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 loss of life.
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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, in line with CNN. And Hussein wouldn’t get the possibility to take action, for the reason that yacht was focused by U.S. forces throughout the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and capsized throughout the battle.
The yacht would come to be looted and stripped, its chandeliers and furnishings ripped out and even elements of its metallic construction eliminated, as CNN stories. What stays is a rusty hull, and main structural elements that had been in all probability not definitely worth the hassle to excise. It’s ironic that the title of the yacht is a reference to a historic caliph, or non secular ruler, whose title meant “conqueror.” And but, the vessel itself has now been conquered.
It was one of three of luxe yachts owned by Hussein; it could fit up to 200 guests and even had a helipad. As with most of Hussein’s property, the people of Basra were forbidden to go near the yacht during the iron-fisted reign of the deposed dictator, but local fishermen and other sightseers routinely visit the shipwreck, which has become a curious attraction for leisure of all things, as Reuters explains:
“When it was owned by the previous president, nobody may 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 a logo of Saddam Hussein’s wealth and energy, the capsized yacht is now a logo of Hussein’s downfall — and what might be one of many world’s impossible locations for a quiet cup of tea.