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May 11, 2005

Travels In Iraq: Taji

LTC Bob continues his inspections of Iraqi weapons dumps, traveling this week to the Taji Rocket and Missile Component Factory

Taji, located 30 km North of Baghdad, was the primary location for Iraq's indigenous long-range missile program. Activities included air frame design, construction and modification, and liquid fuel rocket engine development and production. UNSCOM teams destroyed prohibited missiles, support systems, development and construction equipment, and specialized tools and dies.

Iraq was planning to build a 1,000-machine production centrifuge cascade at Taji. Based on performance achieved by the Iraqis with their prototype centrifuge, IAEA estimated the potential output of a 1,000 centrifuge cascade at about ten kilograms of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium annually.

Here are a few pictures from my trip to Taji last week and around Camp Victory today.

When we flew to Taji, it was mostly over Baghdad, since Taji is northwest of Baghdad and we are kind of southwest.

Here is the big TV tower. You can see all the smoke in the background – probably mostly from the power plants burning crude oil.

Here is one of the intersections we flew over – looks pretty normal, in spite of what you read, huh?

Now I will jump forward to something I saw on Camp today, that illustrates how the war is going. I assume that there is still "gloom and doom" there, with the recent spate of car bombings and so forth. The truth is that the bad guys are getting their butts kicked – first the elections, big loss for them; now a new government, another big loss. The new Iraqi forces are increasingly successful against the car bombs and IEDs, and that leaves the terrorists with blowing up civilians, which is much of what is happening now.

This looked encouraging to me as well. US Heavy Equipment Transporters (HETs) carrying Iraqi T-62 tanks with Iraqi crews to training on the US Camp.

These are from the downtown area.

The first is of the Al Rasheed Hotel, the one where all the reporters stay and do their war stories. Notice all the big tall concrete barriers, they are there to protect from indirect fire and car bombs.

Here is the Unknown Soldier Monument, also in the IZ, formerly known as the "Green Zone".

Next, what it known as the Tomahawk building – several missiles from the US Navy hit it during the war, I was told. Note all the HMMWVs parked around it.

Next, a view of the Tigris in Baghdad. Notice the oil all across the surface. That’s from the pipelines that were blown up by the terrorists up north where they cross the river.

Here's downtown:

Next is a more residential area:

And here are two more from commercial/shopping areas in town. These pics were taken later in the day so its busier.

The next one is another shot from Baghdad – a main street it appears – lots of traffic and people. Even with the insurgency and the danger –people go about their business. What else can they do? Note that lane markings are somewhat optional. You can just see two traffic policemen in the intersection (wearing light green jackets), trying to maintain order from chaos.

This one is of a date palm plantation out in the Euphrates valley.

Next – some truly old time mud houses – there aren’t many of these left that I've seen. Only a few, way out in the desert. You can see the people have moved their beds outside, it has been hot for a few weeks already. Looks like Life of Brian to me.

Previously: To Paladin Depot, and Back

More of LTC Bob's travels in Iraq will be posted as they come in.

Posted by Bigwig at May 11, 2005 01:02 PM | TrackBack
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Nice reporting, LTC Bob. Take care and don't let the sand fleas bite.

Posted by: Blackavar at May 11, 2005 02:03 PM

i want to know whats going on in iraq.. and when my us amry solider is coming home that would be great to know.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 20, 2005 06:29 PM
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