Newspaper: Al Iraq News

The seal of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad: While the seal is the

same, the embassy itself has been transformed into the largest

U.S. mission in the world.



Al Iraq News, Iraq

Iraq's American Embassy is 'Suspicious' and 'Dangerous'!


"We must work on creating profiles for all of those who have been co-opted by the embassy to differentiate them from everyone else in Iraqi society, so we can ostracize them and socially exclude them. … It's as if the U.S. Embassy is there not only to protect American interests, but to manage the entire world from the heart of the capital, Baghdad."


-- Sheikh Qassim Al Ta'ee


By Ibrahim Zaidan


Translated By Nicolas Dagher


June 17, 2014


Iraq - Al-Iraq News - Original Article (Arabic)

The door to a dining area inside the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad: In keeping with the demands of diplomacy - profanity is a no-no.  

AL-FAYHAA TV, IRAQ: Iraq Representative Ayad Jamal Al-Din insists that Iraq's political process wan made possible solely by the United States, Feb. 9, 2010, 00:04:10.RealVideo

No embassy in the world has aroused as much suspicion as that of the U.S. occupation in Iraq. Its specifications are unlike those of any other U.S. embassy, with such an overblown intelligence gathering operation that comprises so many people that one cannot help but question the intentions of the White House toward Iraq and the region.


The questioning has been widespread. This is an embassy that can fairly be called the largest spy center in the world. According to a Wikileaks' release, U.S. diplomatic cables show that the work of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is for the purpose of intelligence gathering on Iraqis rather than traditional diplomacy. According to the documents, the U.S. Embassy is more like a giant photocopy machine relaying to Washington every political, security and economic issue in regard to Iraq.


Moreover, Iraqi security sources have expressed suspicion that members of other foreign intelligence services, especially Israeli intelligence (Mossad) are now in Iraq operating under contract to American security firms that employ mercenaries from Africa, Europe and the United States. These are the people responsible for protecting the America's Baghdad embassy.


Iraqi intelligence sources believe that the number of foreign mercenaries is the equivalent of a good-sized army. They also point out that the Americans are not required to inform the Iraqi side of their nationalities, precise security duties, their locations, the types of weapons they carry or the security plans they are implementing. Iraqi intelligence contends that the presence of such a mercenary army constitutes a major threat to the security of Iraq and neighboring countries.


In addition, U.S. Embassy spokesman David Ranz earlier revealed that the withdrawal of his nation's forces from Iraq, pursuant to the schedule outlined in the Iraq-U.S. security agreement, does not mean that America's security or military role have ended. He made it clear that America will continue its presence in the form of joint security offices, military cooperation and U.S. military officers working under the U.S. ambassador. He added that the Americans will also maintain their own security offices after occupying U.S. troops are supposedly gone from Iraqi territory.


Meanwhile, Michael Corbin, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, asserted before a conference for Arab and American policy makers in Washington that after Congress approves its 2011 budget, the U.S. will assign 7,000 mercenaries from security firms operating in Iraq.


U.S. Embassy Spokesman Michael McClellan said that the number of staff is close to 15,000, adding that this number, "is known and has been approved by the Iraqi government.” The United States announced several months ago that between diplomats and employees, its embassy would include 16,000 people after the pullout of U.S. forces - although there have been assurances that more Iraqis would be hired.


Despite the State Department's best efforts, some images of the

new U.S. Embassy compound have appeared in the press. Above

is the Chancellery building inside the U.S. Embassy compound.


U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey has stated that “Washington will spend $6 billion in Iraq in 2012 alone, emphasizing that the amount will cover not only programs for security, but for refugees and other matters.” According to Jeffrey, his budget request was for $6.2 billion.


The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the world's largest, intends to double its number of staff in 2012 - reaching the 16,000 mark. A high-ranking source tells Al-Iraq that the Iraq-U.S. security agreement required large numbers of Americans to remain in five provinces until 2016 - and that this period may be extended. The source said that, “most politicians and members of the National Assembly issue statements to suit their own individual interests and are often quite detached from reality. But the agreement between the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and U.S. Embassy is water under the bridge for the Iraqi people.” He added that, “the agreement calls for talks between the prime minister's office and U.S. Embassy, which must be attended by a senior U.S. State Department official. Those meetings occurred a month after the new government was formed.”


U.S. President Barack Obama justifies the presence of such large numbers of embassy staff by saying that the lion's share of U.S. Embassy staff in Baghdad is for protecting U.S. diplomats who, according to him, "could be subject to attack after U.S. forces leave.”


Jane Loffler, an expert on embassy architecture, compares America's Baghdad embassy to a Crusader fortress of the kind that in a previous age was widespread in the Middle East. Anyone that looks at it can see that it is a "fortress within a fortress.” The world's largest, the embassy is situated in the Green Zone and fortified by three walls, another barrier of concrete slabs, followed by barbed wire fences and a wall of sandbags. It covers an area of 104 acres, six times larger than U.N. headquarters in New York and ten times larger than the new embassy Washington is building in Beijing - which is just 10 acres [picture right].


[Editor's' Note: The ten acre U.S. Embassy in Beijing is the second largest overseas construction project in the history of the Department of State - and the 104 acre U.S. Embassy in Iraq is the largest.]


So America's largest diplomatic mission is surrounded by high concrete walls, is painted in black, brown and grey and is completely isolated from its environment - and has been built in an area that once included presidential palaces and a public park opened to all Iraqis. So far, embassy construction has cost $592 million, but recent estimates are that the number will rise significantly. Managing the embassy after construction is expected to cost another $1 billion a year. That includes 20 buildings, six of which that are apartment complexes containing 619 apartments and two that are for "administrative purposes" and which will contain about 1,000 staff - plus private residences for senior diplomats.


Embassy staff will find everything they need, so they won't have to venture off embassy grounds. There is a shopping mall, a movie theater, a beauty parlor, a sports stadium, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a school and a club for social events. It is equipped with its own power plant, water purification system, sewers and sewage treatment system, as well as its own storage and maintenance facilities. The U.S. State Department even went as far as to reject a request by the architectural firm that designed the complex [Berger Define Yaeger] to post a photo of the embassy on its Web site. The outer wall is nine feet tall and surrounds the complex like a bracelet around a wrist. As if that weren't enough, the wall will be patrolled by a special Marine unit armed and deployed behind concrete bunkers.


There has been a tremendous reaction to the suspicious nature of the U.S. Embassy.


Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist Movement, believes that if staff at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad remains as big as it is now after 2011, they will be considered occupiers and must be resisted.


Maha Al Duri, a Sadrist Movement member of the Council of Representatives [parliament] asserts that, "the maintenance of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq after 2011 is another face of the occupation, since it will include large numbers of staff and security staff thought to be in the many thousands. The U.S. Embassy will inject itself into every detail - small and large - of Iraqi domestic affairs, whether they relate to politics, economics or anything else.”


Representative Talal al-Zawbaii didn't conceal his agitation when he said, “We have serious concerns about the continuing presence of 15,000 embassy staff after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, because a good number of them will be employed for intelligence purposes.” He demanded the Iraqi government reveal the true purpose of maintaining such a large number of staff member and to pressure the American side to cut the number, given their effect on the future of the country and particularly the influence they will have on Iraqi government decision-making.   



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Representative Jawad Al Shuheyli of the liberal Group of the Free bloc, who considers the work of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to be that of intelligence gathering rather than diplomacy, stressed that America's ambassador to Baghdad is able to exercise considerable pressure on Iraqi politicians to pass laws that serve the interests of the U.S. administration. Shuheyli insists that the huge number of embassy staff represent a significant risk to the political situation in the country.


Council Speaker Ussama Al Nujayfi said to talk of 15,000 U.S. Embassy staff after the pullout makes no sense, stressing that an explanation from both the White House and Iraqi government is required.


Meanwhile, Sheikh Qassim Al Ta’ee, the only Iraqi religious leader to completely forbid cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, said in his fatwa, “We must work on creating profiles for all of those who have been co-opted by the embassy to differentiate them from everyone else in Iraqi society, so we can ostracize them and socially exclude them. Everyone should boycott them and reject their work and collaboration with the U.S. Embassy.” The sheikh warned against complacency in regard to the embassy, and called on the Council of Representatives and government to reexamine the situation with great seriousness, and develop appropriate solutions to what he called, “that joke of an embassy” where the "ambassador looks down on the Iraqi people and government.”


He also expressed surprise at the silence of, “influential political forces and the government about the size of the U.S. Embassy - the largest in the world in terms of area, staff and materiel. It's as if it is there not only to protect American interests, but to manage the entire world from the heart of the capital, Baghdad."  




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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US Jan. 9, 11:12pm]



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