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Iraqi Stronghold (cs_iraq) was an official hostage rescue map featured in the Counter-Strike Beta.


As said in the map name, the conflict is taking place in Iraq, most likely during the time when Saddam Hussein was in power of his dictatorship.

According to the map description and layout, it appears that the inspectors were taken hostage because they found nuclear weapons which the Terrorists did not want to be discovered. Due to the disappearance of the inspectors, a squad of Counter-Terrorists were sent to the area igniting the conflict between the two teams.

Official description

Counter-Terrorists: Rescue the UN weapons inspectors who have been taken hostage by a Middle Eastern extremist group.

Terrorists: Prevent the filthy American scum from penetrating our base. Maintain control of the hostages at all costs!

Other Notes: There are 5 hostages in the mission.


Design of the map was initially started as two separate maps with both David Marsh and Cameron Wu working on different maps of their own. Cameron Wu took inspiration from the movie Three Kings in designing the indoor areas of the map, but he had trouble designing the outdoor areas. Cameron eventually saw the Iraq map David Marsh was designing and thought it had good outdoor areas, and thus they decided to combine their efforts into a single map. After the decision to merge the maps, most of the further work on the map was done by Cameron Wu.[1] The M1 Abrams MBT tank by the Counter-Terrorist spawn was designed by "Boomer". The map reused textures that Chris Ashton had designed for Dust and also made use of the Saddam Hussein textures that John Attea had designed for Ship.[2] The final build time of the map was two to three weeks and it was eventually released as an official map with beta 5.0.[3]

The map had a very short life-span in official rotation as it had its last appearance in beta 5.2. This was due to the map never achieving much popularity and therefore it was removed to make room for future maps. The reason for its lack of popularity might have been due to a few balancing issues. The Terrorists had a major advantage as they could easily camp near the hostages and/or hide behind the doors. Unlike most other maps, these doors require the interaction of a button-automated control panel in which enemies could easily pinpoint targets. Furthermore, if some of the Terrorists weren't found within the compound with the hostages, they have most likely decided to camp above the buildings with sniper weaponry and/or have guarded the hostage rescue zone/CT spawn zone with the presence of a turret-mounted tank. Also, the map layout is often confusing and the explosive fuel barrels next to the hostages can be detonated with no penalties. Due to this, Terrorists can easily kill hostages (and any CT who is leading at least one hostage) and forcing a "Terrorist hunt".

After being removed from the official map rotation, an update was released for the map. The major change was relocating the hostage rescue zones closer to reduce round times and as a side effect access to one of the apartments by the CT spawn zone was removed together with the mounted gun on the tank as combat in these areas would be substantially reduced. This version was available on the websites of both Cameron Wu and David Marsh.[3]


  • As seen with the landscape and sky, the time taking place may be nighttime or early dawn.
  • The factions for this map may be SEAL Team 6 and the Elite Crew.
  • The Black Mesa SUV (taken from Half-Life) found in the compound may have belonged to the UN inspectors before it was taken by the Terrorists.
  • There is a painting and a computer screen that depicts Saddam Hussein in the compound.
  • The candles in front of the Saddam Husein portrait can damage the player. If the player does not have armor, it will inflict 1 damage per second (and 1 point of armor for each 5 seconds is drained if worn but no health is lost until the Kevlar vest is destroyed).
    • Hostages will not take damage from the portrait.
  • This is the one of few maps where it is possible to kill hostages without receiving any penalties. Doing so requires the player to either shoot or throw a grenade at a fuel barrel. The other maps are Jeepathon2k in which hostages can be killed by jeeps or fuel barrels, the map Arabstreets where the automatic doors can crush the hostages, and Desert in which the campfires have a trigger_hurt entity.
    • Only 3 hostages can be killed with the explosive fuel barrels since the last two hostages are placed upstairs, unless CTs escort the hostages to the lower levels. Regardless, since half of the amount of hostages needs to be rescued (3 hostages at least), the game rule will effectively become "Terrorist Hunt" if 3 hostages are killed.
  • There is a usable machine gun mounted on the tank in the CT spawn zone. This is useful to eliminate any Terrorists that attempt to camp at the rescue zone. Conversely, Terrorists can also use it to prevent the hostages from being rescued.
  • This map uses the night skybox from Half-Life.
  • A HECU Radio from Half-Life can be found on the map. However, it is simply a prop and cannot be destroyed or used.


  1. Zaphod Beeblebrox's Hompage - cs_iraq. Archived from the original on 2001-07-02.
  2. Mr_Deth's Homepage - my maps. Archived from the original on 2002-08-05.
  3. 3.0 3.1 CS-Nation - mr_deth interview. Archived from the original on 2004-09-10.