Saddam Hussein’s Wrecked Yacht Is a Curious Attraction in Iraq
The wreckage of Saddam Hussein’s former presidential yacht haunts the Shatt al-Arab waterway in Basra, Iraq, drawing adventurous sightseers and native fishermen within the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s ouster and, later, his demise.
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The 396-foot yacht, dubbed the “al-Mansur,” was as soon as among the many dictator’s non-public flotilla, however Saddam Hussein by no means boarded the vessel after it was constructed within the 1980s, based on CNN. And Hussein wouldn’t get the prospect to take action, because the yacht was focused by U.S. forces in the course of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and capsized in the course of the battle.
The yacht would come to be looted and stripped, its chandeliers and furnishings ripped out and even elements of its steel construction eliminated, as CNN experiences. What stays is a rusty hull, and main structural elements that have been in all probability not definitely worth the hassle to excise. It’s ironic that the identify of the yacht is a reference to a historical caliph, or non secular ruler, whose title meant “conqueror.” And but, the vessel itself has now been conquered.
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It was one in all three of luxe yachts owned by Hussein; it might match as much as 200 visitors and even had a helipad. As with most of Hussein’s property, the folks of Basra have been forbidden to go close to the yacht in the course of the iron-fisted reign of the deposed dictator, however native fishermen and different sightseers routinely go to the shipwreck, which has develop into a curious attraction for leisure of all issues, as Reuters explains:
“When it was owned by the previous president, nobody might come near it,” mentioned fisherman Hussein Sabahi, who enjoys ending a protracted day on the river with a cup of tea aboard the wreck. […] “I can’t consider that this belonged to Saddam and now I’m the one transferring round it,” he mentioned.
Locals freely climb the conquered vessel now, boarding it to picnic and drink tea. Whereas it was as soon as reportedly an emblem of Saddam Hussein’s wealth and energy, the capsized yacht is now an emblem of Hussein’s downfall — and what might be one of many world’s impossible locations for a quiet cup of tea.