25 June 2014

Will the US Embassy in Baghdad Fall to ISIS?

27 Sivan 5774


In November 2007, The Guardian published this report on the then as-yet-to-be-opened US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq:

...The original budget for the embassy, the biggest US one in the world, was $592m (£296m) but this has jumped by a further $144m.

...The size and cost of the embassy is a signal of US intentions to stay in Iraq. The embassy, in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone, will be hidden behind blast walls and have 27 separate buildings, housing 615 people.


All of that may soon be coming to an end as attested in an excerpt from this report from PJ Media:

Contractors are being flown out Iraq, according to the Washington Post, to remove them from the line of advance of ISIS. 

...Although precautionary preparations have been made, the US embassy in Baghdad itself has not been evacuated. “The State Department said in January that it had about 5,000 personnel working at the embassy and at consulates in Basra and Irbil, including 2,000 Americans. Embassy personnel are protected by some 200 Marine Corps security guards.”


If the embassy is evacuated, it will leave what is perhaps one of the most lavish and expensive diplomatic facility in history in the hands of al-Qaeda. It contains what is probably a huge intelligence facility. “The 104-acre compound — already its biggest and most expensive in the world — currently houses 1,350 U.S. government employees in the heart of Baghdad’s International Zone and will increase its capacity because the U.S. is consolidating overall diplomatic property in Baghdad down by one-third. The most interesting upgrade is the construction of a data hall in an existing classified embassy annex building that will cost $20 to $35 million. It will require ‘electrical/telecommunication system upgrades [and] extensive mechanical and plumbing systems,’ according to a June 12 notice from the State Department.”


...The grandeur and magnificence of the Baghdad embassy has only been recently eclipsed in appointments by the new US embassy in London. 


...America will also be leaving behind a training effort “billed as the most ambitious American aid effort since the Marshall Plan — began in October and has already cost $500 million, including $343 million worth of construction projects around the country.”

If the embassy is evacuated as al-Qaeda reaches Baghdad the optics will be atrocious. The very magnificence of the buildings will underscore the magnitude of the defeat. The sheer size of the palaces will make destruction no easy task. For these grand edifices, constructed at so much taxpayer cost must be reduced to total ash by America’s own hand. The taxpayer pays for the matches.


...Baghdad has not yet fallen. It may never fall. But prospect should make people sit up and wonder whether they understand the meaning of the word “defeat”. It’s not just a word or military phrase, but a condition of unutterable loss and subjection. It is humiliation distilled. It is total abjection.