Friday, November 30, 2012

New Details from Iraqi National Archives

Leonard Kniffel has a piece in American Libraries magazine on continuing security problems at the Iraq National Library and Archives called "Terror Has Not Withdrawn: Daily Life for Librarians in Iraq" available here.  Near the end of the piece there are a couple of new details about the issue of seized records and Ba'ath party materials and information from the Director of the National Archives Saad Eskander.

Regarding negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq over the possible return of seized records (see some earlier coverage here), Kniffel notes:
The Iraqi government recently formed an intergovernmental committee to look into the issue of the records seized by the US government. The committee is headed by the deputy minister of foreign affairs, and its members include representatives from the Ministry of Culture (including Eskander), the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers. The committee has formed a three-member team that will negotiate with the US government. Eskander is also a member of that negotiation team.
Kniffel also notes that despite budget cuts and "amid the terror and turmoil," the archival collections at the National Archives have grown by 25%.  He quotes Eskander stating, "This is due to the fact I managed to persuade some Iraqi political parties to hand over to us the library of the Baath Party's training school" which "includes publications in Arabic, English, and French."