Ali Air Base – An Abandoned Military Base in Iraq

Ali Air Base

Ali Air Base, also known as Imam Ali Air Base and formerly known as Tallil Air Base, is located in Nasiriyah, Iraq. It was built for the Iraqi Air Force in the 1970s and was home to a squadron of Soviet-built MiG fighter planes as well as a number of military helicopters. Two fortified concrete aircraft hangers were located at either end of the runway for the maintenance and shelter of the aircraft. The base is 30 kilometres squared with a 22 kilometre long security perimeter. The Ziggurat of Ur, one of the largest and best preserved Babylonian structures to be discovered is located within the perimeter of the base.

Ziggurat of Ur

The Ziggurat of Ur, one of the finest examples of Babylonian architecture remaining today.

The base suffered damage during the Iran-Iraq war and again during the Gulf War of 1991. During the Iraq War of 2003, Tallil Air Base was taken by the US Air Force. They called it Camp Adder and remained situated there until their withdrawal in 2011. Australian troops were also located there, calling it Camp Terndark, until their withdrawal in 2008. Romania also used it under the name Camp Dracula until they withdrew in 2009. The shared ownership ended with Ali Air Base, or Camp Adder, reverting back to a solely American operation with the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps stationed there.

Ali Air Base

Two military planes take off from Ali Air Base.

Ali Air Base was vacated by U.S. Forces in December 2011 and control was handed back to Iraq. With the closure of the base, Operation New Dawn came to an end.

The following is an account by a soldier who was stationed in Camp Adder in 2009 –

I have to say this place is growing by leaps and bounds. Living conditions are great (except for the long walk to the cadillacs in the middle of the night to use the bathroom).

They are building trailers really fast so by the time the next rotation gets here they will be the first to move into them.

It’s a lot of work, but there are enough councils here that organize a lot of events to keep morale up. Texas Hold Em, Bingo, Free pizza once a month from Ciano’s, Salsa night, Arabic classes (which I teach by the way), Volleyball/Dodgeball/Basketball tournaments, and of course the Silly Olympics!

They just built a new hot spot complete with free wireless internet service, ping pong and pool tables, nice movie room, and a gaming room.

It’s SUPER cold here nowadays, so bring warm clothing.

And yes the trip to the Ziggurat was fun. They temporarily shut it down when I first got here because some soldiers were caught peeing on it and taking pictures of themselves…another example of the few misfits ruining a good thing for everyone. But the tours are open again and it’s great.

Romanian army at Camp Dracula

The Romanian Army during the ceremony marking the end of their mission at Camp Dracula.

Following a number of years of being left abandoned after the withdrawal of the coalition forces, Ali Air Base reopened as Nasiriyah Airport with domestic flights to other cities in Iraq as well as international flights to Iran with Iraqi Airways.

Location: Nasiriyah, Iraq

Abandoned: 2011

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