Arts, Culture & Media

Preserving Iraq's cultural heritage

This arch ranks as one of the most important archeological sites in Iraq, the land where civilization is said to have begun. 14,000 years ago, this was probably the world's largest city but now the bridge is all that remains. It sits 110 feet high over what might've once been a banquet hall. Standing below the arch, this Iraqi Army officer greets a delegation from the U.S. State Department. This State Dept. official made a visit to Iraq to announce the new funds to help Iraqis protect their World Heritage Sites. It will include an infantry based in northern Iraq to teach conservation and management. The official says this was the right time to launch this project. This arch is a good example�the area is predominantly Sunni. Local leaders are not happy that the mostly Shiite Iraqi Army has parked its tanks on the ancient grounds. Shiites and Sunnis both visit the mosque here but the mosque's property includes much of the surrounding land which used to belong to the Sunni endowment but was suddenly switched to the Shiite endowment five years ago. This analyst says that's stirring up sectarian tension. The Iraqi tank regiment in Salman Pak is scheduled to switch in the winter and that may be a good time to have them move bases entirely.

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