Camp Taji, Iraq – also referred to as Camp Cooke among its inhabitants – is one of the military bases located in the immediate proximity of Baghdad – only 30 km far from it. The base is used by the coalition forces in Iraq and not just by the United States of America. It is located near Taji or Al Taji, as the natives refer to this place. The base is placed in the central part of Iraq.
The base was initially built in the times of Saddam Hussein, as the powerful leader decided to build multiple military bases around the country to avoid any foreign invasions. However, if his plan managed to succeed for decades, the unexpected and surprising American invasion from the beginning of the 21-st century was too powerful. The base was actually an official airfield located in the Sunni Triangle of Iraq. At the same time, the place played an even more important role in the protection of the country – years ago, it was used to prepare multiple chemical weapons. According to UNSCOM, the authorities found over 6000 canisters built to support chemical weapons close to Al Taji. The same source claims the chemical weapons were supposed to be used for 122 mm missiles.
Judging by multiple survey operations in this area, Al Taji also hosted a center for sector operations. The place was easily reachable through a 1.7 km long runway. Finally, as if all these are not enough, Camp Taji was the largest and most advanced military base in Iraq that dealt with tank maintenance and repair operations. In other words, the place had a massive role in the protection of Iraq.
In 1998, a wave of bombs prevented the upcoming invasion taking place a few years later. Operation Desert Fox was responsible for bombing not less than 13 specific targets inside the area. It only took 5 years for the Iraqi government to lose the control over this base. In 2003, the Americans invaded Iraq pretending to look after the so popular mass destruction chemical weapons. Although the weapons seem to be inexistent, the invasion ended with the murder of Saddam Hussein.
Over the upcoming years, plenty of units came and left Camp Taji. None of them managed to remain there for more than just a few months. With every new year passing by, more and more troops were floating around. These days, the place is actually a joint base. It means it also hosts military troops belonging to the new Iraqi army built after the death of Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi and US troops are hosted in different parts of the camp. With a total lack of disrespect towards the Iraqi troops, the facilities and living conditions are completely different. The place also hosts a few independent contractors.
Iraq is considered to be an unsafe area by the US government, therefore the units are hosted on site and are not allowed to bring in their families. Camp Taji is not really the place you would like to relocate to, unless deployed there.