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My Mosul: Why the Iraqi city has a special place in my heart

Reporters on the Job: I have to admit that Mosul has a special place in my heart. In Saddam Hussein’s time, it was still an endlessly fascinating, cosmopolitan city, full of universities, musicians, and artists, and ancient churches and mosques on narrow streets.

In 2003, when I came back to Iraq after being expelled the previous fall, I went into Mosul the day the Iraqi Army melted away. Arriving there before US forces, my team and I found ourselves in the central square as the central bank was looted and burned. Across town, looters were throwing furniture out the window of the hotel where we normally stayed.

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On this trip I met a member of the first elected city council in Iraq whom I covered just after Baghdad fell. We greeted each other like long-lost friends, the way people do when they don’t know each other well but have shared a part of history together.