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Mystery surrounds Iraqi statue's missing glass of wine

The latest vandalism of a Baghdad statue underlines the cultural and political strife dividing Iraqis.
An Iraqi soldier stands guard below the Statue of Mutanabbi, a 10th century poet and one of the towering figures of Arabic literature, on the banks of the Tigris River in Baghdad December 16, 2011. REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani (IRAQ - Tags: SOCIETY MILITARY) - RTR2VBFQ

BAGHDAD — When the statue of the poet Abu Nuwas was vandalized on July 5, it sparked a new round of intense political and social conflict in Iraq between conservative forces represented by some political parties and religious currents and secular forces that reject religious and political currents' interference in citizens’ civil choices.

Vandalizing the statue hit a certain cultural and social nerve, as many of Iraq’s cultural elites believe there is a systematic plan to remove the cultural monuments and memorials for religious and political reasons after monuments began to be taken down in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities in 2003. Statues of the Iraqi soldiers who fought in the war with Iran were shattered in Basra on May 6, 2003.

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