The US Imperial embassy rises beside the Tigris River in Baghdad. The largest embassy of any nation in the world, larger than Vatican City and built as a fortress, it puts the lie to the claim that we are not intent on remaining in Iraq indefinitely.
At 104 acres, the US embassy under construction in Baghdad is roughly half the size of China's Forbidden City (177 acres), but still larger than the Vatican City.
Amazingly, the $592 million (!) project is coming along nicely, on time and under budget, according to informed sources. Not so amazingly, part of the reason is that the construction firm, Berger Devine Yaeger, Inc of Kansas City, MO, is using imported labor, which has raised some interesting questions.
This aerial plan shows that the embassy will be, in fact, a small city, albeit heavily fortified. Residents of the present-day embassy in the Green Zone (a former Sadaam Hussein palace) are required to wear flak jackets and helmets when going out of doors. The present embassy operations involve about 1,000 staff, and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. God only knows what they do.
From these virtual images, the embassy looks for all the world like a prison complex. Note the blast-resistant walls running around the entire compound.
These images were pulled from the Arthur Magazine website, as the same images on the BDY site were pulled at the request of the State department, for "reasons of security." An images request at BDY's site results in 404 error messages.
"In total, the 104-acre compound will include over twenty buildings, including one classified secure structure and housing for over 380 families," the Web site says. The compound will include the embassy building, housing, a PX, commissary, cinema, retail and shopping areas, restaurants, schools, a fire station, power and water treatment plants as well as telecommunications and wastewater treatment facilities.
One assumes that the brig facilities will be outsourced. Probably to Uzbekistan.