Prospect MagazineProspect Magazine

Twenty years on from the UN bombing in Baghdad, what’s changed?

By Khaled Mansour

31 Aug 2023 · 14 min read

informed Summary

  1. Writing in Prospect, Khaled Mansour recounts the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad in 2003, which killed 22 people—most of whom were UN staff members. Mansour narrowly escaped the attack due to a delay in his schedule.

Twenty years ago this month, a colleague saved me from a likely gruesome death. He insisted I stay in his Baghdad office of the World Food Programme (WFP) for a hot drink. “You can't leave us without trying the tea I made for you! The best in Iraq.”

I drove back to my office half an hour later than scheduled. Near the grim building of the Canal Hotel, the UN headquarters in the Iraqi capital, I caught sight of a column of smoke and a grey cloud forming on the horizon.

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