Sijood Presidential Palace, Baghdad

Salam Pax, Iraqi blogger, is still online (though once Shock and Awe starts, he may not have a telephone line to connect online anymore). He has posted a fascinating aerial photo of Baghdad with a color-coded thumbnail, which is especially interesting because it shows the Sijood Presidential Palace, one of Saddam's many such and from the looks of it, a very elegant and lovely building. If it survives the war it will be a historical site, for certain. He writes:

The feature most people would recognize when not seen from the top is the grand festival square (which is not a square at all. It is a semi-circle) it is in light blue. This is the one which has two huge intersecting swords at its entrance. The building below the semi-circle is the grand stand; this is the place that saw the big army marches last winter. The road to the right of it is called the Zaitoon (olive tree) Street, it has lots of olive trees obviously. On the green side of that street (the green area is a residential area called Harthiya) live many big wigs, don�t bother you CIA types reading the blog, they are empty now. The yellow area is the Zawra public garden, you see it here during the renovation period. They have just finished working on the garden. The brown longish thing down the left of the image is the clock tower of Baghdad, a very very hideous building and it houses the museum of Saddam�s presents (the ones he got from everybody, there was an article about a couple of months ago in the guardian I think). The blue square is a building that has been hit twice (desert storm and desert fox) after desert fox they decided to do a redesign since it was hit really bad. It is still unfinished but it does look nice. The red area is something I see with you for the first time. This is off boundaries to Iraqis, the whole area is a �presidential Palace�. The Sijood palace can be seen from the other side of the river and it is one of the most beautiful palaces, I really hope it does not get its �havoc recked�. I see it as a museum or some sort of academy in the future, I really like it.

He also mentions rumors that Saddam's brother Barzan is under house arrest in a Presidential Palace for daring to suggest that Saddam, surrender. And that Saddam's family is armed to the teeth, more out of fear from Iraqi reprisals than American ones.

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