Kevin Davie travels to the revived marshland home of the enemies Saddam Hussein set out to destroy.
Christmas for Iraq's remaining Christian community means celebrating behind blast walls and barbed wire.
At least 11 co-ordinated car bombs have ripped through mostly Shi'ite neighbourhoods in Baghdad, killing many and wounding dozens.
The United States has condemned the perpetrators of deadly attacks in Iraq as "enemies of Islam" and called the acts "cowardly".
A series of car bombs in mainly Shi'ite areas of Baghdad has killed 60 people and wounded 140.
Tattoo parlours are becoming increasingly popular in Baghdad, despite opposition from traditionalists.
A string of explosions have torn through Baghdad followed by an assault by gunmen who raided a government building, leaving at least 22 people dead.
A suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives at an Iraqi army checkpoint north of Baghdad, killing at least three people, says police.
A string of car bomb attacks in Baghdad has killed 17 people, deepening fears of an increase in violence as sectarian tensions simmer in Iraq.
In the city of Mosul, out of view of visiting Arab dignitaries next week, al-Qaeda still controls the streets and people still whisper about death.
Car and roadside bombs have killed at least 43 people in cities across Iraq, extending a spate of violence ahead of next week's Arab League summit.
Nato has ended its training mission in Iraq. Hopes for an extension deal collapsed as Baghdad refused to grant the troops immunity from prosecution.
The Arab League expects Syria to agree soon to allow observers in to monitor and mediate the protection of civilians while peace talks get under way.
Contrary to reports, Tokyo Sexwale and Kgalema Motlanthe still have a case to answer for the the parts they played in the Oilgate scandal.
As the US withdraws its remaining 39 000 troops from Iraq, the influence of its nemesis Iran in the corridors of power in Baghdad is likely to rise.
Iraqi security forces were on alert on Friday after a massive car bomb ripped through a funeral ceremony in a Shiite district of Baghdad.
Iraq's divided political factions sealed a power-sharing deal more than eight months after an inconclusive general election.
Bombings in Baghdad on Thursday killed seven people, bringing the death toll from attacks against Shi'ite pilgrims over the past three days to 60.
Three suicide bombers detonated car bombs within moments of each other in a coordinated attack on foreign missions in central Baghdad on Sunday.