Nabil al-Tikriti’s report on his 25-31 May visit to Baghdad and his
assessment of the MS and Libraries situation there: “IRAQ MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS, ARCHIVES, & LIBRARIES: SITUATION REPORT” posted on IraqCrisis and some other places, is now available in a formatted on-line version.
NATIONAL LIBRARY & ARCHIVES / Dar al-Kutub wa al-Watha’iq:
This facility, located right across from the Ministry of Defense, was completely burned and looted. Due to limitations of time, I
was unable to visit this facility during working hours. From the outside, it is clear that no materials could possibly have been
preserved on site. As this site also appears not to have been cleaned and cleared, it may also prove useful for a criminal
Osama Naqshbandi of the Dar al-Makhtutat reported that the National Library had 12 million documents. It was said to be
particularly strong holdings in Arabic periodicals (?the largest Arabic newspaper collection in the world?) and documents from
the period of Hashemite rule (1920-1958), in addition to a few documents dating from the period of Ottoman rule
(1534-1918). Although he felt that the periodical collection was completely lost, Mr. Naqshbandi had heard that some of the
more important documents may have been taken to a safe place by archival staff, but was not sure.