Tikrit
Overview
 


Tikrit is a town in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, located 140 km northwest of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 on the Tigris river (at 34.61°N, 43.68°E). The town, with an estimated population in 2002 of about 260,000 is the administrative center of the Salah ad Din Governorate.
As a fort along the Tigris (Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

: Idiqlat), the town is first mentioned in the Fall of Assyria Chronicle as being a refuge for the Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

n king Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar was the king of the Babylonia and played a key role in the demise of the Assyrian Empire following the death of the last powerful Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal...

 during his attack on the city of Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 in 615 BC.

Tikrit is usually identified with the Hellenistic settlement Birtha
Birtha (Mesopotamia)
Birtha was an ancient fortress on the river Tigris, which was said to have been built by Alexander the Great. It would seem, from the description of Ammianus, to have resembled a modern fortification, flanked by bastions, and with its approaches defended by out-works. Shapur II here closed his...

.
Encyclopedia


Tikrit is a town in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, located 140 km northwest of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 on the Tigris river (at 34.61°N, 43.68°E). The town, with an estimated population in 2002 of about 260,000 is the administrative center of the Salah ad Din Governorate.

Ancient times

As a fort along the Tigris (Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

: Idiqlat), the town is first mentioned in the Fall of Assyria Chronicle as being a refuge for the Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

n king Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar was the king of the Babylonia and played a key role in the demise of the Assyrian Empire following the death of the last powerful Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal...

 during his attack on the city of Assur
Assur
Assur , was one of the capitals of ancient Assyria. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District .Assur is also...

 in 615 BC.

Tikrit is usually identified with the Hellenistic settlement Birtha
Birtha (Mesopotamia)
Birtha was an ancient fortress on the river Tigris, which was said to have been built by Alexander the Great. It would seem, from the description of Ammianus, to have resembled a modern fortification, flanked by bastions, and with its approaches defended by out-works. Shapur II here closed his...

. As Tagrit, it was the seat of the Maphrian
Maphrian
The Maphrian was historically the prelate in the Syriac Orthodox Church who ranked second in the hierarchy after the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. The Maphrian, whose title literally means "one who bears fruit", i.e. "consecrator", was originally the head of the church in Persia and the...

 of the Monophysites.

Over a thousand years ago, it possessed a fortress and a large Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 monastery. It was renowned as a centre for the production of woolen textiles. The Arab Uqaylid Dynasty
Uqaylid Dynasty
The Uqailid or Uqaylid Dynasty was a Shi'a Arab dynasty with several lines that ruled in various parts of Al-Jazira, northern Syria and Iraq in the late tenth and eleventh centuries. The main line, centered in Mosul, ruled from 990 to 1096.-Rise:...

 took hold of Tikrit in 1036.

Around 1138, the legendary leader Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

 was born there; his many achievements include defending Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 against the Christian Crusaders and recapturing Jerusalem in 1187. The modern province of which Tikrit is the capital is named after him.

The town, and much of Iraq with it, was devastated in the 13th century by the Mongol invasion under Hulagu.

20th century

In September 1917, British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 forces captured the town during a major advance against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

The town is among westerners perhaps best known for being the birthplace, in 1937, of Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

, who frequently liked to compare himself with Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

, despite the fact that Saladin was Kurdish. Many senior members of the Iraqi government during his rule were drawn from Saddam's own Tikriti tribe, the Al Bu Nasir, as were members of his Iraqi Republican Guard
Iraqi Republican Guard
The Iraqi Republican Guard was a branch of the Iraqi military during the presidency of Saddam Hussein. It later became the Republican Guard Corps, and then the Republican Guard Forces Command with its expansion into two corps....

, chiefly because Saddam apparently felt that he was most able to rely on relatives and allies of his family. The Tikriti domination of the Iraqi government became something of an embarrassment to Hussein and, in 1977, he abolished the use of surnames in Iraq to conceal the fact that so many of his key supporters bore the same surname, al-Tikriti (as did Saddam himself). Saddam Hussein was buried near Tikrit in his hometown of Owja following his hanging on December 30, 2006.

Iraq War (2003)

In the opening weeks of the 2003 US-led invasion
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, many observers speculated that Saddam would return to Tikrit as his "last stronghold". The town was subjected to intense aerial bombardment meant to throw Saddam's elite Republican Guard troops out of the city. On April 13, 2003 several thousand US Marines and other coalition members aboard 300 armored vehicles converged on the town, meeting little or no resistance. With the fall of Tikrit, U.S. Major General Stanley McChrystal said, "I would anticipate that the major combat operations are over."

However, during the subsequent occupation Tikrit became the scene of a number of insurgent
Iraqi insurgency
The Iraqi Resistance is composed of a diverse mix of militias, foreign fighters, all-Iraqi units or mixtures opposing the United States-led multinational force in Iraq and the post-2003 Iraqi government...

 attacks against the occupation forces. It is commonly regarded as being the northern angle of the "Sunni Triangle" within which the National Resistance is at its most intense. In June 2003, Abid Hamid Mahmud
Abid Hamid Mahmud
Lieutenant General Abid Al-Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti was an Iraqi military officer under Saddam Hussein's deposed regime.Mahmud began his military career as an non-commissioned officer and rose through the ranks, becoming part of Hussein's personal bodyguard, and finally, his personal secretary.A...

, Saddam Hussein's Presidential Secretary and the Ace of Diamonds on the most wanted 'Deck of Cards,' was captured in a joint raid by special operations forces and the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment of 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

After the fall of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Saddam Hussein was on the run in and around Tikrit. He was hidden by relatives and supporters for a period of about six months. During his final period in hiding, he sought refuge in a small hole just outside the town of ad-Dawr
Ad-Dawr
Ad-Dawr, is a small agricultural town near the Iraqi town of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace....

, fifteen kilometres south of Tikrit on the eastern bank of the Tigris, a few kilometers southeast of his hometown of Al-Awja. The missions which resulted in the capture of Saddam Hussein were assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Teams of the 4th Infantry Division, commanded by Colonel James Hickey
James Hickey
James Hickey may refer to:*James Hickey , colonel in the US Army who earned notoriety during Operation Red Dawn.*James Hickey , Irish Labour party politician, TD and senator...

 of the 4th Infantry Division. The US Army finally captured Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003 during Operation Red Dawn
Operation Red Dawn
Operation Red Dawn was the U.S. military operation conducted on 13 December 2003 in the town of ad-Dawr, Iraq, near Tikrit, that captured Iraq President Saddam Hussein, ending rumours of his death. The operation was named after the 1984 film Red Dawn. The mission was assigned to the 1st Brigade...

.

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, AFN Iraq
AFN Iraq
AFN Iraq was the American Forces Network of radio stations within Iraq. The network, nicknamed Freedom Radio, broadcasted news, information, and entertainment programs, including adult contemporary music. Its mission was to "sustain and improve the morale and readiness" of U.S...

 ("Freedom Radio") broadcast news and entertainment within Tikrit, among other locations.

On November 22, 2005, HHC 42nd Infantry Division New York Army National Guard , handed over control of Saddam Hussein's primary palace complex in Tikrit to the governor of Salah Ah Din Province, who represented the Iraqi government. Discontinuing the existence of what once was FOB Danger. The palace complex had served as a headquarters for U.S. 4th Infantry Division, U.S. 1st Infantry Division, and 42nd Infantry Division. The palace complex now serves several purposes for the Iraqi police and army, including headquarters and jails. The U.S. Military has subsequently moved their operations to al Sahra Airfield, now COB Speicher
COB Speicher
COB Speicher formerly FOB Speicher is a US Army Contingency Operating Base captured from the Iraqi Army during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. It was reassigned from a Forward Operating Base to a COB because of its large size...

, northwest of Tikrit.

Saddam Hussein's primary palace complex contained his own palace, one built for his mother and his sons and also included a beautiful man made lake, all enclosed with a wall and towers. Some small exclusives included a solid gold toilet for his mother and a torture room for his son.

Plans for the palace grounds when originally returned to the Iraqi people included turning it into an exclusive and lush resort. However, within weeks of turning over the palace, it was ravaged, and its contents, (furniture, columns, even light switches), were stolen and sold on the streets of Tikrit. The thieves were said to be the Iraqi police charged with protecting it.

The 402nd Civil Affairs Detachment of the US Army, and the government of Salah Ah Din province, began plans to improve local economic conditions. One of the many projects they are working on is building an industrial vocational school in the Tikrit area. The school will teach local people skills in different fields of technology, which will help to build and improve Iraq’s economic stability. The curriculum will educate men and women in multiple occupational fields such as the production of high-tech products, plastic production technology, masonry, carpentry, petroleum equipment maintenance and repair, farm machinery and automotive repair. This self-supporting educational institution owns a textile mill where many of the graduates will work producing uniforms. The mill is scheduled to begin producing and selling products within the year, with the profits from the mill going to fund the school.

The vocational school’s operation, support and funding are modeled after a system South Korea used in another part of Iraq. On April 18 Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Abu Ayyub al-Masri , also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir and other aliases , was an active combattant of al-Qaeda and at least a senior aide to former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. When Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike on 7 June 2006, U.S...

 and Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi
Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi
Hamid Dawud Mohamed Khalil al Zawi, most commonly known as Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi , and also known as Abu Hamza al-Baghdadi and Abu Omar al-Qurashi al-Baghdadi, was the nom de guerre of the person purported to be the leader of the former Mujahideen Shura Council Hamid Dawud Mohamed...

were killed in a raid six miles (10 kilometers) of Tikrit in a safe house.

Climate

External links

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