Author Topic: Giant U.S. embassy rising in Baghdad  (Read 73 times)


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Giant U.S. embassy rising in Baghdad
« on: August 28, 2006, 10:44:29 PM »

By Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY
Three years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, only one major U.S. building project in Iraq is on schedule and within budget: the massive new American embassy compound.
The $592 million facility is being built inside the heavily fortified Green Zone by 900 non-Iraqi foreign workers who are housed nearby and under the supervision of a Kuwaiti contractor, according to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report. Construction materials have been stockpiled to avoid the dangers and delays on Iraq's roads.

"We are confident the embassy will be completed according to schedule (by June 2007) and on budget," said Justin Higgins, a State Department spokesman.

The same cannot be said for major projects serving Iraqis outside the Green Zone, the Senate report said. Many — including health clinics, water-treatment facilities and electrical plants — have had to be scaled back or in some cases eliminated because of the rising costs of securing worksites and workers.

"No large-scale, U.S.-funded construction program in Iraq has yet met its schedule or budget," the committee report said.

Security is the "No. 1 factor that impedes progress," said Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

Contractors and Army Corps of Engineers officials "are being shot at or threatened every day," he said. At least 467 contractors in Iraq have been killed, said Christine Belisle, a spokeswoman for the special inspector general.

According to the special inspector general's office, which Congress created to oversee U.S. projects in Iraq, 25% of nearly $21 billion for Iraq reconstruction has been diverted to pay for security.

The massive new embassy, being built on the banks of the Tigris River, is designed to be entirely self-sufficient and won't be dependent on Iraq's unreliable public utilities.

The 104-acre complex — the size of about 80 football fields — will include two office buildings, one of them designed for future use as a school, six apartment buildings, a gym, a pool, a food court and its own power generation and water-treatment plants. The average Baghdad home has electricity only four hours a day, according to Bowen's office.

The current U.S. Embassy in Iraq has nearly 1,000 Americans working there, more than at any other U.S. embassy.

Most embassy functions are now housed in Saddam Hussein's former Republican Palace, also within the Green Zone. The U.S. government and military, which occupied many of Saddam's palaces after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, are turning the facilities back to the Iraqi government.

The lead contractor on the embassy project is a Kuwaiti firm, First Kuwaiti Trading & Contracting, Higgins said. There are also five U.S. subcontractors, but he would not name them for security reasons.

The Senate report recommended that First Kuwaiti consider hiring more Iraqis, if they can be properly screened.

 :D The embassy will be surrounded by 5 metre thick walls! Iraqis are calling it 'The Bush Palace'.

J Bananas

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Re: Giant U.S. embassy rising in Baghdad
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2006, 11:18:39 PM »
welllcome to the space jaaammmm allright.....spreading freedom


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Re: Giant U.S. embassy rising in Baghdad
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2006, 09:51:55 PM »
 freedom in tha form of a bullet in the 06!