A military museum has been declared a “civil war museum” after being declared a danger to visitors because it displayed images of the conflict that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
The museum in the capital, Baghdad, was opened in 2015 by Iraq’s former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who was re-elected last month.
The war museum’s website lists the war as “the longest, most destructive, and most devastating war in the history of Iraq”.
But it also describes the conflict as “one of the great and noble achievements of the nation of Iraq” and says it “is one of the most important achievements of Iraq in the field of its war effort”.
The museum was put under a state of emergency by the government in September, when it was announced that more than 500,000 Iraqis had died during the conflict.
The government has not confirmed the figures but it said there were a number of cases of disease, starvation, and death.
Its chief executive, Mahmoud al-Amar, told AFP news agency that the museum was “the only place on the planet that has a collection of all these important records”, including the names of people killed, the names and deaths of their families, and information on the causes of disease.
“This is the first time in history that we are displaying the names, the dates of the war, the causes, and the results of the people’s lives, which is very important,” Mr Amar said.
He said the museum had already been visited by about 40,000 people, mostly from the US, Britain, and Germany.
He also said that Iraq’s war-affected areas were being visited by more visitors and that “there are people from all over the world” who had been visiting the museum.
“There is a large number of visitors who have come to see the exhibits,” he said.
“The museum has attracted people from different countries, so it is not just one museum but many museums.”
The US State Department has urged the government to ensure that the Iraq War museum was not a danger for Iraq’s civilian population.