter as a refuge to escape nighttime bombing. About 400 Iraqi civilians, mostly women and children, died in the attack. Another 200 were injured severely. U.S. intelligence never detected the civilian presence and still believes the shelter was used (at least during the day) by Iraq's intelligence agencies as a back-up communications post.
U.S. leaders scrambled to explain the attack. Generals Schwarzkopf and Powell conferred and the air war planning office in Riyadh was ordered to get approval
for any subsequent downtown targets selected for attack.

In September 1991 I had occasion to visit a twin of the Al Firdos bunker, another Baghdad civil defense shelter that was on the target list but went unbombed after the Amiriyah disaster. It appeared to be a typical civil defense facility, built to NATO specifications and filled with bunk beds and pool tables, hardened in anticipation of an Israeli or Iranian attack on the capital.

The interior of the unbombed twin to the Amiriyah shelter

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