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 Sunday, May 07, 2006

BIGGEST US Embassy in the World Being Built - In BAGHDAD

  Read here original article by Iason Athanasiadis on Asia Online

A massive 42-hectare US Embassy complex is currently under construction inside the Green Zone.

When ready, it will be the largest US embassy in the world.

The US$592 million facility is being built inside the heavily fortified Green Zone by 900 non-Iraqi foreign workers housed nearby. Construction materials have been stockpiled to avoid the dangers and delays on Iraq's roads.

Once built, the embassy will be entirely self-sufficient and provide a school, six apartment buildings, a gym, a pool, a food court and American Club, and its own power-generation and water-treatment plants for its 1,000 staff.

The size of Vatican City, the complex will be six times as large as the United Nations compound in New York and two-thirds the acreage of Washington's National Mall.

Iraq's interim government transferred the land to US ownership in October 2004 under an agreement whose terms were undisclosed.

Once the new US Embassy is completed, the Republican Palace, currently housing the temporary US Embassy, will be turned back to the Iraqi government.

The Republican Palace as Temporary US Embassy

(Meanwhile) Iraq's latest conquerors triumphantly dominates the inner courtyard of Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace to be what is today the temporary US Embassy in Baghdad.

Tuesday night is karaoke night at Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace in central Baghdad's fortified Green Zone abd bawl out old rock 'n' roll and blues anthems to their heart's content.

US soldiers take off their shirts to play volleyball, State Department contractors have a party on the lawn, and bikini-clad embassy workers splash in the swimming pool.

A British journalist gazing over the scene for the firsttime can do is absent-mindedly mumble, "It's Saigon all over again."

Aside from the current US Embassy and former Republican Palace being inside the Green Zone, a complex web of security has also been thrown up around the palace.

Ordinary journalists must be escorted everywhere around the Green Zone, a 10-square-kilometer restricted area in the heart of Baghdad ringed by 3.5-meter-high blast walls and criss-crossed by still more concrete barriers, concertina wire, and checkpoints anchored by US armored vehicles.

To the sides, 5-meter-high entrances open up onto crowded chambers now used as offices, where work stations sag under the load of computers and all the detritus of a modern embassy office.

Hundreds of diplomats, military people and contractors crowd into the noisy, air-conditioned premises for dinner, while others take their food out to the garden, where the beat of heavy rock music rolls around the lawn, striking a discordant note with the softly illuminated neo-Babylonian architectural style of the palace reflected in the pool.

Suited US State Department diplomats sit at the tables dotting the lawn, eating out of plastic, one-use trays alongside groups of T-shirt-wearing contractors, their M-3 rifles propped up against the garden chairs.

The majority of US diplomats come on short, three-month rotations to Baghdad.

With Iraq already recognized as the definitive US military adventure of the 21st century, word in the State Department is that a short posting in Baghdad is essential for career-minded young diplomats looking for rapid promotion.

Added to the few opportunities to go out into highly unstable Baghdad, it is no wonder many US diplomats seem to think they are still picnicking by the Potomac River.

The karaoke and pool-side volleyball will soon be transferred from the Republican Palace to a massive 42-hectare complex currently under construction inside the Green Zone.

But until next year, when the project is to be completed, Saigon nights will continue at Baghdad's Republican Palace.


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Comments 1


Blogger Vigilante said...

"But until next year, when the project is to be completed"
Like everything else George has started, this will never be completed. That's why it should be named, The Bush Building

3:52 PM

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