Sunday, May 04, 2008
US-backed plan sees shiny future for embattled Green Zone
In this undated image released by the U.S. military, planners envision the 'Tigris Woods Golf and Country Club' in the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq. The U.S. military is pushing a five-year, $5 billion development plan to dramatically transform Baghdad's Green Zone, the secured enclave where the American Embassy and the Iraqi government is based, The Associated Press has learned. Hotels, a shopping center, condos and a soccer stadium are all envisioned in the plan, which its creators call a 'dream list' and its critics say is beyond the realm of possibility for a nation at war.
(AP Photo/U. S. Army)
BAGHDAD - Forget the rocket attacks, concrete blast walls and lack of a sewer system. Now try to imagine luxury hotels, a shopping center and even condos in the heart of Baghdad.
That's all part of a five-year development "dream list" — or what some dub an improbable fantasy — to transform the U.S.-protected Green Zone from a walled fortress into a centerpiece for Baghdad's future.
But the $5 billion plan has the backing of the Pentagon and apparently the interest of some deep pockets in the world of international hotels and development, the lead military liaison for the project told The Associated Press.
For Washington, the driving motivation is to create a "zone of influence" around the new $700 million U.S. Embassy to serve as a kind of high-end buffer for the compound, whose total price tag will reach about $1 billion after all the workers and offices are relocated over the next year.
Posted by See You On The Other Side at 9:54 AM