Decade on, Iraq to replace iconic Saddam statue
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Nearly a decade after Saddam Hussein's statue was pulled down in an iconic moment seen globally, Baghdad will finally replace it with new artwork to mark its selection as the 2013 Arab Capital of Culture.
It is the latest in efforts by authorities to promote the country and the capital, which this year marks 1,250 years since its founding. Baghdad played host to a landmark Arab summit in March, followed by talks between world powers and Iran in May over the Islamic republic's nuclear programme.
Baghdad's selection as Arab Capital of Culture also gives the country a chance to make up for its failure to ready Najaf in time for it to take over as 2012 Islamic Capital of Culture, with the latter honour marred by delayed projects and allegations of corruption.
Organisers of the Baghdad cultural capital project are planning to erect 19 new statues, monuments and memorials across the city to highlight its cultural heritage and to mark late artists and cultural icons.