1987- 1996

Shahid (Martyr's) Mosque - Firdus Square


Shahid Mosque

Ghilani Mosque

Entrance to Kazimiyah Mosque

Minaret at sundown


Ghilani Mosque

Tiles at Kazimyah Mosque

Khan Marjan - an old caravanserai now a restaurant

Qadisiyah (Iran-Iraq War) Martyr's Monument

Note the monument on the back of the 25-dinar bill

Qadisiyah Monument

Names of the dead on marble walls in the Qadisiyah Monument

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Rashid Hotel- where I stayed a few times in background)

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Taxi - note rack often used to transport coffins of the war dead


Kazimiyah section, mostly Shi'a
The area in the bend of the river was the Directorate of Military Intelligence - my office while in Baghdad - it's where Saddam was hanged as well.
Square to left is the Kazimiyah mosque, a holy site for the Shi'a.
The bridge to the right was the site of massive drowning

DMI compound - my office was on the right side

My ride


Fairly good highways - autobahn style signs

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
There was a war museum underneath - mostly anti-Israeli displays

Coffin on rack

In Washington with Iraqi Defense Attache Brigadier Nabil Sa'id -
He arranged my trips to Baghdad

My office building after being struck by Tomahawk missiles in 1998

Road sign - you do not want to hit a camel - it is usually fatal

My Iraq-army issued duffel bag.

The symbol, found on all Iraqi military equipment and aircraft, is a stylized letter JIM inside a triangle - the letter JIM is the first letter in the Arabic word for army, JAYSH

Above and right - captured Iranian armor on display in Baghdad after the war.  We calculated that Iraq captured about 75 percent of Iran's tanks and artillery in the final offensives - I took that as validation of our efforts.  I shot this from an Iraqi Mi-17 helicopter before they kicked me out.... (of the country, not the helicopter)

Iraqi visa and entry/exit stamps that excited customs officials all over



Ishtar Gate (restored)

Original brick with cuniform writing from approximately 605BC

Wall relief

Original walls of Hanging Gardens


The "Saddam Brick" at Babylon

Much to the dismay of archeologists all over the world, Saddam ordered new bricks with his seal be placed on the original foundations.
This reads:

In the glorious era of Saddam Husayn, President of the Republic of Magnificent Iraq, to commemorate its history and culture, saw the rebuilding of the city of Babylon in two stages in 1407-1408 AH, 1987-1988 AD and the rebuilding of this palace which was built by King Nebuchadnezzer II 605-623 BC.

The first offensive of 1988 - with our help

The Shatt al-'Arab waterway - the border between Iraq and Iran.  These are destroyed Iranian bunkers.  The sunken ships precluded use of Basrah as a port.

An Iraqi soldier on the al-Faw peninsula - part of my security detail
"For your protection, Mister Rick"

Iraqi bunker on the al-Faw peninsula

On every vertical surface in Iraq...

The al-Faw peninsula

Iranian command post at al-Faw - headqarters of the 8th IRGC "Najaf" Division

Captured Iranian rockets in boxes marked "Parts of Bulldozer"

Iraqi troops after the campaign on the the al-Faw peninsula

Removing all traces of the Iranians on the al-Faw peninsula

Captured Iranian weapons - some made in Israel

Umm Qasr port

Iranian field hospital at al-Faw - dozens of used atropine (anti-nerve gas) injectors on the ground

North Korean 170mm KOKSAN self-propelled field gun captured by Iraqi forces on the al-Faw peninsula.  It was used to shell Kuwaiti oilfields in punishment for their support of Iraq.  We were given access to the gun here at the Suwayrah artillery depot about an hour south of Baghdad.  Temperatures as high as 129F.

That same Koksan gun on the al-Faw Peninsula just after it was captured (from an Iranian web site)

Not a bad hotel in al-Basrah

Local beverage distributor

The second offensive

Damaged Iraqi tanks and an IFA truck (East German) - they tried to keep us away from their losses, but there were many

Damaged Iraqi T-55 tank

Damaged Iraqi T-55 tank


Iraqi Air Force MiG-29 serial 29060
The Iraqis numbered their aircraft with the two digits of the type and then a serialized number


Bell 214ST - my ride from time to time

Mi-25 gunship

Mirage F-1 EQ - Shu'aybah Air Base

Mirage F-1 EQ (Iraq export version) from AMD.BA - Shu'aybah Air Base
(Avions Marcel Daussault - Breguet Aviation)
Note Iraqi decal placed over French lettering


Mil Mi-17 HIP with triple rocket launchers

Al-Husayn modified Scud on display at Baghdad arms show -1989



IL-76 at Baghdad International

UMiG-21 serial 21074

4th Squadron - Iraqi Army Aviation

Mil MI-8 HIP - usually with double rocket launchers
also my ride on ocassion

Shu'aybah Air Base
Note missile and aircraft heading toward Jerusalem (Dome of the Rock)
The flags are Iraq and the Ba'th Party

Destroyed MiG-23 serial 23287

Destroyed Sukhoi-20 serial 20501

Operation Desert Storm (Gulf War I)

General Norman Schwarzkopf and me during Desert Shield

Safwan, Iraq 1991 introducing Iraqi Lt Gen Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Jabburi al-Tay to General Schwarzkopf

Entering Iraq from the south

In the meeting at Safwan - I am between Sultan Hashim and General Schwarzkopf

On our way to Safwan from Kuwait



Kurdish Iraq

The food was good, some paint would be nice

Team logo on a T-shirt
NILE=Northern Iraq Liaison Element

Salah Al-Din
(with a dusting of snow on the mountains)

The sandbags that saved my life

We later estimated that an IED in excess of 120 pounds of high-explosive (10 anti-tank mines strapped together in an IED) was detonated 90 meters from the left of the house.  I was sitting on the far right, to the right of the air conditioner, which ended up in what remained of the opposite wall.

An iron door batten bracket that was welded to the door frame.  The force of the blast ripped it off the frame and embeded it in the wall near my pillow.

No uniform - no ID card....

Our team operated almost 200 miles inside Saddam Husayn's Iraq - far from any support from US forces.  Occasionally we saw US Air Force fighters on patrol.

My boss (a Don Quixote fan) described it as:
"to live where the strong will not tarry,
to fight where the brave dare not go...."

You've been out all day smiting the enemies of truth and justice, trying to bring freedom to a war-torn land - and now, it's Farida time.
(That is a PKM - a really nice piece of Russian machinery)

A day at the office
(I could have been a finance officer....)

Greater Zab River


Team house - Salah al-Din

My billet

Yeah, I know the bandoliers are not for an AK-47...
They're for our PKM machine gun (see below)

Our (tenuous) links to the world

I am carrying an RPK, sort of an oversized AK-47

Two of our Kurdish guys

On the road
Ahead is a Toyota pickup with a 12.7mm DShKA

Simko Diza'i
Leader of the PUK peshmerga - the dagger is not a prop

Perimeter at the house

Looking down from a firing position on the roof

Gali Ali Beg waterfall near Rawanduz

Iranian border at Bashmaq (near Panjwin)

With the political and military leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)

Jalal Talabani
Secretary General of the PUK ,

Currently the President of Iraq

Dancing at a wedding

Excerpts from a History Channel documentary on the extraction by my team of scientist's family


Mas'ud Barzani
President of the Kurdish Democratic Party
Currently the president of Iraqi Kurdistan (autonomous region)


A little help from the US Army

Hero Talabani (Mrs Jalal)

A well-known poet and artist, and one of the most gracious women you'll ever meet.  She was captured by Iraqi forces in 1996 when the KDP invited the Iraqis to move on Irbil, but later released.  I have never seen her without a cigarette. 

A Tariq 9mm pistol made in Iraq under license from Beretta
Note open slide typical of Beretta - I preferred the Browning Hi-Power