Who knows what’s happening in Syria. It’s anyone’s guess. I just hope no-one is getting killed as we are being told.
As I argue with regular people on what’s actually occurring there, I try and explain to the hard of thinking what the purpose of the exercise is. I often look to Iraq for clues, and I always think of the world’s largest embassy. Is it really an embassy, or is it the headquarters/capital of an occupying force? You decide.
The Embassy of the United States in Baghdad is the diplomatic mission of the United States in Iraq and is home to the Ambassador to Iraq. Ambassador Robert S. Beecroft is currently the Chief of Mission.
At 440,000 square meters, it is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world and is nearly as large as Vatican City. It employs 15,000 people and cost $750 million to build. The Embassy opened in January 2009 following a series of construction delays. It replaced the previous embassy, which opened July 1, 2004 in Baghdad’s Green Zone in a former Palace of Saddam Hussein.
A new embassy opened in January 2009 in the Green Zone in Baghdad. The embassy complex comprises 21 buildings on a 104 acres (42 ha) site, making it the largest and most expensive U.S. embassy in the world.
It is located along the Tigris River, west of the Arbataash Tamuz bridge, and facing Al Kindi street to the north. The embassy is a permanent structure which has provided a new base for the 5,500 Americans currently living and working in Baghdad. During construction, the US government kept many aspects of the project under wraps, with many details released only in a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report. Apart from the 1,000 regular employees, up to 3,000 additional staff members have been hired, including security personnel.
With construction beginning in mid-2005, the original target completion date was September 2007. “A week after submitting his FY2006 budget to Congress, the President sent Congress an FY2005 emergency supplemental funding request. Included in the supplemental is more than $1.3 billion for the embassy in Iraq…” An emergency supplemental appropriation (H.R. 1268/P.L. 109-13), which included $592 million for embassy construction, was signed into law on May 11, 2005. According to the Department of State, this funding was all that was needed for construction of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. However, Walter Pincus of the Washington Post found that the new embassy had cost more than $700 million by 2012, and Business Insider reported in 2013 that the cost of the embassy had surpassed $750 million. The Obama administration requested more than $100 million for a “massive” upgrade to the embassy compound in 2012. As of 2006, construction was being led by the Kuwaiti firmFirst Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting,
- Six apartment buildings for employees
- Water and waste treatment facilities
- A power station
- Two “major diplomatic office buildings”
- Recreation, including a gym, cinema, several tennis courts and an Olympic-size swimming pool