Bagdhad Museum reopens

Did Iraq read my piece on the future of Iraq tourism? After the re-opening of Iraq’s National Museum yesterday, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki signaled that his government is trying to move towards normality. Bring on the vistors! (and sign me up for the tour…) What you’ll no doubt remember about the spot is its famous ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
588273_090224_baghdad15.jpg
588273_090224_baghdad15.jpg

Did Iraq read my piece on the future of Iraq tourism? After the re-opening of Iraq's National Museum yesterday, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki signaled that his government is trying to move towards normality. Bring on the vistors! (and sign me up for the tour...)

Did Iraq read my piece on the future of Iraq tourism? After the re-opening of Iraq’s National Museum yesterday, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki signaled that his government is trying to move towards normality. Bring on the vistors! (and sign me up for the tour…)

What you’ll no doubt remember about the spot is its famous looting six years ago during the U.S. invasion of Bagdhad, as seen above. Fifteen thousand items were stolen amid massive looting, and only 8,500 were later recovered.

That the museum reopened is something of a miracle. As a U.S. embassy official in Iraq told me last fall, “[Iraq’s] museums have been in dire shape for many many years; it long predates the looting.” Another official pitched in: “[The Museum was] closed first in the 1980s and again before the first Persian Gulf war. Then, under Saddam, he only opened it for one year in 2002. [Now,] there is some refurbishment going on. There are several halls that are still in need of help. … [it’s] mainly empty with the exception of the few halls.”

Far from empty, the museum would surely be a treat to see. Further proof that Iraq is closer than you thought to going from a conflict-ridden deathtrap to a sunny tourist haven.

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images, Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images, Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.

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