Balad, Iraq

Balad ( _ar. بلد) is a city (100 kilometres) north of Baghdad in Iraq. It is located within the borders of the so-called Sunni Triangle; however, Balad is a primarily Shiite town of approximately 100,000.

Military Camps

Located within the municipality of Yethrib, the installation is known officially as Joint Base Balad, formerly LSA Anaconda and Balad Air Base. The name of this base in Saddam era was Al-Bakir Air Base ( _ar. قاعدة البكر الجوية). This base currently hosts several Army and Air Force units, as well as a and small attachments of U.S. Navy personnel.

As of early 2007 the base is the central hub for airlift and U.S. Air Force operations in Iraq, it is also a major transshipment point for US Army supply convoys.

It is probably best known for having the only Army & Air Force Exchange Service 35 mm projection screen movie theater in Iraq and for having a full-size swimming pool. Known colloquially as "Mortaritaville" by some of its residents, it is also derogatorily called "Pogadishu" by combat arms soldiers in reference to the large number of non-combat arms soldiers--or the "Pog" (Personnel Other-than Grunt)--stationed there.

Even closer to the actual city of Balad is a tiny FOB (Forward Operating Base) called FOB Paliwoda. Currently home to the 1-32 CAV and a few enablers, it sits on the outskirts of Balad proper.

Broadcasting infrastructure

Balad has a shortwave relay station SED.

SED's transmission capabilities
* 16 x 500 kW shortwave transmitters
* 26 HR type curtan arrays

SED has similar transmission capabilities to RCI's Sackville Relay Station, and DW's Wertachtal Relay Station.

Violence

On September 29, 2005, three near-simultaneous car bombs exploded in Balad, killing 95. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4296254.stm BBC] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4295250.stm BBC] ]

On October 15, 2006, Balad was the scene of horrific violence between Shiite and Sunni deathsquad. After the slaying of 17 Shiite workers, local Shiite residents called in the Mahdi Army, setting up roadblocks and checkpoints. In the next days the Mahdi Army controlled the city, killing at least 81 Sunnis and destroying property.Fact|date=November 2007

On February 10, 2008 a suicide car bomb exploded near an Iraqi Army checkpoint at a market killing 23. [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23096440/ CNN] ]

Notes

External links

* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/balad.htm Balad] from Globalsecurity.org
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/03/AR2006020302994_pf.html Biggest Base in Iraq Has Small-Town Feel]
* [http://www.balad.afnews.af.mil/ Air Force in Iraq]
* [http://www.1id.army.mil/1id/News/November/Article_01/Article_01.htm 1rst Infantry Division News]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/22/AR2006102201071.html In Balad, Age-Old Ties Were 'Destroyed in a Second']
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23092308 Diary of an insurgent in retreat]


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