The National Interest magazine has published an article about Azerbaijani president Olham Aliyev and the ”park-museum” opened in Baku at his initiative. ARMENPRESS reports the author of the article Michael Rubin compared Ilahm Aliyev with former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the ”park-museum” of Baku with Baghdad’s “Victory Arch,” known to locals as the Swords of Qadisiyah.
”Aliyev, who never served in the military even as his peers fought in the first Nagorno-Karabakh War, strolls around in military fatigues showing off captured Armenian equipment and wax models of Armenian soldiers before addressing assembled troops. The centerpiece of the “Park of Trophies” is an arch made from the helmets of killed and captured Armenian soldiers. That Azerbaijan continues to hold illegally 260 prisoners of war (POWs) and kidnapped civilians, some of whom it might have killed in captivity, underscores the tastelessness of the display”, reads the article.
Commissioned in 1985 and opened four years later, Swords of Qadisiyah, which stands taller than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, consisted of forearms molded from Saddam Hussein’s own and fists holding crossed swords made from steel derived from the melted weaponry of fallen Iraqi soldiers. Five thousand Iranian helmets taken off the battlefield completed the monument. Hussein’s speech initiating its construction was little different from Aliyev’s: “Brave Iraqis have recorded the most legendary exploits in defense of their land and holy beliefs,” Hussein declared on April 22, 1985. “We have chosen that Iraqis will pass under their fluttering flag protected by their swords which have cut through the necks of the aggressors.” Aliyev, for his part, declared at the park’s inaguration on Monday, “Everyone who visits the park of military trophies will see the strength of our army, will see our willpower, and how hard it was to achieve victory.”