Excerpt of a preliminary report on the condition of the Iraq National Library:
1) The library building has been rendered unusable by two successive
fires and CPA authorities are hoping to move the library to a
temporary location in a garish modern massive officer’s club at al-
Balat al-Malki. This move is envisioned in the next weeks, however,
Amb. Cordone, whose portfolio includes the library, is pessimistic.
2) It is estimated by library employees that between 30%-60% of the
collection is safe and held in three separate locations:
A: Behind a large steel door that has been welded shut by members of
the Haq Mosque’s Hawza Group. The welded doors essentially seal off
a wing of the library’s ground floor.
B: The Haq Mosque’s Hawza Group was able to take what they claim to
be 300,000 volumes to their mosque in Revolution City (nee Saddam
City.) A visual inspection conducted by Hanssen and Watenpaugh
confirmed that they have this collection well in hand and that it
occupies approx. 150-200 cubic meters. Earlier reports of books in
Hebrew are true; what was also found were 50+ 50 liter sacks of
archival materials from the Mandate period through the Revolution of
C: The library staff also evacuated parts of the rare/forbidden books
collection to a “secret safe location.” They informed the CPA of the
location of this stash two days ago.
3. We were unable to locate any Ottoman archival material whatsoever.